U.S. Department of State Mission Statement
As the lead advocate for U.S. policies with foreign governments and international organizations, the Department stands in the front lines of America's national security. Diplomacy remains the primary tool to maintain and strengthen America's bilateral and multilateral relationships. Diplomacy, however, is a product inherently difficult to measure. How does one quantify the benefits of something that has never occurred? Lives saved because of battles that were never fought, diseases that were never contracted, or famine that was never endured all inherently benefit the United States and echo the system of values it strives to present to the world.
Human suffering resulting from conflicts and natural disasters can lead to instability in individual countries and entire regions, eventually, as we have seen, redounding to the detriment of the United States. The Department and USAID take the lead in diplomatic efforts to prevent or alleviate such suffering. The Department also works to protect the nation by promoting regional stability, combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and countering international terrorism from threatening vital U.S. interests at home and abroad. In the wake of the events of 9/11, this work has even greater importance.
The Department continually utilizes its resources and influence to assist Americans who travel and live abroad. The Department issues United States passports, facilitates overseas voting in federal elections, evacuates Americans from conflict areas, and deters the entry into the United States of those who seek to threaten the nation, while approving the entry of qualified foreigners. The Department has important homeland security responsibilities, such as combating visa and passport fraud, and protecting foreign diplomats in the United States so that terrorists do not hinder the day-to-day conduct of diplomacy.
The work of the Department advances sustainable development and solutions to global problems that cannot be solved by any one nation. The Department works diligently to support the spread and adoption of democratic ideals worldwide, which not only promote such fundamental American values as religious freedom and worker rights, but also help create a more secure, stable, and prosperous world economy. In addition to contributing to American prosperity, the opening of foreign markets to U.S. goods and services results in higher standards of living and the reduction of poverty in other countries. The Department works with other countries to promote a sustainable global environment, a healthy world population, effective migration systems, and strong international health capabilities, thus enhancing American security and protecting the United States from the effects of environmental degradation and deadly disease in an increasingly interconnected world.
The Department's promotion of international understanding should result in increased foreign understanding of American values. Since international understanding is a two-way street, not only will foreigners come to understand, if not accept, American values, but Americans will gain greater understanding of foreign cultures and values.
To maintain the U.S. role as a world leader in the twenty-first century, the Department must have sufficient resources to attract and retain its employees, America's foreign policy representatives. The Department also must have the infrastructure and operating capacities to enable its employees to pursue policy objectives. By strengthening the Department's diplomatic and programmatic capabilities, all Americans will benefit.