State, United States Department of: Current Organization and Duties

Current Organization and Duties

The secretary of state, who heads the department, is aided by a deputy secretary and five undersecretaries—for political affairs, economic, business, and agricultural affairs, arms control and international security affairs, management, and global affairs. Six assistant secretaries direct the regional bureaus of African, European, East Asian and Pacific, Western Hemisphere, Near East, and South Asian affairs. The department is charged not only with determining and executing foreign policy, but also with supervising more than 100 embassies, numerous consulates, and special missions. The power over foreign policy assigned to the secretary of state is limited by the role the president takes in foreign affairs.

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