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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Sidebar on Ten Things You Should Know About Your State Department

Bureau of the Comptroller and Global Financial Services
November 16, 2012


Photo showing a worker sewing an American flag into each glove made at the Nokona Baseball Glove Company in Nocona, Texas.

A worker sews an American flag into each glove made at the Nokona Baseball Glove Company in Nocona, Texas. @AP Image

What do the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) do for the American people? With just over one percent of the entire Federal budget, we have a huge impact on how Americans live and how the rest of the world engages America.

  1. We create American jobs. We directly support millions of U.S. jobs by promoting new and open markets for U.S. firms, protecting intellectual property, negotiating new U.S. airline routes worldwide, and competing for foreign government and private contracts.
  2. We support American citizens abroad. Last year, we provided emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in several countries experiencing natural disasters or civil unrest. We also assisted in 9,320 international adoptions. Over 1,300 children were reported abducted from the United States, and more than 660 children were reported returned last year; 361 children were also reported abducted to the United States.
  3. We promote democracy and foster stability around the world. Stable democracies are less likely to pose a threat to their neighbors or to the United States. In South Sudan, Tunisia, and many other countries we worked through various means to foster democracy and peace.
  4. We help to make the world a safer place. Our nonproliferation and disarmament programs have destroyed stockpiles of missiles, munitions and material that can be used to make a nuclear weapon. The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (aka the New START Treaty) when fully implemented will reduce the number of deployed nuclear weapons to levels not seen since the 1950s. In 2011, the State Department invested $142 million in 42 countries for Conventional Weapons Destruction. This included funding for clearance operations, assistance to conflict survivors, education for communities to prevent injuries from unexploded ordnance, and weapons destruction.
  5. We save lives. Strong bipartisan support for U.S. global health investments has led to worldwide progress against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, smallpox and polio. Better health abroad reduces the risk of instability and enhances our national security.
  6. We help countries feed themselves. We help other countries plant the right seeds in the right way and get crops to markets to feed more people. Strong agricultural sectors lead to more stable countries.
  7. We help in times of crisis. From earthquakes in Haiti, Japan and Chile to famine in the Horn of Africa, our experienced and dedicated emergency professionals deliver assistance to those who need it most.
  8. We promote the rule of law and protect human dignity. We help people in other countries find freedom and shape their own destinies. Reflecting U.S. values, we advocate for the release of prisoners of conscience, prevent political activists from suffering abuse, train police officers to combat sex trafficking and equip journalists to hold their governments accountable.
  9. We help Americans see the world. In 2011, we issued 13 million passports for Americans to travel abroad. We facilitate the lawful travel of international students, tourists and business people to the United States, adding greatly to our economy. We keep Americans apprised of dangers or difficulties abroad through our travel warnings.
  10. Photo showing two United States passports.We are the face of America overseas. Our diplomats, development experts, and the programs they implement are the source of American leadership around the world. They are the embodiments of our American values abroad. They are a force for good in the world.

    For a very small investment the State Department and USAID yield a large return by advancing U.S. national security, promoting our economic interests, and reaffirming our country's exceptional role in the world.


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