Spring Grove High's Class of 2022 graduates

York County native leads U.S. security efforts at Tokyo Olympics

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Supervisory Special Agent and Deputy Assistant Director Galen Nace (middle) and Deputy Assistant Secretary Mark Sullo (right) meet with a Diplomatic Security Service field liaison officer serving at the Tokyo Olympics, Olympic Stadium, on Monday, July 26, 2021.

Galen Nace traveled about 6,500 miles to Tokyo to join thousands of Olympic athletes.

But he isn’t there to compete.

The York County native is leading the U.S. security efforts serving as the deputy assistant director for the Office of Protection.

As part of his job, Nace is responsible for working as a security liaison between the U.S. athletes and Japanese security services, overseeing a team of 150 U.S. government personnel.

“I’ve been here for over three weeks and have enjoyed the food and culture,” Nace said via email. “It is always very exciting to attend an Olympic Games or other major sporting event.”

Though this isn’t Nace’s first Olympics — he also attended the London and Sochi games in 2012 and 2014, respectively — this is the first time he’s had the opportunity to serve in his current role as the deputy assistant director.

Supervisory Special Agent and Deputy Assistant Director Galen Nace (right) observes security operations at an Olympic venue at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday, July 26, 2021.

Nace, who grew up in Jackson Township, joined the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service in 1999. 

When he’s not at the Olympics, Nace oversees the service’s operations for the U.S. Secretary of State and the ambassador to the United Nations, in addition to visiting foreign dignitaries, he said.

Nace also holds a position as deputy chair to the International Security Event Group, an organization that coordinates U.S. government support for international events like the Olympics.

“While it is disappointing that spectators are not able to attend due to the global pandemic, it is clear that the Japanese government has put an enormous effort into making the games a success,” Nace said. “The stadiums and venues are beautiful and the Japanese volunteers and games’ personnel have been very kind.”

Galen Nace (right) and the 2022 Winter Olympics Security Coordinator Aria Liu enter the International Broadcasting Center at the 2020 Olympics, on Saturday, July 24, 2021.

Aside from the overall excitement of the competition, Nace said he adores the opportunity that the Olympics present for the world to come together.

“The Olympic Games are a platform for diplomacy where people of all nations, beliefs, races, cultures and backgrounds can come together in spirited — but peaceful competition,” Nace said. “That’s why I’m here, along with the rest of my DSS colleagues.”

With the opportunities he’s had working for the Diplomatic Security Service, Nace has traveled to more than 40 countries and lived in Argentina, Russia and Switzerland.

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He currently lives in Washington, D.C. With all of the countries he’s visited and all of the people he’s met, however, Nace said there’s always a part of York County with him.

“It’s also fun to get back to see family and friends as often as I can, and show my daughters my hometown,” Nace said. “And, no visit is complete without a visit to Infinitos Pizza, Brown’s Orchards or Tropical Treat in Hanover.”

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.

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