State Dept survey reveals despair in the ranks: ‘People do not speak optimistically about the future’
A survey of workers in the U.S. State Department under President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has found that morale is at low and that employees “do not speak optimistically about the future.”
Workers said that they do not trust that Pres. Trump and former Exxon CEO Tillerson understand the role that the State Department plays in foreign policy and how it affects the country’s standing in the world.
“People question if these two groups understand the role the Department of State plays in forwarding the interests of the United States in the world,” said a summary of the survey’s results.
With dozens of positions unfilled and Trump seemingly impervious to any advice or guidance in his dealings with international leaders, many workers at the State Department are fearing for the agency’s future.
“People do not speak optimistically about the future,” the survey says. “The absence of a clear vision of the future allows room for speculation and rumor about what the future could bring, such as further [U.S. Agency of International Development] integration into the [State Department] or the militarization of foreign policy.”
When asked to assess Tillerson’s performance thus far, some employees were complimentary, but others gave responses that were “coarse and vulgar.”
“I am concerned that the dramatic reduction in budget, paired with extended staffing gaps at the most senior level, will result in the loss of not only an exceptionally talented group of people from our ranks, but will hamper our impact to fulfill our mission for decades to come,” wrote one employee worried by Trump’s proposed draconian budget cuts to the department’s resources.
“People need more leadership — We have vacancies at the highest levels — no one there to make the decisions that need to be made. People can continue to do their jobs, but the guidance is outdated — what are our priorities? No one knows,” wrote another employee.
The survey polled 35,386 department employees and was conducted by an external polling firm.
The Hill noted that when asked about Trump’s proposed cuts to the State Department, Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “It’s not going to happen. It would be a disaster. A budget this lean would put those who serve overseas for the State Department at risk. And it’s not going to happen.”