Report: State Department's senior management team resigns

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 11: Renda Tillerson (L) listens during the confirmation hearing for her husband and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson (R), U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, before Senate Foreign Relations Committee January 11, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Tillerson is expected to face tough questions regarding his ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 11: Renda Tillerson (L) listens during the confirmation hearing for her husband and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson (R), U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of State, before Senate Foreign Relations Committee January 11, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Tillerson is expected to face tough questions regarding his ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

In an abrupt move, the U.S. Department of State's entire senior management team resigned Wednesday, according to a report from The Washington Post.

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Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, who has held the post for nine years, resigned Wednesday along with three of his top officials, The Post reported, citing unidentified state department officials. Those officials were identified by the newspaper as Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond and Ambassador Gentry O. Smith.

Unidentified senior administration officials told CNN that the officials were actually asked to vacate their positions in an effort to "clean house." Typically, officials in similar positions are asked to hold their spots as incoming administrations work to find their replacements, the news network reported.

"Any implication that that these four people quit is wrong," an unidentified senior State Department official told CNN. "These people are loyal to the secretary, the President and to the State Department. There is just not any attempt here to diss the president. People are not quitting and running away in disgust. This is the White House cleaning house."

All four of the officers who resigned previously served under administrations on both sides of the political aisle.

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With the resignations, the team joined a growing list of senior foreign service officers who have left the State Department amid the transition to President Donald Trump's administration.

"It's the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that's incredibly difficult to replicate," David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry, told The Post. "Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector."

Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr retired on Jan. 20. On the same day, Lydia Muniz, director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, also left the department.

"That amounts to a near-complete housecleaning of all the senior officials that deal with managing the State Department, its overseas posts and its people," The Post reported.

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The resignations came as Republicans continued working to get Trump's nominee for secretary of state, former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, confirmed to the position. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said earlier this week he was working toward getting a vote on Tillerson's nomination by next week.

Tillerson has been criticized by detractors who fear his close ties with Russia.