AIUI, it’s a mix. Drumpf has been - to put it politely - lackadaisical submitting nominations for all the political appointees he’s directly responsible for. But Tillerson has been actively working to reduce the headcount too.
While the lack of senior political appointees has gotten a lot of attention, less attention has been paid to the hollowing out of the career workforce, who actually run the department day to day. Tillerson has canceled the incoming class of foreign service officers. This as if the Navy told all of its incoming Naval Academy officers they weren’t needed. Senior officers have been unceremoniously pushed out. Many saw the writing on the wall and just retired, and many others are now awaiting buyout offers. He has dismissed State’s equivalent of an officer reserve—retired FSOs, who are often called upon to fill State’s many short-term staffing gaps, have been sent home despite no one to replace them. Office managers are now told three people must depart before they can make one hire. And now Bloomberg reports that Tillerson is blocking all lateral transfers within the department, preventing staffers from moving to another office even if it has an opening. Managers can’t fill openings; employees feel trapped.
“The State Department’s core is being gutted,” concluded the National Review, the conservative monthly. "[Tillerson] is running Foggy Bottom the way a corporate raider might take over a company: firing half of its workforce, repurposing its original mission, scaling back its operations across the globe. Offices are being shuttered, while ambassadorial, assistant secretary, and undersecretary posts remain unfilled.