The State Department’s goals differ from nation to nation and change over time. Yet, even across presidential administrations, a few broad policies form the bedrock of the State Department’s work.
These foundational policies break down into the following four categories:
Security: Protecting the United States and American citizens
What are some threats that the State Department protects Americans from?
- Weapons of mass destruction
- Infectious diseases
- Drug trafficking
- Environmental degradation
If American citizens are injured, arrested, or incapacitated abroad, American embassies and consulates can provide assistance.
Democracy: Promoting free and fair elections and advancing human rights
How does the State Department defend human rights and advance democracy?
- Promoting freedom of speech, association, religion, and the press.
- Denouncing regimes that deny their citizens the right to choose their leaders in free, fair, and transparent elections.
- Holding governments accountable to their obligations under human rights standards and agreements.
- Promoting the rule of law, seeking accountability, and changing cultures of impunity.
- Assisting in efforts to reform and strengthen the UN Commission on Human Rights.
- Fostering greater respect for human rights.
Prosperity: Encouraging economic growth
What does supporting economic growth and prosperity look like?
- Promoting economic development through increased investment, exports, and democratization.
- Supporting entrepreneurs by protecting intellectual property.
Development: Reducing poverty and improving health
What does global development work look like?
- Helping people compete in the global economy to reduce poverty.
- Responding to natural disasters around the world.
- Preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
- Coordinating international responses to pandemics and health crises.