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Diplomacy in Action

Secretary Clinton to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Department of State's Operations Center on May 18

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
May 17, 2011


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, joined by former Secretaries Madeleine Albright and Lawrence Eagleburger, will deliver remarks commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Department of State’s Operations Center (Ops) on May 18 at approximately 1:20 p.m. in the Department of State’s Exhibit Hall.

Joining the Secretaries at the event will be current Ops Watch Officers and Ops alumni, including the first female Watch Officer and other alumni from as far back as the 1960s. Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns, Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy and Executive Secretary Stephen Mull will also participate in the event.

Guests will be able to tour an exhibit on the fifty year history of the Operations Center. The exhibit contains declassified historical documents; narrative statements from individuals on duty in Ops as historic events unfolded; and rare photographs of the Operations Center at work.

The event will be open to credentialed members of the media.
Pre-set time for video cameras: 12:30 p.m. from the 23rd Street Entrance Lobby.
Final access time for journalists and still photographers: 1:00 p.m. from the 23rd Street Entrance Lobby.

The U.S. Department of State’s Operations Center opened for business on April 30, 1961 in response to a series of international crises. Ops has been operating 24/7 ever since and has been at the hub of diplomacy during some of the seminal events of U.S. foreign policy over the last half-century.

As the Department of State's nerve center, the Operations Center has 3 main functions:

1.) Ops is a 24/7 command and control center that monitors events unfolding around the world, from natural disasters to conflict zones, updating the Secretary of State and other Department officials. In 2010 alone, the Operations Center issued over 1200 alerts notifying U.S. government officials of significant breaking events.

2.) Ops is the Department’s first responder during a crisis, convening and maintaining Task Forces that coordinate U.S. government action around the clock. In 2011 to date, Ops has convened and maintained 5 task forces over 56 days for events including the Japan earthquake, civil unrest in Egypt, and the situation in Libya.

3.) Ops supports the communications needs of the Secretary and other Department officials, connecting them anytime, anywhere, to anyone and handling approximately 1000 phone calls a day.

PRN: 2011/767

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