Over the past few months, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been reshaping the State Department with a series of staff reductions. Now, yet another top official has found himself being pushed out.
The New York Times reported that Chief of Security Bill A. Miller was just forced out by Tillerson, and he joins a parade of dismissals and early retirements that has decimated the State Department’s senior ranks. These departures have brought about a new stage of Tillerson’s contentious relationship with much of his department’s staffers.
This came a week after the Democratic members of the House Foreign Relations Committee wrote a letter to Tillerson citing “the exodus of more than 100 senior Foreign Service officers from the State Department since January,” as they expressed concern about “what appears to be the intentional hollowing-out of our senior diplomatic ranks.”
Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, sent a similar letter to McCain in which they wrote that “America’s diplomatic power is being weakened internally as complex global crises are growing externally.”
Tillerson has always been open about the fact that he believes the State Department is a bloated bureaucracy and that he regards much of the day-to-day diplomacy that lower-level officials conduct as unproductive. Before he was even confirmed, Tillerson’s staff fired six of the State Department’s top career diplomats, including Patrick Kennedy, who had been appointed to his position by President George W. Bush, and Kristie Kenney, the department’s counselor and one of just five career ambassadors.
Mr. Tillerson’s spokesman, R. C. Hammond, said that any suggestion that these departures had a negative effect are wrong.
“There are qualified people who are delivering on America’s diplomatic mission,” Hammond said. “It’s insulting to them every time someone comes up to them and says that the State Department is being gutted.”
Though liberals are furious about what Tillerson is doing, conservatives are overjoyed that he is trimming the fat in the State Department. We’re so glad to see that President Donald Trump’s administration is continuing to make these cuts.