Areas of PDC activity, including academic study, professional practice and advocacy

HMS Argyll off the coast of Sierra Leone

A Case Study of Information Operations and Public Diplomacy: Sierra Leone 2000

In a crisis where military forces are deployed, information operations and public diplomacy specialists must be integrated into planning and operations from the first day. This was the conclusion of a case study of mass atrocity prevention and response – OPERATION PALLISER, the British intervention in the Sierra Leone civil war in 2000 – by…

World War II and the Aims of Broadcasting

During World War II, the Foreign Broadcast Intelligence Service (FBIS) monitored broadcasts from around the world, providing valuable intelligence on conditions in other nations for U.S. national leaders. Organizationally, FBIS was part of the Federal Communications Commission. The founding president of Bennington College, Robert Devore Leigh (1890-1961), left the academy to direct FBIS through 1944.…

The Hard Case for Soft Power: Four D.C. Roundtables Reflect Challenges and Impact

What is U.S. “soft power” in a digital world? A key facet is the ability to form international friendships, person-to-person and organization-to-organization, in the 21st century. This enhances, in a very human way, “hard power,” the ability to affect militarily the fate of societies and nations around the globe. Here in Washington, soft power advocates…

What Can Public Diplomacy Learn from a Fighter Pilot?

Air Force Colonel John Boyd (1927-1999), “the fighter pilot who changed the art of war,” was a key military thinker in the last decades of the 20th century.  His energy-maneuverability theory revolutionized fighter tactics, and his famous “Patterns of Conflict” briefing has deeply influenced two generations of military strategists. Public Diplomacy is an instrument of…

A Tale of Metrics: Japan’s Wartime News and Propaganda

“Metrics,” “data,” “evaluation,” and “results, not outputs” have proven to be real challenges for Public Diplomacy and strategic communication.  So has demonstrating that a program, activity, or campaign “moves the needle.” Yesteryear Foreign Service Officers at U.S. Information Service posts religiously tallied “placements.” From time to time, USIA’s research office commissioned surveys. At the dawn…