Department of State

Fact Box

United States Department of State

Formed on July 27, 1789
Headquarters- Harry S. Truman Building, 2201 C St NW, Washington, D.C.
Secretary of State- John Kerry
Employees- 11,500 Foreign Service employees, 7,400 Civil Service employees, 31,000 Foreign Service National employees
Annual budget (2014) $27.5 billion

The US Department of State is responsible for handling the foreign affairs of the United States government. The State Department, originally known as the Department of Foreign Affairs when it was created in 1789, is the oldest of the cabinet-level agencies in the Executive Branch. It consists largely of diplomats and Foreign Service officers who carry out American foreign policy throughout the world. This task involves a multitude of issues ranging from trade and commerce to cultural interests to security measures. The State Department interfaces with representatives of foreign governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations and private individuals to advance US interests all across the globe. For most of the department’s history, the Secretary of State functioned as the top adviser to the President on matters of international relations. However, during the latter half of the 20th Century, this duty was increasingly shifted to the President’s National Security Adviser, which resulted in the marginalization of the Secretary of State in some White House administrations. During the two-terms of President George W. Bush, the State Department has been particularly focused on the issue of terrorism as a result of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Controversies stemming from this top policy concern include hiring private security guards to protect American diplomats in Iraq—some of whom were accused of killing innocent Iraqi citizens. The department also has spent lavishly on a new embassy in Baghdad, which was found to be poorly designed in spite of costing more than half a billion dollars to build.

In July 1789, Congress and President George Washington approved legislation establishing a Department of Foreign Affairs, making it the first federal agency to be created under the new Constitution. In September of that same year, additional legislation changed the name to the Department of State and assigned to it a variety of domestic duties, including managing the US Mint, taking the census and maintaining the Great Seal of the United States. Most of the domestic duties were eventually turned over to other federal departments and agencies during the 19th century, putting the State Department primarily in charge of foreign affairs.
The nation’s first Secretary of State was Thomas Jefferson, appointed by President Washington on September 29, 1789. Despite this duty as the nation’s top diplomat, Jefferson preferred a more inward or domestic perspective on how the United States should move forward—that is, focusing on the unexplored continent rather than becoming involved in developments in Europe. Those who agreed with Jefferson’s philosophy came to be known as “Jeffersonians.” The Federalists, led by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, supported the development of a strong international commerce and the creation of a navy capable of protecting US merchant vessels.
The Federalists and Jeffersonians also disagreed over US foreign policy in regards to political events in Europe. After the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, the Federalists distrusted France and encouraged closer commercial ties to England, while the Jeffersonians preferred to support the new French Republic. Conflict in Europe among France, Britain, and Spain in the late 1790s resulted in President Washington declaring American neutrality. The Jay Treaty with Britain (1794) and the Pinckney Treaty with Spain (1795) aimed at preserving this neutrality.
Jefferson’s efforts to ally the US with France suffered a serious blow as a result of the XYZ Affair, a diplomatic incident between French and American diplomats that resulted in a limited, undeclared war known as the Quasi-War. US and French negotiators restored peace with the Convention of 1800, also known as the Treaty of Mortefontaine.
During most of the 1800s, the US concentrated on its westward expansion, beginning with the Louisiana Purchase and other agreements that greatly enlarged American territory on the North American continent. The most pressing foreign affairs problems for American diplomats were the Barbary Wars of 1801-1805 and 1815-1816 and the outbreak of the War of 1812 with Great Britain. A critical event came in 1854 when Commodore Matthew Perry sailed to Japan and successfully opened up the then-isolated island nation to American trade.
It wasn’t until after the end of the Civil War, from the 1870s to the beginning of the 20th Century, that the US began for the first time to seriously engage itself overseas. In 1867, the federal government purchased the territory of Alaska from Russia. Between 1878 and 1880, Commodore Robert Shufeldt commanded the USS Ticonderoga on a mission to Africa, the Middle East, and Asia in an attempt to further open those regions to American trade. The most significant international event for the US came in 1898 with the outbreak of war with Spain. The Spanish-American War led to the US gaining control of the Philippines (and turning it into a quasi-colony) and asserting its authority over Cuba. Also in 1898, though entirely separate from the war, the US annexed the Hawaiian Islands.
At the dawn of the 20th Century, the United States began to behave as an international power and took steps to protect American territories and aggressively expand its international commercial interests. These policies included the promotion of the “Open Door” policy in China and the attachment of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine that formally announced the intention to use military force to defend the Western Hemisphere against European incursions. At the same time, President Theodore Roosevelt oversaw the construction of the Panama Canal (only after the US aided the cause of Panamanian independence from Colombia), which would have profound economic implications for American trade.
The United States also began to compete with Mexico for political influence over Central America. United States Marines were sent to Nicaragua with the objective of ensuring the rule of a government friendly to American political and commercial interests and preserving political stability in Central America. Although officials within the administration of President William H. Taft saw themselves as intervening to ensure good government, many Nicaraguans became increasingly alarmed at what became a foreign takeover of their political, banking and railroad systems.
Following its intervention in Nicaragua, the US invaded and occupied Haiti from 1915-34 and the Dominican Republic (1916-1924).
After years of stalling, the US finally entered World War I in 1917 in an effort to help England and France defeat Germany. Germany’s resumption of submarine attacks on passenger and merchant ships in 1917 was the primary motivation behind President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to lead the United States into the conflict. A little more than a year later, the “Great War” was over, but the US continued to play a major role in the post-war international scene, with Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles and the founding of the League of Nations in 1920.
Disillusionment with WWI, and fear of international commitments that could lead to war and economic uncertainty curbed US involvement in global affairs during the 1920s and 1930s. The United States, however, did not retreat into complete isolation, as the necessities of commercial growth dictated continued government support for overseas private investment that drove both American engagement with Latin America and the rebuilding of Europe in the 1920s. With the rise of fascism in the 1930s, concerns began to grow in the US over threats to international peace from Japan, Germany and Italy.
Isolationists were determined to keep the US out of the wars in Europe and Asia. Congress passed a series of neutrality acts designed to prevent the United States from being drawn into the widespread international conflict that some US officials believed was inevitable. Then, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked the US naval installation at Pearl Harbor, and the United States formally entered the Second World War, which would last until 1945.
As WWII wound down, American officials took part in important international talks at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, the Yalta Conference in 1945, Potsdam and meetings that led to the creation of the United Nations. Although Yalta and Potsdam involved critical talks between the US and the Soviet Union, American distrust of Communism lingered after the war, and US diplomats soon began to warn of the Soviet Union’s efforts to spread Communism throughout war-torn Europe and beyond. The US government, led by the State Department, soon adopted a policy of containment as composed by George F. Kennan, a career State Department official. The policy ultimately led to a combative posture on the part of the US vis-à-vis the USSR, setting the basis for the Cold War that ensued between the two Superpowers over the next 40 years.
As part of American efforts to curb the expansion of Soviet-backed Communist movements, US diplomats in Europe helped implement two major strategies designed to stabilize and protect Great Britain, France and the rest of Western Europe. These two strategies were the Marshall Plan, a multi-million-dollar campaign by the US to rebuild European economies, and the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance designed to protect Western Europe from Soviet invasion.
The Soviets first tested the West’s military resolve in 1948 when they cut off access to West Berlin by land. Refusing to allow the USSR to claim full possession of the former German capital, President Harry Truman launched the Berlin Airlift in which the US Air Force flew round-the-clock supply missions into the city for the next year to keep its residents from starving. The airlift ceased after the Soviets conceded and reopened the roads and train routes into West Berlin.
In the ensuing decades of the 1950s and 1960s, other major Cold War flashpoints occurred. Two of the most volatile were the Soviet Union’s crushing of rebellions in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. Both independence movements were greatly encouraged by the US. An even more critical series of events were the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the latter almost bringing the US to the brink of nuclear-armed conflict with the USSR. During the remainder of the 1960s and into the early 1970s, US foreign policy was largely preoccupied with the war in Vietnam.
The war in Vietnam continued into the presidency of Richard Nixon, who initially sought a resolution to the conflict in Southeast Asia by decreasing the number of troops on the ground while extending air raids into Cambodia and Laos. However, the combination of domestic anti-war fervor and Congressional determination to extend limits on Presidential war power meant that finding an end to the conflict was a political necessity. The administration introduced the policy of “Vietnamization,” a program designed to shift the responsibility of the war from the US to the South Vietnamese, allowing the United States to gradually withdraw its troops from Vietnam. Although this process was not successful, the United States negotiated a peace agreement in 1973 and withdrew from South Vietnam, which soon fell to the Communist regime in the north.
As the Nixon Administration worked to end the Vietnam War, National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger worked toward achieving détente with the Soviet Union. Arms limitation talks with the Soviets reduced military spending and established formal commitments to future discussions between the two powers. President Nixon and Secretary Kissinger also reached out to the other major Communist powers and cleared the way for future American recognition of the People's Republic of China.
During the late 1970s the US and USSR escalated tensions in Europe over the deployment of a new generation of medium-ranged nuclear missiles. This provoked huge protests in the early 1980s in London and other major Western European cities calling for the US to withdraw its Pershing II and cruise missiles. Meanwhile, American and Soviet arms control negotiators discussed offers to pull the weapons out of the European Theater. Little progress was made until a new reformist leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, took control of the Soviet Union. As part of his promises to change the domestic (Perestroika) and foreign (Glasnost) policies of the USSR, Gorbachev reached a breakthrough agreement over nuclear missiles with President Ronald Reagan at the Reykjavik summit in 1986. The accord led to the signing of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty the following year that withdrew all such weapons from Europe, and marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War between the two superpowers.
During the 1980s, US foreign policy was heavily involved in thwarting Socialist regimes (Nicaragua) and revolutionary movements in Latin America. The Reagan administration’s fiercely anti-Communist orientation led to one of the biggest foreign policy scandals in US history when it was revealed that White House and other administration officials secretly sold arms to Iran to gain the release of Western hostages and then diverted the money to the Contra rebels, all without Congressional approval.
In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, which began the reunification of East and West Germany. In 1991 the Communist government of the USSR collapsed in the wake of a failed coup to overthrow Gorbachev, bringing to power Boris Yeltsin. The change in government led to warmer relations between the United States and Russia, as the US led economic efforts, such as passage of the Freedom Support Act of 1992, to help the former Soviet Union transition from a command economy to a free market one. With the fall of the Iron Curtain, Europeans all over the continent looked forward to new era of peace and prosperity.
That hope was quickly dashed when a bloody civil war erupted in the Balkans in 1992. Lasting three years, the war in Bosniawas viewed as NATO’s first big post-Cold War test. Instead of intervening with military forces, NATO countries stayed out of the conflict, in part out of concern over how Serbia’s ally, Russia, might respond. NATO inaction allowed Serbian paramilitary forces to conduct ethnic-cleansing campaigns against Croats and Muslims, the worst single incident occurring in Srebrenica in July 1995.
The failure on the part of NATO to stop the slaughter was still fresh in the minds of American and Western European leaders when, in 1999, the predominantly Albanian province of Kosovo tried to secede from Serbia. This time NATO air strikes were ordered to keep Serbian military units from rampaging through Kosovo. Thousands still perished in the fighting. Following the end of hostilities, a UN peacekeeping mission was established to maintain the peace while US and European diplomats negotiated a way for Kosovo’s independence.
The 1990s also marked the beginning of the United States’ growing concern over Islamic terrorism. The 1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center, and later the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the USS Cole in Yemen, caused a realignment of State Department policies toward finding ways to address the threat of attacks against US targets. This shifting of priorities was cemented on September 11, 2001, when hijackers crashed American commercial jetliners into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. From that point on, the No. 1 priority of US foreign policy was combating terrorism, leading to the military invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. In 2003, President George W. Bush, pursuing a policy of “preventive war,” invaded and occupied Iraq.

What it Does
The US Department of State functions as the diplomatic wing of the federal government, handling matters of foreign affairs with other nations and international bodies. The State Department’s primary job is to promote American foreign policy throughout the world. This task involves a multitude of issues ranging from trade and commerce to cultural interests to security measures. Employing diplomats and career Foreign Service personnel, the State Department interfaces with representatives of foreign governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations and private individuals.
Dozens of large offices and programs handle the vast responsibilities of the State Department, including geographically-based and subject-oriented bureaus that function as the frontline of the US diplomatic corps.
Among the leading components of the State Department are:
Regional Issues

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs: A key diplomatic office within the State Department, the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs is responsible for implementing American foreign policy in Europe and Eurasia. The bureau promotes US political and economic interests in the region on issues ranging from NATO enlargement to energy supplies to the war on terrorism.
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs: The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (BWH) staffs and operates US embassies and consulates throughout the Western Hemisphere. BWH staff implement US foreign policy by negotiating with representatives of foreign governments, meeting with foreign economic and political leaders in and out of government, coordinating various types of US foreign aid, and preparing groundwork for visits between higher US officials and foreign representatives. BWH also has a planning staff, which formulates policy toward other nations in the Western Hemisphere, subordinate to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the Secretary of State and the President.
Bureau of African Affairs: The Bureau of African Affairs is responsible for advising the Secretary of State on issues relating to sub-Saharan Africa. The bureau seeks solutions in three key areas: the consolidation of democratic gains among African nations, expanding economic growth and stemming the spread of HIV and AIDS.
Despite pledges by the administration of George W. Bush to help stem the spread of the disease, funding requests for AIDS programs in Africa went down in consecutive years. Also, an attempt to reinvent foreign aid through the Millennium Challenge Corporation has not succeeded as planned by the administration.
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs: The Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP) is responsible for carrying out diplomatic relations with more than two dozen foreign governments, ranging in size from China to Fiji. Security, counter-terrorism and free trade are some of the major policy issues that EAP addresses with public and private officials from this part of the world. In fact, the bureau has played a key role in negotiations with North Korea over that nation’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The head of the bureau has been both praised and criticized for his work on the Korean nuclear accord and other aspects of his diplomatic work.
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs: The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) deals with American foreign policy and diplomatic relations with Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Regional policy issues that NEA handles include the war in Iraq, Middle East peace, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and political and economic reform.
Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs: The Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs handles US foreign policy with the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Two of the most critical policy areas that the bureau oversees are Afghanistan, which is still trying to recover from the rule of the Taliban in the 1990s and the US-led coalition that invaded the country in 2001, and Indian-Pakistan relations—a longstanding source of tension and conflict between two nuclear powers. The leadership of the bureau has come under criticism during the George W. Bush administration for its lack of knowledge about Pakistani politics and its deference to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, who reportedly calls the shots on US foreign policy towards Pakistan.
International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico: IBWC is a bilateral government body charged with maintaining border and water agreements along the international border between the United States and Mexico. The commission’s American section (USIBWC) is overseen by the State Department, and its origin dates back to the 19th century. The USIBWC’s structure and many functions are defined by treaties signed during the first half of the 20th century. Some experts have argued that the commission is long overdue for change, and recently the US side of the IBWC was engulfed in controversy stemming from the leadership of its top official, an appointee of President George W. Bush.
East-West Center: The East-West Center was created by Congress in 1960 to serve as a catalyst to strengthen relations and understanding between the United States and Asian and Pacific nations. The East-West Center coordinates research, educational classes and cultural interactions. At times the center has been criticized for being too centered on corporate and business concerns between US and Asian markets—especially now that a majority of the members of the center’s Board of Governors have been appointed by the Republican governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, and by Secretary of State Condolezza Rice.
American Institute in Taiwan: The United States established the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on Jan. 1, 1979, after it switched diplomatic recognition of China to the communist mainland. The AIT is a private, nonprofit corporation that received federal money and serves as a de facto embassy.
Asia Foundation: The Asia Foundation (TAF) was established as a Central Intelligence Administration (CIA) proprietary in 1954 with the mission “to undertake cultural and educational activities on behalf of the United States Government in ways not open to official U.S. agencies.” TAF stresses that it is a non-profit, non-governmental, and non-endowed organization, depending “solely on monetary contributions from donors to accomplish its work.” However, the bulk of its funding comes from grants made by the US government and the State Department, and an annual appropriation from Congress, with some additional support from other governments (OECD members and Asian countries), grant competition, individual donors, multilateral organizations and private corporations and foundations. The foundation is privately run, and its offices throughout the region are known to have a relatively high level of autonomy. In the post-Cold War era and after a thawing of relations between the US and China, TAF’s development strategy has evolved to focus primarily on neoliberal development practices—including liberalizing market reforms and good governance initiatives.
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction: Since April 2003, Congress has allocated more then $46 billion towards Iraq reconstruction. The Special Inspector General for Iraq (SIGIR) is a temporary federal agency that takes on the role of a watchdog for the abuse of funds intended for Iraq reconstructions programs. SIGIR continually assesses all projects and programs in Iraq in order to ensure that all money is accounted for and is used effectively and efficiently by officials of the US and Iraqi governments as well as American contractors. Since 2004, SIGIR has issued 73 audit reports and seized more than $17 million in assets. SIGIR’s work has also led to the arrest of five individuals and the conviction of four for defrauding the US government.  However, SIGIR has noticeably failed to control corruption and cronyism in the awarding of contracts and the use of funds once they arrive in Iraq.
Fighting HIV/AIDS

President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: The President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) is a pledge of $15 billion over five years (2003-2008) to fight the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. The legislation that authorized PEPFAR also established the State Department Office of the US Global Aids Coordinator (OGAC), which oversees all international AIDS funding and programming. The State Department and OGAC—along with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Labor, and Health and Human Services, and the Peace Corps—are responsible for administering PEPFAR. Through three strategic program areas (prevention, care and treatment), the initiative was intended to prevent 7 million new infections, treat 2 million people living with AID-related illnesses, and provide care and support for 10 million persons affected by AIDS. In its first two years, PEPFAR reportedly provided support for 471,000 people in 114 countries. Most of these were in 15 “focus countries”—a list that currently includes Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.
Although considered a much-needed surge in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, PEPFAR is widely criticized for slow bureaucracy and restrictive policies. Most notably, recipient countries are required to spend the majority of funding for prevention of sexually-transmitted HIV/AIDS on abstinence-until-marriage programs—to the exclusion (and more often, prohibition) of condom-related education; organizations working with commercial sex workers are bound by morally based restrictions; funding is prohibited from being used by organizations that provide abortion services; and the US will not fund safe needle exchange programs for IV drug users, despite the proven efficacy of such programs. Generally, the US is accused of flagrantly ignoring scientific and statistical evidence and instead imposing an ideological agenda on countries, organizations and individuals in need. The US has also been criticized for pushing expensive brand-name pharmaceuticals in the programs instead of affordable generics, thereby greatly decreasing the number of individuals who receive treatment.
Diplomats, Embassies and Travel

Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations: OBO is responsible for the buildings that house America’s overseas embassies, consulates and missions. The bureau conducts much of its work using domestic contractors who handle the building of new embassies. Since the 1998 bombings of American embassies in east Africa, the federal government has conducted the largest construction effort in US diplomatic history to upgrade diplomatic posts and secure them against terrorist attacks. Problems have arisen, however, in the course of several high-profile embassy projects, including the sprawling new complex in Baghdad, Iraq.
Bureau of Diplomatic Security: As the second largest component of the State Department, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) is part law enforcement agency, part intelligence operation, responsible for protecting the personnel, information and property associated with America’s embassies and other diplomatic posts. The bureau also provides protection in the US for the Secretary of State, the US Ambassador to the United Nations and foreign dignitaries below the head-of-state level who visit the United States. DS employs almost 500 special agents in more than 150 countries, along with hundreds of private security guards through contracts with companies such as Blackwater USA. The use of private contractors created a huge controversy for DS in the fall of 2006 when Blackwater guards killed numerous civilians in Baghdad, Iraq, as a result of an attack on a convoy carrying American diplomats.
Office of the Chief of Protocol: The Office of the Chief of Protocol primarily advises and assists the president, vice president and secretary of state on matters of diplomatic protocol, or etiquette. The office arranges detailed itineraries for foreign dignitaries visiting the United States and accompanies the president on official travels abroad. It also plans and executes diplomatic ceremonies and dinners, oversees the accreditation of foreign ambassadors and manages the Blair House, which is the president’s guest residence for visiting foreign leaders.
Office of Foreign Missions: OFM claims three basic missions: 1) to provide services for foreign diplomats living in the United States, 2) to monitor the activities of these foreign diplomats so that they do not abuse their immunity status, and 3) to treat foreign diplomats in such a way that their countries will treat US diplomats stationed overseas in the same manner. OFM is authorized to impose restrictions of services on a foreign government and its diplomats if that government imposes them on the US. OFM is also authorized to enter into negotiations with that country to remove those restrictions once secure, fair treatment is given American officials in the other country.
Bureau of Consular Affairs: The Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) is in charge of issuing passports for American citizens intending to reside, conduct business, study or travel abroad. It also provides alerts and warnings concerning potentially dangerous conditions in foreign countries and assists US citizens abroad on a variety of issues, including helping those who want to vote by absentee ballot when they’re out of the country, those who are involved in international adoptions, or those who fall victim to crime, accident or illness. In addition, the bureau provides services to citizens of other countries seeking visas to visit or reside legally in the United States and conducts research to determine who qualifies for a visa and which applicants may be attempting to get into the country to engage in harmful activities. The bureau also serves as a liaison between the State Department and overseas embassies and consulates on visa matters. In March 2008, the Bureau of Consular Affairs was the focus of media scrutiny when it was revealed that the passport files of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama had been breached.
Fighting Crime

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs: Located within the Office of the Under Secretary for Political Affairs for the State Department, the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) is charged with combating the worldwide drug trade and other major crimes through programs involving other federal agencies and national governments. Despite its name, INL is not a true law enforcement agency, operating instead as a source of funding to assist law enforcement personnel, either in the US or other countries. No longer is it strictly an anti-narcotics office, working on other serious cross-border crimes, such human trafficking. However, anti-drug operations are still the dominant mission of the bureau. These operations, as well as its efforts to help stabilize Iraq, have resulted in the INL becoming a focal point of controversy in recent years.
Andean Counterdrug Initiative: The Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI) is a program operated by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs responsible for supporting anti-drug initiatives in Colombia and other South American countries. ACI grew out of a controversial legislation, Plan Colombia, which supported various drug wars in South America. The program seeks to eradicate coca and induce local farmers to plant alternative crops. But for all the money that has been spent towards stemming the flow of illegal drugs into the United States from South America, little progress has been made in reaching this goal.
Rewards for Justice: The Rewards for Justice program (RFJ) authorizes the Secretary of State to offer money for credible information that can be used to capture or kill international terrorists. The program may also provide protection and relocation services for the informant and his or her family. Despite captures and killings reportedly undertaken as a result of intelligence tips, Rewards for Justice has detractors. Some say the program promotes reckless bounty hunting. A few have also voiced concerns about the credibility of received tips, while others wonder if any amount of money can overcome deep-seated ethnic loyalties in places like Afghanistan. Still others question the recent US preference for killing militant-Islamic suspects using precision-guided bombs, pointing out that bombings might hurt counter-insurgency efforts, which are based on gaining trust and cooperation, in Muslim countries. Indeed, critics frequently assail ads and other promotional materials for lacking cultural sensitivity. On the other hand, coaxing people with money to turn in their peers has been a tactic used since antiquity. Many see this particular program as a way of fighting terrorism with capitalism and an enthusiastic fundraising effort developed around it for a time.
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons: The Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP) coordinates United States activities in the international battle against modern-day slavery, including sexual exploitation and involuntary labor; manages US funding for anti-trafficking efforts across the globe; and is responsible for submitting a yearly Report to Congress on foreign governments’ successes and failures in meeting the minimum standards set by the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) in regards to steps taken to prohibit human trafficking, assist victims, and cooperate in investigating and extraditing traffickers.
Culture, Information and Propaganda

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs: The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs was established to bring together students and professionals from the United States and across the world in hopes of building stronger relationships between countries. The bureau funds and sponsors many programs for international education exchanges to promote their objective of cultural learning and mutual understanding.
National Endowment for Democracy: NED provides grants to media outlets, human-rights groups and other organizations for the stated purpose of fostering democracy in foreign countries.
Bureau of International Information Programs: The Bureau of International Information Programs is the main propaganda arm of the US government towards the rest of the world. Responsible for producing and distributing information about the United States to an international audience, the bureau attempts to foster understanding and good will towards the US with an eye towards creating an environment receptive to US security and economic interests. The bureau was created in 1999 out of the remnants of the US Information Agency when it was merged with the State Department, and it has attempted to brand itself as a more high-tech and modern office. In addition to news reports and publications about the United States, the bureau recently unveiled a new website, designed to reach a younger audience with multimedia presentations, videos and podcasts. The director of the Bureau of International Information Programs reports directly to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation: AFCP is one of several programs administered by the Cultural Heritage Center, a division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). It is the only component of the US government that provides grant support to heritage preservation in developing countries. Projects are chosen from those proposed by US Ambassadors in 120 countries that the State Department deems eligible. AFCP grants are awarded in areas ranging from providing technical support for the restoration of buildings that are hundreds of years old to aiding in documentation to saving threatened traditional crafts. Controversy surrounds some of the actions of Maria P. Kouroupas, the executive director of AFCP, as it also did when she previously held similar positions for the Cultural Property Advisory Committee.
Art in Embassies Program: Art in Embassies Program (AIEP) promotes America’s art and artists by borrowing original works of art by US citizens for display in approximately 180 US embassy residences worldwide. These exhibitions are collections of art loaned from galleries, museums, individual artists, and corporate and private collections. Each exhibition is developed collaboratively between a United States ambassador and one of AIEP’s curators.

Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration: PRM is responsible for helping refugees around the world either through assistance to international and non-governmental organizations or by admitting refugees to the United States. PRM administers and monitors American contributions to international and non-governmental organizations to assist and protect refugees abroad. It oversees admissions of refugees to the US for permanent resettlement in coordination with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. PRM has been criticized for not helping more Iraqis enter the US during the ongoing violence in Iraq, and its onetime leader was accused of being unqualified to run the bureau.
Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs: The State Department’s Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs (EEB) is one of the federal government’s leading voices for promoting US economic interests across the globe. EEB implements policies involving international trade, investment and finance, economic development and sanctions, debt policy, terrorist financing, energy security, telecommunications and transportation. It also actively promotes opportunities for American businesses. Since 9/11 the bureau has increasingly supported the government’s Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) while carrying out its economic mission. This includes promoting US sanctions against Iran, which has continued to do business with numerous American corporations—including those with close ties to the Bush administration. In fact, annual US trade with Iran actually doubled under President Bush.
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs: OES is responsible for the integration of matters relating to the environment, science, and technology into United States foreign policy. It works closely with the White House, Congress, US government agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens, as well as other State Department bureaus. Among the specific areas OES addresses when representing the US in making agreements with other nations: Bio-terrorism, climate change, conservation, fisheries, forests, international health issues, oceans, the use of outer space, and wildlife. 
Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation: VCI is responsible for ensuring that appropriate verification requirements and capabilities are fully considered and integrated into the development, negotiation, and implementation of new arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament treaties, agreements, and commitments. It also serves as the main liaison to the US Intelligence Community and other key policymakers for verification and compliance issues.
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor: The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) is one of three bureaus that comprise the Office of the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs within the State Department. (See also Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration). The DRL is perhaps best known for the annual country reports it generates on human rights practices around the globe. Starting with a congressional mandate and a humble 286 pages in 1977, these reports have become one of the most trusted and comprehensive sources of information for human rights advocates and officials.
The bureau also administers a multi-million dollar grant portfolio, including the Human Rights and Democracy Fund (HRDF), financing a wide range of human rights and democracy programs worldwide. Programs are carried out regionally or on a country-specific basis, focusing on issues such as press and religious freedom, civil society building and democratic reform, labor rights and women’s initiatives. The bureau is expected to help formulate and implement US policy abroad—especially with regard to the State Department’s increased emphasis on democratizing “transitioning countries.” Recent typical projects include the training programs Internews Pakistan, National Democratic Institute South Asia and Trust for the Americas Western Hemisphere.

Where Does the Money Go?
According to the federal website,, the State Department spent $30.8 billion from 2000-2008 on private contracts. More than 80,000 companies and other organizations were paid by the State Department for a variety of goods and services ranging from building construction ($5.5 billion) to guard services ($1.7 billion).
The top 10 recipients of State Department contracts are:
Veritas Capital Management II LLC                                $4,156,962,997
Lockheed Martin Corporation                                         $1,183,415,679
Caddell Construction Co.                                                   $933,497,273
Blackwater Lodge and Training Center, Inc.                       $805,156,795
BL Harbert Holdings, LLC                                                   $720,614,502
Fluor Corporation                                                              $578,405,014
First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co.             $500,776,199
G4s PLC                                                                       $490,613,999
Computer Sciences Corporation                                       $433,316,984
Triple Canopy Inc                                                            $418,051,498
One of the biggest spenders within the State Department is the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS). In addition to its almost 500 special agents, DS employs private security contractors. This supplemental security force has been used largely in Iraq due to the extremely unstable climate in the country since the US invaded in 2003. Before the Iraq war, the use of private contractors by DS was limited to small efforts in Afghanistan and Bosnia. Currently, DS contracts with three large companies to help guard State Department personnel: Blackwater USA; DynCorp International; and Triple Canopy.
Blackwater USA, founded in 1997 by three former Navy SEALs, provides a variety of protective services in Iraq, using 987 employees, of whom 744 are Americans. Blackwater was one of the original companies providing security services to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), including protection for CPA chief Paul Bremer, as well as other CPA employees and visiting dignitaries. Its staff includes former military, intelligence and law enforcement personnel.
DynCorp International evolved from a company formed in 1946 that provided support and services to US military aircraft and weapons systems under Air Force contracts. Named DynCorp since 1987, it was acquired in 2003 by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and now has nearly 14,000 employees in 30 countries. DynCorp has 151 personnel in Iraq (100 are American) to provide police training and related services in Iraq. The company also does work for the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.
Triple Canopy, founded in September 2003, brags of having “former tier-one military special operations” personnel in its leadership. Triple Canopy’s two founders and co-chairman both served with the US Army Special Forces, one with Special Forces “Delta Force” unit. It employs the largest number of private guards in Iraq, almost 1,500, of whom only 224 are American.

Data for Department of State