Open-Thread is still open, and what about USIA 2.0, USAID, and more

Just thinking out loud…

There is still an open-thread on who will be or should be in the next Administration, so please add a comment with your thoughts or email me directly. I find it interesting that while there’s a fair amount of talk about a USIA 2.0, or as I call it, the Department of Non-State (details forthcoming), nobody’s suggested a person to lead it. Perhaps they’re assuming the entire PD apparatus will be ripped from State, leaving DOS absolutely no effective means of international engagement? Will the same disruption happen at DOD or will they continue to own direct engagement? And if separating PD and PD-like functions from State is intended to create a more independent, arms-length from policy apparatus, then what about the tactical requirements that the arms-length Dept of Non-State can’t and won’t fulfill?

Further, there have been some smart comments on the need for the U.S. to improve its foreign aid. What do we do with USAID? If we’re looking at the British Council as one, or part of one, model for the DNS, then what about the U.K. Department for International Development? Our national security is dependent on more than informational and cultural and education activities, it is dependent on capacity-building. Too few recall or know that America’s public diplomacy was borne out of a reconstruction and development paradigm. The dramatic uptick in volume and intensity of Communist propaganda against the Marshall Plan (which built on a previous increase against the Truman Plan) pushed Congress and the President to move the languishing Smith-Mundt Bill into law. There’s a reason insurgents target reconstruction and new construction projects. Our security requires addressing grinding poverty and disillusionment in regions that are fertile breeding grounds for extremists, terrorists, and insurgents.  Security will come from understanding and correcting these conditions and local perceptions that permits violent extremism, insurgency, and terrorism to take hold and propagate. So, any thoughts on who a Secretary of Development might be? Would this person be within DNS, equal to DNS?