What is the mission of the U.S. Department of State?

The Harry S Truman Building, headquarters for the Department of State in Washington D.C.

The Harry S Truman Building, Department of State
headquaters in Washington D.C. (© AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Above all, the mission of the U.S. Department of State is to advance the national interests of the United States and its people.

Everything the Department does supports this goal—

  • training journalists,
  • signing a treaty on trade relations,
  • helping a developing country stand on its own feet

Every foreign policy decision by the President and the Secretary of State is made with the interests and protection of the American people in mind.

The Department’s mission statement appeared in its Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2016:

The Department’s mission is to 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. This mission is shared with the USAID, ensuring we have a common path forward in partnership as we invest in the shared security and prosperity that will ultimately better prepare us for the challenges of tomorrow.