The United States Foreign Service is the principal diplomatic arm of the United States government, under the aegis of the Department of State. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the It was created under the Foreign Service Act to serve as the principal personnel system under which the United States Secretary of State is authorized to assign diplomats abroad. The Rogers Act of 1924 was the legislation which merged the United States Diplomatic and Consular services into a single United States Foreign Service. The United States Secretary of State (commonly abbreviated as SecState) is the head of the United States Department of State, concerned with Foreign affairs Members of the Foreign Service serve at any of the 265 United States Embassies, Consulates and Diplomatic Missions around the world, as well at the State Department's headquarters in the Foggy Bottom section of Washington D.C. They represent the United States abroad by implementing the foreign policy of the United States and by directly aiding its citizens. Benjamin Franklin established the first overseas mission of the United States in Paris in 1779 Foggy Bottom is one of Washington DC 's oldest 19th century Neighborhoods The neighborhood is thought to have been named because as a low-lying area Fog Washington DC ( formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D
On September 15, 1789, Congress passed an Act creating the Department of State and appointing duties to it, including the keeping of the Great Seal of the United States. Events 668 - Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II is assassinated in his bath at Syracuse Italy. Year 1789 ( MDCCLXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common The Great Seal of the United States is used to authenticate certain documents issued by the United States federal government. Initially the Diplomatic Service—providing ambassadors and ministers to staff embassies overseas—and the Consular Service, which provided consuls to assist United States sailors and promote commerce, developed separately. An ambassador is the highest ranking Diplomat who represents their country
Throughout the 19th century, ambassadors (or ministers, as they were known prior to the 1890s) and consuls were appointed by the president, and until 1856, earned no salary. Many had commercial ties to the countries in which they would serve, and were expected to earn a living through private business or by collecting fees. In 1856, Congress provided a salary for consuls serving at certain posts; those who received a salary could not engage in private business, but could continue to collect fees for services performed.
The Rogers Act of 1924 merged the Diplomatic and Consular services into one Foreign Service. The Rogers Act of 1924 was the legislation which merged the United States Diplomatic and Consular services into a single United States Foreign Service. A Foreign Service examination was also implemented to recruit the brightest Americans, along with a merit based system of promotions. Since the Rogers Act, about two thirds of U. S. ambassadors have been appointed from within the ranks of the Foreign Service, and the remaining third have been appointed directly by the President of the United States. The President of the United States is the Head of state and Head of government of the United States and is the highest political official in United States by
The Foreign Service Act of 1980 was the last major legislative reform to the Foreign Service. It enacted danger pay for those diplomats who serve in dangerous and hostile surroundings along with other administrative changes.
The Foreign Service Act (USC 22 3903) defines the following "members of the Service":
(1) Chiefs of mission
(2) Ambassadors at large
(3) Members of the Senior Foreign Service, who are the corps of leaders and experts for the management of the Service and the performance of its functions.
(4) Foreign Service Officers (FSOs), who have general responsibility for carrying out the functions of the Service. The United States Foreign Service is the diplomatic service of the United States government under the aegis of the Department of State.
(5) Foreign Service personnel (almost exclusively described as Foreign Service Specialists), United States citizens who provide skills and services required for effective performance by the Service. Foreign Service Specialists are employees of the United States Department of State and members of the Foreign Service system that provide services in support of foreign policy
(6) Foreign national employees, foreign nationals who provide clerical, administrative, technical, fiscal, and other support at Foreign Service posts abroad.
(7) Consular agents, who provide consular and related services as authorized by the Secretary of State at specified locations abroad where no Foreign Service posts are situated. 
While employees of the Department of State make up the largest portion of the Foreign Service, the Foreign Service Act of 1980 authorizes other U. S. government agencies to use the personnel system for positions that require service abroad. These include the Department of Commerce  (Foreign Commercial Service), the Department of Agriculture (Foreign Agricultural Service), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The United States Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the International Trade Administration within the United States Department of Commerce and helps Foreign Agricultural Service ( FAS) has primary responsibility for the United States Department of Agriculture 's (USDA overseas programs -- market development The United States Agency for International Development (or USAID) is the United States federal government organization responsible for most non- military
The total number of Foreign Service members, from all Foreign Service agencies (USAID, the Foreign Commercial Service, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and the International Broadcasting Bureau) is about 13,000. The State Department Foreign Service employees number approximately 11,500 people, 6,500 Foreign Service officers and 5,000 Foreign Service specialists. Members from the other Foreign Service agencies number about 1,500.
For the past fifty years, Foreign Service Officer candidates had to take an all-day written exam. Those who passed were invited to appear for an oral assessment which is an exercise in one’s ability to use general persuasion and interpersonal skills. Since summer 2007, the all-day written exam was shortened and information on a structured resume was also considered in selecting candidates for the oral assessment. Those who pass the Foreign Service Written Exam (approximately 10%) must undergo an Oral Assessment administered in person either in Washington, D.C. or a number of other cities throughout the United States. Washington DC ( formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, the District, or simply D The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Passage rates for the Oral Assessment were 20% in 2006. The result is that with nearly 25,000 initial test-takers, only between 300 to 900 are ultimately offered an appointment as a Foreign Service Officer career candidate.
Those persons who receive "the call" to become Foreign Service Officers must take part in a training/orientation course known as the A-100 Class. A-100 is the colloquial name given to the introductory/orientation training class for incoming Foreign Service Officers These courses are taught in the Foreign Service Institute
Foreign Service Personnel candidates are evaluated by Subject Matter Experts for proven skills and recommended to the Board of Examiners for an oral assessment of those skills. Foreign Service Specialist jobs are currently grouped into seven major categories: Administration, Construction Engineering, Information Technology, International Information and English Language Programs, Medical and Health, Office Management, and Security. 
Both Officers (also called generalists) and Personnel (also called specialists) selected for hire must pass extensive background and medical clearances. All Foreign Service personnel must agree to worldwide availability -- that is, they may be called on to serve anywhere in the world. They also agree to publicly support the policies of the United States Government.
The popularity in joining the Foreign Service has risen in recent years. In the first half of the 20th Century, the public perspective of the Foreign Service was sometimes characterized as a bunch of Cookie Pushers although factual articles of the day were most often stark as to the duties one was expected to perform. The term Cookie Pusher has been applied as a reference to Diplomats in general and members of the United States Foreign Service specifically  In the last decade, college graduates have had a better respect for career opportunities within State, with the Department and the Foreign Service rising to the fourth most popular employer for graduating seniors in 2007. 
Foreign Service employees are expected to serve most of their career abroad, working at embassies and consulates around the world. The requirement currently in place calls for a maximum stretch of domestic assignments of six years before resigning or taking a foreign posting. In practice, most Foreign Service personnel prefer overseas work and unfrequently ask to serve in a domestic position. The difficulties and the benefits associated with working abroad are many, especially in relation to family life. Dependent family members often accompany Foreign Service employees overseas.  The incidence of divorce among Foreign Service employees is said to be higher than the national average, but reliable statistics regarding this are difficult to find. The children of Foreign Service members (sometimes called Foreign Service Brats), grow up in a unique world, one that separates them, willingly or unwillingly, from their counterparts living continuously in the states. A Foreign Service Brat is a person whose parent(s served full-time in the United States Foreign Service during the person's childhood For both employees and their families, the opportunity to see the world, experience foreign cultures firsthand for a prolonged period, and the camaraderie amongst the Foreign Service and expatriate communities in general are considered some of the benefits of Foreign Service life. An expatriate (in abbreviated form expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing Some of the downsides of Foreign Service work include exposure to tropical diseases and the assignment to countries with inadequate health care systems, unaccompanied tours of duty, and potential exposure to violence, civil unrest and warfare. Attacks on US embassies around the world -- Beirut, Islamabad, Nairobi, Dar es Saalam, and Baghdad, among others -- underscore the considerable danger these public servants face.
Members of the Foreign Service must agree to worldwide availability. In practice, they generally have significant input as to where they will work, although issues such as rank, language ability, and previous assignments will affect one's possible onward assignments. All assignments are based on the needs of the Service, and historically it has occasionally been necessary to for the Department to make directed assignments to a particular post in order to fulfill the Government's diplomatic requirements. This is not the norm, however, as many State Department employees, including members of the Foreign Service have volunteered to serve even at extreme hardship posts, including, most recently, Iraq. 
The State Department has a Family Liaison Office to assist Foreign Service employees and their families deal the unique issues of Foreign Service life, including the extended family separations that are usually required when an employee is sent to a danger post. 
The Foreign Service personnel system is part of the Civil Service known as the Excepted Service and certain positions are competitively promoted in a system similar to that of military officers. Most civilian positions in the Federal government of the United States are part of the competitive service, where applicants must compete with other applicants in open competition