Secretary Rice and President Bush. AP Photo/ Rom Edmonds
All foreign affairs activities, including U.S. representation abroad, foreign assistance programs, countering international crime, foreign military training programs, services for American citizens abroad, and many others, are under the direction of the Secretary of State.
At our headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Department’s mission is carried out through 38 bureaus and abroad the Department operates more than 260 embassies, consulates, and other posts. 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. Chiefs of Mission report directly to the President through the Secretary. The U.S. Mission is also the primary U.S. Government point of contact for Americans overseas and foreign nationals of the host country. The Mission serves the needs of Americans traveling, working and studying abroad, and supports Presidential and Congressional delegations visiting the country.
The Department operates two passport centers, two contractor-run passport printing and mailing facilities; two passport call centers; and 15 passport agencies. In 2009, the Department expects to open four additional passport agencies. The Department of State also operates several other types of offices around the world, including two foreign press centers; one reception center; five offices that provide logistics support for overseas operations; 20 security offices; and two financial service centers.
Foreign Service Officers and the Civil Service staff in the Department of State and U.S. missions abroad represent the American people. They work together to achieve the goals and implement the initiatives of American foreign policy. Foreign Service Officers are dedicated to representing America and to responding to the needs of Americans around the world and constitute a corps of over 11,000 employees.
The Department’s Civil Service staff, totaling over 9,000 employees, provides continuity and expertise in accomplishing all aspects of the Department’s mission. Civil Service staff, most of whom are headquartered in Washington, D.C., are involved in virtually every policy area of the Department from democracy and human rights to narcotics control, trade, and environmental issues. The nearly 10,000 Foreign Service National (host country) employees contribute local expertise and provide continuity as they work with their American colleagues to perform vital services for U.S. citizens. The workforce is 38% Foreign Service Officers, 30% Civil Service Officers, and 32% Foreign Service Nationals. In 2008, 58% of the Department of State workforce was located overseas and 42% was located domestically.