By Julian Pecquet - 02/04/13 03:22 PM EST
The department has come under withering criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill following the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, whom Kerry honored by name.
“And I guarantee you that beginning this morning when I report to duty upstairs, everything I do will be focused on the security and safety of our people. We have tough decisions to make, but I guarantee you that I will do everything I can to live up to the high standards that Secretary Clinton and her team put in place.”
He went on to reassure his new employees that he was one of them. Kerry said he had the diplomatic service “in his genes” and recalled that he got his first diplomatic passport when he was 11 years old, as the son of a Foreign Service officer.
For more on Kerry's remarks, click here.