Inside The Pentagon reported on the White House’s Section 1055 report intended to be a “comprehensive interagency strategy for public diplomacy and strategic communication of the Federal Government.” In “White House Mulls Military, Civilian Strategic Communication Initiatives” dated 25 March 2010, reporter Fawzia Sheikh wrote:
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.
Ambassador Edward Marks (ret.), with more than 40 years as a Foreign Service Officer, offers a proposal for changing the State Department. Titled A “Next Generation” Department of State: A Proposal for the Consolidation of the Management of Foreign Affairs, the whole article is article is available at AmericanDiplomacy.org.
Threats to America’s security are complex and require understanding that policies and words are both necessary and both must be synchronized, mutually supporting, and formulated and executed in a way that recognizes the global environment. But for some, strategic communication and public diplomacy are about speaking to audiences, turning up the volume if a particular message doesn’t immediately resonate. Fortunately, in recent years the reality began to sink in. Strategic communication and public diplomacy – two similar but not synonymous terms – are once again becoming recognized as powerful and essential means of global engagement.
In the US House of Representatives, there is a new non-partisan group to created to share information on issues related to global engagement. The purpose of the Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy Caucus is to “raise awareness of the challenges facing strategic communication and public diplomacy and provide multiple perspectives on proposed solutions.” Congressmen Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Adam Smith (D-WA), co-chairs of the caucus, described the purpose of the group in a letter to their colleagues dated March 3, 2010 (PDF, 35kb):
Update: see this post on polling for dates, format, and price for the next seminar.
Despite the weather this week in Washington, DC, the training seminar “Information as Power: Now Media and the Struggle for Minds and Wills” was, in the words of the students, “excellent.” A big thanks to Hill & Knowlton for providing an awesome (in comfort, utility, and appearance) meeting space.
The weather did cause a schedule change. Instead of 3 x 3 evenings (Mon,Tue,Wed 6p-9p) we went Monday night 6p-9p and Tuesday 10a-5p (a change facilitated by the Government shutdown).
I am exploring holding the course next month for several reasons, including by request and that several could not attend this week’s seminar due to weather. Take a look at the below prospectus and tell me (in the comments below or email me) if you and/or your colleagues would be interested. Note the format of the seminar changes from 3 evenings to 2 days.
Date: March 17 – 18 or March 15 – 16
Time: 9a – 4p (includes a 1hr break for lunch on your own)
Location: DC (possibly Alexandria, but likely in DC)
The format change increases the time from 9 to 12 hours. The additional time allows for deeper discussion of the current agenda plus new topics, such as investigating social media policies, new rules and issues of the global public affairs officer, integrating with policy, and more.
Fee: $695 if paid through March 1, $795 if paid between March 1 – March 16, $895 after March 16.
Group discounts: -25% for 3 from the same institution (ex: $521.25 each if paid before March 1), -30% for 4 ($486.50 each by 3/1), and -35% for 5 or more ($451.75 each by 3/1).
Please forward far and wide and let me know if you are interested. At least 8 are needed to do this. I will email an invoice or provide a link to Google or PayPal checkout. Email me for more information.
Updated: See below for the change of venue
Through my firm Armstrong Strategic Insights Group, LLC, I am conducting a three evening seminar on the modern, global information environment characterized by the fallen barriers to information dissemination and influence as well as the convergence of “new media” and “old media” into “now media.” The purpose is to understand requirements and methods for preactive, proactive, and reactive engagement in the struggle for minds and wills of today and tomorrow. The agenda is below. Sandwiches and drinks (water, soda, coffee) will be served. This executive training series was previously titled “Understanding and Engaging Now Media”.
Preparatory material will be emailed to registered attendees. Additional material will be provided during class via the web.
Date: February 8, 9, 10
Time: 6p – 9p each evening
Location (updated): 607 14th St NW, Suite 300, Washington DC (Hill & Knowlton offices, Google Map)
Sign up before midnight February 3: $495
Sign up February 3-7: $595
Sign up at the door: $695
A discount is available for groups of 3 or more from the same organization.
Email for an invoice and online payment options.
This is the first of two parts. The second part will be a response by Jeremy Berkowitz to be posted shortly. This post will be updated with that link when it is available.
“Raising the Iron Curtain on Twitter: why the United States must revise the Smith-Mundt Act to improve public diplomacy” (PDF, 415kb) is an intelligent and thoughtful paper from law student Jeremy Berkowitz. It is a valuable contribution to the too-sparse knowledgebase of legislation that shapes much of the US Government’s engagement with the world, including Americans. Written from a legal perspective – in May 2010 Jeremy will receive a Communications Law Studies Certificate from the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America – this paper delves into juridical actions related to the Smith-Mundt Act not found anywhere else. Jeremy also explores some of wrangling between the legislative and executive branch, specifically the confrontation between Senator Fulbright and US Attorney General Kleindienst. I was pleased to see his discussion on the 1998 DC Circuit Court decision in Essential Information v. United States Information Agency. In this case, the Court failed to distinguish “dissemination” and “disclosure”, ruling that “it seems unlikely that these two terms were meant to bear different meanings.”
Courtesy of Bruce Gregory, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University.
January 13, 2010
Intended for teachers of public diplomacy and related courses, here is an update on resources that may be of general interest. Suggestions for future updates are welcome.
George Washington University
The ability to share information empowers people, regardless of where they are. Increased access to information is democratizing. It can mobilize, increase oversight and accountability, and improve access to resources and markets, all of which increase participation and standards of living.
It is not surprising then that one of public diplomacy’s chief proponents in Congress, Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), wrote about the use of social media as a tool for democracy in Twitter vs. Terror at ForeignPolicy.com.
Next Friday is my first day teaching at USC and I’m excited. Hopefully the students are at least moderately excited as well. My goal of PUBD510: Public Diplomacy and Technologies is to the students capable of engaging a senior policy maker on the importance and requirements of engaging in today’s Now Media global information environment while cognizant that different geographies – be they physical, social, or cultural – demand different tools, methods, and expectations.