Movement on the BBG? (Updated)

imageNo, not yet. The Senate has adjourned until June 7. Questions from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to at least one of nominees to the Broadcasting Board of Governors is available from the Huffington Post (scroll down to COBURN’S QUESTIONNAIRE FOR DANA PERINO), or click here for the Word document with the questions.

Meanwhile, the head of the Persian News Network was “reassigned” and his deputy was fired.

See also:

Understanding State’s Budget Woes

Andrew Exum at CNAS blames – only somewhat tongue in cheek – the absence of federal money creating jobs in Congressional districts for the State Department’s budget woes. His point, of course, is that Congress sees little direct benefit from State’s activities. My friend draws additional insight from Gordon Adams and Cindy Williams and their highlight of an operational difference between State and the Defense Department:

The State Department’s dominant culture — the Foreign Service — takes pride in [the department’s] traditional role as the home of US diplomacy. Diplomats represent the United States overseas, negotiate with foreign countries, and report on events and developments. Diplomats, from this perspective, are not foreign assistance providers, program developers, or managers. As a result, State did not organize itself internally to plan, budget, manage, or implement the broader range of US global engagement … State department culture focuses on diplomacy, not planning, program development and implementation.

This is evident across the board at State, including, but not limited to, inadequate budgeting processes and systems, rigid hierarchies, and cultural bias against outside advice.

Below is a quick list of some of the other substantive issues I’ve talked in various public and private forums:

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Lynne Weil goes to USAID

One of public diplomacy’s best friends on the Hill, Lynne Weil, is going to USAID. Al Kamen writes about this move:

The beleaguered Agency of International Development is awaiting the arrival of some assistant administrators to give the new boss, Rajiv Shah, some help in restoring the dysfunctional shop to at least some semblance of robust health (he is a doctor, after all). …

Now comes word that he’s tapped veteran Hill foreign policy insider and media maven Lynne Weil to shore up the AID press shop as its director and to be the agency spokeswoman. Weil, who spent 15 years as a reporter, much of that time overseas, has worked on the Hill for nearly nine years , including stints for then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden and then for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, for the late Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and more recently for Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

The House Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairman Berman’s loss is AID’s gain. This move should help USAID in ways more than just press relations. Lynne won’t check her public diplomacy legislative experience at the door.

As a result of the wonderful world of dysfunction created by Senator Jesse Helms when he abolished the United States Information Agency, Lynne will report to PJ Crowley. Yes, that PJ, State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. More on that when I write on the State Department Inspector General inspection report on the Bureau of Public Affairs. I’ll include comments from my sit down with PJ last week – after participating in a little send off of Ian Kelly to from State to Vienna – when we discussed this report.

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.
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New Caucus To Probe Strategic Communication, Public Diplomacy

Inside the Pentagon reports on the new caucus on the Hill that shows the level of heightening interest in improving America’s global engagement. In “New Caucus To Probe Strategic Communication, Public Diplomacy”, dated 11 March 2010, reporter Fawzia Sheikh writes:

A new Capitol Hill caucus focused on strategic communication and public diplomacy officially launched last week and plans to study the latest government efforts in these domains during its inaugural meeting later this month, according to a congressional source.

A new Pentagon report on strategic communication, a State Department plan on public diplomacy and a National Security Council framework outlining how agencies will collaborate in these areas will be among the discussion topics, the congressional source said on the condition of anonymity. (See related story.)

Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Mac Thornberry (R-TX) are heading the caucus, which is still being rounded out, the source told Inside the Pentagon. Organizers have collected the names of three other Republicans and three additional Democrats interested in joining, said the source. There has also been “a lot of interest at the staff level,” including the House Foreign Affairs Committee, defense authorizers and “other elements of the congressional staff,” the source said.

“Given the interest in this issue,” added Michael Amato, Smith’s spokesman, “we expect a significant number of members to join the caucus.”

The rest of the article follows.

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The VOICE Act: Victims of Iranian Censorship

Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE), chairing a hearing with four past and present Under Secretaries for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, mentioned the VOICE Act in his opening remarks. From my experience, unless you’ve sat in on one of my presentations sometime in the last eight months, odds are you don’t know what it is. The VOICE Act is a product of Senators in the Armed Services Committee: John McCain (R-AZ), Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Ted Kaufman (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Robert Casey (D-PA).

(Interesting note: Senators Kaufman and Wicker – plus Senator Jim Webb – are the only Congressman (House or Senate) that are on both an armed services committee and a foreign relations (Senate) or foreign affairs (House) committee. These two Senators chaired the recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing titled The Future of Public Diplomacy.)

The VOICE Act, also known as the Victims of Iranian Censorship Act, was passed by the Senate in S. 1391 on July 23, 2009. It passed the conference between House and Senate armed services committees on October 8, 2009 and with the President’s signature on October 28, 2009, it became Public Law 111-84: the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010.

The VOICE Act is a notable (and rare) example of Defense Department-focused entities – the armed services committees – authorizing substantial funding for the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. However, the $55 million (details are below) authorized is not yet funded. In what could have been a very visible demonstration of putting his money where his mouth is, to the best of my knowledge, the late Congressman John Murtha (D-PA), chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, did not push to fund the VOICE Act despite saying the State Department should be doing more.

The VOICE Act is on the books, but it lacks funding.

So what does the VOICE Act authorize? On his website, Sen McCain touts the VOICE Act as “bipartisan legislation that will help strengthen the ability of the Iranian people get access to news and information and overcome the electronic censorship and monitoring efforts of the Iranian regime.”

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Judith McHale’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee discussing public diplomacy

Below is the prepared testimony of Judith McHale, current Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, before the the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 10, 2010. Alternatively, download the 274kb PDF. A list of Under Secretaries for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and their tenures may be found here.

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Jim Glassman’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee discussing public diplomacy

Below is the prepared testimony of Jim Glassman, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, before the the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 10, 2010. Alternatively, download the 408kb PDF. A list of Under Secretaries for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and their tenures may be found here.

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Karen Hughes’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee discussing public diplomacy

Below is the prepared testimony of Karen Hughes, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, before the the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 10, 2010. Alternatively, download the 234kb PDF. A list of Under Secretaries for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and their tenures may be found here.

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Evelyn Lieberman’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee discussing public diplomacy

Below is the prepared testimony of Evelyn S. Lieberman, former (and first) Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, before the the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 10, 2010. Alternatively, download the 86kb PDF.

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Defense Department releases its Section 1055 report on strategic communication

According to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, the Defense Department was required to provide a report on

the organizational structure within the Department of Defense for advising the Secretary on the direction and priorities for strategic communication activities, including an assessment of the option of establishing a board, composed of representatives from among the organizations within the Department responsible for strategic communications, public diplomacy, and public affairs, and including advisory members from the broader interagency community as appropriate, for purposes of (1) providing strategic direction for Department of Defense efforts related to strategic communications and public diplomacy; and (2) setting priorities for the Department of Defense in the areas of strategic communications and public diplomacy.

This report (PDF, 660kb) is known as the 1055 report, after the section of the NDAA that called for it.

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Nye: Restoring America’s Reputation in the World and Why It Matters

Below is the prepared testimony of Joseph S. Nye, Jr. before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, March 4, 2010

In his inaugural address in 2009, President Barack Obama stated that “our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.” Shortly thereafter, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said "America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America. We must use what has been called ‘smart power’, the full range of tools at our disposal.” Earlier, Defense Secretary Robert Gates had called for the U.S. government to commit more money and effort to soft power tools including diplomacy, economic assistance, and communications because the military alone cannot defend America’s interests around the world. He pointed out that military spending totals more than half a trillion dollars annually compared with a State Department budget of $36 billion. In his words, “I am here to make the case for strengthening our capacity to use soft power and for better integrating it with hard power.” What does this mean for policy?

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Establishing the Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy Caucus

By Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX)

On September 11th, 2001, America changed.  Since then the United States has been at war with violent Islamic extremists who plot and plan against us every day.  We have sent American troops to Afghanistan and Iraq to defeat them in combat.  Our intelligence and special operations forces have fanned out across the globe to disrupt terrorist networks and deny them safe havens.  And we have cooperated with friends and allies to reinforce existing counterterrorism resources and build new coordinated capabilities.  While these actions are necessary to defeat the jihadist threat against the United States, they are not sufficient to do so.

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The State of State: A Proposal for Reorganization at Foggy Bottom

See my policy memo entitled “The State of State: A Proposal for Reorganization at Foggy Bottom” published by PPI. (PDF here, 910kb)

The past decade has seen the U.S. government expand its activities around the globe in response to complex and stateless threats. In the face of these challenges, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, and members of Congress have all called for increasing the resources and capabilities of the State Department to roll back what Gates has termed the “creeping militarization” of foreign policy. But efforts at reform are hindered by an institutional structure rooted in a 19th-century view of the world.

The days of traditional diplomacy conducted behind closed doors are over. The democratization of information and means of destruction makes a kid with a keyboard is potentially more dangerous than an F-22. Addressing poverty, pandemics, resource security, and terrorism requires multilateral and dynamic partnerships with governments and publics. But the State Department has yet to adapt to the new context of global engagement. The diverse threats that confront the U.S. and our allies cannot be managed through a country-centric approach. For State to be effective and relevant, it needs to evolve and become both a Department of State and Non-State.

Download the full memo here. Comment here at MountainRunner or there.

Reorganizing Government to meet hybrid threats

Read my guest post over at the Stimson Center’s Budget Insight blog titled Hybrid Government:

Nine years ago we went to war with the enemy we had, not the enemy we wanted. For several years after 9/11 we struggled to comprehend how military superiority failed to translate into strategic victory. We created labels like “irregular” and “hybrid” to describe adversaries that did not conform to our structured view of international affairs shaped by the second half of the Cold War. Today, conflict is democratized, not in the sense of bicameral legislatures but strategic influence in the hands of non-state actors empowered by falling barriers to information acquisition, packaging and dissemination as well as easy access to the means of destruction and disruption, physical and virtual.

Calls for “smart power” and a “whole of government” approach has resulted in countless articles, memos, and reports on updating the State Department, the Defense Department, and other agencies to confront the challenges of today and tomorrow. The focus on improving the operational elements of national power, while necessary, ignores a critical national security actor that has received little to no attention or pressure to adapt to the new and emerging requirements: Congress.

Read the whole thing here. Comment there or below.