Assistant Secretary of State (A/S) is a title used for many executive positions in the United States Department of State, ranking below the under secretaries. A set of six assistant secretaries reporting to the under secretary for political affairs manage diplomatic missions within their designated geographic regions, plus one assistant secretary dealing with international organizations. Assistant secretaries usually manage individual bureaus of the Department of State. When the manager of a bureau or another agency holds a title other than assistant secretary, such as "director," it can be said to be of "assistant secretary equivalent rank." Assistant secretaries typically have a set of deputies, referred to as deputy assistant secretaries (DAS).
From 1853 until 1913, the assistant secretary of state was the second-ranking official within the U.S. Department of State. Prior to 1853, the chief clerk was the second-ranking officer, and after 1913, the counselor was the second-ranking position, though the assistant secretary continued to be a position until 1924. From 1867, the Assistant Secretary of State was assisted by a second assistant secretary of state, and from 1875, by a third assistant secretary of state. Specific duties of the incumbents varied over the years and included such responsibilities as supervising the Diplomatic and Consular Bureaus, general supervision of correspondence, consular appointments, administration of the Department, and supervision of economic matters and various geographic divisions.
The following is a list of current offices bearing the title of "Assistant Secretary of State":
- Reporting directly to the United States secretary of state:
- Reporting to the under secretary of state for political affairs:
- Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
- Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
- Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
- Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
- Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
- Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs
- Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs
- Reporting to the under secretary of state for management:
- Reporting to the under secretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment:
- Reporting to the under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs:
- Reporting to the under secretary of state for arms control and international security:
- Reporting to the under secretary of state for civilian security, democracy, and human rights:
- Chief of Protocol of the United States, with the rank of Ambassador
- Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the rank and status of Ambassador-at-Large
- Special Assistant to the Secretary and Executive Secretary of the Department
- Inspector General of the Department of State
- Legal Adviser of the Department of State
- Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Global Talent
- Director of Policy Planning
- United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues
- United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Criminal Justice
- United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
- Coordinator of U.S. Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally, with the rank of Ambassador-at-Large and U.S. Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy
- Director of the Foreign Service Institute
- Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State
- Chief Information Officer of the Department
- Director of the Office of Foreign Missions, with rank of Ambassador
- Director of Budget and Planning
- Comptroller of the Department
- Chief Economist of the Department
- Director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources
- Chief Medical Officer and Designated Agency Safety and Health Official
- Director of the Office of Civil Rights
Current assistant secretaries of state
This article needs to be updated.(February 2021)
List of Assistant Secretaries of State, 1853–1937
Second Assistant Secretary of State
The Consular and Diplomatic Appropriations Act for the year ending June 30, 1867 authorized the president to appoint a second assistant secretary of state. Duties of incumbents varied less over the years than did those of the other assistant secretary positions. Responsibilities included: supervision of correspondence with diplomatic officers; preparation of drafts of treaties, conventions, diplomatic notes, and instructions; detailed treatment of current diplomatic and political questions; approval of correspondence for the signature of the secretary or acting secretary; and consultation on matters of diplomatic procedure, international law and policy, and traditional practices of the Department. The Foreign Service Act of 1924 abolished numerical titles for assistant secretaries of state. Only two people held the position from 1866 to 1924.
Third Assistant Secretary of State
A federal appropriations act for the year ending Jun 30, 1875 (Jun 20, 1874; 18 Stat. 90), authorized the president to appoint a third assistant secretary of state. The secretary of state was authorized to prescribe the duties of the assistant secretaries and other Department of State employees, "and may make changes and transfers therein when, in his judgment, it becomes necessary." The third assistant secretary's duties varied over the years, including such diverse assignments as: supervision of several geographic divisions; oversight of the bureaus of accounts and appointments; international conferences and commissions; and ceremonials and protocol, including presentation to the president of chiefs of foreign diplomatic missions. The Foreign Service Act of 1924 (May 24, 1924; 43 Stat 146) abolished numerical titles for assistant secretaries of state.
Defunct offices including the designation of Assistant Secretary of State
- Category:United States Assistant Secretaries of State, which includes some holders of post-1924 positions named Assistant Secretary of State
- "Assistant Secretaries and Other Senior Officials". U.S. Department of State. January 26, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- "Assistant Secretaries and Equivalent Rank". U.S. Department of State. January 20, 2009. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- "Department Organization Chart". U.S. Department of State. March 2014. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- "Career vs. Other Appointments: Assistant Secretary Equivalents". American Foreign Service Association. November 16, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
- Served as Acting Secretary of State, but not during term as Assistant Secretary of State.
- Served as Acting Secretary of State
- The Department of State's organization page.
- The Department of State's list of current or former positions and titles.
- The Department of State's list of Assistant Secretaries of State during the time it was the second-ranking position.
- The Department of State's list of Second Assistant Secretaries of State during the time it was the third-ranking position.
- Assistant Secretaries of State