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The Executive Branch and Congress have constitutional responsibilities for U.S. foreign policy, and within the Executive Branch, the Department of State is the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency. The Department of State plays the primary role in leading interagency coordination in developing and implementing foreign policy; manages foreign affairs resources; leads and coordinates U.S. representation abroad; conducts negotiations and concludes agreements and treaties on issues ranging from trade to nuclear weapons; and coordinates and supports international activities of other U.S. agencies and officials.

Offices and bureaus within the Department of State that do not report directly to the Secretary of State are organized in groups to support policy planning, coordination, and execution. These groups, or offices, are managed by six under secretaries who report to the secretary and serve as the department's "corporate board" on foreign policy.

The Office of the Under Secretary for Management is responsible for management improvement initiatives; security; the department's information technology infrastructure; support services for domestic and overseas operations; consular affairs; and personnel matters, including retirement programs, recruitment, career development, training, and medical services.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) is situated within the Management office.

CA is organized into the following units:

  • Executive Office (EX)
  • Human Resources Division (HRD)
  • General Services Division (GSD)
  • Resources (RES)
  • Consular Systems Division (CST)
  • Passport Services (PPT)
  • Visa Services (VO)
  • Overseas Citizens Services (OCS)
  • Fraud Prevention Program (FPP)

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