Report: State Department Senior Officials Resign En Mass
Incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hasn’t had chance to get his feet wet when it comes to the affairs of the State Department. Now, it seems that he is going to have to hire a lot of staff as well as learning the ropes.
The Washington Post is reporting that senior State Department officials, including undersecretary Patrick Kennedy, abruptly resigned. According to the Post, Kennedy was helping with the transition as he had previously done for three different administrations. He was also angling to keep his job under President Donald Trump’s administration but that has since changed with his resignation. The abrupt departure occurred after Tillerson was at the State Department’s headquarters getting the lay of the land.
Among those who left included Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry Smith, director of the Office of Foreign Missions. The Post’s sources also indicated that Kennedy would be retiring at the end of the month. Along with these officials and some others, it would appear to be an unprecedented house cleaning by State Department officials.
“It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry, said to the . “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”
There has been some issues with Trump’s administration finding replacements as it is and this is going to further compound and complicate things for the newly sworn in President—especially with a lot of his campaign promises focusing on foreign relations. The question is where can Tillerson go to look to find people with the proper expertise?
“Diplomatic security, consular affairs, there’s just not a corollary that exists outside the department, and you can least afford a learning curve in these areas where issues can quickly become matters of life and death,” Wade said to the Washington Post. “The muscle memory is critical. These retirements are a big loss. They leave a void. These are very difficult people to replace.”
information was used from the Washington Post.