The head of the American Foreign Service Association, Barbara Stephenson, has commented on a shortage of US career ambassadors amid serious cuts to the 2018 diplomatic budget.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The US Department of State has lost 60 percent of its career ambassadors under the administration of President Donald Trump over a reduction in promotion numbers, according to Barbara Stephenson, head of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA).
“There is no denying that our leadership ranks are being depleted at a dizzying speed, due in part to the decision to slash promotion numbers by more than half. The Foreign Service officer corps at [the State Department] has lost 60 percent of its Career Ambassadors since January. Ranks of Career Ministers, our three-star equivalents, are down from 33 to 19. The ranks of our two-star Minister Counselors have fallen from 431 right after Labor Day to 369 today – and are still falling,” Stephenson told the Foreign Service Journal.
According to her, the self-imposed hiring freeze will result in only 100 new specialists being employed in 2018 compared to 366 new employees in 2016.
“The rapid loss of so many senior officers has a serious, immediate, and tangible effect on the capacity of the United States to shape world events.”
The 2018 fiscal year budget implies about a 30 percent cut in the financing of US diplomacy and foreign aid. Amid financing cuts, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has announced his intention to reduce the number of the department’s staff by 2,300 people, denying claims that the institution is facing a staffing crisis, however, President Donald Trump allegedly rejected the applications of those who opposed his candidacy.