CIA Director Mike Pompeo will work to repair a shelled-out State Department if the Senate confirms his nomination to run the department, the White House said in a statement Wednesday night.
“I’ll do my part to end the vacancies, but I’ll need your help,” Pompeo is expected to say in his opening remarks during Thursday’s confirmation hearing. Recent reports show the State currently has more unfilled positions requiring Senate confirmation than any other cabinet department.
Pompee, a former Republican Senator from Kansas, believes filling open spots at State is part and parcel to boosting department morale. “And I will work every day to provide dedicated leadership and convey my faith in their work,” he will note, according to excerpts from his opening statement.
Ninety senior positions at State either had no nominee, were waiting to be submitted to the Senate for consideration, or were pending confirmation as of April 10. Many of the jobs are at the critical undersecretary level — political appointees who head up State’s functional and geographic bureaus and implement the president’s foreign policy vision.
More than half of State’s political vacancies never received a nominee under outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. That was partly a result of Tillerson’s department redesign, which slowed down hiring at all levels, and partly due to disagreements between Foggy Bottom and the White House over who should fill the positions.
Pompeo will likely bring big changes to State. He will target the 2015 international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, some believe. Economic sanctions could be leveled on Iran if Pompeo moves to eliminate the Iran deal entirely.
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