Social Studies - 2017-18

GOVT.12a - Responsibilities of the National Government for Foreign Policy and National Security

The student will apply social science skills to understand the role of the United States in a changing world by 

a) describing the responsibilities of the national government for foreign policy and national security;

Adopted: 2015



American foreign policy consists of the official positions and actions that the national government takes in its relationships with other countries.

One of the primary responsibilities of the national government is to protect its citizens. 


Foreign policy powers of the executive branch 

 The president has primary responsibility for making foreign policy. 

 The president is the commander in chief of the armed forces. 

 The president and the executive branch negotiate, persuade, apply economic pressure, and threaten military intervention. 

Foreign policy powers of other branches 

 Congress has the power to declare war and to appropriate funds. 

 The Senate has the power to confirm ambassadors and to ratify treaties. 

 The Supreme Court has the power to interpret treaties. 

Key agencies in the foreign policy and national security arenas 

 State Department 

 National Security Council 

 Foreign Service 

 Department of Defense 

 Central Intelligence Agency 

 Department of Homeland Security 

 Federal Bureau of Investigation 

Public opinion, special interests, international organizations, and foreign countries influence foreign policy and national security issues. 

Conventional diplomacy, foreign aid, economic sanctions, and military intervention abroad serve to protect American interests and promote national security.


Updated: May 17, 2017