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United States Secretary of State

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United States
Secretary of of State
Seal of the United States Department of State.svg
Official Seal
John Kerry official Secretary of State portrait.jpg
John F. Kerry

since February 1, 2013
Appointer President of the United States
Formation April 6, 1789
First holder Thomas Jefferson
Succession Fourth

The United States Secretary of State (commonly abbreviated as SecState) is the head of the United States Department of State. This department deals with foreign affairs. The Secretary is a member of the President's Cabinet. This person is the highest-ranking cabinet secretary both in line of succession and order of precedence. The President chooses the person he want to be Secretary of the State. The United States Senate must agree with this choice for the person to become the Secretary of State. John Kerry is the current Secretary of State. He became Secretary on February 1, 2013. His term will end in January 2017.

The position of Secretary of State was created in April 6, 1789. Thomas Jefferson was the first Secretary. The Presidential order of succession lists the Secretary of State as the 4th person in line if something happens to the President.


The first duties of the Secretary of State included:

The following are the responsibilities of the Secretary of State. These were added to the duties over time.