- The Washington Times - Friday, April 26, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday rolled out a new “professional ethos” mission for employees of the State Department, after months of criticism that the department has been suffering from morale and personnel problems.

The initiative, announced to the department in a large banner unveiled in its Foggy Bottom headquarters, reads “I am a champion of American diplomacy,” and aims to reinvest in the department and “deliver our diplomacy effectively.”

As part of the initiative, Mr. Pompeo, a former Republican congressman and President Trump’s first CIA director, said an “ethos award” will be given annually to the employee who best embodies the State Department mission.

“Our mission is to champion the American way of life,” Mr. Pompeo said.

Officials who worked on the mission with Mr. Pompeo told The Washington Times earlier this month the plan aims to break what the secretary sees as decades-old barriers between services within the State Department, as well as a plan for how to more effectively train incoming officials and generally restore confidence inside Foggy Bottom.

The officials said a central problem has come from discrepancies in training, with some employees — particularly political appointees — lacking a full understanding of what other branches of the department do each day.

Mr. Pompeo’s arrival at the department a year ago came amid lagging morale that coincided sharp proposed budget cuts under President Trump and a disruptive reorganization push by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, whom Mr. Trump fired.

The White House’s proposed FY2020 budget, released last month, calls again for sharp cuts in State Department and foreign aid funding, and has sparked internal grumbling about Mr. Pompeo’s claims the department is regaining its “swagger.”

Critics on Capitol Hill and some within the State Department also complain that a high number of ambassadorships and top department are unfilled or filled by acting personnel.


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