Small Wars Journal

Tillerson's State Overhaul Faces Mutiny as USAID Weighs Role

Tillerson's State Overhaul Faces Mutiny as USAID Weighs Role by Nick Wadhams - Bloomberg News

The agency in charge of U.S. foreign aid has put Rex Tillerson on notice about rising frustration over his State Department redesign, the most visible sign yet of the confusion surrounding his bid to reshape American diplomacy.

“Per direction from the Front Office, we are suspending all USAID involvement in the Joint Redesign as of Monday, January 22nd,” Jim Richardson, the redesign chief at the U.S. Agency for International Development, said in a Jan. 19 email to senior staff obtained by Bloomberg News. “You should not work on any Joint Redesign activities.”

Pressed to explain the email, USAID spokesman Clayton McCleskey said the agency is “currently clarifying the roles and responsibilities of USAID staff who will be working with State on the Redesign, and the exact outcomes and timelines for each project. USAID looks forward to continuing to contribute to the Redesign process, through which we will strengthen both State and USAID.”

The contradictory signals reflect increasing discord over Tillerson’s redesign, which has been the signature initiative of the secretary of state’s term so far but has been clouded by a wave of departures and a lack of clarity over its goals. The restructuring is intended to modernize the department and eliminate overlap but faces resistance within the department and in Congress, where critics say it has contributed to key positions going unfilled and plummeting morale…

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