The Office of Munitions Controls in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs was renamed the Office of Defense Trade Controls.

January 10, 1990

A Department Notice announced that a study would be made of the Foreign Service specialist personnel system. Patricia M. Byrne would preside over it.

April 18, 1990

A Department Notice announced the introduction of new, color-coded building passes to Department of State personnel and to regular visitors. Employees with Top Secret clearances would have blue-border passes. Employees and visitors with Secret clearances would have gray-border passes. Accredited journalists would have green-border passes. Support personnel would keep their red-border passes.

April 23, 1990

The Department of State began its first program for recycling paper. It began with the Bureaus of Administration, Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, and the Program and Policy Coordination Bureau of AID.

April 30, 1990

The designation of the Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science, and Technology was changed to “Under Secretary for International Security Affairs.”

July 12, 1990

President George H. W. Bush sent a letter to all U.S. chiefs of mission that reaffirmed their authority over activities in their countries of assignment. They were also responsible for the security of their missions, for reducing staffing and costs, for approving changes in other agencies’ functions, to oversee all communications, and to ensure ethical conduct.

July 25, 1990

U.S. District Court Judge Aubrey Robinson approved a consent decree that allowed female FSOs to make priority bids for assignments.

September 3, 1990

The Department of State began publication of the Dispatch, a successor to the Department of State Bulletin.

October 19, 1990

Dedication of the John C. Grover unclassified mail and pouch facility near the Dulles Airport.

December 10, 1990

The Department of State inaugurated “B-Net,” its Multi-Media Bulletin Board, at 6 locations in the Main State building. It could also be received on Channel 24 of the Department’s cable TV network.

February 12, 1991

Under Secretary for Management Selin announced that all bureaus would be asked to prepare five-year plans for their budgeting.

May 1991

An Office of Information Systems Security was established in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, to oversee computer and communications security.

May 21, 1991

The Department of State opened a Career Development Resource Center for Civil Service employees in SA-3 in Rosslyn, Virginia.

August 22, 1991

A Department Notice announced the formation of a nine-member commission to improve the utilization of Civil Service employees.

October 28, 1991

The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992-93 authorized the establishment of a Bureau of South Asian Affairs (105 Stat. 658).

The Act also required the Secretary of State to give Congress 45 days’ notice before closing overseas posts, and required the Secretary to submit a report within 120 days about plans to establish additional diplomatic and consular posts in the former Soviet Union (105 Stat. 655). It also called for the establishment of a commission to report to Congress on the Department’s personnel systems (105 Stat. 671).

December 1991

The Bureau of Personnel released a study, “Economic Personnel Needs to the Year 2000,” which called on the Department to emphasize promoting the economic and commercial skills of its personnel.

December 1991

The U.S. Department of State, Report of the Director General's Commission on Civil Service Improvements, concluded that insufficient attention had been paid to career development, counseling, and training of Civil Service personnel.


The Department announced the formation of a Foreign Affairs Reserve Corps of retired Foreign Service and Civil Service personnel able to serve in domestic or overseas positions for up to four years.

January 3, 1992

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Office of Soviet Affairs in the Bureau of European Affairs was renamed the office of Independent States and Commonwealth Affairs.

January 23, 1992

Opening of the Foreign Affairs Information System (FAIS) Consolidated Bureau Processing Center.

April 12, 1992

Opening of the Diplomatic Telecommunications Service program office.

June 18, 1992

The Office of Independent States and Commonwealth Affairs was reorganized to give each of the 12 former Soviet republics its own Desk Officer.

August 24, 1992

The Bureau of South Asian Affairs was established, separating responsibility for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Nepal from the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

November 1992

A Commission chaired by former Assistant Secretary Nicholas A. Veliotes issued its report on the Department’s personnel system. It endorsed separate Foreign and Civil Service systems, but added that “personnel policies and practices should emphasize flexible movement between the personnel systems rather than rigid boundary lines.” The Director General of the Foreign Service should receive new duties, while an Assistant Secretary for Human Resources would assume the functions that he held as Director of Personnel.

November 1, 1992

A Department Notice announced the transfer of the Office of Information Management from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security back to the Bureau of Administration.

February 5, 1993

Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher announced a reorganization plan. An Under Secretary for Global Affairs would be created to oversee the Bureaus of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; Narcotics, Terrorism and Crime; Population, Refugees and Migration; and Oceans, Environment and Science. A New Ambassador at Large would be appointed to help manage relations with the former Soviet Republics, while the Ambassadors at Large for Refugee Affairs, Nonproliferation Policy and Nuclear Energy Affairs, and Burdensharing were eliminated. The titles of two more Under Secretaries would be changed to reflect their broader responsibilities: International Security would become “Arms Control and International Security,” and Economic and Agricultural Affairs would become “Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs.” Under Secretaries would get more authority over the bureaus, while the number of Deputy Assistant Secretaries and equivalents would be reduced.

The plan drew heavily on “State 2000,” a report prepared by a task force commissioned by former Under Secretary of State John F. W. Rogers and released in January.

May 26, 1993

Vice President Albert Gore held meetings at the Department of State to seek ideas from the foreign affairs community on “reinventing government.” In October, Under Secretary for Management Richard M. Moose submitted a 169-page, 220-part report entitled “Change at State.”

June 1993

Work began on the renovation of the Columbia Plaza office building (SA-1). Completion of the low-rise section was scheduled for the spring of 1995, after which work would begin on the high-rise section. Completion of the entire project was scheduled for 1996.

June 21, 1993

The Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs acquired several new offices: the Nuclear Risk Reduction Center, the Offices of the Ambassador-at-Large for Burdensharing and of the Coordinator for Export Control Policy. It acquired the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy and Energy Technology Affairs from OES, and the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Trade Control from EB. The Office of the Ambassador-at-Large and Special Adviser on Nonproliferation Policy and Nuclear Energy was eliminated.

August 1, 1993

A complete ban on smoking took effect in all Department of State buildings and annexes in the United States. The sole exception involved “international conferences and meetings attended primarily by non-U.S. citizens.”

October 13, 1993

Dedication of the National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, Virginia. Foreign Service Institute classes began moving there on October 25.


The Bureau of Consular Affairs established the Special Issuance Agency to issue diplomatic, official, and military dependent passports. It also obtained foreign visas for senior U.S. officials and Department personnel.

March 21, 1994

Civil Service employees voted to be represented by Local 1534 of the AFGE.

April 10, 1994

The Department of State began implementing an employee buyout program for Foreign Service personnel at or above the rank of FSO-2 and for Civil Service personnel at or above the rank of GS-13. Buyout bonuses were up to $25,000. Qualified Foreign Service personnel had to be over 50 with at least 20 years of service. Civil Service personnel had to be over 55 with 30 years of service, 60 with 20 years, or 62 with 5 years.

April 30, 1994

The Department of State Authorization Bill for 1994-95 (PL 103-236) made possible the implementation of Secretary of State Christopher’s reorganization plan. It authorized a fifth Under Secretary of State and up to 20 Assistant Secretaries (108 Stat. 402-403). The latter specifically included an Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. The office of Counselor of the Department of State was abolished (108 Stat. 402), and Counselor Timothy E. Wirth became Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs.

Section 140 of the Act authorized the Secretary to charge and retain a fee for processing machine-readable visas. Funds raised enabled the Department to provide every visa-issuing post with an automated name-check capability by September 28, 1996, and to install the Machine-Readable Visa system at all posts by August 23, 1996. The system was made Y2K compliant in September 1999.

May 12, 1994

More of Secretary Christopher’s reorganization plan went into effect. The Under Secretary for International Security Affairs was renamed “Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.” The Under Secretary for Economic and Agricultural Affairs was renamed “Under Secretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs.”

The Assistant Secretary for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs became the Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. The Bureau of Refugee Programs became the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and was headed by an Assistant Secretary. The new Bureau also assumed the functions of the Ambassador at Large for Refugee Affairs. The Office of the Coordinator for International Communications Policy was abolished and its functions transferred to the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.

June 24, 1994

The Department opened a National Visa Center at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

September 7, 1994

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved a consent decree that provided for back pay to female FSOs who had been eligible for promotion to the grade of FS-02 between 1976 and 1983. Twenty-two received retroactive promotions and fifteen received adjustments to their pensions.

December 1994

The Department of State began ALMA, (A Logical Modernization Approach), an information systems modernization program that phased out Wang VS series computers. The program was to be completed before 2000.

January 5, 1995

The Department of State announced a reorganization plan that would incorporate AID, ACDA, and USIA into it.

February 10, 1995

The Bureau of International Narcotics Matters became the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

February 22, 1995

The Bureau of Consular Affairs reorganized its Directorate of Overseas Citizens Service into three Offices: American Citizens Services and Crisis Management, Children’s Issues, and Policy Review and Interagency Liaison.

April 18, 1995

Team leaders of the Strategic Management Initiative issued a report outlining further proposals for increasing the efficiency of the Department of State.

May 1995

The Department of State opened the Charleston Financial Service Center in Charleston, South Carolina.

May 9, 1995

In response to a recommendation of the Strategic Management Initiative, Harold W. Geisel was appointed as Acting Chief Information Officer of the Department of State.


The Bureau of Public Affairs established a Regional Media Outreach Unit.

Establishment of the National Passport Information Center in Dover, New Hampshire.

February 10, 1996

The Information Technology Management Reform Act (110 Stat. 686) mandated the establishment of Chief Information Officers in federal agencies. They held rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary. Eliza McClenaghan was appointed as the Department of State’s Chief Information Officer on March 30.

February 12, 1996

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved a global consent decree in the Women’s Class Action Suit. It called for the creation of a Council for Equality in the Workplace chaired by the Under Secretary for Management, revised the EEO/diversity content of training courses for managers, and required that all supervisors of FSOs take such a course within 18 to 36 months and that all FSOs take one within 48 months. A working group would be appointed to ensure that Superior Honor Award nominations were equitably awarded.

April 26, 1996

An omnibus appropriations act merged the operations of the Inspector General’s Offices of the Department of State and ACDA and of USIA (110 Stat. 1321-27). It was a first step toward merging the three agencies.

May 6, 1996

The Columbia Plaza (SA-1) Child Care Center opened. It was dedicated on May 22.

May 22, 1996

Establishment of the Council for Equality in the Workplace.

October 1, 1996

The Office of Foreign Missions was merged with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

An inter-agency team devised a new framework for determining and allocating the costs of federal agency operations overseas. ICASS (International Cooperative Administrative Support Services) replaced the Foreign Affairs Administrative System (FAAS) the following year.

October 30, 1996

A School of Applied Information Technology was opened at the NFATC.

November 1996

The Department of State published a list of Foreign Service Hard-to-Fill (HTF) positions. In December, Civil Service personnel were allowed to bid for unfilled HTF positions; there were 153 applications for about ten positions.

January 23, 1997

Madeleine K. Albright became the first female Secretary of State.

April 18, 1997

President William J. Clinton announced plans to reorganize the Department of State and other foreign affairs agencies. The Arms Control and Disarmament Agency would be incorporated into the Department within one year; the U.S. Information Agency, within two years. Certain administrative functions of the Agency for International Development would be transferred to State within two years, and the International Development Cooperation Agency would be abolished.

May 5, 1997

The Department of State Library was named for Ralph J. Bunche, who served as an assistant division chief for colonial issues from 1944 to 1946. Bunche joined the staff of the United Nations in 1946, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for mediating an end to the First Arab-Israeli War.

May 11, 1997

A China 2000 Staff was established in the office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration to coordinate administrative issues concerning the Department’s presence in China. It was abolished January 17, 2000.

May 23, 1997

Secretary of State Albright announced that Acting Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy would be appointed to devise a plan for the incorporation of ACDA and USIA into the Department of State.

June 1997

The Bureau of Information Management was reorganized into seven offices: the Customer Center; Architecture, Planning and Program Review; Resources Management; Messaging Systems; Systems and Integration; Infrastructure; and Programs and Services.

August 5, 1997

The position of Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues was established. David J. Scheffer was the first appointee.

August 7, 1997

The office of Counselor was re-established. Wendy Ruth Sherman held the position until January 20, 2001, when the position was allowed to lapse again.

August 21, 1997

Three new Divisions were established in the Messaging Systems Office of the Bureau of Administration: Special Messaging Operations, Main State Messaging Center, and Beltsville Messaging Center.

September 25, 1997

In the Bureau of Administration, the Safety and Health Division and the Fire and Safety Office were combined into a Safety and Fire Division that was to manage the Department’s Safety, Health, and Environmental Management program.

November 1997

Secretary of State Albright approved a International Affairs Strategic Plan that announced seven primary goals: national security, economic prosperity, protection of Americans abroad, control of entry into the United States, cooperation with international law enforcement, promotion of democracy and human rights, humanitarian assistance in conflicts and natural disasters, and international environmental protection.


The Office for International Religious Freedom was established under a special representative to the Secretary. Robert A. Seiple received the rank of Ambassador at Large on March 25, 1999.

March 29, 1998

The Bureau of Information Resource Management was established. It incorporated the Bureau of Information Management and the Office of the Chief Information Officer. Fernando Burbano became its first Chief.

May 1998

The Department of State opened its first international videoconferencing center, in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. The first videoconference was between OES and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations as Acting Assistant Secretary Melinda Kimble and Ambassador Peter Burleigh discussed potential uses.

May 1, 1998

The Department of State instituted the Family Member Appointment program, which allowed U.S. citizen spouses and unmarried children ages 18-21 to receive federal employee benefits while accompanying an FSO serving overseas.

July 21, 1998

The Office of Policy in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration was divided into the Offices of Policy and Resource Planning and of Multilateral Coordination and External Relations. Two geographic Offices of Refugee Assistance and Migration were established, respectively covering Africa and Asia and Europe, the Near East, and the Americas.

October 21, 1998

The Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, part of an omnibus spending bill (112 Stat. 2681-766), mandated the incorporation of ACDA and USIA into the Department of State. It also authorized the appointment of up to 6 Under Secretaries of State and up to 24 Assistant Secretaries (112 Stat. 2681-825).

November 16, 1998

The National Passport Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, issued the first U.S. passports to feature a digitized photograph and data page. All domestic passport agencies were to be equipped to issue digital passports by the end of 1999.

November 25, 1998

Two Deputy Assistant Secretary positions were established in the Bureau of Administration: Logistics Management; and Records and Publishing Services.

December 9, 1998

Secretary of State Albright dedicated the first American Presence Post (APP) in Lyon, France. These were diplomatic posts that offered limited services and were meant to promote economic and commercial interests in areas undergoing rapid economic growth. APPS were later opened in Bordeaux, Lille, Rennes, and Toulouse.

December 30, 1998

President Clinton submitted a foreign affairs agency reorganization plan to Congress. ACDA would be merged with the Department of State on April 1, 1999. The Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs would assume charge of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and the new Bureaus of Arms Control and Nonproliferation. USIA would be merged with the Department of State on October 1. A new Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs would oversee the Bureau of Public Affairs and a new Bureau of Information Programs and International Exchanges. A Bureau of East European and Eurasian Affairs would be established to oversee the former Soviet Republics. AID would yield certain administrative functions to State. A public diplomacy cone would be created for FSOs.

January 8, 1999

Two commissions headed by retired Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr. issued their reports on the security of U.S. diplomatic missions after the August 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. The Commissions recommended that $1.4 billion a year be spent over ten years to improve embassy security, and suggested that embassies in high-risk areas be closed and replaced by “super-embassies” serving regions.

January 12, 1999

The Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs became the Bureau of European Affairs. The Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, after assuming responsibility for Canadian affairs, became the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.

February 1999

Secretary of State Albright established an Overseas Presence Advisory Panel to study changes in the organization of U.S. missions overseas. Attorney Lewis Kaden chaired the Panel.

March 15, 1999

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement was reorganized. The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary assumed responsibility for the Offices of Americas Programs and of Asia, Africa, and Multilateral Programs. The Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Crime and Policy Planning assumed responsibility for the Offices of Europe, NIS, and Training; and Policy Planning and Coordination. Several Offices changed their names: The Office of the Controller/Executive Director became the Office of Resource Management, the Office of Program Management became the Office of Americas Programs, the Office of Transnational Issues became the Office of Asia, Africa, and Multilateral Programs. Coordinators for Narcotics Affairs were authorized at certain overseas missions.

March 24, 1999

The Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs was reorganized. A Special Envoy for Korean Peace Talks was authorized. The Office of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodian Affairs assumed responsibility for Burma and Thailand. The Office of Pacific Island Affairs assumed responsibility for Australia and New Zealand.

March 31, 1999

President Clinton submitted a revised reorganization plan for U.S. foreign affairs agencies. USIA’s Bureaus of Education and Cultural Affairs and Information would not be combined. An Office of International Information Programs would be formed from USIA’s Bureau of Information. The Bureau of European Affairs would retain responsibility for the former Soviet republics.

April 1, 1999

ACDA was incorporated into the Department of State. Former Director John D. Holum became Senior Adviser for Arms Control and International Security pending Senate confirmation of his nomination as Under Secretary. He would oversee two new Bureaus: Arms Control, and Nonproliferation, as well as the existing Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

April 2, 1999

A reorganization of the Bureau of Administration replaced the Office of Facilities Management and Support Services with the Offices of General Services Management and Facility Management Services.

May 1, 1999

The Department of State certified that all 59 of its essential computer systems were Y2K compliant.

May 27, 1999

The Bureau of Finance and Management Policy became the Bureau of Financial Management and Policy, headed by a Chief Financial Officer.

A Geographic Information Unit was established in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues.

August 30, 1999

The Office of Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues was established. J. D. Bindenagel was appointed to the position.

September 8–9, 1999

The Department of State conducted a test of its computer systems for Y2K readiness, which they passed.

September 9, 1999

The Department of State’s Office of International Religious Freedom submitted its first annual report on religious freedom to Congress. The report, which was published in February 2000, covered 194 countries.

September 27, 1999

The Department of State and Local 1534 of AFGE signed a new collective bargaining agreement covering Civil Service employees, including those formerly employed by ACDA and USIA.

October 1, 1999

USIA was incorporated into the Department of State. An independent Broadcasting Board of Governors was formed to oversee international broadcasting functions that were not included in the merger. The position of Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs was created to oversee the new Bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs and International Information Programs, as well as the existing Bureau of Public Affairs. Evelyn S. Lieberman became the new Under Secretary.

The Department of State established the office of Casualty Assistance in the Bureau of Personnel to assist Department personnel and families who had been victims of terrorism.

November 1999

The Overseas Presence Advisory Panel released its report. It recommended the formation of an interagency committee to determine the number of agency personnel needed at each post. Increased funding and an administrative reorganization would be needed to improve overseas facilities. Foreign Buildings Operations should be made a federally-chartered corporation.

November 29, 1999

The section of an omnibus spending bill dealing with arms control, nonproliferation, and security assistance authorized an Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance (113 Stat. 1501A-486).

December 21, 1999

Establishment of the Bureau of Verification and Compliance, which would be overseen by the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. Owen James Sheaks, the first Assistant Secretary for Verification and Compliance, was appointed September 15, 2000.

December 31, 1999

The Department of State’s computer systems successfully made the transition to Y2K. During 1999, the Department replaced three e-mail systems (MS Mail, Wang Office, and CC Mail) with Microsoft software.