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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Deputy Secretary of State


The Deputy Secretary, William J. Burns serves as the principal deputy, adviser, and alter ego to the Secretary of State; serves as Acting Secretary of State in the Secretary's absence; 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. Specific duties and supervisory responsibilities have varied over time.


10 Parting Thoughts for America's Diplomats

Deputy Secretary Burns (Oct. 23): " As I look back across nearly 33 years as a career diplomat -- and ahead to the demands on American leadership -- I offer 10 modest observations for my colleagues, and for all those who share a stake in effective American diplomacy." Full Text»


Countering ISIL

Deputy Secretary Burns (Sept. 29): "ISIL is obviously not the only source of disorder in the Middle East today. But it is one of the most immediate, and most poisonous." Full Text»


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