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). 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.
Three posts on public diplomacy, strategic communication, global engagement, or whatever you and your tribe calls empowering and encouraging others to share common cause now or when necessary in the future.
We must understand and undermine the real mechanisms that empower the enemy and take “aggressive actions to win the important battle of perception.”
Reorganizing Government to meet hybrid threats posted at the Stimson Center’s Budget Insight Blog
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.
A Global Call to Arms in the Virtual Century, a guest post by Carson T. Checketts
An active, educated and dynamic vigilance is required by our world’s citizens to intercept the individuals and groups who (like pariahs) feed off hateful, bigoted and narrow ideologies to the detriment of everyone.
Because you and everyone else looking for a “whole of government” approach to public diplomacy, strategic communication, and global engagement should know, below are the members of the Foreign Operations subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations.
Because you and everybody else looking for a “whole of government” approach to public diplomacy, strategic communication, and global engagement should know, below are the members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (SFRC).
by Yale Richmond
Yale Richmond, a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer and author of 11 books on intercultural communication, worked on U.S.-Soviet cultural and other exchanges for more than 20 years. He delivered the following speech at the Aleksanteri Institute’s 9th Annual Conference “Cold War Interactions Reconsidered” 29-31 October 2009, University of Helsinki, Finland. This is the second of two parts and originally appeared at Whirled View. It is published here with the author’s permission. Part I is here.
Exhibitions: Better to See Once. . .
And now to exhibitions. As an old Russian proverb tells us, it is better to see once than to hear a hundred times.
The Cultural Agreement also provided for month-long showings of exhibitions in the two countries to show the latest developments in various fields. Prepared by the U.S. Information Agency, the American exhibitions were on such subjects as medicine, architecture, hand tools, education, outdoor recreation, technology for the home, and agriculture. Each exhibition had some 20 Russian-speaking American guides who responded to questions from the Soviet visitors. For most Russians who saw the exhibitions, it was their first and only opportunity to talk with an American.
Despite harassment by the KGB, the exhibitions drew huge crowds with long lines awaiting admittance, and they were seen, on average, by some 250,000 visitors in each city. All together, more than 20 million Soviet citizens saw the 23 U.S. exhibitions over a 32-year period.
Yale Richmond is a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer, the author of 11 books on intercultural communication, and he worked on U.S.-Soviet cultural and other exchanges for more than 20 years. Yale delivered the following speech at the Aleksanteri Institute’s 9th Annual Conference “Cold War Interactions Reconsidered” 29-31 October 2009, University of Helsinki, Finland. This is the first of two parts and originally appeared at Whirled View. It is published here with the author’s permission.
I want to thank the Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki for this opportunity to speak to you. It is an honor to be asked to address such a well-informed audience.
First a disclaimer. Although I worked for the US Government for more than 35 years, and many of those years on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, I do not speak for the State Department today. The views I present here today are my own.
There are many theories of why communism collapsed and the Cold War ended, as you will likely be hearing in this conference.
There are a few grains of truth in some of those explanations, and more than a few in others, but I will provide today many grains of another explanation–that the end of the Cold War and the collapse of communism were consequences of Soviet contacts and cultural exchanges with the West, and with the United States in particular, over the years that followed the death of Stalin in 1953.
When cultural exchange with the Soviets is mentioned, most people think of Soviet dancers, symphony orchestras, ice shows, and circuses that came to the West and filled our halls with admiring spectators. But cultural exchange consisted of much more–exhibitions, motion pictures, and most important, exchanges of people.
What is “strategic communication”? To many, it is synonymous with public diplomacy, but are they? Is it that strategic communication is simply engagement by the Defense Department and public diplomacy is engagement by the State Department?
To many in the Defense community, strategic communication encompasses public affairs. This is reflected in the comment by a senior Defense official who noted beliefs that strategic communication is “public affairs on steroids.” Personally, I have never heard public diplomacy similarly described.
I’m interested in thoughts on the difference between strategic communication (SC) and public diplomacy (PD).
I’ll fire off the first observation on the differences for your comment:
The difference is not merely semantic but based in differences in techniques, tactics, procedures, time horizons, and audiences. On the last point, audiences, strategic communication is global as it does include public affairs, the US public and US media. From the comments from the Secretary of Defense to the “orchestra chart“, the struggle to communicate is not restricted to audiences beyond our borders. In stark contrast, public diplomacy is exclusively aimed at audiences residing out the geographic borders of the United States at the moment of contact.
Back to you. What are your thoughts on strategic communication and public diplomacy, including or ignoring my above statement.
By Peggie Duggan
Exactly who is responsible for explaining the United States to the rest of the world? Perhaps, more importantly, who is responsible for explaining the United States to her own people? The answers are the U.S. Department of State and nobody, respectively. As Dr. Phil would say, “How is that working for you?”
On a forgotten day, buried in the Congressional Record, one senator stood up and said,
Our country, I think we can all admit, has experienced a tremendous decline in international respect since 1943. At the end of World War II, due both to our leadership toward victory and to an accumulation of international prestige built over the decade, this country occupied an enviable stance.
It was liked, admired, and trusted to a degree even by conquered nations, and we had the one great Military Establishment intact in the whole world.
Now what has happened? Why has the world deteriorated? You can’t point your finger of blame at any individual or any individual policy. But when that kind of historic demonstration is before us, it seems to me that alert Americans ought to ask themselves why and what can we do about it?
This country today is being popularly blamed by much of the politically conscious population of the world for a great share of the misfortunes of the world…
Something is wrong with American policy. There is nothing wrong with American attitudes, nothing wrong with the American ideal, nothing wrong with the basic concept that we provide a lot of foreign aid and leadership and help the free world get stronger…Nobody really believes we are imperialistic. Nobody really believes we are trying to superimpose any religious creed or a political philosophy on anybody.
We do this out of an abundance of good will and out of some impulse of self-preservation, and we get attacked.
Below is the report on the Smith-Mundt Symposium of January 13, 2009. Subtitled “A Discourse to Shape America’s Discourse”, it was a frank and open discussion across a diverse group of stakeholders, practitioners, and observers from Congress, the Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, and outside of government, many of whom never had a reason to be in the same room with one another before. Ostensibly on the law that authorized what we now call public diplomacy, it was really a way to foster an interagency, public‐private, and inter‐tribal discussion was on the purpose, structure, and direction of America’s global engagement. The report has been online since April. It is republished at Scribd for greater attention and comment. Please contribute your comments below.
Checkout my article over at ForeignPolicy.com, Censoring the Voice of America: Why is it OK to broadcast terrorist propaganda but not taxpayer-funded media reports?
Earlier this year, a community radio station in Minneapolis asked Voice of America (VOA) for permission to retransmit its news coverage on the increasingly volatile situation in Somalia. The VOA audio files it requested were freely available online without copyright or any licensing requirements. The radio station’s intentions were simple enough: Producers hoped to offer an informative, Somali-language alternative to the terrorist propaganda that is streaming into Minneapolis, where the United States’ largest Somali community resides. Over the last year or more, al-Shabab, an al Qaeda linked Somali militia, has successfully recruited two dozen or more Somali-Americans to return home and fight. The radio station was grasping for a remedy.
It all seemed straightforward enough until VOA turned down the request for the Somali-language programming. In the United States, airing a program produced by a U.S. public diplomacy radio or television station such as VOA is illegal. Oddly, though, airing similar programs produced by foreign governments — or even terrorist groups — is not. As a result, the same professional journalists, editors, and public diplomacy officers whom we trust to inform and engage the world are considered more threatening to Americans than terrorist propaganda — like the stuff pouring into Minneapolis. …
In an age where a teenager with a keyboard can wield more influence than an F-22 Raptor, the time has long past for the United States to change its public diplomacy and communications strategy accordingly. …
Read the whole thing at ForeignPolicy.com. More information related to the article is below.
Face-off to Facebook: From the Nixon-Khrushchev Kitchen Debate to Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Jack Morton Auditorium, 805 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
GW’s Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at the School of Media and Public Affairs, in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation, the Walter Roberts Endowment, and the Kennan Institute, is pleased to announce a conference devoted to the 50th anniversary of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, with its famous Khrushchev-Nixon “Kitchen Debate,” as well as to the new opportunities for U.S. public diplomacy in a Web 2.0 world.