The United States Department of State (often referred to as the State Department or DoS), is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries 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 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 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 Hillary Clinton. The Secretary of State is the first Cabinet official in the order of precedence and in the presidential line of succession.
The U.S. Constitution, drafted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 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. 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. 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.
On September 29, 1789, President Washington appointed Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, then Minister to France, to be the first United States Secretary of State. 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 would return from Europe many months later.
Duties and responsibilities
Harry S. Truman Building, headquarters of the U.S. State Department since 1947 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 (specifically, the Special Activities Division), 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. 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:
- 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.
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.
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.'
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'.
Secretary of State
United States Secretary of State: Chief executive officer of the Department of State, member of the United States Cabinet, answers directly to the President of the United States. Secretary of State organizes and supervises the entire department and its staff.
United States Deputy Secretary of State: The Deputy Secretary (with the Chief of Staff, Executive Secretariat, and the Undersecretary for Management) assists the Secretary in the overall management of the department. Reporting to the Deputy Secretary are the six undersecretaries and the counselor, along with several staff offices:
Hierarchy of the U.S State Department. Click the image to enlarge.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs: The third-ranking State Department official. Becomes Acting Secretary in the absence of the Secretary of State and Deputy Secretary of State. This position is responsible for bureaus, headed by Assistant Secretaries, coordinating American diplomacy around the world:
Under Secretary of State for Management: The principal adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on matters relating to the allocation and use of Department's budget, physical property, and personnel. This position is responsible for bureaus, headed by Assistant Secretaries, planning the day-to-day administration of the Department and proposing institutional reform and modernization:
Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs: The senior economic advisor for the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on international economic policy. This position is responsible for bureaus, headed by Assistant Secretaries, dealing with trade, agriculture, aviation, and bilateral trade relations with America's economic partners:
Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs: This Undersecretary leads functions that were formerly assigned to the United States Information Agency but were integrated into the State Department by the 1999 reorganization. This position manages units that handle the department's public communications and seek to burnish the image of the United States around the world:
Under Secretary of State 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 Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
Under Secretary of State 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 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.
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.
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).
Franklin Fellows Program
The Franklin Fellows Program was established in 2006 by the DoS to bring in mid-level executives from the private sector and non-profit organizations to advise the Department and to work on projects. Fellows may also work with other government entities, including the Congress, White House, and executive branch agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and Department of Homeland Security. The program is named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, and together with the Thomas Jefferson Science Fellows, aims to bring mid-career professionals to enrich and expand the Department's capabilities.
Department of State Air Wing
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. 
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 1980's and 1990's 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.
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.
In 2011, the Air Wing was operating more than 230 aircraft around the world, the main missions still being counternarcotics and transportation of state officials. 
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
Audit of Expenditures
The Department of State's 'independent auditors' are Kearney & Company. Since in FY 2009 Kearson qualified its audit opinion, noting material financial reporting weaknesses, the DoS restated its 2009 financial statements in 2010. In its FY 2010 audit report, Kearson 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. 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.'
Central Foreign Policy File
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. About 900,000 records spanning the time period from 1973 to 1976 can be accessed online from the National Archives and Records Administration.
In 2009, the Department of State was the fourth most desired employer for undergraduates according to BusinessWeek.
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 and their internal professional networking software the Corridor is in beta test.
In 2009, the State Department launched 21st century statecraft. The U.S. Department of State s official explanation of 21st Century Statecraft is: The complementing of traditional foreign policy tools with newly innovated and adapted instruments of statecraft that fully leverages the networks, technologies, and demographics of our interconnected world. .
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.
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