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A Blog on Understanding, Informing, Empowering, and Influencing Global Publics, published by Matt Armstrong

GAO and US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy discuss evaluation tools

The subject of public diplomacy evaluation tools and methodologies has been front and center this week. Debating the difference between “measures of effectiveness” (or MOE), “measures of performance” (or MOP), and throwing spaghetti at a wall can seem like arcane stuff, understanding the value of engagement, and the ability to communicate that value, is extremely important. Measures are fundamental to discussions on what to do and why.

Of course in order to measure, one must not only know the audience (primary, secondary, tertiary as they must be categorized… or do they?), where they are (as they are less likely to be within neat geographic coordinates), and how they communicate, but also the effect, intentional and unintentional, of the activities of allies, adversaries, and neutrals on the audience. The world cannot be put into a laboratory.

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Quick reference: GAO report notes State staff shortfall, interagency failures

Some highlights regarding the Department of State from the GAO report “Actions Needed to Address Stakeholder Concerns, Improve Interagency Collaboration, and Determine Full Costs Associated with the U.S. Africa Command” (GAO-09-181, 1.4mb PDF, from February 2009)

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Public Diplomacy: Books, Articles, Websites #46

Courtesy of Bruce Gregory, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University:

July 7, 2009
Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest.  Suggestions for future updates are welcome. 
Bruce Gregory
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs
George Washington University

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New GAO Report on Public Diplomacy is out (Updated)

U.S. Public Diplomacy: Key Issues for Congressional Oversight, GAO-09-679SP, May 27, 2009. Download here (PDF, 566kb) or read online here.

Highlights:

The United States’ current national communication strategy lacks a number of desirable characteristics identified by GAO, such as a clear definition of the problem, desired results, and a delineation of agency roles and responsibilities. …

The United States’ current national communication strategy lacks a number of desirable characteristics identified by GAO, such as a clear definition of the problem, desired results, and a delineation of agency roles and responsibilities. …

State faces a number of human capital challenges that influence the effectiveness of its public diplomacy operations. …

Security concerns around the world have led to building practices and personnel policies that have limited the ability of local populations to interact with Americans inside and outside the embassy. …

[GAO] provided a draft of this report for review and comment to State, BBG, USAID, and DOD. Each agency declined to provide formal comments. State, BBG, and USAID provided technical comments, which we incorporated in the report, as appropriate.

The report includes a Strategic Communication (not “public diplomacy”) budget breakdown:

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