Newly-installed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday said he is lifting the department’s hiring freeze, a policy put into place by his predecessor that irked State Department employees.
“Today, I am lifting the Department's hiring freeze on foreign Service and civil service and authorizing the Department of State to hire to current funding levels,” Pompeo wrote in a letter to employees obtained by Fox News.
Pompeo added, “This will give our domestic bureaus and missions overseas the flexibility to fill positions that are essential to promoting the department's mission and the United States' foreign policy goals worldwide on behalf of the American people.”
State Deparment sources have repeatedly cited former Secretary Rex Tillerson’s hiring freeze as among their top complaints with the previous leadership. Tillerson was fired by President Trump in March.
Pompeo was confirmed as secretary of state last month.
“The department's workforce is our most valuable asset,” Pompeo wrote in his letter. “We need our men and women on the ground, executing American diplomacy with great vigor and energy, and representing our great nation. By resuming hiring of the most gifted and qualified individuals, we will ensure that we have the right people with the right skills working to advance our U.S. national interests and executing the department's mission in an increasingly complicated and challenging world.”
Since becoming secretary of state, Pompeo made a high-profile trip to North Korea, where he met with leader Kim Jong Un to discuss next month’s summit with Trump. During that trip, he also helped secure the release of three Americans who had been held captive in the country.
Fox News' Rich Edson and Nick Kalman contributed to this report.