In a spirit of openness and transparency, the American public is invited to participate in the "Secret Service Agent-for-a-Week" program.
Twice a year, fifteen participants will be given the opportunity to experience firsthand what it's like to be a Secret Service Agent.
The five-day program is split into three segments. Participants will spend the first three days of the program at the Secret Service Rowley Training Center. Training will continue on the fourth day at the Secret Service headquarters location in Washington, DC. On the final day, participants will be assigned to the Presidential Protective Detail at the White House.
Located just outside of Washington, D.C., the Rowley Training Center (RTC) is comprised of 493 acres of land, six miles of roadway and 37 buildings. This elite classified complex comes equipped with high and low speed driving courses; indoor and outdoor firing ranges; a close quarters tactical range building (shoot house); a mock "Beltsville Field Office"; a raid house; a moot courtroom; a canine training facility; a cover course; a 250,000 gallon indoor water safety training tank, a physical fitness center, multiple classrooms, and two tactical villages. Mock-ups of Air Force One and Marine One are parked nearby. View the Rowley Training Center map.
The Rowley Training Center also functions as an emergency relocation site for government officials in the event of a catastrophic national emergency. The Technical Security Division (TSD) is responsible for the Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan for the Secret Service. The master plan includes a new 100,000+ square-foot multi-purpose building built to house an underground operational control center, conference rooms, and secure temporary living arrangements for the relocating population. The new building also houses a large auditorium used as a Multi-Agency Communications Center (MACC) for coordinating large-scale local protective events (NSSE's) such as the Presidential Inauguration, the State of the Union Address, and the Pope Francis visit.
The Rowley Training Center has multiple firearms ranges. The 46,000 sq ft Wilkie indoor range has the
capability to simulate both daytime and nighttime conditions and has two, twelve lane firing point ranges that
are 25 yards each, separated by a concrete wall. The 24 stalls each come equipped with a
paper target of an elderly bespeckled armed gentleman wearing a suit. Participants will practice firing a .357 Sig Sauer P229 pistol and a Heckler & Koch MP5A3 9mm submachine gun
for this portion of the training.
No prior firearms experience is necessary; on-floor instructors will provide individual help with loading and firing. The use of protective goggles and hearing protection is mandatory. Afterwards, you'll visit the Weapons Library on the first floor of the Wilkie Firearms Building.
The second half of the day will be spent at the outdoor range used by the Uniformed Division Countersniper unit. Here you will work in 2-man teams. One person will shoot while the other person, equipped with high-powered binoculars, will act as a spotter. Specialized custom-built rifles and Remington 870 shotguns are used in this exercise.
The purpose of the firearms training is to practice using the same weapons as the agents you will be serving with at the end of the week. For security purposes, your weapon will be modified to fire blank ammunition, or simunition, while working your White House post on Day 5.
The morning will be spent learning evasive driving techniques behind the wheel of a Dodge Charger at the Moran Protective Operations Driving Course (PODC),
an 1,800-foot long by 300-foot wide blacktop with painted lines and orange traffic cones.
learn to perform a J-turn: a tire-screeching pivot with a tight stop and an immediate change in direction.
In the afternoon, you will learn the correct way to drive a Presidential Motorcade vehicle on a ceremonial road course. The Rowley Training Center has close to 300 vehicles in its fleet. Among them are current and retired Suburbans and limos. These are housed and maintained in on-site garages. Participants will practice driving one of these heavily-armored vehicles around a winding track under low-speed controlled conditions.
You will also learn to execute the "push out" maneuver, which is used when the President's vehicle has been disabled. Using a supercharged Suburban, trainees will practice pushing the disabled limo through an obstacle course. Participants have also found this skill useful for negotiating traffic on the Beltway at rush hour
To respond to the increasing complexity of presidential protection, the Secret Service has incorporated
realistic protective scenarios into the agent training curriculum. There are two tactical villages where
this type of training takes place. The main village was built to replicate the White House and its surrounding area.
This fake city is several blocks long complete with a cafe, tattoo parlor, church, bank, bookstore, hardware store, hotel, embassy, and an 8-story tower building.
In the morning, training will take place in the main tactical village. Paint ball guns and flash bangs will be used to simulate a terrorist attack on the city streets. Participants will face a variety of endangerment scenarios that agents go through in their training. You may be assigned to stand outside a bookstore where a protectee is signing books. Across the street, two masked men jump out of a car and try to rob a bank. You will need to make a split decision: is this a diversion of some sort?
Then out of nowhere, a man starts trying to push his way into the bookstore just as a loud rowdy drunk stumbles out of the bar next door partially blocking a third man wearing a suicide bomber vest and carrying a vial of sarin for good measure. Welcome to the Secret Service.
In the afternoon, participants will train at the Baughman Judgmental Range, which looks much like a Hollywood back lot containing a street lined with buildings about one city-block in length with an overpass at the end. A computer-controlled program will send cutout figures popping up without warning in windows and doorways. These figures will appear for a random amount of time and may be carrying umbrellas, briefcases, or guns.
You need to be very careful here: A woman pushing a baby stroller might just walk into the path of a figure who starts firing an Uzi at the passing presidential motorcade. It will be your responsibility to determine which ones are potential assassins and which are just ordinary citizens. You will be armed with a laser pistol and a computer program will keep track of your score from the 21 test scenarios.
Participants will wrap up Day Three with an exercise held at the mock Drummond Airport. You will be posted
at a rope line with people waiting to greet the President who is arriving on Air Force "Half". An actor playing
the President will exit the airplane and walk over to the rope line.
As the President begins to greet the onlookers, an unforeseen security incident known as an AOP or "Attack on Principal" will occur and you will need to evacuate the President immediately to the nearby waiting Presidential Limousine. You then head over to the Knight Tactical Hotel on K Street for your final training scenario.
After that, in celebration of the completion of the first three days of rigorous training, participants will stop by the Wilson Building to enjoy a dip in the spacious 80-foot by 44-foot indoor swimming pool or catch an old episode of Dragnet on our new state-of-the-art satellite TV system.
The fourth day of the program will be held at the ten-story Secret Service Headquarters building in Washington, DC.
While at headquarters, you will visit the Financial Crime Division, Counterfeiting Investigations Division, Forensic Services Division,
and the Protective Intelligence and Assessment Division.
After a quick peek into the new jumbo Joint Operations Center, where the location and status
of protectees are tracked 24/7 and the surveillance cameras at the White House complex are remotely
controlled and monitored, it's off to lunch at the Silver Star Cafe.
After lunch, you will tour a small museum on the first floor containing
an interesting collection of old Secret Service artifacts including counterfeiting machines, old photographs and badges worn by agents,
Sarah Jane Moore's pistol, and a replica of Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle and framed newspaper with the giant headline "Kennedy Dead".
The Reagan section of the exhibit has an old poster for his 1939 movie "Code of the Secret Service",
a mug shot of John Hinckley, a replica of his pistol, and the limousine window that was hit by a .22-caliber Devastator bullet in the assassination attempt.
In preparation for Day Five's assignment at the White House, participants will spend the rest of the afternoon with the Presidential Protective Division. You will receive a detailed briefing on your White House assignment including secret hand signals, code words, the "hands ready position", and instructions on how to operate the radio, palm microphone, and earpiece accessories.
You will take a quick trip up to the 9th floor to visit the Technical Security Division's Physical Security Branch to be briefed on White House access procedures including canine interaction, alarm deactivation, and hidden security features.
The day will end with an opportunity to shop at the Secret Service Employees' Store located on the ground level where you will find a nice selection of official Secret Service logo clothing, hats, pens, watches, pins, key chains, money clips, Christmas ornaments and other souvenirs.
After four long days of training, you are "Worthy of Trust and Confidence" and ready to be assigned to Presidential Protection Duty at the
White House! Your day will begin in the Secret Service Command Post (aka "Horsepower") located on the ground floor of
the West Wing (Room W-16) directly below the Oval Office. A secret hidden staircase provides emergency access up to the Oval Office via a trap door
under the President's desk.
Each participant will be paired with a Secret Service Agent "Buddy" who will help you out throughout the day. Your Agent Buddy will give you a special lapel pin to identify you as part of the Presidential Protective Detail along with a radio, palm microphone and earpiece. The radio is wired into a restricted radio network and is linked to the command post. After a quick check in one of the full-length mirrors on the wall, you are ready for POTUS duty! Remember to follow your Agent Buddy closely and try to blend in as much as possible.
Participants serve in a variety of areas around the White House alongside their Agent Buddy. Some are stationed in hallways; some guard the entrances to the White House Tunnel System; some work at the Visitors' Entrance. A lucky few will be assigned to the Oval Office.
Every morning, the President leaves the Residence and walks outside along the West Wing Colonnade to the Oval Office. It will be your responsibility to open the door to the Oval Office at precisely the correct moment: Too early and you risk letting in some unauthorized insects; too late and .. uh... well, just make sure you are not too late. Some of the full-length windows in the Oval Office look like doors. Be sure you open the correct one.
The Oval Office also has three interior doors with complicated locking mechanisms. For security purposes, there is a trick to opening these doors. You will want to work with your Agent Buddy on this prior to the President's arrival. You may notice a wooden box on the President's Desk with a gold Presidential Seal and a red button on top. The Secret Service Technical Security Division has installed this special Call Box so the President can summon the Secret Service at the push of a button.
Normally reserved for emergency purposes only, the President sometimes enjoys a good prank on the Agent-For-A-Week participants by pushing this button and yelling "Gotcha!" when you and your Agent Buddy come running.
A: When a group shows a particularly strong interest in the program, we try to accommodate them if space allows.
A: Participants will stay at a Residence Inn near the Rowley Training Center. Transportation to the program sites
will be provided.
Lunch will be provided at the Merletti Building break room at RTC on Days 1 - 3; at the Silver Star Cafe at the Secret Service Headquarters building on Day 4, and at the White House Mess on Day 5. At some point in the future, program participants will be able stay onsite at RTC in a new 200-bed dormitory building.
A: Participants will receive a Secret Service Agent For A Week polo shirt and will be issued a
.357 Sig Sauer P229 pistol and holster for the first three days of training.
You will need to bring a dark business suit for the last two days of the program.
A: The only requirement is that participants must be in general good health.
A: Participants must be U.S. citizens with no felony convictions within the past three years. Applicants will be reviewed using information from the NSA national citizen database
located in the new NSA Utah Data Center.
A: Participants are selected via an application lottery.
A: The cost for the week is $2,500. This covers five nights' lodging, meals, RTC uniform,
transportation, and souvenir sunglasses.
A: Sadly, no. This is a parody website with fictional content.