Secretary of State Rex Tillerson graciously falls in line, agrees his department needs budget cuts

Diplomats and former state department officials say these cuts would be disastrous, but Tillerson is not worried

By Taylor Link
March 17, 2017 12:02AM (UTC)
main article image
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated on Thursday that he was on board with President Donald Trump's proposal to cut the State Department's budget 28 percent for the next fiscal year. The former Exxon Mobil chief executive said that his department's current spending was "not sustainable" and embraced the president's "challenge" to slash more than a quarter of its budget, Reuters reported.

Speaking in Tokyo as part of his trip to Asia this week, Tillerson commented on Trump's intention to trim the State Department's budget, a proposal that has earned criticism from more than 120 retired generals and admirals.


"Clearly the level of spending that the State Department has been undertaking, particularly in this past year, is simply not sustainable," Tillerson said. "As time goes by, there will be fewer military conflicts that the U.S. will be directly engaged in."

The combined budget for the State Department and USAID would be $25.6 billion under Trump's proposal.

Tillerson said he would conduct a "comprehensive examination" of how the State Department's programs are run and how the agency is structured.


"I'm confident that with the input of the men and women of the State Department we are going to construct a way forward that allows us to be much more effective, much more efficient and be able to do a lot with fewer dollars," he said.

Taylor Link

MORE FROM Taylor LinkFOLLOW @taylorlink_