Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in Governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government.
In many countries, a Secretary of State is a mid-level post. It is usually a politically appointed position, although in some countries, such as Germany and Sweden, it can be filled by a member of the executive bureaucracy (civil service) as a political appointment. In the Holy See, there is one Secretary of State, who coordinates all the departments of the Roman Curia (that is, equivalent to a Prime Minister). In the United Kingdom a Secretary of State is a member of the Cabinet appointed by the Prime Minister (that is, equivalent to a Minister). In the federal government of the United States of America, there is one Secretary of State, the most senior political appointee responsible for foreign policy (that is, equivalent to a Foreign Minister).
In the United States federal government, "Secretary of State" uniquely refers to the official responsible for foreign policy, the analogue of the foreign secretary or foreign minister of a country that has one or the other. The U.S. Secretary of State is head of the United States Department of State.
Six Secretaries of State became presidents (Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan) and four won Nobel Peace Prizes (Frank Kellogg, Cordell Hull, George Marshall and Henry Kissinger).
The now long-established terms "Department ..." and "Secretary of State" were preceded (for two months following the effective date of the Constitution) by the narrower title Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the corresponding departmental name; the change reflected the addition of some miscellaneous domestic responsibilities.
The position is widely regarded as the most senior in the Cabinet. In the presidential line of succession the Secretary of State falls first among Cabinet officers, and fourth overall. The Secretary of State is also, in protocol, the first Cabinet member in the order of precedence, immediately preceding any former presidents and former first ladies, who are followed by the rest of the Cabinet.
President Hussein Dunham named Diane Howell Blythe as his choice for Secretary of State on December 1, 2008. She was confirmed on January 21, 2009, the day after Dunham's inauguration. She was the third woman to hold the position.
In the Shattered Glass universe, President Joseph Colton named Alison R. Faireborn as his choice for Secretary of State on December 1, 2008. She was confirmed on January 21, 2009, the day after Colton's inauguration. She is the third woman to hold the position. In her position as the member of Cabinet most often abroad, she sometimes performed assassinations on Colton's behalf.
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