Lawmakers Criticize Tillerson’s State Department Reforms

A growing bipartisan group of top lawmakers are dissatisfied with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s efforts to reform the State Department, questioning his leadership, Foreign Policy reports.

“Tillerson has not been an effective voice to represent the State Department through reorganization,” Senator Ben Cardin, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Wednesday.

Previously, Senator Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and one of Tillerson’s closest allies, blasted the secretary of state for bungling the proposed State Department redesign, ostensibly meant to streamline staff and boost efficiency.

“I don’t think they are anywhere close to having a plan to present relative to the reforms that they want,” Corker said. Meanwhile, Senators John McCain and Jeanne Shaheen wrote a letter to Tillerson expressing their reservations about his management decisions, including maintaining a hiring freeze during the overhaul, pushing out top career officials, and curbing promotions for those who stay.

The latest series of events underscore growing congressional concern and frustration over the Trump administration’s handling of the State Department and the place of diplomacy in achieving U.S. foreign-policy goals. And it comes amid swirling rumors that Tillerson could be replaced by Mike Pompeo, currently CIA director and a former congressman from Kansas, FP writes.

Tillerson started the redesign process early on in his tenure to make the department more efficient and cut out needless bureaucracy and redundant roles, beginning with hiring corporate consultants to run a “listening tour” of the department’s employees to gain their feedback on how best to reform. But much of the department has been cut out of the process, leaving many career employees in the dark on Tillerson’s final redesign recommendations, FP notes.

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