• Congress,  Marketplace for Loyalty,  Public Diplomacy

    A Strategic Perspective on “Information Warfare” & “Counter-Propaganda”

    “Someday this nation will recognize that global non-military conflict must be pursued with the same intensity and preparation as global military conflicts.” Unfortunately, that day has yet to come but I hope this hearing is the start of setting us on the right path. Continuing to get this wrong is a threat to our national security, to our economic growth, and to our very standing as a world leader.

  • BBG,  Congress

    BBG on the Hill (Updated)

    On October 22, 2015, I had the honor of testifying before the on Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, the first time a sitting Governor had testified before Congress in over four years. 

  • Congress,  Public Diplomacy,  State Department

    Amb. Kathleen Stephens named Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy (and Public Affairs)

    From the State Department: The Secretary announces that President Obama has designated Ambassador D. Kathleen Stephens as the Acting Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs pending the Senate’s confirmation of the President’s nominee, Tara Sonenshine. Ambassador Stephens will begin work on February 6, 2012, and will exercise all of the authorities of the office for the duration of this designation. Tara’s nomination remains in limbo as we wait for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to refer her to the floor.  Maybe there will be a business meeting next week to move her to the next step, along with several Ambassadorial nominees.  However, the real challenge is not the…

  • Congress,  Public Affairs,  Smith-Mundt,  State Department

    Reforming Smith-Mundt: Making American Public Diplomacy Safe for Americans

    The impact of the "firewall" created by Smith-Mundt between domestic and foreign audiences is profound and often ignored. Ask a citizen of any other democracy what they think about this firewall and you're likely to get a blank, confused stare: Why -- and how -- would such a thing exist? No other country, except perhaps North Korea and China, prevents its own people from knowing what is said and done in their name.

  • Congress,  Public Diplomacy,  State Department

    GAO and US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy discuss evaluation tools

    The subject of public diplomacy evaluation tools and methodologies has been front and center this week. Debating the difference between “measures of effectiveness” (or MOE), “measures of performance” (or MOP), and throwing spaghetti at a wall can seem like arcane stuff, understanding the value of engagement, and the ability to communicate that value, is extremely important. Measures are fundamental to discussions on what to do and why. Of course in order to measure, one must not only know the audience (primary, secondary, tertiary as they must be categorized… or do they?), where they are (as they are less likely to be within neat geographic coordinates), and how they communicate, but…

  • Congress,  Media,  Now Media,  Smith-Mundt,  State Department

    Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2010 (Updated)

    On July 13, US Congressmen Mac Thornberry (TX-13) and Adam Smith (D-WA), both members of the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, introduced “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2010” (H.R. 5729), a bipartisan bill to revise an outdated restriction that interferes with the United States’ diplomatic and military efforts. The Smith-Mundt Act, formally known as the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, was intended to improve and institutionalize information and exchange activities to counter Communist activities around the world that America’s ambassador to Russia described in 1946 as a “war of ideology… a war unto death.” Today, however, the Smith-Mundt Act is invoked not to enable engagement…

  • Congress,  Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    BBG nominees confirmed and Radio Free Asia bill passes House

    Briefly, June 30 was a good day for US international broadcasting. Alan Heil tells us the Senate confirmed the approved all eight nominees for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) last night. They should be sworn in soon. Also, the bill to permanently authorize Radio Free Asia passed the House yesterday. The next step is President Obama’s signature to make it a law. See also: Senate Report on the Broadcasting Board of Governors and ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer’s article on the report