Persuasive politics: Revisit the Smith-Mundt Act

In the The Washington Times:

Persuasive politics: Revisit the Smith-Mundt Act

Matt Armstrong
Friday, December 19, 2008

"Repairing America’s image" is a popular mantra these days, but discussions on revamping America’s public diplomacy are futile if the legislative foundation of what we are attempting to fix is ignored. A sixty year old law affects virtually all U.S. engagement with foreign audiences by putting constraints on what we say and how we say it. Perhaps more importantly, it limits the oversight by the American public, Congress, and the whole of government into what is said and done in America’s name abroad. The impact of this law, the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, must not be ignored if policymakers hope to improve how the United States communicates overseas.

Read the whole op-ed here.

One thought on “Persuasive politics: Revisit the Smith-Mundt Act

  1. This is a very insightful and necessary discussion. We can’t possibly be effective in the information age with a Cold-War legal and policy framework for national level communication activities. The laws, policies and rules need revision now.

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