Revisiting House Armed Services Committee Report 111-166 on NDAA FY2010

The House Armed Services Committee Report 111-166 on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 intentionally, as confirmed by this blogger, used the phrase “military public diplomacy” to describe certain activities of the Defense Department based on effect. For your reference, the relevant section of the report is below.


The committee is aware that the Department of Defense carries out a number of engagement activities with foreign partners that might be construed as military public diplomacy. While the Department of State is responsible for public diplomacy for the United States, many of the activities the Department of Defense uses to promote better understanding and build capacity with foreign partners have a similar effect. For example, the Department of Defense helped to fund the Iraqi Virtual Science Library, which provides free, full-text access to thousands of scientific journals from major publishers as well as a large collection of online educational materials. There are also a number of activities to promote exchanges between scientific institutions as well as military personnel exchanges with professional military educational establishments. These activities represent an analogy to the kinds of Fulbright scholarships, American Corners, and book translation programs offered by the Department of State’s public diplomacy program. Other activities, such as the deployment of hospital ships, or the use of military medical personnel to carry out medical, dental, and veterinary operations, have no analogue elsewhere within the government.

However, it is not clear to the committee that there is a good accounting for all of these activities within the Department of Defense. Furthermore, the committee is concerned that the disestablishment of the office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Support to Public Diplomacy has left the Department of Defense without the necessary management structure to coordinate and guide effectively the myriad activities that comprise military public diplomacy. In order to craft an effective engagement strategy, the Department of Defense should understand all of the instruments at its disposal. The committee directs the Secretary of Defense to submit a report on the planning for, and execution of, military public diplomacy to the congressional defense committees within 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act. The report should include the following:

    (1) A taxonomy for understanding the scope of military public diplomacy activities;
    (2) A description of all of the activities in the Department of Defense, services and defense agencies that might fall within the scope of military public diplomacy;
    (3) Metrics for measuring the effectiveness or return on investment of these activities;
    (4) A description of the current management structures for coordinating and overseeing military public diplomacy activities, including any changes needed to increase that structures effectiveness;
    (5) An analysis of how these activities are coordinated with regional theater security cooperation plans; and
    (6) An assessment of the feasibility or efficacy of establishing an exchange program between the Departments of State and Defense for informational and public diplomacy programs.

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