Saturday, January 16th 2016
The technology editor of Defense One, Patrick Tucker, reported on “America’s New Plan to Fight ISIS Online,” on January 11, 2016. The subhead of the article was, “The State Department will diversify its one-way approach, while other agencies reach out to Silicon Valley.” The full article provided details of many efforts in the U.S. government to “fight ISIS messaging via social media.”Read More
Thursday, December 31st 2015
“Gray zone,” “hybrid,” “full-spectrum,” “non-linear,” “next-generation,” or “ambiguous” conflicts were the focus of an article by Peter Pomeransev, “Brave New War,” posted on The Atlantic website on December 29, 2015. A London-based television producer and fellow of the Legatum Institute, Pomeransev wrote that these conflicts “mix psychological, media, economic, cyber, and military operations without requiring a declaration of war.” Russia and China have developed new military doctrines to execute them. Inevitably, Public Diplomacy, public affairs, strategic communication, and information operations must be part of the Western response. Here are some key quotes:Read More
Tuesday, December 15th 2015
“. . . the Voice of America (VOA) is a national security asset, and not only because it is a news organization of extraordinary breadth, depth and reach,” wrote former VOA Director David Ensor, now Joan Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard University. His December 14, 2015, report, “Exporting the First Amendment: Strengthening U.S. Soft Power through Journalism,” is a valuable, detailed, and convictional explanation of the role of U.S. international broadcasters. “VOA is an effort to harness and direct the nation’s soft power by exporting truthful, balanced journalism,” he added, and he posed this question: “What is the proper role of the Voice of America in a world where Vladimir Putin ‘weaponizes information’ and terrorists recruit globally on the Internet?”
Specialists in Public Diplomacy, public affairs, broadcasting, strategic communication, media and social media, information operations, and foreign policy must read the entire report, which begins with a dramatic case study of the Yazidis who fled to Mount Shinjar in August, 2014. The report concludes with Ensor’s recommendations and his views of “what works” (“journalism with values”) and what doesn’t (“policy driven ‘messaging’”).
This gist provides main points, but it necessarily omits the most valuable supporting details, contrasts with other national broadcasting efforts, case studies, and analytics that are included in Ensor’s paper. Again, read the full report!Read More
Friday, November 20th 2015
Public Diplomacy officers who have dealt with armed forces counterparts learn of their focus on strategic communications (STRATCOM), communications strategy (COMMSTRAT), communications synchronization, communication through action, and the “say-do gap.” Army Lieutenant Colonel David Hylton, a public affairs officer, usefully reviewed these concepts in an article, “Commanders and Communication” in the September-October, 2015, issue of Military Review.
- Strategic communication (STRATCOM) was the first term adopted by the government (popularized following 9/11) that attempted to provide a working definition for synchronized strategic-level activities aimed at communicating a unified message supporting strategic objectives.
- STRATCOM was initially viewed as the guiding force behind alignment of the diplomatic, informational, military, and economic instruments of national power to achieve national goals and objectives—a complex and daunting undertaking.
Monday, November 16th 2015
The Paris Attacks and U.S. Public Diplomacy
Donald M. Bishop
In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris, governments; defense, interior, and foreign ministries; militaries; and police forces are feeling the shocks. ISIS has changed its tactics to emphasize terror attacks in countries distant from Iraq and Syria. Ever cautious, the New York Times says authorities will “recalibrate their assessment.” It’s time to consider revising strategies, says the Daily Beast. The Wall Street Journal headlines that Washington and Europe are “rethinking options.”
Because Public Diplomacy is an element of national power, it must join the “rethinking.” Its response must go beyond communicating press guidances during the coming weeks. To meet this larger, enduring threat, program priorities must be reordered. Funds must shift. Some Public Diplomacy programs must shrink, pause, or sunset – decisively -- so others may expand. “Nice to have” programs must yield to critical ones. A faraway “perfect” can’t be the enemy of today’s “good enough.” There’s no room for battles over turf.Read More