Since 9/11, senior officials at the White House, State, and Defense, and members of Congress have repeatedly stressed that they view public diplomacy as an important instrument of national security policy. Now would be a good time to act on that belief.

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  • BBG

    Serving until Replaced: the recurring story of the Broadcasting Board of Governors

    The Broadcasting Board of Governors is presently working toward updating its organization and strategy to meet America’s 21st Century needs.  Whether you agree with the suggestions or not, most of the proposed changes remain just that: proposed as they await approval for many of the key changes.  The BBG provided a “narrative” but you will have to wait until next month, I’m told, for the detailed plan. Back in September 2010, I wrote about the “honeymoon” the then-new Board would enjoy.  Indeed, after two years without a chairman and with only four members, serving appointments that expired six years earlier, the neglected BBG was due and eager for fresh leadership. For background,…

  • Guest Posts,  Public Diplomacy

    Diplomacy in Public Services

    By Aparajitha Vadlamannati I remember coming back to the States a few years ago after a long summer spent with family and friends in India. I felt homesick, tired from the 16 hour flight, and did not want to start school in two weeks but then I was pulled out of my funk when a customs official smiled and said ‘welcome home.’ It was such a simple act but it changed my mood and made me feel as though maybe all those customs officials, even the ones with sour faces, are not so bad after all. Little did I know, I doubt the official recognized this either, that this act…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Events

    Event: exploring an independent public diplomacy / strategic communication organization

    The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is convening a non-partisan public diplomacy initiative next week, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Secretary of Defense William Perry. The initiative will bring together a broad coalition of high-level experts, practitioners, including members from the corporate and foundation sectors, the think-tank and academic communities, and the Congress, to develop a business plan for the new organization to provide sustained, innovative, and high quality private sector support for US public diplomacy; and identify public and private sources of funding. The envisioned entity will be non-partisan and transcend Administrations. It will facilitate better coordination and implementation between the government and…

  • Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    The BBG’s Honeymoon: All Work and No Play

    The subject of government-supported broadcasting has risen out of seemingly nowhere over the past year. Several high quality reports have appeared, including those by Senator Richard Lugar, Shawn Powers, and the Lowy Institute in Australia. Over at Layalina, I put in my nickel on the discussion with regard to the challenge faced by the new leadership of America’s non-military government broadcasting. There is a new governor in town, eight of them in fact. For the first time in six years, all of the top jobs at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) are filled. Half of the seats sat empty for up to four years, including the chairmanship for the…

  • Congress,  Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    BBG nominees confirmed and Radio Free Asia bill passes House

    Briefly, June 30 was a good day for US international broadcasting. Alan Heil tells us the Senate confirmed the approved all eight nominees for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) last night. They should be sworn in soon. Also, the bill to permanently authorize Radio Free Asia passed the House yesterday. The next step is President Obama’s signature to make it a law. See also: Senate Report on the Broadcasting Board of Governors and ProPublica’s Dafna Linzer’s article on the report

  • Government Broadcasting,  Public Diplomacy

    Update on the confirmation of US Broadcasting Board of Governors

    The US Broadcasting Board of Governors continues to operate with a minimum of members, just enough for a quorum. The Board currently has four members, no chair, each of which continues several years (from over 3 to nearly 6) past their terms expired. Since March 23, 2010, the six of the replacement slate of eight members have been queued up for confirmation. Two of members, Dana Perino and Michael Meehan, were in a holding pattern pending more questions and answers from Senators. Last week, it appeared the nominees would be confirmed before the Senate recessed for Memorial Day. Alan Heil, noted expert on US government broadcasting explains the current situation:…