Last week, the Trump administration attacked the US government-funded Voice of America. The White House did this through its online newsletter and a tweet by Trump’s Director of Social Media. Described as a “bizarre broadside,” these public statements are really just more revelations of the decay and drift of US foreign policy and this administration’s inability to provide even a modicum of leadership.Continue reading “Understanding the White House’s Attack on VOA “
By Michael Clauser
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 in the wings in Egypt or elsewhere in the world.
The Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy Caucus is holding a briefing this Thursday, June 17th at 9:00am in Room 121 of the Cannon House Office Building to discuss the National Framework for Strategic Communication, the Secretary of State’s Strategic Framework for Public Diplomacy, and the Secretary of Defense’s “1055 Report” on Strategic Communication.
Briefers include Mr. Pradeep Ramamurthy from the White House National Security Staff, Ms. Kitty DiMartino from the State Department, and Ms. Rosa Brooks from the Department of Defense. The one-hour briefing will include time for questions and answers.
- Congress steps up: a caucus for strategic communication and public diplomacy from 7 March 2010
- Establishing the Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy Caucus by Rep. Mac Thornberry on 7 March 2010
- New Caucus To Probe Strategic Communication, Public Diplomacy from Inside the Pentagon on 17 March 2010
Last month, President Obama released his first National Security Strategy. It is a substantial departure from President George W. Bush’s narrowly focused 2002 strategy that imagined “every tool in our arsenal” as only “military power, better homeland defenses, law enforcement, intelligence, and vigorous efforts to cut off terrorist financing.” In contrast, President Obama’s new National Security Strategy acknowledges that countering violent extremism is “only one element of our strategic environment and cannot define America’s engagement with the world.”
The Congress specified in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2009 a requirement that the President and the Defense Department submit reports on comprehensive strategies for public diplomacy and strategic communication. These “1055 reports,” so-called because of the section of the NDAA that called for them, provide an insight into the senior leader perspective on the U.S. Government bureaucracies that engage and influence foreign publics. The Administration just released their report, National Framework for Strategic Communication (2010) (720kb PDF). The Defense Department’s report was released earlier and is available here.*
The report includes four significant recommendations on “re-balancing” public diplomacy and strategic communication. The fourth of these deserves special attention:
(d) how best to expedite revitalizing and strengthening civilian department and agency capabilities, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to enable them to effectively execute these programs and activities.
The point on “quality” is important. We already know that public diplomacy personnel at the State Department are limited in their ability to conceive and execute programs based on limited resources (both personnel and money), limited incentive for the practice from a human resource perspective, lack of training, and bureaucracies more interested in themselves more than the mission. This fourth point is critical and must include addressing the challenge of attracting and supporting the best and the brightest toward a public diplomacy career, as well as elevating public diplomacy as a core function for a Department of State that must also be a Department of Non-State.
Excerpts of the report are below.