FUNCTIONAL OFFICES

The Office of the Legal Adviser also supports the various functional bureaus of the Department which have crosscutting, worldwide responsibilities for specific program areas. A representative description of the functional offices is set forth below:

Office of Buildings and Acquisitions (L/BA): Provides legal advice and representation in the solicitation, award and administration of Federal acquisition contracts; the acquisition and development of real property abroad; the negotiation and litigation of contract disputes; the defense of bid protests at the General Accounting Office; the management of Government property domestically and abroad; the drafting and interpretation of Federal acquisition laws, regulations and policies; the oversight and administration of employee associations at posts abroad; grant and cooperative agreement law, regulations, policies and administration.

Office of Consular Affairs (L/CA): Provides legal advice and representation relating to the performance of consular functions by the Department of State. These functions include: adjudication and revocation of visas and passports; the protection of U.S. nationals and their property abroad; loss or acquisition of U.S. nationality; passport, visa and terrorism-related information sharing; international children’s issues; enforcement and administration of immigration laws. L/CA’s roles include negotiation and implementation of international agreements on consular relations, information sharing and prisoner transfers; working on proposed immigration-related legislation; drafting Department regulations and guidance; participating in interagency initiatives; interpreting U.S. law and obligations under international agreements; assisting the Department of Justice in litigation related to the Department’s consular functions; and promoting compliance by law enforcement officials with U.S. obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and other consular agreements.

Office of Diplomatic Law and Litigation (L/DL): Provides legal advice for the interpretation and application of international agreements and domestic statutes pertaining to U.S. and foreign diplomatic and consular missions and personnel, including the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Diplomatic Relations Act and the Foreign Missions Act; legal issues relating to head of state immunity; legal issues relating to immunity of foreign states in the U.S., including interpretation and application of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act; legal issues relating to immunity of the U.S. Government and its personnel in litigation abroad; and legal issues relating to the status of international organizations, including the U.N.

Office of Economic and Business Affairs (L/EB): Provides legal advice and support in international negotiations, development of U.S. policy, and the application of U.S. and international law with respect to international economic agreements (including investment, international telecommunications, civil aviation, and trade agreements), imposition of economic sanctions and foreign policy export controls, and other international financial and business issues, such as the extraterritorial application of U.S. laws, foreign debt, antitrust, and the protection of intellectual property.

Office of Employment Law (L/EMP): Provides legal advice and services to the Director General of the Foreign Service and the Director of Human Resources, in addition to those involved in the management of the Department’s human resources and labor relations; conducts hearings before EEOC, MSPB, Foreign Service Grievance Board and supports personnel litigation in Federal courts.

Office of Human Rights and Refugees (L/HRR): Provides legal advice and support to the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Leads U.S. delegations in multilateral negotiations of human rights instruments. Acts as counsel to U.S. delegations and participates in negotiations at the U.N., the Organization of American States, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and elsewhere on matters relating to human rights and refugees. Defends U.S. laws and practices in response to a variety of U.N., OAS, and OSCE human rights complaint mechanisms, and coordinates U.S. reporting to treaty bodies on U.S. implementation of human rights treaty obligations. Provides legal advice and support throughout the Department on asylum and refugee law, and human rights issues ranging from torture, genocide, and arbitrary detention to freedom of movement, assembly and expression.

Office of Legislation and Foreign Assistance (L/LFA): Provides legal advice on legislation affecting the Department, including Department appropriations and authorization legislation dealing both with Department operations and foreign assistance; works with other agencies and with Congress on legislative initiatives of interest to the Department; advises on implementation of foreign assistance programs, including legal requirements related to termination of foreign assistance and implementation of sanctions.

Office of Management (L/M): Provides legal advice on questions affecting the fiscal, management, and operational activities of the Department, including: appropriations, authorizations, and other relevant legislation; appropriations law and budgetary and financial issues; personnel, diplomatic and information security and related investigations; eGovernment and computer security; administrative law and Department rule-making and directives; federal records management and information law, including terrorism and other information-sharing with domestic and foreign governments and private persons, classified information, the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act; travel and allowances; crisis and contingency planning; and Chief of Mission and other relevant Department authorities.

Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control (L/NPA): Provides legal advice and support to the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) and the Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation (VCI). Addresses legal issues arising in negotiating, implementing and verifying compliance with a wide range of bilateral and multilateral agreements, including: the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START 1 and II); the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty; the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions; and the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty. L/NPV has been directly involved in: implementing Libya’s renunciation of WMD; efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs; actions regarding Iran at the IAEA and U.N.; implementing the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation initiative; dismantling the A.O. Khan nuclear black market network and Iraq’s residual nuclear and missile programs; and helping Russia dispose of and protect its nuclear inventory.

Office of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (L/OES): Provides legal advice on matters relating to development, negotiation and application of international and domestic law relating to oceans, including law of the sea, maritime boundaries, maritime drug interdiction, navigation and over flight freedoms; environment and conservation, including marine pollution, transboundary air pollution, biodiversity, ozone depletion, biotechnology, desertification, trade and environment, environmental impact assessment, endangered species, liability for environmental damage; scientific and technological affairs, including technology transfer and intellectual property rights; outer space, including the Space Station agreements; and polar affairs, including all matters related to the Antarctic Treaty system.

Office of Political-Military Affairs (L/PM): Provides legal assistance in matters relating to global military and political-military activities, base rights and status of forces agreements; foreign military claims and suits against U.S. Armed Forces; munitions control; use of force and war powers; and laws of war.

Office of United Nations Affairs (L/UNA): Provides legal advice on matters related to the U.S. participation in the U.N., its specialized agencies and other international organizations; international criminal tribunals; U.N. consideration of specific situations; international peacekeeping; multilateral sanctions; the use of force; peaceful settlement of international disputes; matters concerning the International Court of Justice and problems arising out of the presence of the U.N. and other international organizations in the U.S.

U.S. Department of State

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