Bill Miller has been the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Director of the Diplomatic Security Service since 2014, and he was made Acting Assistant Secretary after his predecessor Gregory Starr, a career foreign service officer, left in January.
Miller was not forced out and has not resigned in protest, according to the State Department, and with his departure, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs Christian Schurman will assume the Acting Assistant Secretary role.
But the departure is causing outrage from some Democrats, who are crying hypocrisy from a president who raged about the Benghazi attack that killed four Americans serving in Libya, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
“If [Trump] cared about protecting our Foreign Service officers, he would have long ago nominated an Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security,” he added.
The empty slots include four of six Under Secretary positions that are vacant; one is filled by an individual in an acting role, and the other is filled by Tom Shannon, who was confirmed by the Senate in 2016.
There are 108 other senior roles -- some that require Senate confirmation and some that don’t -- including Assistant Secretaries who are the policy lead for different regions, like the Near East or East Asia, and special envoys who are focused on particularly vexing issues or hot spots, like counterterrorism or anti-Semitism.
Of those 108 other roles, 31 are filled by someone in an acting role, and 41 are completely vacant, with two more soon to be empty: the Coordinator for Cyber Issues, in charge of diplomatic engagement on cyber issues and security, and the ambassador-at-large for Global Criminal Justice, who advises the Secretary on war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
The State Department has said that there are candidates in the pipeline who are held up by paperwork and that some roles will not be filled until Tillerson completes his review and reorganization of the agency's structure.
"All of those functions will still remain here at the State Department," State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday. "A different person may handle it. In some instances, it may get combined with an existing bureau. That doesn’t mean that the priority goes away and that doesn’t mean that the functions of that job or its duties will go away."
CBS News was the first to report Miller’s departure.