tv Deputy Secretary Sullivan Testifies on State Department Reorganization CSPAN July 17, 2017 5:01pm-6:43pm EDT
>> we take you live now to capitol hill where deputy secretary of state john sullivan is teffing on proposed reorganization plans for the state department. part of the president's 2018 budget request. this is happening before the senate relations committee. it should be getting underway shortly. this is live coverage on cspan
3. >> recess for 15 minutes and come back at 5:45 so everyone can go over and vote and be back and hear what everyone else's question. we thank you for being here mr. secretary again. so promptly. we appreciate that you've made time to appear before this committee twice in h a week's time passing an annual state department bill is one of the fundamental responsibilities of this committee. when we shirk that responsibility and decline to exercise our oversight we in essence surrender our authority and we fail to do the job our constituents sent us here to do. restoring is this annual practice was a top priority of mine when he became thachairmand i'm proud of the progress we made last year when the first authorization bill in 14 years became law and i want to thank everybody on this committee for
making that happen. however, because of previous inaction, there are programs at the department that have not been appropriately reviewed and analyzed in well over a decade. this lack of oversight results in wasteful spending and a lack of transparency. this contains numerous important provisions that build upon last year's bill. and programs that spent billions of dollars of taxpayer money. we also understand this legislation is being crafted in the early stages of the department's plans for reorganization. we expect that that reorganization will be a topic of a good bit of our conversation today we're poliled you've come before us to speak about the process to reorganize the department and you being here is further evidence of the new administrations commitment to openness and consultation with congress. i appreciate the 45 minutes or so you spent with ben and i last
week before the hearing. rather than being a hindrance to the secretary as he assesses the future structure of the department i believe i'd a tool that will assist the administration while also surfing serving as a mek sichl. ranking member and i in our respective staffs worked successfully in the past two years to pass authorization bills out of committee and get a combination signed into law. again, i want to thank you, senator card for your dedication making sure this committee continues to fulfill its duty this year as well. i want to thank all of the members for cooperation. we're here today to discuss the bill we've shared with everyone and look forward to hearing your views, thank you again. i'm turn it 20e6r to our distinguished member. >> thank you. i guess we treated you well enough the last time you came back so soon. it's always a pleasure to have
you here. this is an extremely important hearing. review of the state department reauthorization bill. for fy 18 as well as the state department's reorganization plans. chairman has laid out what both of us feel very passionately about. that is congress has a responsibility to authorize the programs at the state department and senate foreign relations committee needs to do that work. we watch what the armed services committee does with the national defense authorization act which is a very important bill, and we recognize that a lot of issues that should come through this committee, we need to look at the nda bill inrd 0er to try to get a vehicle to get those issue in into statute. we should have our own opportunity to do that. under chairman corker's lead everiship we were able to get done in the last congress and look forward to your help in
establishing that principle. the draft legislation we're looking at deals with the organization of the department of state. it deals with embassy construction, personnel issues, diversity, information security, public -- anticorruption and other related issues. it's more ambitious than i would say the bill we had the last time, and it keeps building on what we believe is the appropriate role. the but we do need your help. now, it is complicated because there's a new administration, and there's also a listening tour going on and a reorganization going on. so you have committed to us that we, congress, this committee, will be a part of that consultation as you look at the reorganization of the department of state, how we handle the state authorization needs to be consistent with congressional input into the reorganization. that presents an additional
challenge. when we had the hearing on the -- this year's tip report, i went over the fact that this there had been press reports that cons l---being considered o transfer for department of homeland security or being abolished and raised serious questions as to whether that was advisable. we also know the discussion of whether usaid would maintain its quasi independence. these are independence ish you as that obviously this committee has great interest. the as we look at state thaurgs and reorganization it's important we nfrp stand how these issues are being contemplated. then we have an area that has me greatly concerned. reduction of the work force by attrition. to me that's a non strategic way to reduce the numbers based upon who retires and could very well
compromise the ability of the state department to carry out its mission. we all know about the budget and that was submitted by the trump administration that would very seriously compromise the ability of the united states to maintain its global leadership on diplomacy, but i do mention there is in that budget, the elimination of the development assistance and usaid, the ewill im nation of economic support and putting it into a new category of development assistance and economic support. but at 40% lower funds. so, as we are looking at authorization, it's important that we understand what's going on here, because it doesn't seem to add up to what we think are important issues. lastly, let me mention the area of diversity. diversity is a matter that is critically important for the state department to carry out its mission. if you don't have a diversified
dal leapt talented work force it's virtually impossible for america to have massive impact around all parts of the world. so we want to help you on that effort, but when we look what happened with the wrangle fellows, that causes us some concern as to what is the commitment in h the state department to maintain that flow of talent in a diversified work force. so, yes, we will deal with that in the state department authorization but we like to work with you to make sure we in fact have that type of talented work force at the department of state. look forward to your testimony and look forward to our discussions. >> well now i'll turn to the only confirmed person other than secretary of state, to help structure the state department. we're thankful you're here and in the role you're playing on behalf of our nation and us and look forward to your testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman,
ranking member cardin and members of the committee for having me back today. we had a good discussion last week on the department's annual tip report. which we released last month and we're grateful for your support and attention to this important issue and many other state department matters. as i committed in my confirmation hearing, i am always at your disposal to come and talk about issues of mutual importance to the department of state and i'm grateful for this opportunity to engage with the committee, both on the draft authorization act and on our redesign effort. i certainly recognize and appreciate the committee's success last year in passing authorization legislation and passing the bill you sent a clear unmistakable message that congress is committed to american diplomacy and to the many patriots of the department of state who work long hours, serve the american people and advance our interests abroad. thank you, members of the committee for your commitment to
the department and for your dedication to serving your mou two goal and serving and representing the people of the united states the. we look forward to working with you on this year's authorization effort and appreciate the opportunity to engage, discuss and coordinate with you throughout that process. for my initial review of the draft fy 2018 state department authorization bill, it's clear that the committee and the department share many of the same goals. advancing america's national security and economic interest, the ju dishous expenditure of resources and protection of personnel and interest around the world. in the 21 century, the united states faces many evolving threats to our national security. as this committee knows well, the state department, with a fork force of more than 75,000, muss respond to these challenges with the necessary speed and appropriate resources. the nature of our work at the state department demands flexibility and adaptability to an ever-changing world. we ask that the committee keep
this in mind as you continue to evalt wait proposals for the authorization bill. we also appreciate the great interest in support the committee has shown to the department's efforts to make our programs and organization rs more efficient and effective. the cornerstone of this effort has been the input ant feedback received from the state departments own employees. we recently did a listening survey that's made available to every one of our state department and us colleagues. the response was outstanding and well received. over 35,000 employees completed the survey and hundreds took part in face-to-face follow up interviews. now that we have the feedback and posted the result, pgt secretary has asked me to lead phase 2. i share the secretary as approach to making our department more efficient and effective without -- working
groups to address themes that came out of the listening tour. first, foreign assistance, second, overseas alignment and approach. third, human capital planning. fourth eit platforms and fifth, management support. created an on line portal so every employee can continue to provide input. to ensure a thorough and comprehensive review we're drawing upon the expertise of every bureau in the department with participation from washington and posts overseas. this redesign effort is part of a larger age sigh review as directed by the president. to meet the president's goals, we expect our review to be completed and reports submitted by september 15th. we welcome your input as we move forward and know that -- please know that your feedback will be integral to making the secretary's oal redesign a
success. thank you for the opportunity to discuss the state department authorization built. we look forward to working with you and your staff so that congress can exercise its oversight role and the state department can care out its mission. i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you very much. i'll defer to the ranking member. >> thank you so much for your willingness to take on these responsibilities. i'm going to talk about an area that's gotten a lot of attention. that's the special envoys. the chairman has properly pointed out they continue to grow and grow. these are not confirmed positions and therefore, they gain a lot of power at times, where a confirmed person should have personal responsibility. so i don't know exactly how we're going to handle this one. because there's a lot of support
within congress for particular envoys. and we don't want to diminish the importance of the particular area in which we have a special envoy, and therefore, if we eliminate, the concern is that congress is determined -- on the other hand i would like to know what your priorities are. where do you think we should be looking at these special envoys? where are you looking at not filling envoys or suggests perhaps even new envoys, and is it important to have those positions confirmed by the united states senate or not? so can you just share with us your thoughts on how you would like to see the congress working -- the senate working with you on special envoys? >> certainly. i think you've sit the nail on the head. the topic of special envoys, it really depends on the issue
we're talking about, the office we're talking about. we have, i think approximately 70. some of those offices were created to address serious issues which, over time, have diminished in significance or importance. others, whether it's global women's issues, fighting an anti-semitism are enduring issues that are extreme importance to us. so is really depends ones office we're talking about. some of the interests that will guide us are making sure that the office, if the office is to remain functioning, is that it's linked to resources that the department for example, a bureau that it may be isolated from if it is a special envoy who reports only to the secretary. so, all of these special envoys are subject to our redesign --
>> even those that are congressionally authorized by congress? >> well i'm sorry. go ahead. >> are you considering not filling positions that congress specifically has provided by statutory authority? >> we are looking at all of them. for those that -- and we'll consult with you and this committee and others on each of them. any office that you -- i snow t any office that has continuing interest by members of the committee. >> i want to give the administration maximum flexibility, but where congress has said this area where the gender issues, or tolerance, or rights of minority communities, where we have specified by statute certain authority, it seems to me that we're the policy arm.
those areas where you really don't have discretion and should be filling. if we're going to try to work together on this -- i don't know -- i'm open on this. because i agree with the chairman. the we have too many special envoys. on the other hand, there are areas that i want to have special attention where i don't think you get it unless there's a point person within the state department to deal with it, and i don't have that comfort level as to how we're going to resolve this. >> if i could, just to put it in perspective. i think there's 68 envoys. seven are permissive. in other words, we legislated permissive language to create an envoy. 11 are mandated. so the vast majority of these are just made up. and in many cases, there are large staffs that go with that. is that correct? >> that's true. >> so -- >> what is permissive? >> should instead of shall?
>> well -- or may. >> may. >> may instead of shall. it's just like we do sometimes on sanctions. may instead of shall. so there's really only 11, as -- that are mandated. >> i may challenge whether may and shall. we've gone through this debate many times whether it's directive or whether it's mandatory. i'm not comfortable, and i would like to know how we are going to -- how the ledge -- how the united states senate is going to be able to weigh in. if we're the authorizing committee, if the congress is the authorizing body, we want to pay special attention and we think the best way is by special envoy, do we have to pass a statute to do that? or are we looking at ways that we have input. the so if you follow the traditions of other administrations, yes, we tell you eight and you get 70 on your
own? i'm not sure that's the right way to go. on the other hand should we require that the senate sign off on every one of them by advice and consent? we could do that. we're already backlogged on your filling positions. that will just add another i don't know, 20, 30 more confirmations that have toe get through? i just think this is a cumbersome process and it's tough for us to figure out how to do it unless we know there is an open process that -- i think there's tremendous issues on women's issues. that's one. but there are other areas that -- what happens around here. so if a senator gets difficult or are we then going to have a special envoy? mr. chairman, i think we have to have some orderly process which we're going 0 to be dealing with these.
>> my sense is that secretary sullivan agrees with that and is more than glad to have a conversation about that. >> i have a procedural question. since there is a vote at 5:30, how does the chair intend to proceed with the hearing. >> we're going to adjourn at 5:30 and come back at 5:45. >> thank you. >> any other procedural questions? >> second -- i mean senator young. >> i have some if you want. >> thank you, chairman. thank you, mr. sullivan. so, just on the issue of special envoys, this is precisely why we need to look at the entire organization so we're not doing an end run around the regional bureaus and so forth. but it would be helpful. we need to at least over a period of time, the principals and inform us when a special envoy will be appointed and when one point, one possibility is
that we are notified and that special envoy will continue to exist unless we affirmatively indicate after 60 days or whatever that that special envoy was inappropriately from our perspective put in place. i'd like to pivot to the proposed merger, recirculating in some circles, the contemplated merger of usaid and the state department. csis recently published what i thought was really instructative and thoughtful analysis. of the merger of the united states information agency and the state department in 1999 and why that went awry. and i'd like to just read some excerpts from that. the origins of that merger, i became aware were vice president al gore's reinventing government blueprint. the plan was to fold usaid and
usia and the arms control and disarm morement agency into state. the arms control agency was happy to merge because they are primarily diplomatic in what they do. but usaid and usia resisted that. a deal was cut as so often happens up here, and so here's what happened. by the way, the heritage foundation, which is currently advocating to are a consolidation of start and usaid, has called this usia merger misguided and some of their scholars wrote about how poorly it went. one reason for the failed integration of the agency stem from the vastly different missions and cultures of two organizations. i would argue this is something we should consider here. state and usia's budget functions were merged but public
diplomacy was and is seen as a secondary function of the state department. that created problems as well. lastly, the consolidation we now know, was sort sighted. the soon thereafter we had 9/11. the global war on terror is a global war of ideas. the it gives us some sense of how consequential getting it wrong can be. so i would just commend that very brief article to your attention and we consider that. the next i want to thank you. you caught me out in the hall. you have the best follow-up of any political -- in my recent memory. the you caught me after the last hearing and asked me if i had any additional questions pertaining to general accountability office. the then we got into a conversation about a task force that senator shchlt -- and i had
been working on. i indicated to you that secretary tillerson had promised to sit down with members of that task force, the senator and myself to discuss some of our ideas and you offered your encouragement, so thank you for that. lastly, i think it's important for this committee to understand secretary sullivan, the time line we're dealing with here. in your prepared statement, you write that you expect to complete the reorganization -- >> ply plan is that we will be consulting regularly. i and others, including the secretary, will be consulting regularly between now and then, so that your views inform the
final report. >> so when would you anticipate the next -- because -- i haven't been apprised -- >> certainly. i'd be delighted to. we -- i started last week as the chairman mentioned, i had a conversation before the hearing last week with the chairman and the ranking member on this, and i told them then, and i will tell all the members of the committee now that that is just a first step in our consultation with you. this is the next step and we will make sure you and all the members of the committee are aware going forward of opportunities for us to solicit your input and also to provide you updates on how we're proceeding. >> lastly, can you assure me that you won't begin
implementation of this proposed plan until each member of the committee has been fully briefed on it, sir? >> absolutely. >> senator. >> thank you for holding this important hearing and for all the work that you and your staff have done on this fy 2018 state authorization bill. i continue to believe it is very important for this committee to go through this process annually and i appreciate the improvements to the process this year. the i'm pleased the bill i cludes three of my proposals and i hope we can agree to provide greater flexibility to allow separated family members of foreign service officers to travel and see each other and family members and i look forward to authorizing science and technology fellowships. the while i support this committee process i also want to be clear that i do not view this bill as somehow granting congressional approval of the trump administrations reorganization or funding plans
for the department and usaid and i appreciate the line of questioning about senator young. i continue to be concerned about the lack of clarity surrounding the process. appreciate what we've heard so far today but look for me and of course i think i oppose the steep budget cuts to diplomacy and development proposed in the budget request. i am pleased this includes a mechanism for review. and i wanted to move forward. deputy secretary sullivan thank you for teffistifying. the whole communities of the state department and usaid make enormous sacrifices. their work is critical. as a member of the senate's friends of the foreign service caucus, i believe we can and should do more. to recognize the work and address the challenges they face and i look forward to ic taing
that on with you. let me just mention in april i traveled with the chairman to draw the attention to conflict and fame minute. i went on to spend time with the foreign services officers at an unaccompanied most. i'm concerned they face innecessary hardships. i'd be interested in whether you are working to improve the conditions at embassy and other posted around the world and interested whether you would consider renewing -- >> our men and woman who serve abroad both foreign service and civil service is our highest
priority. the secretary every staff meeting we have begins with a question. and that is are our people okay abroad. to address the issue. -- >> the working groups would address all of the issues you raised about conditions abroad, allowances, treatment of our foreign service officers, the support we provide to them. the most significant aspect of this redesign is this is all of the input is coming from our career foreign service and civil service officers. all of the working groups -- there are very few non career participants. in fact, for the working groups, there's only one non-career
participant. all the other members are either from state or from aid, with proportional representation between state and aid. foreign service, civil service, stationed in washington, or abroad and at div levels different levels of seniority. those issues you raise will be raised by the people most affected by them. >> let me ask if i might. two more quick questions. i understand you may not have the full-time to answer them . l i'll submit them for the record. first, i under stand one of the bureaus or offices you're considering closing trustee office of iran nuclear implementation and folding it into the affairs. ambassador is no longer serving. the i would welcome hearing, if i need information on jcpoa enforcement, who es at lead person. will the administration appoint
a new led koocoordinator for th and are you accounting that the individual senators like having regular briefings on this. first. second, i'll just summarize, in a lot of meetings with civil service and foreign service officers in a number of posts in the last six months, there's a lot of concern about usaid both from its own employees and others in the department, about proposals that would reduce its autonomy. the budget proposal imposes particularly tharp cuts. i don't know whether proles to merge is pasht of what is being reviewed under your leadership and how you would work to address the employees' concerns. >> i'll take the second issue first. let me reassure you, and the committee that there has been no predetermination on the issue of
absorbing usaid into the state department. we had a robust discussion last week in the committee with a significant representation from usa ichltd d participating who provide their input on what senator gardener has described as the different culture mission tool sets et cetera, that usaid employees have. the i'm very familiar with that and very respectful of that. and their input is extremely important, and there has been no decision to merge aid into state. second, ambassador i met with. one of our most senior career ambassado ambassadors. a great patriot. we are -- the office that you described is one of those that it's under review. the no decision has been made yet on what will be done, if
anything will be changed with respect to that office. the but what i can assure you of is two things. first, that the significance of the subject that's addressed by that office has not diminished in any way, and second, whatever information you, senator need or any member needs you will get. >> thank you, mr. chairman for your injens. >> we'll stand in recess for 15 minutes. we convene by my match at 5:49. welcome to some of our great coffee here or sitting there talking to others. but thank you.
rakss at at state department. with secretary of state rex tillerson who is teffing on the president's 2018 budget request. >> thank you, chairman graham, ranking members. i appreciate the opportunity to discuss the administration's state department and usaid budget request for fiscal year 2018. as we all know american's global competitive advantages in standing as a leader are under constant challenge. of the dedicated men and women of the state department carry out the important and often peril lou perilous work. that mix mission is unchanged however the state department apt usaid like many other institutioning here at home and around the world have not evolved in h the responsiveness as quickly as new challenges and threats to our national security
have changed and are changing. we are challenged to respond to a post cold war world that set in motion new gleebl dynamics. and a post 9/11 world characterized by historic threats that present themselves in ways never seen before enabled by technological tools that we have been ill prepared to engage. the 21 krs century has already presented many evolving challenges to the u.s. national security and economic prosperity. we must vel proactive responses to protect and advance the interest of the american people. with such a broad array of threats facing the united states, the fiscal 2018 budget request of $37.6 billion aligns with the administration's objective of making america's security our top priority. the first responsibility of government is the security of its own citizens, and we will orient our diplomat ic efforts
towards fulfilling that commitment. while our mission will also be focussed on advancek the economic interest of the american people, the state department's primary focus will be to protect our citizens at home and abroad. our mission is at all times guided by our long standing fall views of free many do, democracy, individual liberty and human dignity. the conviction of our country's founders is enduring that our men you are endowed by our creator with a certain unalienable rights. we -- all one day will experience the freedoms we have known. our young administration's foreign policy we are motivated by the conviction the more we engage with other nations on issues of security and prosperity the more we will have opportunities to shape the human rights conditions in those nations. history has shown that the united states leaves a foot
print of freedom wherever it goes. the ensuring the pros property of the american people has nes necessitated difficult decisions. fiscal year 2018 budget request includes substantial funding for many foreign assistance programs under the auspices of usaid and the state department. but we have made hard choices to reduce funding for other initiatives, but even with the reductions in funding, we will continue to be the leader in international development, global health, democracy and good governance initiatives and humanitarian efforts. if natural disasters strike oversea, america will respond with care and support. i am convinced we can maximize the effectiveness of these programs and continue to offer america's helping hand to the world. this budget request also reflects a commitment to ensure
every tax dollar is spent that is spent is aligned with the department's and usaid's mission critical objectives. the request focuses the state department and usaid which grant the -- the state department ant usaid budget increase the from fiscal year 2007 reaching an all time high of there is 55.6 billion in h fiscal year 2017. recognizing this rate of increase in funding is not sustainable, the fiscal year 2018 budget requests seeks to align the core missions of the state department with historic funding levels. we believe this budget also represents the interest of the american people, including responsible stewardship of the public's money. i know there is intense interest
in prospective state department and usaid redesign efforts. we have just completed collecting information on our organizational processes through a survey made available to every one of our state and usaid colleagues. over 35,000 surveys were completed. and we also held in-person listening sessions with approximately 300 individuals to obtain that i perspective on what we do and how we do it. i met personally with dozens of team members who spoke candidly about their experiences. from this feedback, we have been able to get a clearer overall view of our organization. we have no preconceived outcomes in our discussions of the goals, priorities and direction of the state department and usaid are not token exercises. the principals of our listening sessions and subsequent evaluation of our organization are the same as those which i
stated in my confirmation for foreign policy. we will see the world for what it is, be honest with ourselves and the american people, follow the facts where they lead us, and hold ourselves and others accountable. we are still analyzing the feedback we received and we expect to release the findings of survey soon. from all of this, one thing is certain. i am listening to what my people tell me are the challenges facing them. and how we can produce a more efficient and effective state department and usaid. and we will work as a team and with the congress to improve both organizations. throughout my career, i have never believed, nor have i experienced, that the level of funding de voted to a goal is the most important factor in achieving it. the our budget will never be determined -- will never determine our ability to be effective. the our people will. my colleagues at the state department and usaid are a deep
source of inspiration and their patriotism and professionalism and willingness to make sacrifices for our country are our greet l. greatest resource. the i am confident the u.s. state department and usaid will continue to deliver result force the american people. i thank you for your time and happy to answer your questions. >> thank you. we'll seven-minute rounds. i look forward to your effort to reform the state department, get the feedback, come to us and say this is what we can do. without. this is what we need more of. then you got the perfect right attitude but we've got to live with this budget until you get there is unacceptable for me. so, between 2007 and-17, would you say the world is more dangerous or less? >> the world is changing, and it is in a very difficult place today. >> so, if we've been spending -- and i would say that increasing
military defense spending by 10% is absolutely long overdue. do you support the president's budget to increase it buy 10%? >> i do. the. >> do you believe that the power is an integral part of your natural security strategy? >> without question. >> okay: so we got the general contruct that soft power and hard power are important. i can understand increasing the hard power but i don't understand reducing the soft power by 29% but we'll work through this mr. secretary. in terms of addressing famines as they may emerge -- let's put the chart back up. there are currently 65.3 displaced people worldwide. four countries, more than 20 million people currently at risk of famine. why would we reduce spending in
this area given the threats we face? >> senator, i think the way we're addressing the challenge in these areas is talk about why people are displaced and then why people are in need of relief from famine. and the two are not unrelated because many of the areas of severe famine are related to conflict areas. what we have done in this budget is put the emphasis of the fund that is we do have available on where the problems lie. the and so in terms of our resources, to attack the defeat isis campaign and how we put in place, zones of stability and restore areas to some level of normalcy which will allow people who have been forced to leave these areas by the advent of isis and the conflict will find the conditions such that they will want to return home.
a lot of it is to create conditions for refugees that have fled. in areas of famine relief we do appreciate the money the congress offer authorized in the food aid programs in 2017. we're delivering that money to where it is needed, the food. effective and efficient way we can. places like yemen which has severe familiarne problems, tha presents significant challenges. we have to find the solution to yemen that allows us to deliver the aid. i look at it as inhe it grated problem, not simply one item here and one there. >> i look at it as threat based budgeting. the it should be faced on threats we face. the i just don't see how, given the displacement of this many people, and no end in siergt
sight that 77% reduction? disaster assistance is consistent with -- just agree to disagree. what do we tell our friends in georgia about reducing air aid by 66%, given the threats they face in h the importance of georgia's democracy to overall stability and our nation security interest? >> well i've had two bilateral meetings and the president as well. when i talked to the georgian as about what would they like us to do in ht way of expanding our relationship, what they'd like to see is more economic trade activities between our countries. they are making significant invest thements in their country. >> did they agree with these reductions? >> these redush-they're concerned over these reductions did not come up in our
conversations. i think what i would convey to you, senator, is that at some point as we have helped these countries get on their feet and become successful, we would expect for their requirements of our aid to be reduced. i think georgia would be the first to tell you they're very proud of how far they have developed their economy and have developed the ability to secure themselves against threats from russia. the having said that, we're not abandoning them. we're going to focus the aid we have to help them in the areas where they feel it is most useful. >> well i've been contacted by the people in georgia and they're just absolutely floored. what more do you want us to do? maybe the threats coming from georgia to russia justify reductions of 66% but i just don't agree with you. the i think it's the worst signal to send the good ally, worse signal to send to the russianing. but we'll work through this. h hiv --
>> recess will end and we'll stand in hearing again and i'll move to the senator. thank you for being here, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and secretary sullivan, you know how i feel about you. i appreciate the proactive approach you took on getting out and appreciate you coming to cincinnati for his funeral. i was not here earlier. the i know the hiring freeze and reorganization was the topic of discussion and i p wanted to talk to you a little bit about that as it relates to the global engagement center. 2017 is a senate and house in
the national defense authorization act asked the center to take on additional responsibilities specifically with regard to this information coming from countries and undermined some of our basic values and institutions, russia and china come to mind. my question for you is if there an ability to keep some of these important entities like the global engagement centers specifically from being weekend by a hiring freeze or other reorganizations? >> certainly, thank you senator. thank you for your help with otto warmbier.
with respect to the global engagement center it is the priority for secretary tillerson and an important part of our mission. we are flexible. there is a hiring freeze, but we have granted a number of exemptions, over 700 exceptions to the hiring freeze to support safety, security, health. we are reviewing them regularly. i am not aware that there has been a request, but we would certainly entertain that. >> thank you. i think the threat we talked about to present -- do present a national security threat to the us. we are just getting this up and going, given what we know about some of the meddling in our own
election and the democracies around the world from some of this propaganda, i would hope they ask for it to be exempted to the extent you are continuing to develop these entities. if you do not mind, i would like for you to get back to me on it. we would be interested to see why they have not made a request. on the reorganization in general, i know you have had the opportunity to speak about this, the many entities that you now have oversight over in your role. i understand you will be heading up some of the reorganization ideas, but the four military financing. i think relationship building is very important in some key points in the world.
with 95% of the request allocated to four countries: israel, egypt, jordan, pakistan, i think the remaining were to be placed in a global account. in other words, is this something the state department is considering in terms of reorganization? what do you perceive as the benefit? >> well, the redesign that we are undertaking is independent of the budget process. secretary tillerson has made it clear that even if we were the defense department and we were getting more money from the budget that he would undertake a redesign to look at the mission of the department and how we are organized. one of the workgroups that happen constituted for the
redesign focuses on foreign assistance programs. including and that is fmf. we are considering reviewing that as part of our redesign efforts with input from foreign services, senior-level career people to make recommendations on improving the foreign assistance programs including fmf . >> are you looking at loans a set of grants? >> we are looking at both. >> my time has expired, i want to thank you for your help most recently on the otto warmbier case. i wish you good luck on the reorganization. i do think there are ways to be able to represent our interests around the world. thank you, mister chairman. >> i hope this is the first of
many conversations that we will have about state department authorization. i have serious reservations for a number of reasons. it is my personal belief that congress as a whole is a coequal branch of government and must therefore dutifully exercise it not only as overseer, but authorizer. while i appreciate the efforts of the chair to include many of the provisions -- the bill really offers suggestions for the secretary. saying there should be a bureau within the department that is authorized to accidentally support human rights around the world is very different from mandating the bureau's existence. i worry, particularly given this administrations intention to completely cut funding, such
permissive language will give the secretary congressional coverage for simply not supporting such a view. in my view, do oversight is in effort to create the state department and authorize them. these are essential elements of a comprehensive american foreign policy that supports our interest and feels more stable and resilient allies. to suggest, as i have heard, the possibility of closing these is alarming and i would like to understand the policy perspective. i am especially concerned that we are undertaking this exercise as the administration continues to pursue cuts. even though we supposedly
rejected, it is what the administration intended. cuts to the agency primarily responsible for securing our interest overseas in an ill- defined reorganization process that thus far seems to be no more than an exercise undermining and pushing out career diplomats who have dedicated their lives to serving this country. with seemingly no strategic. these indicate a high level of confusion and demoralization among silver serves as who expressed concern about their future. you have explained these measures as saving money. i asked at what cost? a piece was recently published that concluded that the state
department floors being gutted. rex tillerson is firing half of its workforce, repurpose thing the original mission, scaling back operations across the globe. offices are being shuttered and undersecretary posts remain unfilled. since this is the beginning of this debate, i just wanted to take most of my time to say that. and what time i have left let me ask you, can you share with me whether, during your nomination hearing in may you noted the cultural and policy differences between us id and state, including long-term development and diplomacy, can you give me a sense of whether it is true that to merge us id into the state department is in fact taking place? and, if so, how do you intend
to incorporate this perspective that you said under oath in terms of going through the conversations on reorganization? >> the first thing i would say senator is that we are including those in our steering committee, which is a broad organizing committee that i chair. and on all of the five working groups, including the foreign assistance, career a id officials and people dominates on every one of these working groups and the steering committee. there is a partial representation to it if a id is well represented. >> how many people are at the working group? >> approximately 50.
it is a breakdown based on the size of the state department versus a id, but i will get those precise numbers. a id, we believe is articulated by senior people who are represented fairly on all of these committees. >> my time has expired. you told me they are represented, that was not my question. my question was is a part of the reorganizations intention to hold aid and if so how are you dealing with the differences in culture? >> my apologies, the answer is no. there is no intention to fold aid into state. that has been proposed by people outside of the department. it is something that could be considered by this working group, but if it were it would
be the full input of all of these aid leaders involved. i can commit to you that there has not been and there is not an intention of this department to absorb usaid. >> if i could, as i understand this and talking with you and also secretary tillerson, there is no beginning point for making any assumption either way . and you are taking input, but you are not beginning this process with the intention of trying to make that happen. you are beginning the process by meeting with others and try to understand the best way to go forward? >> correct. and going forward it will be done as recommended and we agree in close consultation with this committee. >> chairman, i remember the refrain that the road to hell
is paved with good intentions. i get what the secretary is saying, but i have serious concerns when people are told to fill out a form and do memos that basically talk about how your service will be moved into another direction. maybe that is not the intention, maybe it is informative, but i am not quite sure. i have many more questions and i will submit them for the record. >> i do not want his response misunderstood based on other contacts. i do not think there is an intent to move in any particular direction. i think that is fair at this point. i think it is also fair that you want input before a decision like that is made. >> thank you, mister chairman and to you and senator carter for holding this hearing. i think it is very important. as a many of my colleagues have
said it is critical that congress play an oversight role in this reorganization effort. our engagement as a committee, when we are in the process of a state reauthorization, i think it is particularly important. i have some reservations that i have share with the committee chairman about moving forward with this kind of reorganization . while we are also doing a reauthorization and we have no idea what is going to come out up the reorganization that you are doing at the department and what your recommendations will be, i have specific questions. before i get to those i want to write a topic that i know this committee has been concerned about. i know that it was raised last week, i think with you, and that is the report of undersecretary's shannon's meeting with the secretary today.
we have had experts. i raise this last week before the armed services committee will we talked about russia's attempt in the election and the kind of message it with and if we returned those facilities that were seized in response to the attack on our elections? the witnesses before the armed services committee were unanimous in saying that is absolutely the wrong message for us to be sending. i just want to raise this again. i think it is a very big issue and i hope you will keep the committee informed about any updates on these talks and what happens with this issue. >> certainly, i have had this conversation with senator cardin last week. those are part of a larger dialogue with the russian federation and evolving issues
for example the russian diplomats who were expelled. there are a host of issues that we are discussing with the russian federation. i understand there is a meeting going on as we speak. my undertaking commitment is that we will consult with you on this issue before any final implementation of an agreement that we do not have yet with the russian federation. >> i appreciate that. again, i do not think we should be rewarding russia until we see their behavior change. i am going to go onto a couple of issues relative to the reorganization. you mentioned the conversation that we had at your confirmation hearing about the office of global women's issues, which i understand is
our grass authorization, to still remove the ambassador and large from that position. i think it is hard to think about setting up an office for global women's issues without having someone in charge of that who has significant authority. can you talk about what you are doing with respect to that issue if you are looking at reorganization? >> certainly, it is a high priority for the secretary as he has testified as a by and a high priority for the white house. the office itself, as is the case with all of the special convoys that we have been discussing is included in a look at the entire department. it is included and what we are accepting.
what i can commit to you are several things, that issue will not be -- the significance when not be downgraded. secondly, we will consult with you before any action is taken. enter we are committed to empowering women at the department. those three things i am confident of and commit to you. >> thank you. i appreciate that. one of the other reports that have come out is that the white house is pushing for state department bureaus and the bureau of population refugees and migration to be transferred to the department of homeland security. can you speak to if that is under consideration. >> it is similar to my response to senator menendez, that is not the intent of the department. secretary tillerson does not have that intention. if it were raised in our review
we would consider it, but it would be considered with the understanding that both the function of crm are vitally important to our mission at the department of state. as i discussed last week at the hearing on thursday. >> thank you. again, i appreciate that. counselor of affairs has been charged with setting these policies since 1952 when we pass the immigration and nationality act. i think to shift that to the department of homeland security, especially at a time when issues of refugees and immigration is so controversial will be the wrong approach. i would just tell you if that is the case i will be one of those components leading the charge. >> again, i want to revisit the subject brought up and i get no
sense whatsoever that it is the intention of the secretary of state to push for us id to be merged into state. i get none of that. i do not think that is an outcome they are driving at. i do think they are sitting down and talking with people, as you might expect and get a input as to how the organization ought to be set up. i do not think there is any desire, whatsoever for that outcome to occur. i know that you have concerns about the piece of legislation and we all know that anyone senator in this country can keep it from happening. what i don't understand, i know we've talked about it on the floor, i do not understand why waiting to do an authorization
until after the state department has acted, i do not see how that benefits anyone. i just do not understand that. we are continuing to build out a state department authorization each year. we make it larger and larger and at some point we are going to have the whole thing done. i do not understand how, because they are going through a reorganization, us not taking action benefits us? i know that we have talked about that and any one person can keep it from happening. i just do not understand how that pertains to the senate. so if we're having an open discussion, maybe this is improper, but i just wanted to raise that. >> as i understand the reauthorization that we are looking at we do not deal with usaid and that, is that correct? >> which is how we set up the
process on the front end in order to accomplish as much as we thought we could under a unanimous consent. >> well, i guess it feels to me like if there were a reorganization that makes a recommendation for usaid or the bureau of consular affairs or global women's issues, whatever it is, when that goes into effect, if we have already done our reauthorization we do not really have a vehicle that we can help to move to raise congresses concern about those reorganization policies that we might disagree with. that is the concern i have. >> except that we have the authorization again next year. by withholding, we are in no way keeping the vehicle to do it.
do you understand? >> i also understand when something goes into effect it is harder to undo that to prevent. >> but we do not have a vehicle present. again, i am just missing the psychology and i want to understand it. i would like for us to continue as a committee to build out to a place where we actually have a mdaa type authorization process. each year it is getting broader and i do not understand how with older the reorganization, what they are telling us they are going to come back and consult with us anyway. but it is a conversation we need to continue to have.>> chairman, i want to get an authorization done this year, but i think it is a reality that we have to look at what is being done in the administration. tonight there was a press report that the secretary of state's considering the
elimination of the special coordination for criminal justice issues, which basically deal with atrocities and war crimes. there is great interest in this committee, both sides of the aisle for syrian war crimes, accountability, iraq war crimes and accountability, preventing atrocities, etc. although i understand the secretary wants to reorganize, is being broadcast as downplaying the importance of holding were criminals accountable. in that environment it is going to be difficult for us not to respond. i think to the senator's point dealing with usaid, yes we have agreed this framework would not include usaid, but it the administration is making fundamental changes -- and i understand secretary told them believe that is not the case,
but if they would take fundamental changes on usaid and we remain silent that is a challenge. if they are going to do major changes in war crimes accountability and we are silent that is a nonstarter for both democrats and republicans on this committee. i think it is a reality that we are going to have to respond. i want to get to the finish line. >> each year there is an authorization that comes up and each year you can write things in and make the law. i do not see how remaining silent by not acting in any way causes us to be any less silent. again, i do not get the psychology, but i need to understand it for us to move ahead. >> mr. chairman, thanks for the opportunity. let me just give you a few cuts.
as you may remember i didn't even want to move forward on the state authorization. out of preference to the chair i stop my objection on the floor. we have worked together on many things. this is not an ideological issue, but one of the most critical things the committee could do. for example, in answer to your question how does waiting benefit? if we were actually having legislation that was creating certain parts of the state department in a mandatory form i would say it does not go to our benefit to way. but when we create permissiveness across the board the second complicating factor is that the reorganization taking place by the secretary is such a permissive nature and might be seen as giving in and
okay. that what you ended up doing is okay. for some of us, some of the things rather intended or not -- and i accept that you are engaged far more, but i know that i be director mulvaney has a different view than the secretary. he may be pushing that view from an administration point of view. it may not even be the secretary at the end of the day. the point being when we give it that sense i do not want to be responsible for things i really have a problem with. the last point is the question of it will be far more difficult, in my view, having sat where you have sat and having an administration and my party and standing up to it
when i personally believed they were wrong on a policy basis, to challenge and next year's authorization something that the administration will have done. so they structure their new department as they wish and pursue their reorganization in any meaningful effort and now once having done that, members, not only on this committee but the senate as a whole will be put into a position of if they believe that reorganization or elements thereof were not appropriate, will challenge the administration to do that in a new authorization bill. that may not be a problem for the chair. i recognize the chairs independence, but i am not sure that is every body. when you ask why wait, that is why. >> i am glad to have this conversation. we are in that situation either
way. if we act within the next 60 days or we do not act within the next 60 days we are in that same situation, but we haven't built it out further. i understand permissive versus mandatory, that is a point well taken, but by not acting or acting we find ourselves in the same place when the timing of what they do will occur later on. >> i just wanted to make a point to clarify that i support the reauthorization. in fact, i think this committee should have the same kind of process that the armed services committee has where we do and authorization every year. it is debated, it goes to the floor, there is an understanding it will be part of what we do annually. i think we need to elevate the role of diplomacy in the state department. having that kind of a process does that. i am totally in agreement on that and we're just disagreeing
about timing. >> that is fine. each year there seems to always come an issue and i really appreciate both of you, i think last year on the floor the two of you were actually somewhat resistant for different reasons. i appreciate you allowing us to continue to build out. i have shared with each of you and senator cardin, i do not come into this with any ideology. i comment this because i want this committee to determine the policies that they have in place at the state department and usaid. it is more important to me that each year we build that out so that we continue to build it out in whatever direction. i do not know how stopping it this year benefits us, but i am still listening.
>> thank you, mister chairman. are we going to be in an echo chamber? >> i will just say that if there is going to be an effort by this administration to eliminate special convoys and this legislation makes it possible for them to eliminate them, we're talking the special representative for nuclear perforation. the special representative of biological and weapon convention issues. the representative to the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons. the special negotiator for plutonium disposition, the special envoy for climate change, the office of the special coordinator, the special representative for international labor affairs, the special envoy of human
rights for lgbt persons, to coordinate a sanctions policy, for religion and global affairs, and a representative for northern ireland issues. i am very concerned that language in this state bill will have the effects of cutting all of these positions unless the administration chooses to fill them. i think it would be better for us to know what that plan is so that we can respond to their proposal rather than giving them this authorization to do so without having an idea as to how many of these positions might be eliminated, if not all. mister sullivan, how many are you contemplating eliminating? >> there is no preconceived
view on any of those offices. the goal is for all of the issues represented, they all are important. our overriding goal is to make sure those issues are addressed properly. one concern that we have with special envoys is that they are delinked. for example, for the northern island representative, it is not a part of the european bureau. it would not be a case item, i do not think without prejudging, but just as an example for that special envoy, rather than being a special envoy outside of the organizational bureau who reports directly to the senator -- excuse me, secretary and therefore is someone insulated from this committee because the
assistant secretary for european affairs, that special envoy reports to the secretary. it is really a question of how we address those important issues and structure our bureaucracy accordingly. >> as you know, it took a long time to get a special envoy to southern ireland, right? but each one of these other special envoys reflect a priority that was established to ensure a little special attention that otherwise the issue might not be seen from the department in general. it was given that special role. none of these are incidental. each area has a reason why they
have a special envoy. if we move into larger parts of the agency that do not have any squarely aligned responsibility with a senior person inside of the department it would run the risk of slipping through the cracks and not getting the attention it needed or having the focus, which clearly we have tried over the years to ensure that each area receives. mr. solomon, that is the concern that i have and others as well. northern ireland is a good example. it has moved on to a more mature area, but in the area of brexit there is likely to be an exacerbation that we have not
seen in a long time and, to be honest, the new government in great britain is dependent upon this alliance with the northern ireland parties that may or may not square out. it is the objective that the united states is trying to advance. i would hope that we might be able to get the sequencing correct. thank you, is to chairman. >> thank you very much. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much and deputy secretary sullivan for joining us. just in the past week we have learned the state department spent approximately $15,000 at a trump hotel in vancouver when the president's daughter stayed there.
the washington post obtained this information by the freedom of information act. this use of taxpayer dollars reminded me of the many questions in an unanswered letter that i sent to the state department, along with several other senators. i am hoping that you could help us answer these questions. they are properties all over the world with the trump name prominently displayed on them. many areas that have been targeted by terrorism. on march on march 8 i wrote asking what, if any taxpayer resources are being spent to secure trump organizations commercial real estate around the globe? first, will the state department respond soon? it has already been four months since we sent a letter? >> senator, you have my apologies that you have not received an apology -- response
yet. >> do you have a timeline on how so you can respond? >> it is the first that i have heard of it. when i returned this evening i will make sure it is acted on. >> i know you have discussed with me on several occasions how important you thought it was for you to give us information because we have a crucial role to play under the constitution. has anyone in the trump administration requested assistance from state to help secure a trump organization property ? >> not to my knowledge. i have seen the press reports on the hotel in vancouver. i have asked about it and my understanding is that the state department, as we frequently do , assist other agencies where we have a conflict and making hotel bookings. my understanding is the
bookings that you refer to work for secret service. they were not for the state department. we just happened, because we have a consulate, we did not seek out the booking. they were not our people. it was for another government agency. >> no. so you do not know whether or not anyone in the trump organization or administration requested assistance from state to help secure a trump administration property, but you will look into that and get us an answer? >> yes. >> i am sure you understand the thrust of these questions? i serve on a number of committees, one is the appropriations. i really believe that taxpayers are entitled to know how their money is being spent. and then it is a judgment call for them more than anything. has the state department, the department of state rated a
property or purchase additional goods or services from the trump organization to facilitate state department's mission? >> not to my knowledge. i will get a response to that properly. >> okay. if so, is there an agreement in place for the trump organization to reimburse the federal government for those costs? i assume you will also get an answer for that? >> yes, senator. >> there are further questions in the letter, i would like a full written response to these and other questions. this administration has not responded and i will submit all of these for the record. >> you have my word. >> a number of recent reports have highlighted a significant morale problem at the state department as well as many of the concerns regarding the budget cuts being proposed at date. the top leadership is
reportedly very isolated from the nations diplomats. do you believe that career civil service officers serve an important role in our nations diplomacy? >> unquestionably. >> will you increase efforts to integrate the new political leadership with career staff that best represent america's interests abroad? >> i will and i have. i spoke of the foreign service institute a couple of weeks ago, 700 foreign service officers. i have prepared remarks and i put them aside and picked up the microphone and opened it up for questions. i said hit me with your best shot. because those men or women are the backbone of the department. i and the secretary have an enormous amount of respect for them and their view. >> i could not agree with you more.
in my travels around the world meeting the people that are living in the countries as professional and career people and so dedicated to this country and making sure our country gets it right in getting our foreign policies right. i want to thank you for your talk with them and taking this approach. mr. chairman, i want to stress that any authorization approved by congress should include significant oversight language to ensure congress has the final say about any proposed reorganization. thank you very much. >> senator cardin? >> secretary, i would like to our hope about how you and this committee can work together on issues in the state department. congress appropriates money, congress sets the statue.
the trump in some cases have different views as we have seen in some of the actions taken by the administration. certainly their physical year 2018 budget is different than what congress the after we had the president's budget. we are a coequal branch of government. we expect the state department to implement what congress has done. when we provide you funding and authority we expect that to be carried out. the president can do a lot of things, we recognize that. ultimately we want to work together. so when the administration proposed the freeze it was having some really adverse impacts. we pointed that out with the fellows and said thank you, it was reversed allowing the
fellows to join the class this year and we are pleased about that. but as i mentioned in my opening statement, we have a challenge before trump was elected with diversity in the state department. we have had hearings in congress on this, we have had numerous opportunities to try to improve diversity. can you just give us some assurances that a that when congress passes appropriations and authorizations that it should be carried out? it must be carried out by the state department. secondly, how you deal with the diversity issue with the overriding policies of contraction that is currently
the pressure that you are under. >> first of all, senator, as the deputy secretary is aware, i can confirm with you that we will follow the law and concerns of congress. we are a nation of laws and the department abides by those laws. >> and i know that you will do everything in your power to carry that out. that is one of the reasons we were so pleased to support your nomination and pleased that you are there. i think it will be more difficult than just those words. we wish you well. >> i will cease on that point to address your second point, i said this when i spoke to the foreign service institute students, actions speak louder than words. i can offer all the latitude
that one can think of on diversity and how important it is, but actions speak louder than words. what i said to the students was that i expect them and you to hold us accountable for what we commit to do. we commit, i commit, to doing all we can to have a diverse state department. why? it is the right thing to do as americans, because equal opportunity is enshrined in our constitution. secondly, it is not merely the faith that we present to the world, but it is doing her own job, getting input from all of the different races, ethnicities, genders, it is that input that makes it easier for us to do our job in interpreting what is going on in foreign countries and interacting with foreign government.
it is important as a policy matter and not just a moral or legal matter. you have my commitment on that. if i do not follow through you can bring me back up here and tell me where i have fallen.>> thank you, mr. secretary. we appreciate your commitment. >> i thank you for being here also. i know that we are going to keep the record open until the close of business wednesday. i know there will be a number of questions and to the extent that you can answer those quickly we appreciate it. i know there was an outside consultant that generated a report from the listing tour and it confirmed what many of us have been hearing for years, this is not at any special envoy that i direct this, but they do more harm than good. i think they hurt the culture of our professional foreign service officers, because i
think they see them in many cases as a workarounds. all of us have been an organizational emperor -- situations where a person is in a job and not doing it well so we created work around. it hurts the culture. it hurts both professionals doing their jobs well. we know that and they know that and y'all learned is from this listening tour. it is kind of like places closing. i hear people talking about a special issue. it is like what we're hearing a lot of. a special thing for a special state or a special interest. i hope that we would do away with all of them that are unnecessary. i think most of them are unnecessary and i think the foreign service professionals believe they are unnecessary. we just that one created for ukraine.
the secretary of state says most of these things are unnecessary and then he creates one. well, this person is going to carry out important policies for our nation, right? if we're going to do that they ought to at least be confirmed. if we have someone carrying out policy relative to the ukraine we ought to be able to confirm them. these positions are duplicative, they waste money, they have huge staff, we may end up having special envoys that are important, but this one senator ought to just get one vote like the other 20 people on the committee. i think that mostly it is a waste of money, a waste of time , and i hope you will do everything you can to do away with most of them, if not all. anyway, i hope that is balancing out some of the other comments. i thank you for being here today.
about his bill to upgrade technology and federal agencies, his opinion of us cyber defense and his proposal for a cyber national guard. the representative has interviewed tim starr. >> the idea of the cyber national guard is if you are in high school and you want to go in college and study cyber security we're going to find you scholarships. when you graduate you have to come and work in the federal government. not at an essay or dod, but at the department of interior, the census bureau, or social security. you would do that for the same amount of time that you got the scholarship for. when you finish that time in federal service and work in the private sector, the private sector will loan you back to the government for the proverbial one weekend per month for 10 days per quarter where this is going to improve the