Not at the Combined Arms Center Inter-Agency Symposium. During the Q&A of the Stability Operations Panel:
One audience member posed a general question for the panel "what is the feasibility of reestablishing US Information Agency (USIA)?"
Answer was "We absolutely must"
A follow on question by another Audience Member was "How do we make that happen?"
The Answer was "Legislation makes that happen"
Anyone else find it fun to read questions about recreating USIA in Defense Department forums? They happen at State (I asked Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy Chairman Bill Hybl about it — I couldn’t help myself), but it is so obvious at Defense and seemingly there’s more enthusiasm for it there as well.
(H/T Chris Albon)
3 thoughts on “Where can you go and not talk about a new USIA?”
Perhaps that’s because DoD personnel are the ones out actually conducting public diplomacy these days and the folks at State are just talking about it…The guys and girls on the ground (Soldiers and Marines primarily) are trying to make things happen and they say to themselves, “isn’t there already an organization designed to get our message out (to Iraqis and Afghanis in this case)?” After a little research, they find that USIA used to do this and that it is now folded into State. They then say to themselves, “huh…I’ve never seen anyone from State out here on the ground with me trying to get the Iraqis (or Afghanis) to understand why we are here and how we can help them.” So they conclude that maybe folding USIA into State wasn’t such a great idea and that we should reinvigorate an organization that is actually designed to “inform and influence foreign publics.”
My two cents — maybe not worth much, but I was one of those walking around both of the aforementioned countries wondering these things.
So, Matt, great post — I am yet another DoD type that believes USIA should be pulled from under Glassman’s purview and made into its own separate entity again.
I agree as well.
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