RAND Report: Whither Strategic Communication?

RAND’s Chris Paul just published must read report on strategic communication and public diplomacy, Whither Strategic Communication? A Survey of Current Proposals and Recommendations. There is a lot to cite in this report, but I’ll just copy from the summary:

U.S. strategic communication and public diplomacy have been the targets of scathing criticism and proposals for overhaul since shortly after September 11, 2001. Proposals and recommendations abound, but many reform efforts have stumbled or have been plagued by false starts. Further contributing to this problem are the differences in terminology and approaches between the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense, the two agencies with primary responsibility in this area. With the need for reform persisting and interest in this area continuing to grow, RAND elected to conduct a survey of existing reform and improvement proposals. The subsequent literature review and interviews with subject-matter experts exposed four core themes in these recommendations: a call for “leadership,” demand for increased resources for strategic communication and public diplomacy, a call for a clear definition of an overall strategy, and the need for better coordination and organizational changes (or additions). The survey also includes a detailed discussion of several frequently appearing recommendations, including revised legislation, leveraging the private sector, the adoption of enterprise-level or whole-of-government solutions, better use of research, a greater focus on measurement, increased use of technology, training and education improvements, a quadrennial review of strategic communication and public diplomacy, and a review of international broadcasting.

By the way, as good as Steve’s quick and dirty summary of reports on public diplomacy and strategic communication is, this does displace it as the best overview. However, Steve’s is still required reading.

I contributed to and and am cited in this report.

A side note: I learned of its public availability through Twitter, specifically from China-based David Wolf through http://tweetree.com/PekingReview. Chris didn’t know it was up either.

This report is required reading for anyone involved in public diplomacy and strategic communication.

Chris Paul is the author of the book Information Operations–Doctrine and Practice: A Reference Handbook and co-author of the RAND report Enlisting Madison Avenue: The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation, as well as a swimmer, cyclist, and friend (with open invite to borrow the one of my bikes when he’s in town… God knows I’m not riding them).

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