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U.S. Department of State Personnel: Background and Selected Issues for Congress

CRS report via FAS – U.S. Department of State Personnel: Background and Selected Issues for Congress. Cory R. Gill, Analyst in Foreign Affairs. May 18, 2018.
“Shortly after his confirmation as Secretary of State in April 2018, Secretary Mike Pompeo lifted the hiring freeze that former Secretary Rex Tillerson left in place for over a year. Guidance issued after Secretary Pompeo’s action indicates that the department intends to increase Foreign and Civil Service personnel levels in a manner consistent with the language and funding Congress included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141). The Trump Administration has taken additional actions affecting Department of State personnel, including designing “keystone modernization projects” within its Leadership and Modernization Impact Initiative. These projects seek to strengthen workforce readiness and enhance performance management and employee accountability, among other goals. The State Department is also prioritizing efforts to address long-standing concerns regarding the perceived lack of diversity in the Foreign Service. The Trump Administration has moved more slowly than previous Administrations in transmitting nominations for senior Department of State positions to the Senate for advice and consent; meanwhile, the Senate has taken longer than it has in the past to provide advice and consent for many of those nominations that have been transmitted.Some Members of Congress and other observers have expressed varying levels of concern with some of these developments, with some arguing that the Trump Administration (especially under former Secretary Tillerson) had been purposefully attempting to weaken the Department of State and diminish its influence in developing and implementing U.S. foreign policy. Secretary Pompeo pledged that he will work to enable the Department of State to play a central role in implementing President Trump’s agenda and protecting the national security of the United States, while empowering the department’s personnel in their roles..”

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