State Department Hit by Mass Exodus of Senior Officials

The Trump administration wanted to 'clean house,' says one source
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2017 3:28 PM CST

(Newser) – On Wednesday, four top-level management officials resigned from the State Department, the Washington Post reports. A former State Department chief of staff calls it the "single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember." According to CNN, the four officials are taking 150 total years of State Department experience with them. The four resignations were the undersecretary for management, assistant secretary of state for administration, assistant secretary of state for consular affairs, and director of the Office of Foreign Missions. Combined with two earlier departures, the State Department has essentially been left without any senior management overseeing it or its employees.

While the Post reports it's unclear if the four officials resigned on their own or were forced out, a State Department official tells CNN it was an attempt by the Trump administration to "clean house." The official says the staffers didn't quit in protest and there was no attempt "to dis the President." And while a State Department spokesperson says this is normal with a new administration, the American Foreign Service Association admits it's a "large turnover in a short period of time," NBC News reports. It's typical to leave career officials in place until replacements are found, but that won't be the case this time. Sources say it could be impossible to find people with the necessary experience and expertise in the private sector; the officials are expected to be replaced from within the department. (Read more State Department stories.)

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