Acting Commissioner Aaron R. Fichtner delivers the convocation tackle for the Rutgers School of Management & Labor Relations.
The purge has left a gaping gap at the heart of US diplomacy: the incoming secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has but to be confirmed and the Trump workforce has not named candidates to fill several ranges of leadership beneath him. Its solely nominations thus far have been ambassadors to China and Israel. All additional nominees to senior posts will take months of security vetting and affirmation.
At the Pentagon and in Foggy Bottom, I noticed firsthand how this distinction in priorities translated into striking variations in useful resource allocation and institutional tradition. At State, despite engaged on an issue that was on the very prime of Secretary of State John Kerry’s agenda—Middle East peace—I needed to walk throughout the corridor simply to use a secure phone to name my White House or Pentagon colleagues, most of whom had these phones at their desks.
I suppose the problem for us is how effectively we ship on that mission by way of all of the various points of what the State Department does, from diplomacy to our help programs to helping nations which are just emerging to coping with conflicts,” he stated. Turnover is the rule, slightly than the exception, among the high officials in the U.S. authorities when the White House changes hands from one occasion to a different, in this case from Democrat Barack Obama to Republican Donald Trump.
Countryman’s place was especially delicate. He was acting as undersecretary T”, the official required to sign off on US arms gross sales or security assistance overseas, and the particular person charged with negotiating, implementing and verifying worldwide arms control agreements and international security. As a results of the shutdown, State Department staff are unable to entry the Internet through their unclassified system or to reliably receive e-mails from individuals exterior the agency. Unclassified e-mails within the department continue to movement.