Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Sunday, July 30th 2017
Bruce Wharton, the first Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy from the ranks of the career Foreign Service, has retired. Wharton has provided stellar leadership and set a fine example for public diplomacy employees since his appointment last December. No successor has been announced.Read More
Saturday, January 9th 2016
Yesterday’s White House announcement of a new Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, headed by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and a Global Engagement Center at the State Department, reflects a learning curve on this troubling topic.
After attracting young people to its self-styled Caliphate in the tens of thousands, Daesh metastasized Islamic extremism throughout Africa and beyond. “Lone wolf” attacks are becoming more common in Europe and here, too. Nothing our government has done seems to have arrested this development.
The Task Force is new. The Global Engagement Center appears to be a rebranding of the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications. State's new center gets no new budget, according to today’s front-page story in the Washington Post.Read More
Wednesday, November 11th 2015
The recent article in the September-October, 2015, article in Military Review, “The Case for a National Information Strategy,” by retired Army Colonel Dennis Murphy and the late Dr. Daniel Kuehl, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, included a look back at the Cold War, the U.S. Information Agency, the Voice of America, and the response to 9/11. Those who have inherited USIA’s role will benefit from the review. I’ve bulleted some key quotes:
- At the outset of the Cold War, U.S. policy makers broadly conceived of it as a competition between ideologies to be contested primarily through information power, albeit strategically supported by the threat of military force and mutually assured destruction.
- USIA was to act as the agency responsible for achieving strategic cognitive information effects globally in support of U.S. strategy and policy.
Wednesday, August 26th 2015
A number of recent articles in the American press have shed light on whether and how the flow of young people into the so-called Islamic State can be abated. My colleague Don Bishop has chronicled most of them in his “Quotable” series on this blog. Four writers have captured my attention; anyone interested in this should take the time to read them.Read More
Tuesday, November 4th 2014
In recent months, the front pages, websites, columns, blogs, and talking heads rediscovered an old issue -- the nomination of individuals who raised funds for a Presidential campaign to be ambassadors. A few nominees were embarrassed at their Senate confirmation hearings.
This short piece is NOT about ambassadorial nominees. Rather, let me step back and discuss the naming of political appointees to senior policy positions in the Department of State.Read More