Tillerson’s Grand Renovation Plan in State Department Gets Assistance

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Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson in Istanbul earlier this month. Mr. Tillerson said he had hired the firms Deloitte and Insigniam to help oversee the reorganization of the State Department. Credit Murad Sezer/Reuters

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson is moving ahead with plans to restructure his department, and has hired two consulting groups to assist with the process, according to a cable sent to embassies around the world.

In the cable, Mr. Tillerson said he had hired Deloitte and Insigniam to help oversee the reorganization. Insigniam had previously overseen an internal polling effort to get suggestions from the department’s rank and file about how to make the department more efficient.

The cable listed five committees that will analyze different aspects of the department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, with leaders from each organization among the committee members.

Among the committees are those dedicated to ensuring that foreign assistance programs align with national priorities, that there is a balance between the work done in Washington and in the field, and that the department’s computer system — famously poorly functioning — adopts cutting-edge technology.

Mr. Tillerson has made clear that he believes the State Department is badly mismanaged. In an interview last week, he said he was surprised at how poorly the government’s decision-making process compares with that of Exxon Mobil, where he worked for 41 years, leaving as the chief executive and chairman.

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