United States Department of State
Learn more about United States Department of State
|Established:||July 27, 1789|
|Renamed:||September 15, 1789|
|Budget:||$9.96 billion (2004)|
The United States Department of State, often referred to as the State Department, is the Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the United States Government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. It is administered by the United States Secretary of State.
The U.S. Constitution, drafted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 and ratified by the states the following year, gave the President responsibility for the conduct of the nation's foreign relations. It soon became clear, however, that an executive branch 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. Furthermore, 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 United States Mint, keeper of the Great Seal of the United States, and the taking of the census. President George Washington signed the new legislation on September 15. 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.
 Duties and responsibilities
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 adviser, though other officials or individuals may have more influence on his 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 United States Department of Commerce 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.
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, or about 12 cents a day for each American citizen. As stated by the Department of State, its purpose includes:
- 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.
- Provides automobile registration for non-diplomatic staff vehicles and the vehicles of diplomats of foreign countries having diplomatic immunity in the United States.
The Department of State conducts these activities with a civilian workforce. The Foreign Service system, which is part of the Excepted Service, is mostly used for positions requiring service abroad. Overseas, members of the Diplomatic Service, including officers, specialists and at times Civil Service excursionists when Foreign Service personnel are unavailable to fill certain positions or at the whim of the Secretary and/or Karen Hughes, represent America; analyze and report on political, economic, and social trends in the host country; and respond to the needs of American citizens abroad. The U.S. maintains diplomatic relations with about 180 countries and also 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 domestic employees work alongside members of the Foreign Service compiling and analyzing reports from overseas, providing logistical support to posts, consulting with and keeping the Congress informed about foreign policy initiatives and policies, communicating with the American public, formulating and overseeing the budget, issuing passports and travel warnings, and more.
- Deputy Secretary--The Deputy Secretary, with the Chief of staff and Executive Secretariat, assists the Secretary in the overall management of the department. reporting to the Deputy Secretary are the six underseretaries and the counselor, along with several staff offices:
- Chief of Staff
- Executive Secretariat
- Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (which produces the Patterns of Global Terrorism report)
- National Foreign Affairs Training Center (former Foreign Service Institute)
- Office of International Information Programs
- Office of the Legal Adviser
- Office of Management Policy
- Office of Protocol
- Office of the Science and Technology Adviser
- Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
- Office of War Crimes Issues
- Bureau of Intelligence and Research
- Bureau of Legislative Affairs
- Bureau of Resource Management
- Undersecretary for Political Affairs--The Undersecretary for Political Affairs is the third-ranking state department offical and becomes Acting Secretary in the absence of the Secretary and Deputy. He or she is repsonible for bureaus coordinating American diplomacy around the world:
- Bureau of African Affairs
- Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs
- Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
- Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
- Bureau of International Organization Affairs
- Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
- Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
- Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
- Undersecretary for Management
- Bureau of Administration
- Office of Allowances
- Office of Authentication
- Language Services
- Office of Logistics Management
- Office of Overseas Schools
- Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
- Office of Multi-Media Services
- Office of Directives Management
- Office of Commissary and Recreation Affairs
- Office of the Procurement Executive
- Bureau of Consular Affairs
- Bureau of Diplomatic Security
- Bureau of Human Resources
- Bureau of Information Resource Management
- Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations
- Bureau of Administration
- Undersecretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs
- Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs--This Undersecretary leads functions that were formerly assigned to the U.S. Information Agency but were integrated into the State Department by the 1996 reorgnization. He or she manages units that handle the department's public communications and seek to burnish the image of the United States around the world:
- Undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs--This undersecretary coordinates the Department's role in U.S. military assistance. Since the 1996 reorganization, this undersecretary also oversees the functions of the formerly independent U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
- Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
- [[Bureau of Political-Military Affairs]
- Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
- Undersecretary for Democracy and Global Affairs--The office of Undersecretary of Global Affairs was created by the Clinton Administration to manage diplomatic efforts on emerging worldwide issues, such as the environment, that could not be addressed at the bilateral or regional level. The office was renamed Democracy and Global Affairs in 2005, reflecting an increased focus on democracy promotion in American foreign policy. 
- Counselor--Ranking with the undersecretaries, the counselor is a roving diplomat and troubleshooter.
Since the 1996 reorganization, the Administrator of the U.S. Administration for International Development (AID), while leading an indepednent agency, has also reported to the Secretary of State, as does the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, or U.N. Ambassador.
 See also
 External links
- United States Department of State website
- History of the U.S. Department of State
- Rewards for Justice site
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