The Department of State is reportedly going to pay diplomats and staffers to leave their posts.
The New York Times reports the department will offer $25,000 to those who quit or take early retirements before April.
The move seems to be in line with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's focus on streamlining the department and trying to make it more financially efficient. But the Times' report has reignited fears about the U.S.' influence abroad.
In the absence of a robust diplomatic corps, the U.S. stands to lose out on some of its "soft power." Analysts say that leads to a heavier reliance on the military.
The situation with North Korea is a good example of the importance of soft power. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis recently said the U.S. was committed to resolving tensions with the Kim Jong-un regime without resorting to war. And in 2013, as a commander for U.S. Central Command, Mattis said in a congressional testimony, "If you don't fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition."
Critics have accused Tillerson of depleting American diplomatic forces. As secretary of state, he's instituted a departmentwide hiring freeze. He also pushed for budget cuts even after congressional committees declined most of his proposals.
Tillerson has defended his moves. He told staffers earlier this year, "The most important thing I can do is to enable this organization to be more effective, more efficient." He also said increasing efficiency would increase job satisfaction and help staffers create "the State Department for the future."