Pence aide headed to the State Department

Pence aide headed to the State Department
© Office of the Vice President

Vice President Pence’s national security adviser, Col. Andrea Thompson, is headed to the State Department, possibly in an undersecretary position. 

A senior official at the vice president's office and a source at the State Department confirmed the move.

Thompson, a retired Army intelligence officer, arrived at State's Foggy Bottom heaquarters on Monday morning, according to the official in Pence's office. 

It’s unclear which office at State she will be named to fill. 


If she's tapped for an undersecretary position, there are several possible options.

The undersecretary for political affairs, the number-three post at State, is currently occupied by Obama-appointee Thomas Shannon. The undersecretary for management comes before the Senate Foreign Relations panel on Tuesday, while the other four positions either remain vacant or are filled by acting officials. Each requires Senate confirmation.

Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonWhite House ousts Sessions Trump downplays potential turnover: 'Everybody wants to work in this White House' Trump says Cabinet changes likely after midterms MORE recently pledged to boost the department's efforts to recruit more female personnel, vowing also to work to close the gender pay gap. 

The Trump administration has faced mounting criticism for the number of open posts at the State Department. There are roughly 200 positions at the department that require Senate confirmation — and by 100 days into the new administration, the vast majority remained unfilled.

The pace of nominations has quickened in recent weeks, but the administration has made slow progress on filling open political positions.

Pence’s deputy national security adviser, Joan O’Hara, is expected to take over Thompson’s previous role in the interim. A decision has not been made about whether O’Hara, a former general counsel on the Homeland Security Committee, will take on the position permanently or a replacement will be sought, the official said.

Thompson, 51, has more than 28 years of service and deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as stints with the House Homeland Security Committee and the consulting firm led by retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

- This story was updated at 12:57 p.m.