Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Vacancies Left by the Now-Vacated Rex Tillerson

It's odd that Rex Tillerson may have been the most principled member of the current administration, and yet he was also really bad. This graphic from MSNBC last night highlights one of his key failures:

Those numbers aren't completely useful unless you know how those numbers of vacancies compare to the total number of positions, though. Leaving aside the ambassadors, since I don't know how MSNBC defined "key," I thought I would look into how many assistant secretaries and under-secretaries there are.

According to the Wikipedia, there are 24 people with the title assistant secretary, so 16 is two-thirds of that number. There are also 11 other positions that aren't called assistant secretary, but have the same rank, so I don't know if Tillerson left 16 out of 24 or 35 positions vacant, but either way, that's pretty bad.

But it's got nothing on the under-secretary vacancies. You may have heard there is no under-secretary for Asia, for instance, in the midst of the North Korean crisis. Well guess what: there are only six under-secretaries altogether.

Every one of those positions is vacant.

Clearly this is an ideological statement about perceived bloat and bureaucracy, and the idea that the Secretary of State can be in charge of all those areas with direct reports from the assistants or other staff.

But really. Can we not have an expert in charge of a continent?

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