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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Secretary of State's Policy Guidance


The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) of 2010 stated that the Secretary of State would provide high-level policy guidance for the Department of State in order to provide more in-depth guidance on certain of the Department’s priorities and to encourage increased coordination in advancing key U.S. foreign policy interests. As part of this effort, the Secretary  is disseminating a series of cables that outline policy guidance across a range of issues.

These cables address cross-cutting topics that have relevance across multiple bureaus and posts, and they build on the Secretary’s speeches and the Department’s existing policies and programming activities. They identify objectives, our intended means to achieve those objectives, and benchmarks to assess progress. The goal is to create a shared understanding of key policy goals – especially those that cut across organizational lines and are new or emerging priorities – and to provide actionable guidance for relevant bureaus and posts around the world to advance these goals.

To date, the Secretary has issued eight policy guidance cables. Although the cables are internal documents, the Department has, in certain cases, developed public fact sheets to complement them.

  • First Policy Guidance: Economic Statecraft
  • Second Policy Guidance: Supporting Transitions to Democracy and Promoting Political and Economic Reform across the Middle East and North Africa
  • Third Policy Guidance: Promoting Gender Equality to Achieve our National Security and Foreign Policy Objectives
  • Fourth Policy Guidance: Modernizing Diplomacy
  • Fifth Policy Guidance: Modernizing U.S. Diplomacy to Better Support Development
  • Sixth Policy Guidance: U.S. Strategy in the Asia-Pacific
  • Seventh Policy Guidance: Energy Policy
  • Eighth Policy Guidance: Leveraging the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operation’s Capabilities to Prevent Conflict and Respond to Crisis


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