The State Department is planning to reduce staffing by thousands as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson moves forward with efforts to streamline the agency that conservative critics say has outgrown its core functions.
As many as 2,300 foreign and civil service positions—about 9 percent of the Americans in State’s workforce worldwide—will be cut over the next two years, department sources told Bloomberg. Most of the reduction will come from attrition: 1,700 employees won’t be replaced after they retire. The remaining 600 will be asked to leave State early through buyouts, according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg on the condition of anonymity.
The staff reduction is part of a larger restructuring plan Tillerson has initiated in order to satisfy President Donald Trump’s demand to cut spending across the federal government. A budget outline released in March for fiscal year 2018 asked Congress to cleave 28.5 percent of State’s funding from fiscal year 2016 levels.
The secretary and his inner circle are currently on a “listening tour” of the department, which they hope will provide a better picture of which bureaus and offices have become bloated or redundant. Tillerson spokesman R.C. Hammond says the secretary will be able to fill nearly 200 vacant senior leadership positions and map out further restructuring once the tour is finished.
Trump administration critics say they fear that Tillerson will take a broadsword to State when a scalpel is the right tool for the job.
“Just cutting without deciding what change you want to make is simply mindless,” Stephen Sestanovich, a professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, told Bloomberg.
“A new administration is right to look at what Cabinet departments do, but does it want the United States to do less in the world—and if so, exactly what?” he asked. “Those are the questions that need to be answered before you make big cuts at State.”
Tillerson will address department staff next week to mark the first 90 days of his tenure and lay out his vision for State’s future, Bloomberg reported. The secretary told NPR Friday that State is probably trying to do too many things that aren’t related to its core mission to “provide the national security needs of the American people, and to advance America’s economic interest around the world.”
“If one looks at the State Department over the last, say, decade, if you look at a chart from 10 years ago and you look at a chart today, there’s a lot of added boxes on that chart,” Tillerson said.
“We are undertaking a reorganization of the State Department, but it’s not just a collapse of boxes. What we really want to do is examine the process by which the men and women [of the department] … deliver on that mission.”
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Read more here: http://dailysignal.com/2017/04/28/rex-tillerson-plans-major-staff-cuts-in-state-department-restructuring/ by Will Racke Originally posted on http://dailysignal.com/