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United States Department of State

United States Department of State
Seal of the U.S. Department of State
Flag of the U.S. Department of State
Agency overview
Formed July 27, 1789 (1789-07-27)
Preceding Agency Department of Foreign Affairs
Headquarters Harry S Truman Building
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Employees 13,000 Foreign Service employees
11,000 Civil Service employees
45,000 Foreign Service local employees[1]
Annual budget $57.533 Billion (FY 2012)[2]
Agency executives John Kerry, Secretary of State
William Joseph Burns, Deputy Secretary
Heather Higginbottom, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources

The United States Department of State (DoS),[3] often referred to as the State Department, is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministry of other countries. The Department was created in 1789 and was the first executive department established.

The Department is headquartered in the Harry S Truman Building located at 2201 C Street, NW, a few blocks away from the White House in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The Department operates the diplomatic missions of the United States abroad and is responsible for implementing the foreign policy of the United States and U.S. diplomacy efforts. The Department is also the depositary for more than 200 multilateral treaties.

The Department is led by the Secretary of State, who is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate and is a member of the Cabinet. The current Secretary of State is John Kerry. The Secretary of State is the first Cabinet official in the order of precedence and in the presidential line of succession.


  • History 1
  • Duties and responsibilities 2
  • Organization 3
    • Mission statement 3.1
    • Core activities 3.2
    • Secretary of State 3.3
      • Staff 3.3.1
      • Other agencies 3.3.2
  • Franklin Fellows Program 4
  • Department of State Air Wing 5
  • Expenditures 6
    • Audit of expenditures 6.1
  • Central Foreign Policy File 7
  • Other 8
  • See also 9
  • Notes and references 10
  • External links 11


Old State Department building in Washington, D.C., c. 1865

The U.S. Constitution, drafted in Philadelphia in 1787 and ratified by the states the following year, gave the President the responsibility for the conduct of the nation's foreign relations. It soon became clear, however, that an executive department was necessary to support the President in the conduct of the affairs of the new federal government.

The House of Representatives and Senate approved legislation to establish a Department of Foreign Affairs on July 21, 1789, and President Washington signed it into law on July 27, making the Department of Foreign Affairs the first federal agency to be created under the new Constitution.[4] This legislation remains the basic law of the Department of State. In September 1789, additional legislation changed the name of the agency to the Department of State and assigned to it a variety of domestic duties.

These responsibilities grew to include management of the

  • Official website
    • US Department of State in the Federal Register
    • Official blog
    •, Telephone directory,
    • State Magazine
  • ShareAmerica the DoS public diplomacy social content platform
  • US Department of State YouTube channel,
  • official DoS Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) website (for international audiences)
  •, Rewards for Justice official DoS Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program
  • Frontline Diplomacy: The Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training from the Library of Congress,
  • State Department Records in the National Archives,
  • Central Foreign Policy Files documenting the period 7/1/1973 ? – 12/31/1976

External links

  1. ^ "What We Do: Mission". Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  2. ^ "Fiscal Year 2012 Agency Financial Report". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  3. ^ "Acronym Finder: DoS". 
  4. ^ "1 United States Statutes at Large, Chapter 4, Section 1". 
  5. ^ "United States Statutes at Large, First Congress, Session 1, Chapter 14". 
  6. ^  
  7. ^ a b Plischke, Elmer. U.S. Department of State: A Reference History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999, p. 45.
  8. ^ Tinkler, Robert. James Hamilton of South Carolina. Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State University Press, 2004, p. 52.
  9. ^ Burke, Lee H. and Patterson, Richard Sharpe. Homes of the Department of State, 1774–1976: The Buildings Occupied by the Department of State and Its Predecessors. Washington, D.C.: US. Government Printing Office, 1977, p. 27.
  10. ^ a b Michael, William Henry. History of the Department of State of the United States: Its Formation and Duties, Together With Biographies of Its Present Officers and Secretaries From the Beginning. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1901, p. 12.
  11. ^ Burke and Patterson, p. 37.
  12. ^ Burke and Patterson, 1977, p. 41.
  13. ^ Plischke, p. 467.
  14. ^ This complex is also known as the "Potomac Annex".
  15. ^ January 14, 2014.Washington Business Journal.Sernovitz, Daniel J. "Boston Firm Picked for State Department Consolidation". Accessed 2014-01-14.
  16. ^ United States Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security (July 2011). "Diplomatic and Consular Immunity: Guidance for Law Enforcement and Judicial Authorities". United States Department of State. p. 15. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  17. ^ a b p. 5)"vid."United States Department of State FY 2010 Agency Financial Report (. US Department of State. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  18. ^ Sievers, Lisa (June 4, 2013). "State Department submits terrorism report to Congress". BioPrepWatch. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Under Secretary for Management". Retrieved 2009-07-26. 
  20. ^ Operation Development Leadership Project, Alumni Corner, September 2007
  21. ^ a b "US Department Of State Magazine, May 2011". 
  22. ^ a b pp.88,89)"vid."United States Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2010 (.  
  23. ^ a b c pp.3,80)"vid."United States Department of State FY 2010 Agency Financial Report (. US Department of State. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  24. ^ a b c p.62ff.)"vid."United States Department of State FY 2010 Agency Financial Report (. US Department of State. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  25. ^ p.76.)"vid."United States Department of State FY 2010 Agency Financial Report (. US Department of State. Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  26. ^ "FAQ: Record Group 59: General Records of the Department of State Central Foreign Policy File, 1973–1976". National Archives and Records Administration. 2010-08-06. Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  27. ^ "What's New in AAD: Central Foreign Policy Files, created, 7/1/1973 – 12/31/1976, documenting the period 7/1/1973 ? – 12/31/1976". National Archives and Records Administration. 2009. Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  28. ^ "The Most Desirable Employers".  
  29. ^ "Hillary Clinton Launches E-Suggestion Box..'The Secretary is Listening' – ABC News". 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  30. ^ Lipowicz, Alice (2011-04-22). "State Department to launch "Corridor" internal social network – Federal Computer Week". Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  31. ^ "Peering down the Corridor: The New Social Network's Features and Their Uses | IBM Center for the Business of Government". 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  32. ^ "21st Century Statecraft". The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 

Notes and references

See also

In November 2010, it was revealed that over a quarter million diplomatic cables between the Department of State and US embassies around the world were leaked to WikiLeaks, which has slowly started releasing the cables to the public. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the leak as harmful to international diplomacy.

In 2009, the State Department launched 21st century statecraft. The U.S. Department of State's official explanation of 21st Century Statecraft is: "complementing traditional foreign policy tools with newly innovated and adapted instruments of statecraft that fully leverage the technologies of our interconnected world".[32]

The Department's blog, started in 2007, is known as Dipnote, and a Twitter account is maintained with the same name. The internal wiki is Diplopedia. The internal suggestion blog within State is called the Sounding Board[29] and their internal professional networking software, "Corridor", is a success.[30][31] Finally, State has embraced Government crowdsourcing, establishing the Virtual Student Foreign Service.

In 2009, the Department of State was the fourth most desired employer for undergraduates according to BusinessWeek.[28]


Since 1973 the primary record keeping system of the Department of State is the Central Foreign Policy File. It consists of copies of official telegrams, airgrams, reports, memorandums, correspondence, diplomatic notes, and other documents related to foreign relations.[26] About 900,000 records spanning the time period from 1973 to 1976 can be accessed online from the National Archives and Records Administration.[27]

Central Foreign Policy File

The Department of State's 'independent auditors' are Kearney & Company.[24] Since in FY 2009 Kearney & Company qualified its audit opinion, noting material financial reporting weaknesses, the DoS restated its 2009 financial statements in 2010.[24] In its FY 2010 audit report, Kearney & Company provided an unqualified audit opinion while noting significant deficiencies, of controls in relation to financial reporting and budgetary accounting, and of compliance with a number of laws and provisions relating to financial management and accounting requirements.[24] In response the DoS Chief Financial Officer observed that "The Department operates in over 270 locations in 172 countries, while conducting business in 150 currencies and an even large number of languages ... Despite these complexities, the Department pursues a commitment to financial integrity, transparency, and accountability that is the equal of any large multi-national corporation."[25]

Audit of expenditures

Total program costs for 'Achieving Peace and Security' were $7.0 billion; 'Governing Justly and Democratically', $0.9 billion; 'Investing in People', $4.6 billion; 'Promoting Economic Growth and Prosperity', $1.5 billion; 'Providing Humanitarian Assistance', $1.8 billion; 'Promoting International Understanding', $2.7 billion; 'Stengthening Consular and Management Capabilities', $4.0 billion; 'Executive Direction and Other Costs Not Assigned', $4.2 billion.[23]

The end-of-year FY 2010 DoS Agency Financial Report, approved by Secretary Clinton on 15 November 2010, showed actual total costs for the year of $27.4 billion.[23] Revenues of $6.0 billion, $2.8 billion of which were earned through the provision of consular and management services, reduced total net cost to $21.4 billion.[23]

In FY 2010 the Department of State, together with 'Other International Programs' (for example, USAID), had a combined projected discretionary budget of $51.7 billion.[22] The United States Federal Budget for Fiscal Year 2010, entitled 'A New Era of Responsibility', specifically 'Imposes Transparency on the Budget' for the Department of State.[22]


In 2011, the Air Wing was operating more than 230 aircraft around the world, the main missions still being counter narcotics and transportation of state officials.[21]

Following the events of the September 11 attacks, and the subsequent war on terror, the Air Wing went on to expand their operations from mainly anti-narcotics operations to also support security of United States nationals and interests, primarily in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Safe transport for various diplomatic missions were undertaken, requiring the acquisition of larger aircraft types, such as Sikorsky S-61, Beechcraft King Air and De Haviland DHC-8-300. Armed escorts were also increased using various helicopters fitted as gunships.

The aircraft fleet grew from crop spraying aircraft to larger transports and helicopters used to support ground troops and transport personnel. As these operations became more involved in direct combat, a further need for search and rescue and armed escort helicopters was evident. Operations in the 1980s and 1990s were primarily carried out in Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia and Belize. Many aircraft have since been passed on to the governments involved, as they became capable of taking over the operations themselves.

In 1978, the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) formed an office to use excess military and government aircraft for support of foreign nations' counter-narcotics operations. The first aircraft used was a crop duster used for eradication of illicit crops in Mexico in cooperation with the local authorities. The separate Air Wing was established in 1986 as use of aviation assets grew in the war on drugs.[21]

Department of State Air Wing

, and together with the Thomas Jefferson Science Fellows, aims to bring mid-career professionals to enrich and expand the Department's capabilities. Benjamin Franklin. The program is named in honor of Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Commerce, Department of Defense agencies, including the executive branch, and White House, the Congress Fellows may also work with other government entities, including [20] The Franklin Fellows Program was established in 2006 by the DoS to bring in mid-level executives from the

Franklin Fellows Program

Since the 1996 reorganization, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), while leading an independent agency, has also reported to the Secretary of State, as does the United States Ambassador to the United Nations (also known as the Permanent Representative).

Other agencies

  • Office of Global AIDS Coordinator: President's main task force to combat global AIDS. The Global AIDS Coordinator reports directly to the Secretary of State.
  • Counselor: Ranking with the Under Secretaries, the Counselor is the Secretary's and Deputy Secretary's special advisor and consultant on major problems of foreign policy. The Counselor provides guidance to the appropriate bureaus with respect to such matters, conducts special international negotiations and consultations, and undertakes special assignments from time to time as directed by the Secretary.
  • Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights:
  • Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
  • Organization chart of the United States Department of State (as of March 2014)


    The Secretary of State is the chief executive officer of the Department of State and a member of the Cabinet that answers directly to the President of the United States. The secretary organizes and supervises the entire department and its staff.

    Secretary of State

    BioPrepWatch reported that, on May 30, 2013, the State Department submitted the Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 to Congress. Most terrorist attacks have been decentralized and target the Middle East countries. There have been no other reports that have previously talked about this topic, but the biggest shifts in terrorism in 2012 included an increase in state-sponsored terrorism in Iran. The State Department states the best way to counter international terrorist attacks is to work with international partners to cut funding, strengthen law-enforcing institutions and eliminate terrorist safe havens.[18]

    The DoS promotes and protects the interests of American citizens by (1) 'Promoting peace and stability in regions of vital interest'; (2) 'Creating jobs at home by opening markets abroad'; (3) 'Helping developing nations establish investment and export opportunities'; and (4) 'Bringing nations together and forging partnerships to address global problems, such as terrorism, the spread of communicable diseases, cross-border pollution, humanitarian crises, nuclear smuggling, and narcotics trafficking'.[17]

    Core activities

    To: 'Advance freedom for the benefit of the American people and the international community by helping to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world composed of well-governed states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and act responsibly within the international system.'[17]

    Mission statement

    Secretary of State John Kerry


    The Department of State conducts these activities with a civilian workforce, and normally uses the Foreign Service personnel system for positions that require service abroad. Employees may be assigned to diplomatic missions abroad to represent America, analyze and report on political, economic, and social trends; adjudicate visas; and respond to the needs of American citizens abroad. The U.S. maintains diplomatic relations with about 180 countries and maintains relations with many international organizations, adding up to a total of more than 250 posts around the world. In the United States, about 5,000 professional, technical, and administrative employees work compiling and analyzing reports from overseas, providing logistical support to posts, communicating with the American public, formulating and overseeing the budget, issuing passports and travel warnings, and more. In carrying out these responsibilities, the Department of State works in close coordination with other federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Commerce. As required by the principle of checks and balances, the Department also consults with Congress about foreign policy initiatives and policies.

    • Protecting and assisting U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad;
    • Assisting U.S. businesses in the international marketplace;
    • Coordinating and providing support for international activities of other U.S. agencies (local, state, or federal government), official visits overseas and at home, and other diplomatic efforts.
    • Keeping the public informed about U.S. foreign policy and relations with other countries and providing feedback from the public to administration officials.
    • Providing automobile registration for non-diplomatic staff vehicles and the vehicles of diplomats of foreign countries having diplomatic immunity in the United States.[16]

    All foreign affairs activities—U.S. representation abroad, foreign assistance programs, countering international crime, foreign military training programs, the services the Department provides, and more—are paid for by the foreign affairs budget, which represents little more than 1% of the total federal budget. The total Department of State budget, together with 'Other International Programs' (see below), costs about 45 cents a day ($165.90 a year) for each resident of the United States. As stated by the Department of State, its purpose includes:

    The Executive Branch and the U.S. Congress have constitutional responsibilities for U.S. foreign policy. Within the Executive Branch, the Department of State is the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency, and its head, the Secretary of State, is the President's principal foreign policy advisor, though other officials or individuals may have more influence on their foreign policy decisions. The Department advances U.S. objectives and interests in the world through its primary role in developing and implementing the President's foreign policy. The Department also supports the foreign affairs activities of other U.S. Government entities including the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. It also provides an array of important services to U.S. citizens and to foreigners seeking to visit or immigrate to the U.S.

    Harry S Truman Building, headquarters of the U.S. State Department since 1947

    Duties and responsibilities

    In 2014, the State Department began expanding into the Navy Hill Complex across 23rd Street NW from the Truman Building.[14] A joint venture consisting of the architectural firms of Goody, Clancy and the Louis Berger Group won a $2.5 million contract in January 2014 to begin planning the renovation of the buildings on the 11.8 acres (48,000 m2) Navy Hill campus, which housed the World War II headquarters of the Office of Strategic Services and was the first headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency.[15]

    From 1790 to 1800, the State Department had its headquarters in Philadelphia, the capital of the United States at the time. It occupied a building at Church and Fifth Streets (although, for a short period during which a yellow fever epidemic ravaged the city, it resided in the New Jersey State House).[7] In 1800, it moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., where it first occupied the Treasury Building[7] and then the Seven Buildings at 19th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.[8] It moved into the Six Buildings in September 1800, where it remained until May 1801.[9] It moved into the War Office Building due west of the White House in May 1801.[10] It occupied the Treasury Building from September 1819 to November 1866,[11] except for the period from September 1814 to April 1816 (during which it occupied a structure at G and 18th streets NW while the Treasury Building was repaired).[10] It then occupied the Washington City Orphan Home from November 1866 to July 1875.[12] It moved to the State, War, and Navy Building in 1875.[13] Since May 1947, it has occupied the Harry S Truman Building.

    On September 29, 1789, President Washington appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, then Minister to France, to be the first United States Secretary of State.[6] John Jay had been serving in as Secretary of Foreign Affairs as a holdover from the Confederation since before Washington had taken office and would continue in that capacity until Jefferson returned from Europe many months later.

    Most of these domestic duties of the Department of State were eventually turned over to various new Federal departments and agencies that were established during the 19th century. However, the Secretary of State still retains a few domestic responsibilities, such as being the keeper of the Great Seal and being the officer to whom a President or Vice-President of the United States wishing to resign must deliver an instrument in writing declaring the decision to resign. [5]

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