I was on the wrap-up panel at the end of an unnamed conference a few months ago where I verbally presented the idea of a spectrum of war and peace as it related to the subject matter. Movement along this spectrum, as I described it, changes the appropriateness, and effectiveness, of different elements of power and methods engagement. But at no time, especially in today’s global information environment, global diasporas, and the relative increased power of individuals and non-state actors relative to states and
I submit here a sanitized version of the spectrum as food for thought and for discussion. Understanding when and where public diplomacy (and/or strategic communication) fits is essential for buy-in by Congress and others.
As regions move along this spectrum, USAID and the like that build state-capacity, enter, as does conventional military forces. The volume and type of informational engagement and cultural and educational exchanges also changes as regions move along the curve. At certain points, there is a preponderance of certain types of informational engagement – Information Operations and maybe PSYOP over say Public Diplomacy – that will change as conditions change.
Regions are continually moving along this spectrum, and it is in our national security interest to keep them at the bottom of the slope.
Public diplomacy is in play across the spectrum, unlike other information programs which kick in on the upward slope and drop away on the downward. I have a graphic on that, but it needs a bit more polish.