• Defense Department,  Development,  State Building,  State Department

    Civilian Response Corps: Smart Power in Action

    The Civilian Response Corps has a website: http://www.civilianresponsecorps.gov/. From the about page: The Civilian Response Corps is a group of civilian federal employees who are specially trained and equipped to deploy rapidly to provide reconstruction and stabilization assistance to countries in crisis or emerging from conflict. The Corps leverages the diverse talents, expertise, and technical skills of members from nine federal departments and agencies for conflict prevention and stabilization. We are diplomats, development specialists, public health officials, law enforcement and corrections officers, engineers, economists, lawyers and others who help fragile states restore stability and rule of law and achieve economic recovery as quickly as possible. Visit the site and check…

  • State Building,  State Department,  White House/NSC

    U.S. “Hedge Fund” Diplomacy in Egypt

    By Michael Clauser Like many Americans, I am conflicted about recent events in Egypt and even more so about what the U.S. government should do. On one hand, the United States has an immediate interest in the stability of Egypt and its government–and not just to keep the peace in the Middle East or secure the two million barrels of oil that pass through the Suez Canal every day.  But also because ditching a longtime U.S. ally like Hosni Mubarak at his moment of need does not send a reassuring message to other embattled pro-American leaders in unstable countries.  Especially when you consider what type of leader may be waiting…

  • Public Diplomacy,  Smith-Mundt,  State Department

    Revamping Public Diplomacy at the State Department (updated)

    Since the abolishment of the United States Information Agency, the State Department has struggled to balance the need of the embassies with what Washington perceived was needed. This challenge has been particularly acute on the Internet where the resulting mix of information and voices can undermine the very purpose and effectiveness of engagement. On January 28, I spoke with Dawn McCall, Coordinator for the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP), to discuss the recently announced reorganization of the Bureau. IIP is responsible for developing and disseminating printed material, online information and engagement efforts, and speaker’s programs (a kind of offline engagement using subject matter experts). It is half of the…

  • Public Diplomacy,  State Department

    Pop Quiz: identify the author or the name of the report and win an Amazon Gift Card

    The problem with history, I’m told Mark Twain said, is that it repeats. Be the first to identify the source of the following statement and I’ll email you a $10 gift card Amazon.com. Answers must be submitted in the comments of this post. You may answer anonymously, but if you want the gift card, I’ll need your email. Email addresses entered into the appropriate comment field are not public. This contest closes Wednesday, 19 January, at 8a PT. I have sole discretion in judging the contest. This contest is closed. Here’s the quote: The adequacy with which the United States as a society is portrayed to the other peoples of…

  • Defense Department,  Development,  State Building,  State Department

    Revisiting the Civilian Response Corps

    The Small Wars Journal recently published a paper from Mike Clauser, a friend who was until recently on the staff of Rep. Mac Thornberry, Republican from Texas (no, his departure was unrelated to the paper). The paper, entitled “Not Just a Job, an Adventure: Drafting the U.S. Civil Service for Counterinsurgencies,” is an interesting recommendation to fill the empty billets of the Civilian Response Corps. In 2007 and 2008, I wrote several posts on the Reserve Corps concept and on the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS), including one for Small Wars Journal entitled “In-sourcing Stabilization and Reconstruction” (and posted on MountainRunner here). I also…

  • Defense Department,  Guest Posts,  Psychological Struggle,  State Department

    Find the Right Balance Between Civilian and Military: Don’t Just Strip the Department of Defense of Capabilities to Inform, Influence, and Persuade

    By Christopher Paul, Ph.D. As Matt has repeatedly noted in this space and elsewhere, “American public diplomacy wears combat boots.”1 That is, the Department of Defense (DoD) employs the majority of the resources (funding, manpower, tools, and programs) used for U.S. government efforts to inform, influence, and persuade foreign audiences and publics. Most of us agree that this is not the ideal state of affairs. The Department of State (DOS) or other civilian agency should have the preponderance of the United States’ capabilities in this area. Both the White House and DoD concur.2 Congress would also like to see DOS doing more in this area–and DoD doing less. To date,…

  • Public Diplomacy,  State Department

    Department of State Completes Selection of Deputy Assistant Secretaries for Public Diplomacy

    Congratulations to the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs: they have their Deputy Assistant Secretaries in place to support the State Department strategic framework for public diplomacy. From the State Department: The State Department announced today that it had completed a key component of its strategic framework for public diplomacy, with the selection of Deputy Assistant Secretaries for public diplomacy in the Department’s six geographic bureaus and a Deputy Assistant Secretary for international media engagement in the Bureau of Public Affairs. “The Department of State’s strategic framework for public diplomacy was designed to strengthen our ability to match strategies and programs to our country’s top foreign policy priorities,” stated…

  • Public Diplomacy,  State Department

    USAID’s loss is Judith McHale’s gain

    It was barely six months ago that Lynne Weil, one of public diplomacy’s best friends on the Hill as a Berman staffer on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, moved from the House to the United States Agency for International Development. This move was so noteworthy that Al Kamen wrote about it. Lynne tells me she is making another move. Starting next week, she’ll be Senior Advisor to Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale. What will she do? Working with her team, I’ll put my full media, congressional and policy experience into supporting U.S. public diplomacy, which you and I share as a long-standing personal…