• Congress,  Defense Department,  State Department

    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…

  • Psychological Struggle,  Public Diplomacy

    New blog on the block: The Campaign War Room

    There’s a new blog focused on “analysis of communication and strategy”: The Campaign War Room by James Frayne. James has a background in political communication and, as he told me last year, is frustrated that “all the standard rules of communications that are accepted in politics and commercial communications seem to be rejected by IO practitioners.” After reading his post about the recent meeting of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, his frustrations appear at least intact. One of the issues this blog will be focusing on is Western public diplomacy efforts. It’s always been an area of interest for me because it’s about the battle of ideas, which…

  • Defense Department,  Interagency,  Public Diplomacy,  State Department

    Hitting Bottom at Foggy Bottom at ForeignPolicy.com

    Discussion over the fate of Foggy Bottom usually focuses on the tenure of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the troubles of public diplomacy, and the rise of special envoys on everything from European pipelines to Afghanistan and Pakistan. But Americans would benefit more from a reassessment of the core functionality of the U.S. State Department.

  • Congress,  Defense Department,  Psychological Struggle,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy

    Qualified Support from Congress of DoD Strategic Communication

    For your reference, the below citations are from reports of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees from before the summer recess in support of Defense information activities commonly referred to as strategic communication. As far as the House Appropriations Committee, Defense Subcommittee, there is nothing in support of DOD information activities, as you may already know. The numbers in parentheses at the end of each citation is the page number of the report.

  • Interagency,  Public Affairs,  Public Diplomacy

    Guest Post: How to win the GWOT – or whatever it’s called today

    By Mark Pfeifle, Jonathan Thompson America has the finest military and diplomatic leaders in the world. They know how to win on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. Yet, despite those winning ways, there are times when they become victims of circumstances rather than drivers of events. At such times, some may falter with the media and public, and when that happens, they too often lay blame the results on bad press coverage.

  • Interagency,  Public Diplomacy

    Still Wanted (?): An Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy (Updated)

    Still wanted: an Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. This Want Ad remains, at least as of this writing, valid as the U.S. still needs a leader for the interagency process. Some quick thoughts (apologies for the bullet format, this is all I have time for now): The Defense Department must be balanced by another vertically integrated heavy weight otherwise it will continue to be, by default, the coordinating entity for America’s global engagement. The State Department, to be relevant and to offset Defense, must become a vertically integrated Department of State and Non-State. It makes no sense to de-emphasize or dis-empower State’s “R” Bureau (Public Diplomacy) when…