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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Benefit to the American Public

FY 2005 Performance Summary (The Plan)
Bureau of Resource Management
February 2004

Benefit to the American Public

U.S. Department of State Mission Statement

Diplomacy remains the primary tool to maintain and strengthen America's bilateral and multilateral relationships, which are critical to America's national security. As the lead agency for U.S. foreign policy and interaction with foreign governments and international organizations, the Department stands in the front lines of America's national security. 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, illicit drugs that were never produced or famine that was never endured? The Department's efforts benefit the United States and echo the system of values that promote stability throughout the world.

Human suffering due to poverty, authoritarian rule, conflict and natural disasters can foster extremism, destabilize individual countries and entire regions, and as we have seen, pose a threat to U.S. and global security. The Department and USAID lead U.S. diplomatic and programmatic efforts to prevent and alleviate such suffering. The Department also works to achieve peace and security by promoting conflict resolution and prevention, combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and countering international terrorism that threatens vital U.S. interests at home and abroad. In the wake of the events of 9/11, such efforts are increasingly critical.

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 meets 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 Department and USAID advance sustainable development and solutions to global problems that cannot be solved by any one nation. For example, the Department works diligently to support the spread and adoption of democratic ideals worldwide, promoting fundamental American values such as religious freedom and worker rights, and helping create a more secure, stable, and prosperous world economy through accountable governance. While contributing to American prosperity, the opening of foreign markets to U.S. goods and services results in higher standards of living and poverty reduction in other countries. The Department also works with other countries to promote a sustainable global environment, a healthy world population, effective migration systems, and strong international health capabilities, enhancing American security by 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 aims to increase foreign acceptance of American values and efforts. Since international understanding is a two-way street, not only will people of other nations 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 requires sufficient resources to attract and retain the outstanding employees who serve as America's foreign policy representatives. The Department also requires adequate infrastructure and operating capacity to enable its employees to implement policy objectives. All Americans will benefit from strengthening the Department's diplomatic and programmatic capabilities.

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