At Trump’s State Department, Eight of Ten Top Jobs Are Empty

By Bill FariesBill Faries and Mira RojanasakulMira Rojanasakul
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The leadership of the U.S. State Department was already thin as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson flew back from an abbreviated trip to Africa on Monday night. Then came the bombshell: Tillerson was ousted, via a Twitter announcement by President Donald Trump.

Tillerson had spent his weekend in Africa fighting for his job after a middle-of-the-night White House call warning him that Trump was looking to shake-up his staff. But after returning to Washington at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Tillerson didn’t think any decision was imminent. Then came the president’s tweet, which said CIA Director Mike Pompeo would be nominated as Tillerson’s replacement.

FIRED

Rex Tillerson

SECRETARY OF STATE

RETIRING

ACTING

John J. Sullivan

DEPUTY SECRETARY

Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.

UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS

Heather Nauert

ACTING UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

VACANT

VACANT

VACANT

DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE FOR MANAGEMENT & RESOURCES

UNDER SECRETARY FOR MANAGEMENT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR ARMS CONTROL & INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

VACANT

VACANT

VACANT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR CIVILIAN SECURITY, DEMOCRACY, & HUMAN RIGHTS

UNDER SECRETARY FOR

ECONOMIC GROWTH, ENERGY, & THE ENVIRONMENT

COUNSELOR OF THE

DEPARTMENT

FIRED

Rex Tillerson

SECRETARY OF STATE

RETIRING

ACTING

John J. Sullivan

DEPUTY SECRETARY

Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.

UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS

Heather Nauert

ACTING UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

VACANT

VACANT

VACANT

DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE FOR MANAGEMENT & RESOURCES

UNDER SECRETARY FOR MANAGEMENT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR ARMS CONTROL & INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

VACANT

VACANT

VACANT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR CIVILIAN SECURITY, DEMOCRACY, & HUMAN RIGHTS

UNDER SECRETARY FOR

ECONOMIC GROWTH, ENERGY, & THE ENVIRONMENT

COUNSELOR OF THE

DEPARTMENT

FIRED

Rex Tillerson

SECRETARY OF STATE

ACTING

John J. Sullivan

DEPUTY SECRETARY

Heather Nauert

ACTING UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

RETIRING

VACANT

Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.

UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS

DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE FOR MANAGEMENT & RESOURCES

VACANT

VACANT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR MANAGEMENT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR ARMS CONTROL & INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

VACANT

VACANT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR CIVILIAN SECURITY, DEMOCRACY, & HUMAN RIGHTS

UNDER SECRETARY FOR

ECONOMIC GROWTH, ENERGY, & THE ENVIRONMENT

VACANT

COUNSELOR OF THE

DEPARTMENT

FIRED

Rex Tillerson

SECRETARY OF STATE

John J. Sullivan

DEPUTY SECRETARY

Heather Nauert

ACTING UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

ACTING

RETIRING

Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.

UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS

VACANT

DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE FOR MANAGEMENT & RESOURCES

VACANT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR MANAGEMENT

VACANT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR ARMS CONTROL & INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

UNDER SECRETARY FOR CIVILIAN SECURITY, DEMOCRACY, & HUMAN RIGHTS

VACANT

VACANT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH, ENERGY, & THE ENVIRONMENT

VACANT

COUNSELOR OF THE DEPARTMENT

FIRED

Rex Tillerson

SECRETARY OF STATE

RETIRING

VACANT

ACTING

John J. Sullivan

DEPUTY SECRETARY

Heather Nauert

ACTING UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY & PUBLIC AFFAIRS

Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.

UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS

DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE FOR MANAGEMENT & RESOURCES

VACANT

VACANT

VACANT

VACANT

VACANT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR MANAGEMENT

UNDER SECRETARY FOR ARMS CONTROL & INTERNATIONAL SECURITY

UNDER SECRETARY FOR CIVILIAN SECURITY, DEMOCRACY, & HUMAN RIGHTS

UNDER SECRETARY FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH, ENERGY, & THE ENVIRONMENT

COUNSELOR OF THE DEPARTMENT

With his voicing cracking at a hastily arranged news conference, Tillerson praised his colleagues and urged senior staff to stay on through the transition. While he said he’d remain in his job through March 31, he said he was handing over all responsibilities to his deputy, John Sullivan.

Sullivan won’t have a lot of company in the job. Eight of 10 top jobs at the State Department are now vacant, either because staff have left, been fired or the posts were never filled. Those vacant assignments include positions overseeing the agency’s role in U.S. trade policy, stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, refugee issues and efforts to counter human trafficking.

After dismissing Tillerson, the White House also fired Steve Goldstein, Tillerson's undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, and announced that State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert would fill the post on an acting basis.

Morale at the department was already low as staff rebelled against Tillerson’s planned restructuring, opposed Trump’s policies and watched experienced colleagues shifted into more menial jobs, like dealing with Freedom of Information Act requests. Some will be glad to see Tillerson gone. Most, though, will wonder if life will be any different under his successor.