Nahal Toosi, foreign affairs correspondent at Politico, discusses the State Department’s tumultuous reorganization strategy, and how not sharing details with Congress may have been the plan’s downfall.
With Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearings scheduled for some time this month, senators are expected to ask the nominee about how he would manage the State Department’s reorganization. Politico reports that Secretary Tillerson spent about $12 million hiring consultants for the plan, which had been drastically reduced in scale by the end of his tenure. Nahal Toosi, foreign affairs correspondent at Politico, told Government Matters that while many sections of the State Department initially supported the program, they didn’t have much input. “Tillerson came in, and basically at the top, he not only imposed a hiring freeze, he also said ‘I want to cut hundreds of staff members, like 9 percent of the Foreign Service.’ And people were like ‘Wait a minute, you just got here but you’ve already decided that you need to make these cuts. What it that based on?’ and it didn’t seem to be based on a lot,” said Toosi. “From there, it went on to a situation where he brought in outside consultants. He and his top staff…largely isolated themselves within the department. They didn’t really tap into the expertise that was already in the department. Even when they said it was going to be an employee‑driven process, the employees themselves felt very much out of the loop.”