Department of State - Agency Wide

Department of State - Agency Wide

About Us

About the U.S. Department of State

Our Mission

To protect and promote U.S. security, prosperity, and democratic values and shape an international environment in which all Americans can thrive.

With just 0.5 percent of the entire Federal budget, the State Department has an outsized impact on Americans’ lives at home and abroad.



The Treaty Room [State Department Image - Chris Stump]


The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser. The Secretary carries out the President’s foreign policies through the State Department, which includes the Foreign Service, Civil Service, and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Reception Rooms, U.S. Dept. of State [State Department Image - Chris Stump]


Serves as the principal deputy, adviser, and alter ego to the Secretary of State; and assists the Secretary in the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy and in giving general supervision and direction to all elements of the Department.

Reception Rooms, U.S. Dept. of State [State Department Image - Chris Stump]


Find biographies of officials serving in positions domestically from Deputy Assistant Secretaries up to the Secretary of State.

Our History

The U.S. Department of State has grown significantly over the years. The first Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, oversaw a small staff of one chief clerk, three other clerks, a translator, and a messenger. They maintained only two diplomatic posts, in London and Paris, as well as 10 consular posts. More than 230 years later, the Department’s workforce includes some 13,000 members of the Foreign Service, 11,000 Civil Service employees, and 45,000 locally employed staff at more than 270 diplomatic missions worldwide.

Our role has also changed in response to changing global circumstances. At one time, the State Department was responsible for a number of domestic duties ranging from publication of the census to control of copyright to management of the Mint. We now work to fight terrorism, protect U.S. interests abroad, and implement foreign policy initiatives while building a more free, prosperous, and secure world.

Explore our other websites for a more in-depth look at the State Department’s history and the impact of our work through the years and today.

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