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U.S. State Department

America’s first cabinet department, established in 1789, was the Department of State. From small beginnings, the State Department has expanded dramatically since World War II. In 1938, the staff of the secretary’s office numbered 21; in the 1970s, it exceeded 350. Now, there are some 7,000 officers, mostly employed overseas. In Washington, there are some 15,000 employees. Most are civil service and support personnel. In addition to Americans, the Department of State employs tens of thousands of Foreign Service nationals abroad. Though it ranks as America’s smallest cabinet department, it’s the most far flung, with personnel in some 200 posts around the world.

The State Department is the lead agency for the conduct of policy and interaction with foreign nations, save in time of war ...

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