Ten Things You Should Know About the State Department and USAID

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Public Affairs
March 9, 2017

   

What do the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) do for the American people? With just over 1% of the entire federal budget, they have a huge impact on how Americans live and how the rest of the world perceives America.

1. We support American citizens abroad. We provide emergency assistance to U.S. citizens in countries experiencing natural disasters or civil unrest. We assist with international adoptions and work on child abduction cases.

2. 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 helping American companies compete for foreign government and private contracts.

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. We partner with the public and private sectors in countries in conflict to foster democracy and peace.

4. We help to make the world a safer place. Under the New START Treaty, we are reducing the number of deployed nuclear weapons to levels not seen since the 1950s. We have helped over 40 post-conflict countries clear millions of square meters of landmines and unexploded ordnance. We also work with foreign partners to strengthen international aviation and maritime safety and security.

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 natural disasters to famine to epidemics, our 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. 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. We issue passports and passport cards for Americans to travel abroad. We facilitate the lawful travel of international students, tourists and business people to the U.S., adding greatly to our economy. We keep Americans apprised of dangers or difficulties abroad through our travel warnings.

10. 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 and a force for good in the world.