The State Department needs diversity, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who announced plans to include more minorities in the department while speaking to student interns and fellows, reportedly.
Tillerson said that he learned to appreciate the value of having great diversity in leadership roles during his years in business. The former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief executive officer said minorities bring different cultural perspectives and “will see things in the world that I cannot see.”
The secretary of state said race relation is “a topic that’s on everyone’s mind,” and he is telling the hiring committees to include at least one minority candidate in every U.S. ambassadorship. He’s promised to do more to recruit at historically black and Hispanic schools.
“We have to own this process,” Tillerson said. “That doesn’t mean coming through town and dropping some pamphlets off at the recruiting office.”
Tillerson says only 12 percent of senior foreign-service officers are minorities, while just a third are women. In Tillerson’s estimation, the department has a “great diversity gap.”
Tillerson’s conclusions, that the State Department hasn’t done enough historically to include minorities or women, seems to be a criticism of his predecessors. Currently, the majority – nearly 70 percent – of U.S. ambassadorship positions are filled by career foreign-service officers, hired by the department. The remaining positions are filled by people appointed by the president.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the controversy over comments President Trump made regarding the Virginia rally violence on Saturday has created “dismay” at the State Department. The president made clear he felt multiple groups, and not just white nationalists, were responsible for the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, and further said all sides had some good people. His comments are reportedly causing a shift in the State Department staff.
According to the report, some employees are “unwilling to represent the Trump administration overseas,” and have started to seek employment elsewhere.
Whether the source is accurate, Tillerson made clear in his comments that he feels racism has no place in his department.
“We do not honor nor do we promote or accept hate speech in any form, and those who embrace it poison our public discourse and they damage the very country that they claim to love,” Tillerson said Friday. “So we condemn racism, bigotry in all its forms. Racism is evil, it is antithetical to American values, it’s antithetical to the American idea.”
Tillerson ended his comments to the student interns and fellows by giving them some valuable advice: Don’t compromise your integrity.
“You may have a short-term gain out of that but once you relinquish any element of your personal integrity, it is very very difficult to regain it,” he told them.
In a previous report, as a way to respond to cybersecurity threats, the State Department quietly established the Cyber and Technology Security (CTS) directorate. The new office, created earlier this year, was set within the Diplomatic Security Service.
On May 11, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at protecting the nation’s infrastructure from incurring cyber attacks and increasing cyber security initiatives. The executive order commanded a review of the United States’ cybersecurity capabilities, seeking to improve the network security of government agencies.
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