Impact of State Department leadership shake-up on its employees

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Phillip Carter, Senior Fellow & Counsel at the Center for a New American Security discusses how officials at the State Department are feeling after Rex Tillerson’s departure, and how the incoming secretary could improve morale.


 

The sudden removal of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State sent shockwaves throughout the federal government. As personnel at the Department of State prepare for the arrival of the new secretary, Mike Pompeo, the transition presents the opportunity to improve morale at the agency, after a year of chaos.

 

“From the start, he’s going to deal with the wreckage of Rex Tillerson’s tenure, and that’s going to be very challenging,” said Phillip Carter, Senior Fellow & Counsel at the Center for a New American Security. “A reorganization plan that never took root, a lot of scar tissue among the career civil servants and foreign service officers there and an empty top floor of the building that’s never been filled with political appointees.”

 

Carter says that because Pompeo is closer to president Trump than Tillerson was, filling those vacant positions at the State Department could happen very quickly after he is confirmed.

 

“There’s the old saw in Washington, ‘Personnel is policy’ and so filling those slots is really important for carrying out the president’s agenda, whether it’s on North Korea or refugees or any other subject the State Department touches,” Carter told Government Matters.