Department of State


The Department of State was established and signed into law on July 27, 1789. It was the first Federal agency to be created under the U.S. Constitution.


The Department of State is responsible for formulating, representing, and implementing the President's foreign policy. The diplomatic role includes a wide range of activities and topics that affect all other national security roles. Statutory authority for the Department of State and legislative requirements and restrictions on foreign policy are contained in Title 22 of U.S. Code

The Secretary of State serves as the President's principal adviser on foreign policy issues, coordinates and oversees implementation of foreign policy issues for the U.S. government, and protects U.S. interests and citizens abroad.  The Secretary is supported by a staff of approximately 57,906 employees worldwide.

In Washington, seven key regional and functional staffs support the Secretary in formulating foreign policy:

  1. Political Affairs (P): day-to-day management of regional and bilateral policy issues and international narcotics and law enforcement
  2. Director of U.S. Foreign Assistance (F): ensures that foreign assistance provided by the U.S. Government is strategic, coherent and supports US foreign policy objectives
  3. Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs (E): advises on international economic policy
  4. Arms Control and International Security (T): advises on nonproliferation and global security policy issues
  5. Democracy and Global Affairs (G): advises on democracy, human rights, labor, environment, oceans, science, population, refugees, migration, women's issues, and trafficking in persons
  6. Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R): communication of U.S. policy
  7. Management (M): Provides critical support functions (consular affairs, diplomatic security, human resources, budget, etc)

U.S. Missions are responsible for managing U.S. relations with foreign countries and international organizations. A Chief of Mission heads each U.S. Mission and is designated by law as the President's personal representative abroad. The Chief of Mission is responsible for communicating U.S. policy, providing information and advice to Washington, developing plans for Mission activities, overseeing executive branch personnel assigned to a mission, and providing assistance to American citizens abroad.

Listing of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions 
Organizational chart of Department of State