Here is a question for the community interested in public diplomacy, strategic communication (or signaling integration), and global engagement: Does the U.S. Government need a national strategy on public diplomacy and strategic communication?
My view: yes, the President must issue a strategy that declares the imperative of synchronizing words and deeds across the interagency and within the departments, provides a high-level and flexible definition, and avoids details like specific themes. This document must provide flexible guidance and support to empower organizations to support strategic goals, such as the global information environment, global audiences, telling the truth, bolstering morale and extend hope through actions supported by words (and vice versa) and not words alone, and combating misrepresentation and distortion.
Building the necessary capacity follows the development of necessary capabilities, which follows developing the appreciation for the need which includes understanding the gap. These all require not only awareness of the modern environment (physical and informational) but also support from the top, hence the need for the President to provide the guidance and imperative necessary to fight the bureaucratic and intellectual inertia that must be overcome for our national (physical and economic) security.
This document would replace the National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication by Karen Hughes, which, absent a replacement, continues to come up in conversation.
- Developing a National Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy Strategy from two years ago: 22 May 2008.
- Finally, a National Strategy on Public Diplomacy from three years ago: 15 June 2007.
- Public Diplomacy: Strengthening US Engagement with the World a “framework” not a strategy from this year: 9 March 2010.