Securing Diplomacy

by | May 19, 2021 | Alumni Profiles, Culture

Since he graduated from UC Davis, Greg Sherman ’93 has risen to the top levels of law enforcement in the United States.

He is the deputy assistant secretary and assistant director for High Threat Programs with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security at the U.S. Department of State. The bureau is the law enforcement and security arm of the department, tasked with protecting diplomats, U.S. travel documents and embassies and consulates.

Sherman has worked as a special agent at locations around the world. He has met presidents, and guarded secretaries of state and foreign dignitaries, including Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and the Dalai Lama.

“I was always interested in global affairs and politics,” Sherman said. “I knew I wanted to serve my country in a law enforcement or foreign affairs capacity.”

A native of San Diego, he chose UC Davis for its international relations major. He played a little water polo, but ultimately decided to focus on his academics. He looked back fondly on his time there.

“It was the quintessential college town and had a very nurturing feel to it,” he remembered. “I made some great friends and came into my own there.”

After he graduated, he moved east, earning his master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of South Carolina in 1996. He worked for a year as a police officer in Columbia, South Carolina, before joining the Foreign Service.

Over the years, he’s been stationed in Afghanistan, Germany, Oman, Moldova and Singapore. And while there, he said, he’s explored the regions, often with his family — his wife, son and daughter.

On-the-job experiences have been memorable, too.

In 1998, he was present when Bill Clinton met with Israeli and Palestinian delegations that included Benjamin Netanyahu and Yasser Arafat. In 2000, he went to Yemen after the USS Cole was bombed by terrorist network Al-Qaeda.

“Our job allows us to be, to some degree, a witness to history,” he said. “We meet some of these figures and were there. It’s kind of nice to be along for the ride sometimes.”

As he’s risen in the ranks, he’s taken on more leadership roles. He was previously the office director for Special Programs within High Threat Programs. He took on his current position in 2019.

He and his team monitor high threat, high risk countries, with an eye toward protecting personnel based in those locations. Afghanistan and Iraq are current priorities, he said.

“They’re at the top of the radar right now,” he said.

Of course the pandemic has had a significant impact on this work over the past year. When international borders closed as a result of the crisis, Sherman and his colleagues looked for creative solutions to move people around. They’ve also explored what work can be done remotely.

Added Sherman, the job has been a great fit.

“I’ve been incredibly blessed to have a job that I enjoy doing most every day,” he said. “Now at 50, I’ve seen and done things I never thought about growing up in San Diego.”