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The U.S. Department of State

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Diplomacy is an instrument of power, essential for maintaining effective international relationships. It is a principal means through which the United States defends its interests, responds to crises, and achieves its international goals. The Department of State is the lead institution for the conduct of American diplomacy, a mission based on the role of the Secretary of State as the President's principal foreign policy adviser.

To carry out U.S. foreign policy at home and abroad, the Department of State:

The above mission statement guides Department employees in conducting foreign affairs programs and activities. Department employees are also guided by a set of values, as individuals and as an institution. The work of these individuals has an impact on U.S. citizens, both domestic and abroad. Expertise in languages, understanding of foreign cultures, and management of complex issues and programs gained through international experience are essential elements of this work.

The Department exercises discipline in implementing policy, regardless of personal preferences, and its personnel are willing and able to serve worldwide as needed. Divergent views are expressed when necessary to strengthen the formulation and execution of foreign policy. The conduct of foreign relations is viewed as a long-term career commitment, rather than just a job. The Department workforce, a blend of Civil and Foreign Service employees and Foreign Service Nationals overseas, reflects the diversity of the United States.

Organization and Structure

The Department was established in 1789 to advise the President on the formulation and execution of foreign affairs. The Secretary heads the Department and is the President's principal foreign relations adviser. The Secretary is aided by a Deputy Secretary and five Under Secretaries who serve as the Department's corporate board on foreign policy in the following areas: political affairs; economic, business, and agricultural affairs; arms control and international security; global affairs; and management.

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