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Section Table of Contents

  • Number of Visa Crime Investigations Opened Globally
  • Introducing the Ethos
  • One Team, One Mission, One Future Ethos Supports Democracy in Venezuela
  • Partnerships Advancing the Film and Television Industry
  • The Department’s 230th Anniversary
  • The Ethos Award
  • The Inaugural One Team Course at the Foreign Service Institute
  • The Indo-Pacific Strategy Begins Year Three
  • U.S. Secretaries of State Past and Present
  • Websites of Interest

In Focus

Number of Visa Crime Investigations Opened Globally

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) is the security and law enforcement arm of the Department. Visa crimes are international offenses that may start overseas, but can threaten public safety inside the United States if offenders are not interdicted with aggressive and coordinated law enforcement action. DS agents and analysts observe, detect, identify, and neutralize networks that exploit international travel vulnerabilities. In 2019, 1,042 new cases were opened. In addition, 1,096 cases were closed and DS made 39 arrests.

Bar chart summarizing the number of Visa crime investigations opened globally for fiscal years 2014 to 2019. Values are as follows: FY 2014: 1,150. FY 2015: 1,235. FY 2016: 1,265. FY 2017: 933. FY 2018: 1,238. FY 2019: 1,042. Source: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

DS agents in New York, Washington, D.C., and the Dominican Republic collaborated to investigate a visa fraud bribery scheme operating in the Dominican Republic and New Jersey. The main subject, Luis Santos, attempted to bribe Department officials in order to obtain visas for Dominican citizens who would otherwise be ineligible. Santos used relatives in the Dominican Republic to advertise and recruit his services. Santos’ mother, Brigida Santos Paulino, pled guilty in April 2019 for her role in the conspiracy. More information on the case can be found here . Source: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

In Focus

Introducing the Ethos

Photo showing Secretary Pompeo shaking hands with State Department employees after delivering remarks on “One Team, One Mission, One Future: Introducing our Ethos” in Washington, D.C., April 26, 2019. [Department of State]

Reflecting on his first year at the Department, the Secretary recounted his commitments to the President, to communicate with Department staff, and work toward unifying the Department around the idea of “One Team, One Mission, One Future.” Secretary Pompeo described the actions taken to fulfill these commitments: communicating with State personnel throughout the world, increasing Department staffing levels – in particular Foreign Service officers of all ranks – and meeting with domestic audiences to tell the story of American diplomats here at home.

Secretary Pompeo introduced the Ethos in an effort to build upon the commitments made in his first year, explaining that his experience leading organizations had taught him that “it’s incredibly important that we have a common set of understandings about the expectation for every individual, be they a Foreign Service officer, a locally employed staff, or Civil Servant.”

Developing the Ethos began in fall 2018 after scores of embassy visits, as well as several ‘Meet with Mike’ gatherings and Town Halls with employees. Secretary Pompeo formed a core group, comprised for the most part of highly respected career senior leaders, to craft a set of principles that reflect the unique spirit and excellence of the U.S. Department of State. Development involved gathering insights from successful organizations, both private and public, as well as a broad range of employees within the Department. On April 26, 2019, Secretary Pompeo unveiled the results, the Department’s new Ethos, a unifying statement that reflects the Department’s established strengths in an effort to inspire and engage members of the State team in their daily work. See the back cover for the full Ethos text.

The Secretary underscored the care that had gone into building the Ethos as a statement that was both distinctive to the Department and one that could provide guidance. Ambassador Dan Smith, Director of the Foreign Service Institute and Ambassador Carol Perez, Director General for Human Resources, followed up on Secretary Pompeo’s remarks by outlining initiatives designed to make the Ethos an enduring part of the Department’s DNA. Ambassador Smith explained that the Foreign Service Institute would launch its pilot “One Team” course, which will bring together Foreign Service, Civil Service, and non-career new employees for an experience designed to underscore the Department’s proud history and the principles and behavior expected of all Department professionals. Ambassador Perez announced plans for an annual Ethos award to recognize a member of the State team who best embodies the spirit of the Ethos.

In Focus

One Team, One Mission, One Future Ethos Supports Democracy in Venezuela

Photo showing Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams, with Secretary Pompeo, delivering remarks on Venezuela in Washington, D.C., January 25, 2019. [Department of State]

The corrupt and brutal Maduro regime has plunged the country and region into a complex humanitarian crisis, causing the largest displacement of individuals in the history of the Western Hemisphere. Maduro and those who support him have systematically destroyed the economy, caused devastating damage to the environment, threatened the livelihoods of indigenous populations, and perpetrated egregious human rights abuses, including torture and thousands of extrajudicial killings. There are more than 4.5 million Venezuelans outside of Venezuela, including 1.4 million in Colombia, nearly 861,000 in Peru, and more than 330,000 in Ecuador. In 2019, the security environment collapsed, and Embassy Caracas suspended operations in Venezuela on March 14th. The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) has leveraged the One Team, One Mission, One Future Ethos to address this man-made economic and political crisis.

We officially established the Venezuela Affairs Unit (VAU) on August 5, 2019 to engage with interim President Juan Guaidó and the National Assembly. The VAU, led by Chargé d’Affaires James Story, is the interim diplomatic office of the U.S. Government to Venezuela, located at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. The VAU is continuing the work of the U.S. mission to the legitimate Government of Venezuela and the Venezuelan people. The Unit works for the restoration of democracy and the constitutional order in Venezuela, and the security and well-being of the Venezuelan people.

The One Team, One Mission, One Future Ethos helped the WHA Bureau coordinate a U.S. Government-wide effort to increase the diplomatic pressure on the Maduro regime. Thanks to a global diplomatic push, the United States and more than fifty other countries have officially recognized the interim Guaidó government. In addition, signatory countries invoked the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty) to increase pressure on the Maduro regime. The last time Rio Treaty signatories did so was in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

The Bureau further demonstrated the power of the One Team, One Mission, One Future Ethos through partnerships with other Department of State bureaus and with USAID. The U.S. Government has provided nearly $644 million in foreign assistance, including nearly $473 million in humanitarian aid and over $171 million in development assistance to the people of Venezuela. The humanitarian assistance is supporting people in Venezuela, Venezuelans who have fled the country due to the crisis, and the governments of the region that are supporting displaced Venezuelans. We also work shoulder-to-shoulder with interagency partners to leverage their expertise and assets to aid the Venezuelan people and support interim President Guaidó and the National Assembly as they work to return democracy to Venezuela.

In Focus

Partnerships Advancing the Film and Television Industry

Photo showing a 1950s kerosene-powered slide projector from the U.S. Embassy in Singapore. Diplomats used it to show slides or film strips in areas with limited or no electricity. [Department of State]

Film and television cultural and professional exchange has emerged as a public diplomacy priority for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA). Profound changes to the media entertainment landscape in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are providing avenues for increased American engagement. The opening of a new entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia, the growing need for television, film and online content throughout the region, and the increasing presence of American online content providers in the MENA region provides critical opportunity. This programming advances American values, creates jobs, and builds cultural, professional, and commercial partnerships between the United States and the region.

The Middle East Media Initiative (MEMI) is an innovative professional exchange funded by NEA with the support of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts implements this effort in conjunction with Hollywood industry leaders and Middle East television industry partners. MEMI recognizes the societal impact of television, and trains the region’s leading and up-and-coming generation of Arab screenwriters and content creators to both entertain their audiences and spark important conversations about pluralism and mutual understanding. In addition to supporting Arab TV writers and showrunners to develop original content for broadcast on local networks and streaming platforms, MEMI connects American and Arab television industries for increased collaboration and investment.

Alongside MEMI, NEA posts participate in several complementary ECA programs. ECA’s American Film Showcase (AFS) is a film-based exchange program that promotes awareness, dialogue, and engagement around foreign policy issues. The USC School of Cinematic Arts manages AFS and recruits top U.S. filmmakers and film/television experts to participate in one- to two-week programs that include screenings, discussions, workshops, and tours to more than 50 countries per year.

The NEA Office of Assistance Coordination advances economic development in film and television production through the MENA Media Fund, implemented by New York-based Visionaire Media. Initiated in 2018, the fund will invest up to 50 percent of development costs for the pilots of regional media projects, the balance coming from local and international presales and partners. Leveraging American partners to improve the quality of the productions, the fund builds capacity in Arab content-generators.

The long-term impact of these programs is multi-faceted. Examples of connections between the American and NEA industries continue to grow, with multiple MEMI alumni hired or signed by American Media companies including Netflix and Vuclip and Creative Artists Agency. In addition to creating content that reinforces mutual respect, tolerance, and pluralism among younger audiences, U.S. investment in regional scriptwriters and producers enhances mutual economic prosperity by developing local talent and partnerships with American industry leaders. When the next generation in the MENA region connects to the American brand, they develop ties to the United States that advance our interests in the rapidly changing entertainment and digital communication space.

In Focus

The Department’s 230th Anniversary

Photo showing former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger participating in a discussion with his biographer, Dr. Niall Ferguson, at the Department’s 230th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C., July 29, 2019. [Department of State]

On July 29, 2019, Secretary Pompeo led a day-long program of events celebrating the 230th Anniversary of the Department of State. Highlights of the day included a video featuring interviews with former Secretaries George Shultz, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell as well as a live conversation between Henry Kissinger, recognized by Secretary Pompeo as the “dean of America’s Secretaries of State,” and his official biographer, Dr. Niall Ferguson. Deputy Secretary John Sullivan, Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbühl, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Ambassador David Hale, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach, and Under Secretary for Management Brian Bulatao all played prominent roles in the festivities.

The Anniversary celebration reinforced themes raised several months earlier during the introduction of the Department’s Ethos. Secretary Pompeo used the occasion to remark on the heritage and mission of the Department. “We at the State Department follow in the footsteps of our forefathers. We use diplomacy to defend that very set of unalienable rights – not just for Americans, but for people all across the world.” The Harry S Truman lobby featured panels created by each of the Department’s bureaus illustrating the historical and ongoing contributions of State’s various components.

To underscore the special mission of the Department, Secretary Pompeo took a look back at extraordinary efforts by several seemingly ordinary State Department figures.

  • “In 1814, a man named Stephen Pleasonton was a clerk at the State Department. When the British invaded Washington, he was there. At that time, the State Department was the keeper of all of the nation’s documents, so Mr. Pleasanton took it upon himself to smuggle the Declaration, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and all of our nation’s treaties to safety outside of the city of Washington, D.C.
  • Think too of men who have not been recorded so much in history, a man named George Waller. He was our charge d’affaires in Luxembourg at the outbreak of World War II. And when the Germans invaded Luxembourg, Mr. Waller refused to evacuate. Many Jews were still seeking visas to the United States, and he wanted to help them. The problem was, his post was not a visa-issuing consulate. You know, the bureaucracy was in his way. So Mr. Waller drove five hours to Antwerp in the dark of night to retrieve visa forms and a stamping machine. It sounds old school, but he made it back to Luxembourg and proceeded to issue life-saving visas to hundreds of Jews.
  • We all know this as we sit here today: Our family members are the hidden heroes of diplomacy. Take family member Kitty Herrick. She was the wife of our Ambassador to France at the outbreak of World War I. She helped launch the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris. Parisians called her “The American Angel.”

“I wanted to tell those three stories today for a reason. These folks show what the State Department – and the mission of American diplomacy – is truly all about. These diplomatic heroes laid a foundation for each of us – not just by protecting freedom through their good works, but by being a true example of service.”

In Focus

The Ethos Award

Photo showing Under Secretary for Management Brian Bulatao and Santiago Burciaga posing for a photo with the One Team Award certificate and sculpture. [Department of State]

On November 13, 2019, Secretary Pompeo announced the inaugural recipient of the One Team Award, which recognizes a member of the Department team who embodies the principles laid out in the Department’s Professional Ethos. This year’s recipient is Santiago Burciaga, Assistant Director of the El Paso Passport Agency.

In presenting the award, the Secretary praised Mr. Burciaga for his dedication to mission and his co-workers:

“Santiago led his team through a tough year despite staffing shortages and a soaring workload. He led by example by regularly pitching in and filling in for managers when needed, inspiring others to do the same.

You may remember the active shooter crisis at a Walmart in El Paso earlier this summer. Santiago displayed outstanding leadership by immediately accounting for our El Paso employees. Thankfully, everyone on our team was safe, but for those who knew victims from the shooting, their sense of security was shaken. Santiago arranged for grief counseling and provided materials for dealing with trauma for staff to share with their families.

Santiago’s leadership is an embodiment of our Professional Ethos, which calls on us all to show unfailing professionalism in the face of adversity, uncompromising personal and professional integrity, and unstinting respect for colleagues.”

In Focus

The Inaugural One Team Course at the Foreign Service Institute

Secretary Pompeo introduced the launching of the One Team course through an email to all Department staff.


Photo showing Counselor T. Ulrich Brechbuhl and Ambassador Dan Smith, Foreign Service Institute director, joining a reception with students of the inaugural One Team course. [Department of State]
From the Desk of Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State


We’ve hit another milestone—this week, our Foreign Service Institute launched the very first One Team course pilot. The four-day course builds upon the ideas expressed in our Professional Ethos to unite new employees around the “One Team, One Mission, One Future” vision and the unique history of the Department.

The One Team course will supplement existing training to provide a common experience for new employees. For the first time, Foreign Service, Civil Service, Limited Non-Career Appointments, and political appointees will all learn side-by-side. Everyone will grow as one team together.

In developing the One Team course, we drew heavily from your thoughts on what new Department employees should know and understand about the Department, especially the importance of working together. As a result, the course will:

  • Explore the guiding principles of the Department, including our Professional Ethos;
  • Help employees connect their efforts and that of their colleagues to the Department’s mission;
  • Analyze how the Department’s work connects to the National Security Strategy, and the Department’s other strategic planning mechanisms;
  • Examine the meaning of the Oath of Office;
  • Investigate how the Department’s work directly benefits the American public; and
  • Inform our team about key accomplishments and personnel in the Department’s history that spans more than 230 years.

We’ve made the course light on lectures but full of “hands-on” engagement with the goal of helping participants see how they each contribute to our collective success as an organization.

A full 85 of our colleagues are enrolled in this first pilot course. We will be asking them for (and expecting) a lot of feedback, which we will use to refine the course over several more trial runs this fall and in early 2020. Our goal is to finalize the course and begin ramping it up next year to accommodate the roughly 1,600-1,800 new employees that the Department onboards every year.

To the Department’s managers and leaders, get ready to send your new employees to the course when it’s offered more broadly. This critical investment will ensure that each one of our future colleagues is best prepared to join our efforts as champions of American diplomacy.

With gratitude,

Signature of Michael R. Pompeo.

Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
United States of America

In Focus

The Indo-Pacific Strategy Begins Year Three

Photo showing Secretary Pompeo participating in the ASEAN Regional Forum Ministerial in Bangkok, Thailand, August 2, 2019. [Department of State]

In the fall of 2017, the United States launched a whole-of-government strategy in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific in which sovereign and independent nations and diverse cultures can all prosper side-by-side and thrive in freedom and peace. This new concept – the Indo-Pacific Strategy – focuses on three areas: economics, governance, and security. The economic pillar concentrates on infrastructure, energy, and the digital economy. We are also working with our interagency partners to promote open markets; high standards and transparency; and free, fair, and reciprocal trade.

Our economic initiatives help the countries in the region use private sector investment as the path to sustainable development. In August 2019, Secretary Pompeo announced nearly $30 million for energy development through the Japan-U.S. Mekong Power Partnership, building on our Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) regional energy initiative announced by the Secretary last year. The next month, we enhanced our Infrastructure Transaction and Assistance Network by launching a Transaction Advisory Fund to help countries negotiate complex infrastructure deals. Next month we will host the first U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Cyber Policy Dialogue in Singapore as we continue to implement programs under the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership.

With respect to governance, we seek to build capacity for good governance and adherence to international law, rules, and standards. This will strengthen civil society and democratic institutions in the region, counter corruption, and help countries attract the high-quality financing necessary to fuel their economic development while securing their sovereignty. We are already implementing well over 200 governance programs under our whole-of-government Indo-Pacific Transparency Initiative (IPTI), and we are identifying new areas of cooperation with likeminded partners. These efforts strengthen democratic systems and civil society; empower citizens; fortify institutions; and eliminate laws that tie-up private investment while also combating corruption and hidden costs in foreign transactions. Vice President Pence announced the IPTI in November 2018 to elevate U.S. and partner support for sound, just, and responsive governance in the Indo-Pacific region. The IPTI is a key part of implementing the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy. It will strengthen democratic systems, include civil society partners, combat corruption, and fortify institutions to help nations attract high-quality private investment and secure their sovereignty.

On the security front, our aim is to build a flexible, resilient network of like-minded security partners to promote regional stability; ensure freedom of navigation, and other lawful uses of the sea; and address shared challenges in the region. Secretary Pompeo committed nearly $300 million in security assistance to improve maritime domain awareness in order to protect critical sea lanes. In addition to implementing this assistance, we launched a new program in August to counter transnational crime along the Mekong, and just last week we conducted the first-ever U.S.-ASEAN maritime security exercise. We have also seen continued significant progress in our relationship with India, including through the Quadrilateral Dialogue with Japan and Australia.

U.S. Secretaries of State Past and Present

Photos and dates served of the U.S. Secretaries of State past and present.

More information on former Secretaries can be found at:

Websites of Interest

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Thank you for your interest in the U.S. Department of State and its Fiscal Year 2019 Agency Financial Report. Electronic copies of this report and prior years’ reports are available through the Department’s website:

You may also stay connected with the Department via social media and multimedia platforms listed above.

In addition, the Department publishes State Magazine monthly, except bimonthly in July and August. This magazine facilitates communication between management and employees at home and abroad and acquaints employees with developments that may affect operations or personnel. The magazine is also available to persons interested in working for the Department of State and to the general public. State Magazine may be found online at:

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future