President Trump’s budget calls for drastic cuts in anti-poverty programs, which have received the bulk of attention. But large federal agencies are also set to shrink, like the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department. The cuts at State have become a rallying point for some conservatives who fear embassy security could become a bigger issue if the budget isn’t amended. Suffice to say, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s effort to reorganize the State Department isn’t going well and a recent survey of thousand State employees bears this out.
Per the Wall Street Journal:
Many of the more than 35,000 State Department and USAID employees responding to the survey indicated longtime frustration with the way the agencies function, including poor technology and duplicative and redundant processes that make frequent workarounds necessary. They also cited pet projects created by ambassadors and Congress, according to the report reviewed by the Journal.
The report, ordered by Tillerson and conducted by a consulting firm, also notes that the department is facing difficulties dealing with diplomatic issues since so many senior positions at State remain unfilled. The report says there is also a sense that the direction of the department isn’t at all clear and that Trump and Tillerson aren’t sure what the department does:
“People do not speak optimistically about the future,” the report says. “The absence of a clear vision of the future allows room for speculation and rumor about what the future could bring, such as further USAID integration into DOS [Department of State] or the militarization of foreign policy.”
“People question if these two groups understand the role the Department of State plays in forwarding the interests of the United States in the world,” the report says.
One respondent said that they feared the budget cuts would result in talented people leaving State and will handcuff the department’s mission for decades to come.
In response to the report, Tillerson is expected to name Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, the only other Senate-confirmed official in the department, as the head of a task force that will focus on areas highlighted by the report and submit a new report to the Office of Management and Budget in the fall.
(via Wall Street Journal)