The U.S. Department of State
The U.S. Department of State is the leading U.S. foreign affairs agency responsible for advancing freedom
for the benefit of the American people and the international community. The Department’s employees,
Foreign Service Officers and Specialists, Civil Service professionals and Foreign Service Nationals
work at more than 270 locations overseas, and throughout the United States. Together, they help to
build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world composed of well-governed
states that respond to the needs of their people, reduce widespread poverty, and act responsibly
within the international system.
The Department selects and hires employees who can accomplish America’s mission of diplomacy at
home and around the world, including Foreign Service Officers (FSO), Foreign Service Specialists (FSS)
and Civil Service (CS) professionals. For those pursuing undergraduate, graduate or other advanced
degrees, and professionals who are interested in an executive development program in public service,
the Department offers a number of internships and fellowships.
The U.S. Department of State’s Mission
Shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability
and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.
U.S. Department of State Structure
The U.S. Department of State is made up of bureaus with responsibility for the many aspects of U.S. foreign
policy and the general operations and administration of our diplomatic missions abroad. There are two types
of bureaus: Geographic and Functional.
• Geographic Bureaus: Oversee policies for a given region of the world. Geographic bureaus
include African Affairs (AF), East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP), European and Eurasian
Affairs (EUR), Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA), and Western
Hemisphere Affairs (WHA).
• Functional Bureaus: Focus on specific issues and are responsible for policy areas
which affect all regions and countries. These bureaus include the Bureau of Democracy,
Human Rights and Labor (DRL), International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
(INL), International Organization Affairs (IO), Political-Military Affairs (PM), and Oceans and
International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES). Other functional bureaus have
responsibility for different critical operations and aspects of the administration of the
Department of State, including Administration (A), Consular Affairs (CA), Diplomatic Security (DS),
Legislative Affairs (H), Human Resources (HR), and Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO).
There are six Under Secretaries: Arms Control and International Security Affairs (T); Economic Growth,
Energy and the Environment (E); Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights (J); Management (M);
Political Affairs (P); Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R)
Each bureau is led by an Assistant Secretary. Assistant Secretaries are Senate-confirmed career and political
appointees responsible for serving as senior advisors to the Secretary of State on the issues falling
within the authority of their bureau. Assistant Secretaries report to the next level of senior leadership,