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U.S. State Department’s ‘Redesign’ Must Maintain Robust Diplomatic Corps

Washington Post: Tillerson’s ‘redesign’ for State looks a lot like a retreat
Editorial Board

“What is going on at the State Department? … In a forthcoming issue of the Foreign Service Journal, the monthly magazine of the American Foreign Service Association (which is the professional association and union of the Foreign Service), the group’s president, former Ambassador Barbara Stephenson, raises a fresh alarm about the future of the U.S. diplomatic corps. … Ms. Stephenson reports that the department has decided ‘to slash promotion numbers by more than half.’ … ‘The rapid loss of so many senior officers has a serious, immediate, and tangible effect on the capacity of the United States to shape world events,’ she wrote. In response, a State Department spokeswoman said that ‘suggestions that drastic cuts to our Foreign Service ranks are taking place are simply not accurate,’ that freezes on hiring and promotions ‘are only temporary,’ and that Mr. Tillerson’s commitment will be ‘reinforced once the freezes on personnel movement, including hiring, are lifted at the appropriate time.’ When will that be? … The United States has sprawling interests around the globe, and the State Department is on the front lines. The world is not growing any less adversarial, nor the need for diplomacy any less urgent. The ‘redesign’ must not be a recipe for retreat” (11/12).