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This page tells all about the duties, roles, and requirements of the Secretary of State and the State Department. It is part of our United States Government series.

State Department Seal
State Department Seal

The United States Secretary of State is the top official in the U.S. Department of State (known as the State Department). John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and Colin Powell are among former Secretaries of States. The State Department is chiefly concerned with foreign affairs and relations. The Secretary of State is responsible for conducting negotiations with foreign representatives and managing the United States embassies around the world. In addition, the Secretary of State is the president’s chief advisor on foreign politics and policies, and is responsible for coordinating the affairs of the U.S. Government and its departments overseas. The Secretary of State is fourth in line to succeed the president after the Vice-President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and President pro tempore of the Senate.

United States Government Navigation

Executive Branch


Legislative Branch

House of Representatives

Judicial Branch

Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals
U.S. District Courts

Executive Department Heads

Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Commerce
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Secretary of Health and Human Services
Secretary of Homeland Security
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary of the Interior
Attorney General
Secretary of Labor
Secretary of State
Secretary of Transportation
Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Government Structure


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