Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

United States Secretary of State

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Covid-19
Style  Mr. Secretary
Seat  Washington, D.C.
Reports to  The President
Term length  Appointed
United States Secretary of State
Member of  Cabinet, National Security Council
Appointer  The President with Senate advice and consent

The Secretary of State is a senior official of the federal government of the United States of America, and as head of the U.S. Department of State, is principally concerned with foreign policy and is considered to be the U.S. government's equivalent of a Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Contents

The Secretary of State is nominated by the President of the United States and, following a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, is confirmed by the United States Senate. The Secretary of State, along with the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, and Attorney General, are generally regarded as the four most important Cabinet members because of the importance in their respective departments. Secretary of State is a Level I position in the Executive Schedule and thus earns the salary prescribed for that level (currently $205,700).

The current Secretary of State is former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, the 69th person to hold the office since its creation in 1789.

Duties and responsibilities

The stated duties of the Secretary of State are as follows:

  • "Supervises the United States Foreign Service" and "administers the Department of State"
  • Advises the President on matters relating to U.S. foreign policy including the appointment of diplomatic representatives to other nations and on the acceptance, recall, or dismissal of representatives from other nations
  • "Negotiates, interprets, or terminates treaties and agreements" and "conducts negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs"
  • "Personally participates in or directs U.S. representatives to international conferences, organizations, and agencies"
  • Provides information and services to U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad, including providing credentials in the form of passports
  • "Ensures the protection of the U.S. Government to American citizens, property, and interests in foreign countries"
  • "Supervises the administration of the U.S. immigration policy abroad"
  • Communicates issues relating the U.S. foreign policy to Congress and to U.S. citizens
  • "Promotes beneficial economic intercourse between the U.S. and other countries"
  • The original duties of the Secretary of State include some domestic duties, such as:

  • Receipt, publication, distribution, and preservation of the laws of the United States
  • Preparation, sealing, and recording of the commissions of Presidential appointees
  • Preparation and authentication of copies of records and authentication of copies under the Department's seal
  • Custody of the Great Seal of the United States
  • Custody of the records of the former Secretary of the Continental Congress, except for those of the Treasury and War Departments
  • Most of the domestic functions of the Department of State have been transferred to other agencies. Those that remain include storage and use of the Great Seal of the United States, performance of protocol functions for the White House, and the drafting of certain proclamations. The Secretary also negotiates with the individual States over the extradition of fugitives to foreign countries. Under Federal Law, the resignation of a President or of a Vice President is only valid if declared in writing, in an instrument delivered to the office of the Secretary of State. Accordingly, the resignations of President Nixon and of Vice-President Spiro Agnew, domestic issues, were formalized in instruments delivered to the Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.

    As the highest-ranking member of the cabinet, the Secretary of State is the third-highest official of the executive branch of the Federal Government of the United States, after the President and Vice President and is fourth in line to succeed the Presidency, coming after the Vice President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President pro tempore of the Senate. Six Secretaries of State have gone on to be elected President. Others, including John Kerry, William Seward, Henry Clay, William Jennings Bryan and Hillary Clinton have been unsuccessful presidential candidates, either before or after their term of office as Secretary of State. Former Secretaries of State retain the right to add the title "Secretary" to their surnames.

    As the head of the United States Foreign Service, the Secretary of State is responsible for management of the diplomatic service of the United States. The foreign service employs about 12,000 people domestically and internationally, and supports 265 United States diplomatic missions around the world, including ambassadors to various nations. The U.S. Secretary of State has the power to remove any foreign diplomat from U.S. soil for any reason.

    The nature of the position means that Secretaries of State engage in travel around the world. The record for most countries visited in a secretary's tenure is 112, by Hillary Clinton. Second is Madeleine Albright with 96. The record for most air miles traveled in a secretary's tenure is 1.380 million miles, by John Kerry. Second is Condoleezza Rice's 1.059 million miles and third is Clinton's 956,733 miles.

    When there is a vacancy in the office of Secretary of State, the duties are exercised either by another member of the cabinet, or, in more recent times, by a high-ranking official of the State Department until the President appoints, and the United States Senate confirms, a new Secretary.

    Line of succession

    The line of succession for the Secretary of State is as follows:

    1. Deputy Secretary of State
    2. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources
    3. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
    4. Under Secretary of State for Management
    5. Remaining Under Secretaries of State (following in the order they took the oath of office)
      1. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs
      2. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
      3. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights
      4. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
    6. Assistant Secretaries of States for regional bureaus (following in the order they took the oath of office)
      1. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
      2. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
      3. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
      4. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs
      5. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
      6. Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
      7. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs
    7. Other Officers (following in the order they took the oath of office)
      1. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
      2. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation
      3. Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
      4. Assistant Secretary of State for Administration
      5. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration
      6. Legal Adviser of the Department of State
      7. Coordinator for International Information Programs
      8. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs
      9. Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
      10. Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security
      11. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs
      12. Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research
      13. Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs
      14. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
      15. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance
      16. Director General of the Foreign Service
      17. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs
      18. Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations
      19. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs
      20. Coordinator for Counterterrorism
    8. United States Ambassador to the United Nations (New York)
    9. Deputy United States Ambassador to the United Nations (New York)
    10. Remaining U.S. representatives to the United Nations (New York) (following in the order they took the oath of office)
      1. Alternative United States Representative to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs
      2. United States Representative to the United Nations for UN Management and Reform
      3. United States Representative on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
    11. the following Chiefs of Missions (in the following order)
      1. United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom
      2. United States Ambassador to Canada
      3. United States Ambassador to Australia
      4. United States Ambassador to Mexico
      5. United States Ambassador to Japan
      6. United States Ambassador to India
    12. Other officers (following in the order they took the oath of office)
      1. United States Ambassadors at Large
      2. Counselor of the United States Department of State
      3. Special Representatives of the President
    13. Remaining Chiefs of Missions (following in the order they took the oath of office)

    References

    United States Secretary of State Wikipedia


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