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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Mission and Organization

FY 2004 Performance and Accountability Highlights
Bureau of Resource Management
November 2004


American diplomacy in the 21st century is based on fundamental beliefs: our freedom is best protected by ensuring that others are free; our prosperity depends on the prosperity of others; and our security relies on a global effort to secure the rights of all. The history of the American people is the chronicle of our efforts to live up to our ideals. In this moment in history, we recognize that the United States has an immense responsibility to use its power constructively to advance security, democracy, and prosperity around the globe.

Diplomacy is an instrument of power. It is essential for maintaining effective international relationships, and a principal means by which the United States defends its interests, responds to crises, and achieves its foreign policy goals. The Department of State is the lead institution for the conduct of American diplomacy; its mission is based on the Secretary of State's role as the President's principal foreign policy advisor.


Create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of
the American people and the international community.




Organizational Structure in Washington, DC

At its headquarters in Washington, DC, the Department's mission is carried out through six regional bureaus, each of which is responsible for a specific geographic region of the world, the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, and numerous functional and management bureaus. These bureaus provide policy guidance, program management, administrative support, and in-depth expertise in matters such as law enforcement, economics, the environment, intelligence, arms control, human rights, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, public diplomacy, humanitarian assistance, security, nonproliferation, consular services, and other areas.


Organizational Structure at Embassies

In each Embassy, the Chief of Mission (usually an Ambassador) is responsible for executing U.S. foreign policy goals and coordinating and managing all U.S. Government functions in the host country. The President appoints each Ambassador, whom the Senate confirms. Chiefs of Mission report directly to the President through the Secretary. The Diplomatic Mission is also the primary U.S. Government contact for Americans overseas and foreign nationals of the host country. The Mission serves the needs of Americans traveling and working abroad, and supports Presidential and Congressional delegations visiting the country. The Department operates approximately 260 embassies, consulates, and other posts worldwide.


Other Key Locations and Offices

The Department also operates national passport centers in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Charleston, South Carolina; a national visa center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and a consular center in Williamsburg, Kentucky; two foreign press centers; one reception center; 13 passport agencies; five offices that provide logistics support for overseas operations; 20 security offices; and two financial service centers.



Our People


The Department of State's greatest asset is its people. The Department is a multi-faceted team with embassies, consulates, and other posts in over 260 locations, committed to carrying out the President's foreign policy agenda and to sharing American values with the world. The Department's workforce consists of employees in the Civil Service, Foreign Service, and Foreign Service Nationals. Freedom, democracy, prosperity, and peace have a place in every nation. The Department of State represents these values and the American people. We carry out our mission through our people and a whole host of activities, from international peace treaties and formal trade agreements to cultural exchanges that capture the American spirit in action.

Photo showing President Bush swearing in a new class of diplomats.

President Bush swears in a new class of diplomats.

What We Do — In the Words of Our People


"I negotiated for more than a year with fifteen governments to wrap up the post-war Tripartitite Gold Commission, which had been restoring bank gold looted by the Nazis, and convert its remaining holdings into a $60 million international relief fund for aging Holocaust survivors."

"I helped negotiate an 'Open Skies' civil aviation treaty with Italy that brought millions of dollars of new business to U.S. airlines every week, lowered prices for passengers, and brought more flights to choose from."

"In Africa, I overcame logistical challenges arranging a Presidential visit, managed human resources, developed budgets, served as a contracting officer, flew observer missions over the Sinai, tracked human rights abuses, and determined citizenship of children born to U.S. citizens overseas."

Photo showing State Department Spokesperson Richard Boucher at the podium.

State Department Spokesperson Richard Boucher at the podium.

Our People — Fast Facts


The Department of State trains its employees in more than 60 different languages in Washington, D.C. and at four overseas schools for Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.

27 Fulbright Program alumni (a Department of State administered program) from 7 countries are recipients of the Nobel Prize for their contributions to humanity in the fields of chemistry, economics, medicine, and physics.

Six Secretaries of State became President of the United States: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Q. Adams, Martin van Buren, and James Buchanan.

Photo showing Colin Powell with Department of State employees.


Employee Composition and Numbers


The tables below show the distribution of the Department's workforce by employment category, as well as what proportion of the workforce is located overseas.


Workforce Composition: Full-time Permanent Employees
As of September 30, 2004
Service Type Percentage of Workforce
Civil Service 29%
Foreign Service 40%
Foreign Service National 31%
Workforce Location: Full-time Permanent Employees
As of September 30, 2004
Location Percentage of Workforce
Overseas 57%
Domestic 43%


Since FY 1997, the total number of employees at the Department has increased by 32% with the greatest increase manifested in the Department's Civil Service staff, which has increased by 57%. The Foreign Service staff follows with a 42% increase, while the Foreign Service National staff increased by 7%. The overall increases in staff reflect the Department's increased emphasis in the areas of security, public diplomacy, counterterrorism, and management reforms.


Summary of Full-time Permanent EmployeesRead Footnote 11
  FY 1997 FY 1998 FY 1999 FY 2000Read Footnote 22 FY 2001 FY 2002 FY 2003 FY 2004
Civil Service 4,977 5,165 5,498 6,486 6,590 6,999 7,731 7,831
Foreign Service 7,724 7,769 8,169 9,023 9,162 9,931 10,579 10,988
Foreign Service Nationals 7,872 7,637 7,192 9,730 9,852 9,526 9,897 8,419
Total 20,573 20,571 20,859 25,239 25,604 26,456 28,207 27,238


  1. These numbers do not include FSNs employed under personal service agreements or as personal service contractors.(back to text)
  2. Reflects integration of employees of the United States Information Agency (USIA) and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA).(back to text)


Where We Are Located


As shown in the Appendix, the Department's embassies, consulates, and passport/visa centers are located throughout the world in support of America's foreign policy goals and to assist Americans traveling abroad.


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