US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is under fire from his own department over the question of child soldiers.
A group of State Department officials says he breached US law when he removed Myanmar, Iraq and Afghanistan from a list of countries where children are conscripted to fight.
This was despite the department publicly acknowledging that those countries do in fact use child soldiers.
Keeping the three nations off the list of offenders makes it easier to provide them with US military assistance.
Iraq and Afghanistan are allies in the war against Islamic militants and Myanmar is an emerging ally in Southeast Asia.
Critics say Tillerson’s decision undermines US credibility and weakens an important diplomatic tool used to prevent the use of child soldiers around the world.
The row once again highlights ongoing tensions between the State Department’s career diplomats and the former chief of Exxon Mobil appointed by Donald Trump to pursue an “America First” approach to diplomacy.