Minutes of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy March 2010 Official Meeting
- William Hybl, Chairman
- Lyndon Olson
- John Osborn
- Penne Korth Peacock
- Jay Snyder
- Lezlee Westine
- Matt Armstrong
- Walter Douglas
- Rosa Parks
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Well, let me certainly thank everyone for being here. I am Bill Hybl, chairman of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. And we would like to thank you for attending this morning. And certainly we would like to thank IFES, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, really our host here this morning.
I would like to introduce the chairman, Peter Kelly. Peter?
MR. KELLY: Good morning, everyone. I may be chairman of IFES, but I didn’t know this room existed until about five minutes ago. So they don’t tell you everything. Thank you very much for giving me the chance to chat.
Bill asked that we focus on a subject called bipartisanship. And I’m going to do it a little bit differently than he expects.
I am a very active Democrat, both local/state and was part of the team that ran the National Democratic Party with Jimmy Carter, and four years following that in the Senate and House campaign committee, and all that kind of stuff. So I am a partisan, avid Democrat.
What’s fascinating is that in the period of time when we were in those positions, our closest friends were the Republican leadership. And that continues to this day when I say “then.” Today it doesn’t continue among contemporaries. They don’t talk to one another.
But throughout all my 30-some years of national politics, I have always had the pleasure of having friends across the aisle -- a little bit like lawyers who fight all day and have a glass of wine or beer on the way home from court. I believe it, in my heart, that that’s an important thing to do. The business of government, the business of politics, is too important to leave to bickering. And we follow that every day.
In fact, the first all services lobbying firm in Washington that was bipartisan was mine. I joined with an old -- it was an old man, but a Republican named Charlie Black. And it was a stir. “Oh, my God. They can’t lose. They’ve got both sides.” But that was irrelevant. It was a very effective way of dealing with the business that we hadn’t had.
Let me put together, going way, way back -- and Bill Sweeney was around when we did this, as well -- when we were dealing with the creation of the democracy foundation structure, the first organization was called the American Political Foundation. It was chaired by a fellow named Bill Brock, a former Republican senator from Tennessee, and then Republican national chairman, and a fellow named Chuck Menat and myself, both finance chairman and treasurer of the Democratic Party.
We thought that that was an important element to maintain in the work we did around the country -- or around the world, rather -- because people in Afghanistan really don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. They want to know how we do things, and, “Can we do things better,” and, “Can you help us?”
As things developed, we put together a program called The Democracy Project. And out of that came the National Endowment for Democracy. But because of the position of one of the four players in that -- international labor in this case -- we ended up creating four democratic -- four (inaudible) democratic foundations: IRI, NBI, the labor one and the business one.
That was very difficult for us. We were so used to working in this particular field in a bipartisan way. A couple of years later we started a thing called a Center for Democracy, a privately funded organization that was bipartisan. And then, four years later, IFES came to be.
One might ask the question, “How do partisans get along so well? How do they function together?” I am going to leave Bill Sweeney to the task of IFES. But let me just simply say that, again, the business of government, the business of politics is much, much too important to leave partisan things stand in the way.
Like everything in life, everything is relationships. I have relationships on the Republican side that, when I know one of them is talking to me, I can take what they say on faith. And that’s an important element. I know that when they talk to me, they won’t be going to extreme position. They will be in the rational zone, and that’s the way life ought to be.
It’s kind of interesting. June 8th is a big event in Connecticut, where I am from, honoring me. And they asked me if I would allow myself to be honored. And we talked about it and finally said yes. But the first two people I called about it were Ed Lellens and Mary Madeline. I wanted to make sure that they could participate because, again, bipartisanship is critical.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Bill, in the interest of time I think I’d better keep this moving here. But we do want to thank IFES for their hospitality.
Let me suggest that’s a great lead-in, Peter, for the fact that the U.S. Advisory Commission is a bipartisan commission, and it has basically as its mission, as stipulated by the authorizing legislation, to apprise the U.S. Government of our public diplomacy efforts.
This essentially means that we report to the President, the Secretary of State, and the Congress. And, based on our evaluation and examinations, we have a staff that helps us with this. We make those particular efforts.
Our topic this morning, though, is the inter-agency collaboration in U.S. Government public diplomacy. We have three very knowledgeable speakers with us from inside and outside government to address some of these issues: Matt Armstrong, Walter Douglas from the Department of State, and Rosa Brooks from the Department of Defense.
I would ask that, so we can proceed through, that questions be held to the end of the three presentations. And first, I would like to ask Matt Armstrong, an independent public diplomacy and strategic communications person, who will be our first speaker. Mr. Armstrong has written and published extensively on public diplomacy issues, and he served as an advisory to Congress, the Department of Defense, and Department of State on those issues. Matt Armstrong.
MR. ARMSTRONG: Bill, thank you very much. Chairman, thank you very much. Thank you, everybody, for being here. Commission, thank you for inviting me, allowing me to speak to you guys.
First, a little bit about me. Let’s make sure that comes up so I don’t have to run away from the mic.
As Bill said, I’m the advisor. You probably mostly know me as the publisher of some blog named MountainRunner, some guy out on the Weft Coast, where it’s warm and sunny. There are other things I do. The way I generally introduce myself is that’s my public persona. I describe myself as an advisor and consultant -- there we go. The advisor part is because, in many cases, I’m unpaid. And then the consultant is sometimes I’m actually, fortunately, paid for my advice.
So, where I’m going to be speaking from is the point of an outside view, looking at the strategic issues. I’m not a tactical guy. I don’t look at the messages. I look at the problems that prevent good strategy. We can’t have good tactics -- if we have good tactics, they’re not going to be successful without good strategy. So, I’m going to look at a different view.
And because of the recent reports that came out from Defense with the so-called 1055 report, Under Secretary McHale’s framework, the to-be-released national security strategy -- National Security Council, i.e. White House strategy, I am going to speak on more strategic issues that are impacting U.S. public diplomacy, a phrase that I’m going to use, since we’re the Commission of Public Diplomacy, rather than the Commission of Strategic Communication.
Incidentally, the Commission used to be called just the Commission on Information, so we could use that as well, if we wish.
Another comment. I won’t speak about enemies, I won’t speak about extremists, per se. I speak about adversaries. I don’t know if you noticed recent comments about how do we deal with Russian anti-Americanism, how do we deal with Iran? Well, we don’t necessarily call them enemies. And the comments that I am going to speak about, or that I’m going to give, are going to be aimed at how do we create a capability that’s broader than simply dealing with Islamic extremism.
So, with that, the general idea of what I’m going to speak on is the new global environment. You can call it the global information environment, the global physical environment. That’s changed. The modern world has changed.
Of course, anybody who has read me or heard me speak before knows I have to bring up Smith-Mundt. Smith-Mundt is a pervasive issue that impacts what we do, I think, more deeply than many people realize. So I didn’t want to disappoint.
And then, of course, the Department of State. Some of you may have read that I focused on empowering the Department of State. I think it needs to become the Department of Non-State, and I’m going to speak on -- give a couple of comments on what I believe is the limits on its capability to become the Department of Non-State, which empowers and causes other agencies to step up to fill the gap.
And then another issue is what I see -- this is probably better; you don’t have to look at me; I appreciate that.
And then the other point is congressional relations, an issue that I find is too infrequently discussed and raised. We think about stovepipes, and too much of what the State Department does is within a stovepipe. And I will get to that, speak more on that in detail. And, of course, at the Q&A point I welcome your questions. I want to get deeper, because I only have 40 minutes, and those who sat in my classes and sat in my other speeches know I can talk for quite a bit.
So, what is a global environment? It’s not just a global information environment, but it’s a physical environment. (Inaudible) orders. We have new diasporas. What does it mean to be a nationalist today? How we have Jihad Jane, we have the identity of one of her conspirators that was arrested in -- was it Ireland -- that came out, another blond-haired, blue-eyed woman.
Allegiances have changed. The modern information environment and transportation means you do not have to assimilate into the country you’re in. You can maintain relations back home. You can actually create relations to another area. We have slivers of identity these days that we can -- they are empowered by the Internet, empowered by telecommunications, and empowered and facilitated by transportation.
So, one of the other areas I would like to see academia get into is, what is nationalism today? We are still focused predominantly in the 19th century concept of the nation state and the national identity, which I think is interesting when we talk about cyber wars, cyber warfare, and where does an attack come from. That’s a different talk.
And then, of course, the information world. Information moves around the world with exceptional speed and frequence and ease. We will talk about that in just a minute. And then I’ve bandied about a term called malmedia, the combination of old and new media. We can’t be focused simply on channels. When you speak to the BBC, for example, or New York Times or CNN, do you say your comments are only for the print or broadcast edition? Information jumps channels with incredible ease.
So, what is this new environment? What’s happened is that anybody can influence anybody, (inaudible) keyboard, can have more strategic reach in power than an aircraft carrier, than an F35 or F22. With this multi-media or multiple media environment, the information is visceral. You can feel it, you can impact it.
There is testimony that the use of YouTube by our adversaries is encouraging and empowering and enfranchising people to act, to become “martyrs,” suicide bombers, to provide material support to our adversaries.
The information that gets out there is both immediate and persistent. We have to deal with that in a misinformation environment and disinformation environment.
We have this decoupling between facts and perceptions. We still sometimes operate on the idea that we can argue our case when reality and perceptions matter. In some of my conversations with the Defense Department and other areas I argue that the laws of armed conflict are actually too permissive. We need to pay attention to what are the perceptions created when we engage. Because to argue that we could, for example -- take an extreme example -- that we could shoot and kill a child or bomb a house with civilians. To say that that’s permissible is actually invalid in the modern information world.
Then recruiting -- and this is big news today -- with recruiting we have Jihad Jane, we have (inaudible), whose name escapes me, but she was from Colorado, along with a couple of (inaudible) and a couple of other people that were arrested. We have online recruiting that’s going on. We have the kid in Yemen that was arrested. So again, the online world and power.
So, here is an example -- oh, that’s bright -- here is an example of what happens in the online environment that we are simply not capable of addressing. What this graph shows is an English language search of certain terms in YouTube. And this is by some colleagues of mine in (inaudible).
And what they did is they looked at what’s the first page of hits when they do an English language search. Positive, neutral, and we see al-Qaeda is mostly -- well, positive, neutral, a little bit of negative, negative, negative, negative. But if you do an Arabic language search, the word changes. Are we paying attention to that? Are we paying attention to what other people see?
So, back to the issues. We are operating in an outdated view of the environment. We bifurcate the world. We think of the U.S. and non-U.S. It’s almost as if we think the United States is Las Vegas: what happens in the U.S. stays in the U.S. When, in reality, we inform the world with activities here in the United States. We limit our activities based sometimes on what we think might come into the U.S. And that’s a Defense Department view, and that’s a State Department strategic view.
Now, you will hear public diplomacy officers say, “Well, it’s never affected what I do.” Well, at a strategic level there is a dramatic impact. An example would be the excellent use of SMS, or texting, to support the President’s speech in Ghana. That was unavailable, participatory-wise, to America -- to people within the territory of the United States.
Could it have been brought into the United States? Well, at the very least, it could have been brought in through the public affairs activities. But the linkage is not there, and we will get into that in a little bit.
We still think that the old media/new media -- I mentioned about do I speak to the BBC or CNN and say it’s only for broadcast or, “Can you use my comments online?” I run into that with Defense Department public affairs officers. I run into that with State a little bit.
But the issue is they’re not communicating these -- the officers in the field and the commanders are not understanding that there is a strategic relevance of information, and information moves around the world with exceptional speed and ease. And we cannot continue to focus on platforms.
So, then there is an issue on -- again, is there is an issue of countries. The Department of State is focused at the State level. This comes out of the 1944 reorganization, where they focused on the country and empowering (inaudible) support of the countries. The world is not based on countries anymore. Political borders, colored tiles on a map matter less as information and people move around the world with exceptional ease and speed. Where you live is increasingly just a matter of coincidence.
So, congressional relations, I’m going to talk about that. So, of course, we have to get into Smith-Mundt (inaudible), and here is where we’re going to do it.
I think an issue that people don’t realize is that Smith-Mundt was introduced at the request of the State Department. It was seeking to make permanent and institutionalize its international engagement capabilities. I think what many people don’t realize is that it was introduced in October 1945 in the House Foreign Affairs Committee. That’s when it hit Congress. This is old. This is not from 1947 or 1948. So, this was at the insistence of the State Department.
The other thing to keep in mind is that what we think of today as this firewall provision, and many think is the basis of the Smith-Mundt Act is actually to prevent the Communists, Socialists, the drones, the incompetents and the loafers in the State Department -- back then, not today -- from influencing and undermining the United States Government. It was not Nazi-style propaganda. If we carry this firewall provision forward, this prohibition on domestic dissemination, it means that -- the implication is that our State Department friends are members or supporters of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. I don’t think that’s what we intend.
So, on the issue that people say, “Well, you know, it was to prevent Nazi-style propaganda,” well the reality is that there were two other provisions in the act that are still on the books now. They require the State Department to maximize its use of private resources, to not have a monopoly. And the congress of -- the 79th Congress and the 80th Congress were pressured enough to talk about -- where is it -- “any medium of dissemination.” They didn’t actually focus on particular platforms: print, broadcast, or anything.
Now, why is this history lesson interesting and useful? Well, the reason is that we knew at one time that we had to empower the State Department, that they were the primary responsibility, that there was an increasing capability and need for the United States Government to engage the world.
Well, this was distorted in 1972 or in 1985 by Senators Fulbright and then later Zerinsky, to prevent USIA from coming into the United States. The intent was Fulbright was trying to kill the radios and trying to kill USIA. Zerinsky compared USIA to a Soviet propaganda agency if its product was allowed to come into the United States.
But today this (inaudible) is used by folks within the State Department to protect the bureaucracy. The fear is if you take away this firewall of Smith-Mundt, is that the public diplomacy apparatus will become a public affairs apparatus, and be domestically facing, only.
That’s a problem. That’s a problem because, A, it’s a global information environment. And adhering to this means that you think -- or the product of this means that you think that the Under Secretary and the Secretary and the President do not understand the requirements of engaging the world. Sorry, should have flipped over that.
It also prevents a constituency. It prevents a constituency among the American public, by preventing their awareness of what is going on with the United States. It prevents a constituency in Congress, because Congress too frequently does not understand what the State Department is doing, what the great things -- what great things it is doing. It doesn’t understand the needs, and the story that it hears is the story that our adversaries portray in the domestic media.
There is an article I wrote called, “Censoring Voice of America,” which was an interesting example where a community radio station in Minneapolis, St. Paul, was servicing the largest ex-pat community of Somalis in the United States. This little radio station, which is a community radio station in every sense of the word -- I think there are, like, a dozen employees and 10 times as many unpaid workers there, and broadcasting in I think 6 or maybe 9 languages -- they asked VOA Somalia permission to broadcast in the Somali language. And VOA was required to say no.
Now, what’s interesting is that radio station can transmit, without problem, terrorist -- al-Shabaab, the Somali terrorist organization that’s increasingly in the news. It could rebroadcast Russia Today, CCTV, Press TV, and any number of other foreign government information. But it cannot rebroadcast U.S. Government information, whether it’s VOA, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, what have you. It cannot do that.
So, what happens is that you have a commission like this, who is increasingly important, because somebody has to provide oversight over American public diplomacy, what we’re doing internationally, globally. The American public doesn’t know what’s going on, and the result is a limited support of what the State Department is doing.
So, I mentioned 1944. I don’t know if you read my article on reorganizing the State Department. If we were to put the State Department’s organizational structure on top of the Defense Department, it would mean that Petraeus works for McChrystal, and that only McChrystal works for the President. This is the way the State Department is structured.
Now, we have -- you know, this is not to say that all Foreign Service officers say, “Look, I don’t work for the President,” but this is the fact of the organizational structure, is that we focus on countries. And the result of this is to create a situation where you have countries vying for resources. You have challenges and inter-agency process where the Defense Department, for example, is having to go country team by country team to figure out who and how it’s going to get something done. Because the Defense Department is regionally focused.
And then, we also have the Secretary, for example, creating special representatives because she understands that there is a dysfunction in the system. She understands that you have to have a regional approach.
So, she creates the S-reps, special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan -- which, by the way, just received, what, appropriation of $175 million to $250 million for public diplomacy activities over 2 years. And I don’t know what the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs office has in that. Probably a coordinating role, but it’s interesting that Holbrooke is receiving this money. But that’s getting to a tactical issue, and I don’t know if Walter will speak to that or not.
But it’s also interesting to point out that the State Department’s focus on state is one reason why we created the USIA. And I think it’s one reason why -- and the Secretary of State at the time was more than happy to get rid of these non-State activities. This person -- the Secretary simply did not want to be doing direct engagement with publics. He wanted to be focused on the “traditional” diplomacy.
So, moving to congressional relations, the -- I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but Congress wants change. They are eager for change. They have created a number of bodies and a number of bills coming out. I don’t know if you’ve paid attention to the Voice Act. I think it’s very interesting. Now there are two senators that are involved in the Voice Act. They’re on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but this came out of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
I mentioned this $5 million-plus, because I’m interested to see who gets that. Why? BECAUSE this $5 million is for documenting and disseminating human rights abuses following the election. Is this going to be democracy, human rights, DRL, and the Under Secretary for Global Affairs? Or is it going to be the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy? Or is it going to be a partnership? Who -- which of them actually have the capacity to do this? It’s probably going to be a partnership, but it will be interesting to see who is going to actually do this.
My point of this is that there is dysfunction within the bureau, within the State Department, on who is going to do what in a particular area. The other point is that it’s Armed Services Committee that is making the move, and attempting to make change.
We also have this new bill coming out, primarily by Armed Services again, sponsored by an Armed Services Committee congressman. And just to throw out the one point, it suggests elevating the coordinator for international information programs to Assistant Secretary, and we will talk about that later, because that’s an issue that I think is absolutely critical, so that IIP can do battle across inter-agency process. Currently it’s headed up by a coordinator.
But back to Congress itself, we have two caucuses on the Hill. I don’t know if you’re aware of these. You have one, the Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy Caucus. I helped set that up. In fact, Walt and Rosa, who -- Rosa?
MR. ARMSTRONG: Okay.
PARTICIPANT: Rosa is here.
MR. ARMSTRONG: Rosa is here? Oh, hey. Hey, Rosa.
MS. BROOKS: Hiding in the back.
MR. ARMSTRONG: This is -- the three of us -- actually, it was the two of them; I was an organizing actor there -- presented to an off-the-record House briefing under the auspices of the yet-to-be-finally-formed Strategic Communication and Public Diplomacy Caucus. But this is a caucus up on the House, House side of the Hill, that is interested in creating a more informed Congress, so that they can produce better legislation and make better recommendations.
And then you also have the American Engagement Caucus, Carnahan and Cao. What’s interesting is that those two caucuses -- there are four chairman, only one of which is on the Foreign Affairs Committee. They’re all Armed Services Committee. Congress wants action, but it is primarily the armed services committees that are engaged, or the congressmen that are on that. We need to get the foreign affairs people, and we need to get State involved, because there is a limitation in understanding of what’s going on.
And then, of course, we have Senator Luber, who has been actively pushing for a revision in what the American public diplomacy engagement is truly like, pushing for a change in the libraries, creating access to libraries, now Radio Free Asia, but improving what the American public diplomacy apparatus is doing.
But one of the issues that I find is that State Department isn’t up on the Hill, beating down doors and talking to congressmen and enlisting the support of congressmen to promote the cause, look for resources, and trying to find how can State further take responsibilities and roles that the Defense Department has that State should arguably have.
So, some of the recommendations -- and I’m actually rather amazed that I have gone through this so fast; I apologize for freeing up extra time for Q&A, I guess -- some of the recommendations I have, because I wanted to just do a data dump of some of the critical issues that I don’t see being generally addressed in this sphere.
And again, because of the Defense Department report, the framework, the National Security Council strategy, I didn’t want to get into specifics of inter-agency cooperation, because I think there are some other issues that are going to prevent understanding and fixing the lack of capabilities, the lack of capacities, and the lack of authorities.
Those are some -- we can’t have good public diplomacy -- if we use the meat grinder or the sausage maker, you know, we talk about how you don’t want to see what the process is, you just want to see the sausage come out. We don’t have a good sausage grinder. And I am focused on making a good sausage grinder, here. So I don’t focus on the tactics.
I find it rather ironic that I have a debate with counsel for House Foreign Affairs last year about the openness of the Defense Department. And again, I primarily work with the Defense side. And most of my engagement with State tends to be on the informal side. And this debate I have with counsel for Foreign Affairs was he was complaining because he came from the Defense area. He was -- he had been a lawyer overseeing psychological operations, action orders, and checking to see if they were legal, and he was frustrated with the Defense Department.
And he said, you know, “The Defense Department doesn’t tell us what they want to do with strategic communication. It doesn’t -- they don’t say their direction, they don’t say anything. They are very quiet about it.”
And I said, “No, they are actually quite public about it. They have hearings. Or, rather, they have discussions. They have conferences. They invite outside experts. I am a subject matter expert on two of what the Defense Department calls capabilities-based assessments. One is strategic communication out of the U.S. strategic command, and the other is the joint psychological operations capabilities-based assessment. They invite outsiders into this, and they seek outside advice constantly.”
I think it’s interesting that at that time I was debating with him about this, and I said, you know, “You should turn towards State, who -- you’re Foreign Affairs Committee, you should be focused on that, because it’s the State Department that doesn’t actually go to outsiders.” And I think this framework is another example.
And some of the criticism, which I think is valid, and I have spoken to people within -- Betsy Whitaker -- within McHale’s office, Under Secretary McHale’s office -- about that. A valid criticism is that the State Department did not reach out. And they are taking some flak on their framework, because they didn’t engage the community.
We have foreign service -- retired foreign service officers upset about that, saying, “Look, there are plenty of suggestions. You didn’t listen to us.” I have talked to a number of people who, when they were briefed on the framework, on a draft of the framework, the piece of paper was slid across the table, “Take a look at this,” and the piece of paper was taken back at the end of the meeting.
So, I think there is a certain irony here, that it’s the State Department that is not open in what they do, and they need to become much more open. There are a lot of people out there -- and this room is testament to that -- that would like to give advice, and I think there is a lot of good advice to be given.
And part of that openness means getting to Congress. It means getting to the public, American public, and engaging them in what are the issues, why are there limits. And I think part of the problem is Smith-Mundt. This gets into the institutional framework of, “We can’t talk to the Americans, the American public,” or rather, “We can’t speak within the territorial U.S.,” because you can’t say the U.S. -- the State Department doesn’t speak to Americans, because then you could speak to the Somali ex-pat community in Somali, and the State Department will not do that, and the related institutions won’t do that.
And then, of course, (inaudible) pursing its mission, and I don’t find the State Department doing that.
Then, because we’re here at the Commission, let me throw out some things here, since I’m here. I think the Commission needs to be more proactive. I think the Commission needs to be creating reports more frequently than every two years.
I find it interesting that when the Commission was stood up -- the Commission was actually created -- well, the Commission was created by the Smith-Mundt Act, but the Commission -- the original entity that became the Advisory Commission in Information created by the Smith-Mundt Act was originally an advisory commission on radio programming, I think it was, something like that. And it was a product of the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Bill Benton, who was trying to assuage congressional fears that there would be “adult supervision” -- that’s my quote, not his quote -- but that somebody would be paying attention to what’s going on.
And so, the Commission, when it first was stood up formally as the Advisory Commission on Information, I think it’s very interesting that that commission issued a report every six months. And this is before email, and this is before, you know, all our modern trappings. It issued a report every six months. I firmly believe the Commission needs to step up and do that.
I also believe that the Commission -- to limit the amount of work on the Commission, I think the Commission should and can instigate a lot more conversations in this particular space. This is a presidential commission that -- it’s a presidential commission. It wields a lot of power. I think it should wield its power, and it should engage the public’s fear and push people to talk about these -- the very critical issues.
So, to close -- and again, I’m a little faster than I was intending, and I’m much better in Q&A -- I want to throw out this last quote: “Because, to me, the world is a very special place. Information moves, people move. What is nationalism, what issues of allegiances, who and what do you listen to, how do you engage.”
So, to me, I like this quote. This is a very nice quote. This is the fun part about this quote. This was uttered by, for those in the back, the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, who had pushed Congress, along with the Secretary of State, for what was then called the Bloom Bill, and later in the 80th Congress called the Smith-Mundt Bill. This is from Bill Benton’s testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, saying that there was a need for permanent authorization of what we now call public diplomacy.
So, the world is, you know -- as much as things change, they remain the same. The speed is different. Bill Benton also talked about the amazement that you could get around the world in six days by commercial transport. He also talked about how transmission rates have dropped 90 percent, radio transmission costs, and magazines are now international. So, some of the issues have changed, but the foundational issues of why we engage the world have not changed.
So, with that, thank you for your time. I look forward to the Q&A period. Thanks.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Thank you, Mr. Armstrong. From the Department of Defense, we have Rosa Brooks, who is senior advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. In addition, during her distinguished career outside of government, has -- Dr. Brooks has also been a senior advisor at the Department of State. Dr. Brooks?
DR. BROOKS: Hi. I’m from the Department of Defense, but I don’t do PowerPoint, which probably will discredit me with many of my colleagues. Or at least I’m capable of making them and printing them out, but I’m not actually capable of putting them up on a screen and remembering anything about what I’m saying. So, I am just going to talk to you with no visual aids, except maybe I will try to do a little interpretive dance every now and then, if it seems useful.
But let me -- I was asked by (inaudible) to talk a little bit about the ways in which State and DoD work together, fail to work together, are on the same page when it comes to issues of public diplomacy, et cetera, or not.
And let me start by saying sort of a DoD truism, which is that we don’t do public diplomacy at the Defense Department. Indeed, if you asked at the Department of Defense for a definition of public diplomacy, most people probably could only define it as sort of the stuff that State does is public diplomacy, and the stuff that we do is something else, even at times when the stuff is pretty similar, looks pretty similar to an outsider, or even times when the stuff has a pretty different effect -- or, rather, is aimed towards having similar effects.
Does this matter? I’m not actually sure it does matter, in the sense that as long as we all agree on the stuff that should be done, it doesn’t seem to me that it necessarily matters very much what you call it. But obviously, we recognize at DoD that everything we do has some communicative impact. You know, there is no such thing -- anything that the world knows about, anything that the world finds out about, communicates something. And that’s true for our actions, as well as for our words.
So, what does DoD do? And I actually would be interested, when Walter comes up, to see the latest definition of public diplomacy for a state. That was one thing that, in the framework, struck me as not there, which again may be -- and I guess, question mark, does it matter? Does it matter if we’re not –
PARTICIPANT: It’s here.
DR. BROOKS: It’s here? It is there? Okay, I missed it. Can you define it for me?
MR. DOUGLAS: I will read you –
DR. BROOKS: Read it to me.
MR. DOUGLAS: -- the key line. “To support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interest, enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world.”
DR. BROOKS: Okay, so that’s the mission statement for what public diplomacy is.
Okay. DoD, again, officially speaking, we don’t do that. We don’t do that because it’s called public diplomacy, and public diplomacy is defined as the thing that we don’t do but that State does do.
That said, take that mission statement that Walter just read, and does DoD do those things? Does DoD do things to influence foreign publics? Yes, of course. Sometimes we accidentally do things that influence foreign publics in ways we didn’t mean to. Oops. But very often, all the time, we undertake planned efforts to use actions, engagement, and traditional communications tools to influence foreign publics. We just don’t call it public diplomacy.
What do we call it? Well, we call it public affairs when it is dealing with foreign publics by -- to communicate command messages to foreign publics. When it’s dealing with the press, we call it public affairs. When it’s dealing in a sort of traditional way with traditional kinds of audiences, we call it public affairs.
When it’s not, in the context of military operations, sometimes we call it psychological operations, which is not a very helpful term, since it certainly -- it gives you images of, you know, beaming radio waves right into people’s heads, and influencing them psychologically in some mysterious and probably deeply sinister fashion.
It ought to be renamed, because 99 percent of what it is is, in a sense, what the State Department would call public diplomacy, except that we don’t do public diplomacy, which is to say posters on telephone polls in Iraq that says, “Should you happen to notice someone planting an IED in this road, kindly call the Department of Defense at this 800 number.” That’s the kind of thing, much of the time, that PSYOP ends up doing.
And we define it, of course. We love to define everything that we do at DoD. We define it as planned operations to convey selected information to foreign audience, in order to influence them in ways that are favorable to the United States -- very, very similar to the definition of public diplomacy, except you call it something friendly and we call it something that sounds a little scary, which is not actually terribly helpful.
DoD also does lots of things like military-to-military engagement, like senior leader engagement, just in the daily course of business, obviously. You know, DoD representatives are going out, they’re talking to people, they’re often doing it in a pretty deliberate way. They are saying, “Gee, who makes the decisions around here? Who are the stakeholders around here? We’d better get out there and talk to them, and try to explain what it is that we’re doing, and what we hope that they will do.”
You know, all of those things, if State Department did them, you might start defining it as public diplomacy. When we do it, we just call it something different.
We also have a term that we call “strategic communication.” And just for the -- that’s a term that gets thrown around very, very loosely. And we have had -- I think the whole community, including State, including the inter-agency community, including Congress, have sort of struggled to reach a common picture of what that term actually means. I’m not sure we’re completely there yet.
But I can tell you the way DoD thinks of the term. And here, sort of a hat tip to Emily Goldman, who is a communications advisor to CENTCOM, who sort of -- when I was getting tangled into terrible knots, trying to sort out the 63 different definitions of “strategic communication,” Emily very wisely said to me, “Well, you know, think of it like this, Rosa. If you’re trying to figure out what strategic communication means, think about what would be the opposite of strategic communication.”
Now, what is unstrategic communication? And if you put it like that, I think it actually gets a lot easier to wrap your mind around. Strategic communication is communicating strategically at its broadest, at its most basic. You know, de-mystifying it.
Unstrategic communication is when you are wholly clueless with regard to the stakeholders who you’re addressing, with regard to the audiences you might be reaching. You don’t know anything about them, you don’t really necessarily care anything about them, you haven’t bothered to try to think, “Gee, I wonder how people will perceive this if I do such and such, I wonder how people will perceive it if I say such and such,” and then you are, of course, shocked and surprised when it turns out that not everybody likes you, and not everybody perceives what you’re doing in the same way, and the way that it was intended. That’s certainly unstrategic communication.
Strategic communication is pretty much the flip. You know, it’s when you are communicating strategically. And that requires a lot of things that we do not yet have in sufficient quantity or quality. It requires nuanced understandings of other cultures, of other communications systems. It requires linguistic understanding.
It requires -- again, as Emily put it very effectively, I thought -- it requires you to stop being sendercentric, and having messages that go out to other people who are the sort of -- who are assumed to be sort of passive recipients of messages, and instead think of it in a way that is more receivercentric, focusing on understanding how people other than ourselves are going to understand and perceive and act, based on the messages that we’re sending, recognizing that those messages are sent not only through words; indeed, often, not even primarily through words, but through our actions, as well.
For DoD, strategic communication, then, is in some ways an umbrella term. It’s not a program, it’s not a series of messages that go out. It’s not a messaging campaign. I think we’ve all at DoD really struggled to get this across, sometimes to our own senior leaders who say, you know, “Give me some of that -- I’ve got a plan. Here’s what I’m going to do. Bring me some of that strategic communication stuff so I can kind of sprinkle it on it, and then everybody will like it,” you know, a theme that we have all been pushing.
And I think that perhaps Walter will touch on this as well, because I know that Under Secretary McHale’s office has also been pushing -- it’s the “No, no, no. You don’t come up with the strategic communication plan, or the public diplomacy plan after you’ve got a fully baked set of policies or a fully baked operation.”
You need to be thinking at every step of the way, including the earliest possible planning stages, about how are you -- what will this be communicating. Is it what we want to communicate? Will people misunderstand it? If they will, what can we do to mitigate that? What messages will our actions send? And how can we use traditional communications tools, such as working with the media, other forms of outreach, to amplify the messages that we are trying to send, and mitigate -- reduce the likelihood that people will instead get messages that weren’t at all what we’re trying to send.
We are not very good at this, and we are not very good at this for two reasons -- at least two reasons. One is that it’s hard. You know, it’s just hard. We live in a world -- and Matt was highlighting this earlier -- in which there is a multiplicity of actors. No longer just states, it’s all sorts of non-state actors. The communications technologies have changed dramatically. There is a multiplicity of actors and a multiplicity of voices.
The idea that the U.S. Government can speak with one voice is virtually impossible at this point, probably not even desirable, except at a very high level of sort of meta messaging. The idea that the message of the United States will automatically have a resonance that is different from the resonance of other kinds of messages and narratives is really not the case any more. So, part of it is it’s just that it is hard, you know.
This is something that not just the government is struggling with, the private sector is struggling with it, as well. The private sector is struggling with it, as well. And think of the (inaudible) over the last decade of traditional mainstream media outlets, struggling to compete, struggling to get their voice heard, their audience, their readership, their viewership in an environment in which, all of a sudden, people have a constant proliferation of other options of who to listen to, what to watch on television, what to look at on the Internet. So partly it’s hard because it’s hard.
It’s also hard because we have a bureaucracy that’s not terribly keen on rapid change, that is very hierarchical, that in many ways is still very rigid. Now I will come back to that later, some of the challenges that I think we face collectively in leveraging the potential that is already there within the U.S. Government to communicate strategically more than we do now.
But let me just say a few words here about how DoD works with the State Department. One of the things that we try to do -- and I think happens pretty effectively at the country level, not always as effectively here in Washington -- is we try to make sure that folks from State, often at the country level, are aware of what we are doing and are aware of what we are saying so that, at a bare minimum, they can tell us, from their perspective, “This is not going to work out,” or it’s going to have a bad result, or maybe if we did a little bit more like that it would be better.
There is a lot of coordination at the level of posts, and I will let -- Walter will probably speak to that later, since he has had more direct experience there than I have.
So, at field level the coordination between State and DoD generally seems to be pretty good. Perfect? No. Pretty good? Yes. Here at the D.C. level I think we’re pretty good at some things, and not yet so good at other things. We’re pretty good at information sharing.
And one thing I actually feel very pleased about is that Matt very kindly said that DoD is more transparent than State, and it’s certainly true that we love to invite outside experts to tell us where we’re going wrong. But in other ways we are not famously the most transparent institution in the world. But one thing I am actually quite proud of is that we succeeded over the past year in -- by twisting a lot of arms -- in getting a much greater level of data on our PSYOP programs than we had ever succeeded in doing before.
I am embarrassed to say that not too long ago, if you asked us -- and Congress did ask us, “Well, this money that we have given you to do PSYOP programs, what exactly are you spending that money on,” that we had to do a lot of head scratching and say, “Gee, we’re not totally sure, because it’s so distributed throughout the organization that, you know, we just really can’t -- it’s going to take us a long time to tell you that.” And then we would get very embarrassed and they would get very annoyed.
We were able, through fairly heroic efforts, including from Emily and folks on the joint staff, to come up with a much, much, much more thorough and comprehensive list of what exactly we’re funding, why we think it works or not, what purpose we think it has, why we think it’s policy driven or not. And in some ways that seems like, “Duh, should be easy,” but it was not easy, and in some ways it was a first.
And the thing I’m particularly proud of is that we not only managed to get it, but that DoD decided that we wanted to give all of that information, warts and all -- and there were warts -- to the State Department and to our colleagues at the NSE, and say, you know, “Guys, take a look at this. What do you think?”
That started off in a very informal way, and with us just saying, you know, “Here are a whole bunch of spreadsheets. Please feel free to weigh in on any program that doesn’t seem to make sense to you, or you think should be improved in some way.”
Right now, we have begun recently, within the last couple of months, a somewhat more formal process, though, to work with the State Department. We have a small inter-DoD/State working group that’s up and running to really go over those programs -- we did a sort of preliminary scrub and ranking of them at DoD -- and to invite the State Department, not only to give input on those programs, but also to work with us to identify whether any of those programs might better be done by the State Department, might be more appropriately done by a civilian organization, not by DoD.
And again, you know, as I said, we don’t do public diplomacy, except that we sort of do under another name. And sometimes there is a really strong argument for why DoD is doing them -- e.g. they’re in a what we call non-permissive environment, which is to say everybody is shooting at people, and there are IEDs on the roads. You know, sometimes a program that might look State-like, State just can’t do because the environment is not safe for civilians to get in there.
But other times there are programs that DoD is doing that probably, frankly, could be just as well or better done by the State Department. And that’s -- that is part of what this review process, which has recently gotten underway, is trying to do. This is going to be a tough one.
And here I would differ a little bit from something Matt said when he said, “Congress wants change.” I’m not sure what it means to speak of “Congress,” because, as we know, talking about cacophony and multiplicity of voices, that’s the U.S. Congress. There are some who want change. There are some who don’t. Many of the people who want change want change in opposite and contradictory ways, is the problem that we’re currently facing.
And I think that as this Administration thinks in a broad way -- not solely on the communication engagement front, but thinks broadly about, you know, do we have an imbalance in what civilian agencies can do, versus what the military and DoD can do, you know, do we need to increase the resources and capacity of the State Department, do we need to shift some resources, you know, is it a zero sum gain, or is it a question of a bigger pie, as we have that conversation I think Congress, at the moment, is going to be one of the biggest barriers.
You know, I have a tremendous amount of faith that our DoD/State working group is going to be able to come up with a list of programs that we all say, “You know what? It would be better if State could do this.” I think it’s going to be tremendously hard, however -- and I am nervous about this, as we go forward -- to create the mechanisms, some of which would -- many of which would require legislative approval to actually go about changing the game such that the State Department does get the resources and capacity that they would, in fact, need to take on additional program responsibilities.
And I think what we need -- I think that’s going to be a tough thing. I think folks like Matt, we’re going to need all the help that we can get because this is something -- as Matt said, it’s interesting that the committees most interested in building up State resources and capacity sometimes seem to be the armed services committees, not the foreign affairs committees.
And we’re going to need a lot of help from outsiders, as well, in trying to make the case that if you want to do some rebalancing, committee jurisdictional lines right now are sort of getting in the way. And I think any rebalancing that we do do, needless to say, it’s got to sort of meet several criteria.
You know, the last thing that any of us want, either at DoD or the State Department, is something that happens all too frequently in Washington, which is one agency loses authorities and resources and the other gains authorities but no resources. So you end up, you know, State gets -- we lose money and authorities, and State gets an unfunded mandate. That’s not particularly good for anybody.
So, we need, as we begin to identify programs that might make more sense to go to State, we also need to be thinking really hard, and working very, very closely with key interlocutors on the Hill to make sure that we have actual, rather than purely hypothetical funding solutions, to make sure that the State Department can absorb resources and programs.
And I think that’s something -- and, again, I’m sure Walter will talk about the efforts that Under Secretary McHale has made to sort of shore up and enhance the structure of public diplomacy at State, as -- you know, partly towards that ultimate end, being able to take on more responsibilities and absorb more responsibilities.
I think that also, just as sort of a footnote to that, as we think about ways to migrate programs over time from DoD to the State Department, as I suspect we’re going to end up trying to do in some cases, we also need, as we do that, to embed in any changes incentives for future inter-agency collaboration.
Right now we have a government that doesn’t have a lot of incentives for agencies to work together. And so when it happens, it happens on a more ad hoc basis. It happens because of personalities. It happens because somebody in one place says, “I’m just determined to make this happen.”
But we don’t have those structural incentives. And I think that one of the things that we are hoping that both the White House and the Hill will be interested in exploring with us is a proposal that Secretary Gates made in a somewhat different context, in the context of security assistance programs, which is trying to think about how we can create pooled resources where State and DoD would have shared responsibility for executing sort of a dual key approval process.
And this is very much modeled on an approach that the British Development Agency is already taking, to some extent. And I think that, as we move forward, one of the things we want to try to do is sort of get away from the “it’s State,” “it’s DoD,” and instead, find the right mechanisms to say, “This is what the U.S. Government needs to do.”
How do we create structures that bring in the right actors and essentially incentivize and require constant communication and collaboration between the -- before programs are implemented?
Let me close just by going back to what I see as some of the challenges for all of us, not just for DoD -- although, in some ways, perhaps especially for DoD -- and not just for State, but for all of us.
You know, one challenge I have already mentioned, and that’s sort of the institutional challenge. We -- this is a big, big country. It’s got a big government. That’s good in all kinds of ways, but it can make stuff harder, because there are a lot of people, some of whom have vested interests.
And it’s a hierarchical organization. We are not famously fleet of foot. We are not famous for the light touch and dynamism of our reactions. That’s going to be a tough one, because I think whatever you want to call it, you know, whether you call it our efforts to communicate strategically, whether you want to talk about our public diplomacy efforts, whether you want to talk about our public affairs responses, et cetera, if we are going to operate effectively in the world that we now live in, as Matt highlighted, we need to get much more nimble, much faster. And that is hard to do in a hierarchical setting.
I think, ironically, in some ways within the Defense Department, it’s the military, some branches of the military in some places, that have been better at this than the civilian entity that is DoD, better at saying, “You know, every single private needs to be able to, you know, not talk about grand strategy, necessarily, but needs to understand what we’re doing, and a little bit, at least, about the culture we’re operating in, so that that person can be an ambassador.”
If you just rely on -- ignore the lower levels and just rely on two or three top spokespeople to be getting across our message, it’s going to be a disaster in this world. We need enough people at every level to be able to communicate, and to feel empowered to communicate what they know -- not what they don’t know, obviously.
We’re not terribly good at that. The military has been a little bit better at doing that in some settings -- again, not in all. But I think, with experimenting with those models -- and increasingly in Afghanistan, for instance, that’s something that we are trying very hard to do, is just to really get across to everybody that strategic communication, et cetera, is not somebody else’s responsibility way up there in the command structure, but it’s everybody’s responsibility.
Just as in the Marine Corps they say, “Every Marine a rifleman,” that, say, every single person in the U.S. military, every U.S. Government employee is a communicator. That doesn’t mean you have training, it doesn’t mean you’re a professional. But you’ve got to understand that everything, ever single thing you do, every interaction you have, is communicating something. Make sure it’s communicating what we want it to communicate. So, that’s one thing that is tough, is trying to become more fleet and nimble.
A related challenge is that we do not -- certainly in DoD we do not have enough people with the depth of cultural and linguistic knowledge to be able to be smart and thoughtful about, again, what are we communicating? What are particular stakeholders and audiences -- what are their starting assumptions? How is what we do and say likely to be perceived? How will that affect their behavior? We’re not very good at that. We still have a long, long way to go in internalizing in our structures, internalizing the kinds of skills that you actually need to be able to communicate strategically.
I think I will stop there and say simply that it’s been very, very gratifying in the last year to begin what is still in the early stages, a process of working much, much more closely with our friends at the State Department, to consider this not as DoD is over here, State is over here, but instead, to think of these projects as a common effort that we’re all engaged in that require a degree of transparency and collaboration that does not necessarily come naturally to any of us.
So, I -- for those of you who are particularly interested in State, you know, I think the good news is that we have gotten started on some projects that will bear fruit, I believe, within the next year or two. And we’ve gotten much, much better at that collaboration. That said, I think there is still a long way to go, and it’s going to be a challenge for all of us. And we are going to need help, both from our internal experts and from people like you to tell us what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong, and now we might get a little bit better.
I will stop there. Thanks very much.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Thank you, Dr. Brooks. We appreciate it. Our concluding speaker is Walter Douglas, executive assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy. Yes, sir?
MR. DOUGLAS: Good morning. Thank you for the introduction. It’s good to be here with the public diplomacy advisory council. I spoke to your group in a couple of different incarnations, and when I’ve been a (inaudible) in the field, I’ve seen you come through and the PO is usually the control officer, so I’ve gotten to know some of you at various different times. But it’s a real honor to be in front of you again, and speaking about what we do.
One thing about being the third speaker is that you find that a lot of your material has already been taken. And there was a minor Victorian poet -- maybe he was a major one; I can’t remember -- who had writer’s block and was looking for things to say, and he finally -- you know, every time he came up with an idea someone said, “Well, that’s already been said,” And he said, “Damn the Greeks, they said it all.”
And I sort of feel like that sometimes, in that Rosa has really touched on a lot of points of the cooperation between State and DoD. And I agree with so much of what she said. And Matt, of course, has spoken about the larger PD world, as well. And there are a number of things I agree with, and other things that are interesting to debate.
So, I thought maybe I would just change my remarks completely, based on what’s gone on before. Let me touch briefly on State/DoD cooperation, because that is why we’re here. And then I might back up a little bit and say why we’re -- we in State are where we are today.
First off, Rosa outlined a lot of things that are very important for us. Rosa and I have a structure where we see each other every two weeks, and we review a number of things. And that is an institutional link. As we speak right now, Under Secretary McHale is meeting Under Secretary Flournoy over at DoD. So we’ve got our under secretaries connecting that way.
We have a lot of other -- Robert Peterson over here works with GSEC, the Global Strategic Engagement Center, where we bring together military and State officers to work on a lot of programs in an NSC-led effort. Once again, bringing us together that way.
And like I say, you have a number of different areas like this. POLAT advisors who are down -- we were in CENTCOM recently meeting with General Petraeus and General Olson. And, sure enough, there were four State officers who worked down there. And when General Petraeus was giving his daily briefing, which is an amazing thing to see, there was a State officer, and General Petraeus was asking him questions about the political implications of something that was being briefed. Really, very good.
Rosa mentioned (inaudible). I’m a public affairs officer, I’m a Foreign Service Officer, and so I’ve been overseas a lot and seen it. And I’d say the most impressive connection I have ever seen was in Baghdad. I was out there in 2007, and the way State and DoD are hooked up on public affairs is really incredible. And they each bring their strength to the table. And DoD’s is they have these tremendous resources. I mean, they’re really incredible, what they can do, getting information, feeding it into the system.
State, which is much smaller, and PAO at the time, Phil Reeker, used to love to show a picture. They get all the PAOs together in the country. There were about 1,000 military guys in their uniforms, and then there are, like, about 6 State guys in their suits. And he said, “These are the odds, sort of, of what we deal with out there.”
What we can offer, for example, are Arabic-speaking officers. So we can take something DoD has, then we can get it out to the Iraqi public. Our guys go out there and mix it up with the Iraqi journalists and the Arab journalists who are in town. And so you see this tremendous cooperation.
Also, physically, the two sides are put together, the two agencies. And really, we just go back and forth and have coffee with each other. And just Friday I was speaking to the spokesman out there, Phil Frayne, and I said, “It’s still like that?” And he said, “Yes, very much, very much.”
So, when you get to the field, you see a lot of this cooperation based some on personalities, but also just in the need to be together, to work together. And I would say even in non-combat areas, usually (inaudible) had good relationships with the people from the Defense Department when they come out, anything that might be needed that way. So, the field is another dimension. You don’t see back here, but it’s constantly moving.
A lot of what we’re doing right now, though -- and Rosa spoke about this -- is in the future. We are moving towards closer cooperation. That’s one reason our two under secretaries are speaking today. There has been some in the past, but we want to marry it a little bit better.
But I think it’s very important if I just step back and tell you a little bit about where we are in State public diplomacy, and specifically with the coming of Under Secretary McHale, Because I came on board with her. I joined at the -- she brought me on as her executive assistant. And so I’ve really been with her from the (inaudible) to creation, you could say.
The -- I don’t think it’s any secret, but the -- our office, and the function of the under secretary wasn’t really working that well. And it didn’t have the power that you saw with an under secretary office like the Under Secretary for Political Affairs, with Bill Burns, who is currently there, Under Secretary for Management, with Pat Kennedy, some of these real powerhouse under secretary offices in the State Department.
And so, when Judith McHale came in, she said, “We’ve got to get our house in order if we’re going to do all these other things.” And I will spare you the bloody details, but we did go around to recreate the -- our office. Almost everybody in there is new, compared to who we had last summer. Offices such as R/PPR -- that’s R/policy, planning, resources -- had never been built up or staffed. Some, but it hadn’t been built up to its potential. We’re doing that.
We looked at the front offices of the, P, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, and M, Under Secretary for Management, saw how they were structured, and we then set about copying that to get such things as special assistants, staff assistants. And these are the people who plug into the building.
In the State Department everything works on paper. If you don’t have any paper, you’re not getting anywhere. You can say all you want. You can give speeches, you can talk about it. You can do whatever you want, but if your paper doesn’t go through the clearance process and then up to the Secretary, nothing happens.
And so, what we did is we set about creating -- modeling on the other under secretary offices, a proper under secretary’s office. It was painful, (inaudible), all that, but at the end of the day we’ve done that.
We are building up RPR, GSEC. You know, we’re putting that capability together. And what’s important is there is a step-by-step process here, and that is as we’ve gotten our PD house in order in the State Department -- not 100 percent there yet, but we’re certainly moving in that direction -- we’re branching out to start including the inter-agency, to strengthen those bonds, because we have the capacity to do it.
Say in July, we could go speak with DoD, but we didn’t have the resources, just the staff, the structure, to be able to do things within R. We do now. We can start making a difference. We still have more to go, but now we can reach out, rather effectively, and say, “What can we do,” and start to institutionalize those links. And that wasn’t there before.
We are very proud of it, that we are able to do this. And I would just say really, in the last month, and probably -- congressional testimony always helps bring you together and make you think about things, and we’ve been really going into that next step and looking at how we move forward from here. We have had a lot of discussions, we’ve done a lot of things together. But now we have to look at how we’re going to institutionalize this to make this a great connection.
And I am really happy -- well, I guess that’s not what a government official should say -- but we, as the PD office, are pleased that it’s moving in that right direction, that we’ve got a relationship, say, with DoD. It’s very good, based on the fact that: one, we know each other; and two, we recognize that we have a common interest here.
As Rosa alluded to, there are certain programs that probably just should be -- in what we call the rebalancing -- be moved over to State. There are other things DoD does better. And we’ve got to get together and decide what is the proper balance there, and that’s the challenge ahead. We all understand that framework, and that’s something that is really powerful. And I am not sure we would have had that in the summer the same way we do today. So, overall, a good story.
I’m not sure if I’ve really got -- I might (inaudible) -- I sort of went off somewhat differently than I expected, because Rosa had covered so much of what we do together, and how State and DoD cooperate. And also, this is going to a larger issue of public diplomacy, certainly based on what Matt said. So I might just stop there, because I think Q&A’s always become the most interesting part of these. And I would be delighted to take some of those.
PARTICIPANT: Good, thank you.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Thank you, Mr. Douglas. Let me, before I do the Q&A, introduce the commission -- I was waiting until everyone got here -- our vice chairman, Ambassador Lyndon Olson, sitting in the back where he won’t have to respond, I guess; Ambassador Penne Korth, Jay Snyder, John Osborn, and Lezlee Westine.
I want to point out one thing. Carl Chan, our executive director, is here. And he is really the only professional officer that we have currently assigned to the Commission. And that’s down from three or four. And, Matt, I agree with you. I think we need a more robust Commission, and we need to start that with being staffed appropriately, and certainly submitting appropriate reports.
Questions from the commissioners. Lezlee?
MS. WESTINE: I learned so much this morning. Thank you very, very much.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Go ahead and stand up so you project a little.
MS. WESTINE: Okay, okay, all right. Thank you, thank you. I certainly learned so much today, and very, very appreciative of the coordination that you all have done with State and Defense over the years.
One of my questions is, do you think that it would be helpful to, as you strengthen the inter-agency process, to include the White House and perhaps even have a living document? You know, meet once a month, come up with initiatives?
And the reason why I say that is because they have the bully pulpit with the President to advance what you’re doing, and yet they also have these great outreach programs, so they bring in thousands of people that you could actually then brief the people at the White House.
Anyway, it’s an idea. It’s something that we have done in the past, and I found it very, very effective. It was more of an ad hoc basis, but I just put that out there for you. Thank you, though.
DR. BROOKS: I will take a stab at that, and then apologize and duck out. My excuse for leaving early is that I need to be in the meeting that Under Secretary McHale and Under Secretary Flournoy are having at 11:00, so I’m going to have to go back. But that’s a really good point.
Now, to a very significant extend, that is happening already. One of the things that the National Security Council at the White House did last May was to create a new directorate for global engagement and strategic communication. And that was a first. They hadn’t had something quite like that before. And that brings together, under one directorate, both communications -- press communications, media communications -- and what you would call public diplomacy, et cetera, et cetera.
So, in addition to the meetings that Walter mentioned earlier, where we see each other every couple of weeks, we also see each other at White House-led and (inaudible)-led meetings that are -- with -- like everything else I think in this administration, it kind of chugs along, it’s just beginning to get its stride. But we -- on specific issues, I think we’ve done a decent job of doing what you suggest.
For instance, when the President spoke at West Point on the new Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, we all were very closely together, and also with the White House’s outreach folks, to try to think about, well, how do we make sure that everybody -- U.S. audiences, allied public audiences, Afghan and Pakistani audiences -- understand what we’re doing, what we’re not doing, why we’re doing it, et cetera. Not so much selling it, but just trying to make clear what it is that we’re doing, so that the kind of proliferating misunderstandings don’t occur.
And I think we did a pretty good job, and we do do a pretty good job, on specific things -- you know, the specific crises, in a sense, if you will, or roll-outs -- where I think we still fall short -- although I hope that as these processes mature in the next year or so -- we still fall short on the kind of steady state planning, thinking about not so much, “Here is what happened yesterday, what’s going to happen next week, what do we do about it,” but instead, thinking about, you know, “How do we reach out, engage, talk to audiences and stakeholders in Indonesia?” Or, “How do we reach out and talk to and engage stakeholders in South Asia,” or whatever it may be. That’s where I think we are inching towards it, but we’re not there yet. But I think we certainly need to get there.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Thank you, Rosa. Walter, do you want to respond to that, to the other side?
MR. DOUGLAS: Yes. Well, I think –
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Go ahead and stand up. Go ahead and stand up.
MR. DOUGLAS: Sure. The IPC format in this Administration really is the crucial inter-agency forum on the working level. And obviously, it goes up to the (inaudible).
But what is good is that they are frequent -- the NSC takes very seriously its role as the -- as leading the inter-agency. And so, when Rosa and I get together every two weeks, that is something that is blessed by the NSC. They’re not in the room, but they want us to be coordinated that way.
So, we really do work with them, but the White House is very much a partner. And I would say not a day goes by -- maybe not even a morning -- where we’re not speaking to the NSC about something that’s coming up. There is a guy named (inaudible) Murphy over there, and Ben Rhodes. They’re with the global engagement directorate. And they really put all this together (inaudible).
But it is often issue-driven, say with the -- when the President is taking a trip, we get together and discuss that. She mentioned the Afghan roll-out, we were all there. We all come in with different elements. And really, I think you build a good package at the end of it. Obviously for us, we’re very much interested in how this thing is going to play overseas, whatever it is. And that’s something (inaudible).
As a PAO from overseas, I often find that I am the one saying, “Well, here is a PAO would play it,” or, “You’re not giving the information he needs,” or, “This is not something a PAO can use.” So, we all come with our different strengths and then put it together.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Good.
MS. WESTINE: I think that’s great. And I would just say that not only NSC, but also the White House communications and also their office of public liaison I think would just greatly benefit from all the great work that you all are doing.
And I know, just from my own personal experience, that (inaudible) wasn’t as strong as I think you all can make it. So, congratulations.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Good. Questions that may have arisen from anyone in the audience today? Yes, sir?
MR. GITTINS: Not a question, but a public affairs –
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Why don’t you introduce yourself, so we all get to know each other?
MR. GITTINS: My name is Tom Gittins, I am representing the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy, which is located in Des Moines, Iowa. And underlying citizen diplomacy, the third leg of the stool (inaudible) talking about here today.
And I just wanted to make sure that everyone is aware of the fact -- because I think everybody in this room would be interested -- that we are doing a national summit on citizen diplomacy in November of this year, in partnership with Judith McHale and the public diplomacy office at State. And that’s a great partnership, and we really appreciate working together with State on both the public and private sector aspects of diplomacy, both citizen and public diplomacy.
So, that’s November 16 to 19. And we would like to suggest that the Commission may want to do a forum in that context on public/private diplomacy, or something of that nature. So we would be happy to talk with you about that possibility.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Thank you. Good. Any thoughts or questions anyone else might have? Yes, sir?
MR. WALSH: Michael Walsh. I’m with Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Yes.
MR. WALSH: And I actually had a comment and a question, the comment being, you know, with young professionals, a lot of us have been engaged with public diplomacy in the academic environment, whether it’s at USC or at Harvard or Hopkins or over at Oxford and (inaudible). And a lot of our members have found that they’re not being utilized by the U.S. Government in that context. They are getting pushed off in the foreign policy analysis or intelligence analysis.
Increasingly, they’re getting pushed off (inaudible) marketing campaigns by corporations, and in some cases, by foreign governments. And I think this is a huge problem. You’re losing an entire generation of very competent people who are interested in pursuing public diplomacy, but have no avenue to do so. And I think that is something that should be considered. That’s my comment.
But the question I have, professionally, I work for a digital communications firm and I’ve been engaged a lot in the homeland security conversations.
A few years ago Absolut Vodka did an ad campaign in Mexico, where they pushed out a map of the United States and Mexico, where California, Arizona, and New Mexico were part of Mexico, not the United States. Well, that ad campaign and that poster became popular, not only in Mexico but throughout the southwest of the United States.
And so, the question being is what role does DHS have to play in all of this? Because, moving forward, when we talk about inter-agency cooperation, you can’t think of it just in a tactical sense, a military operation abroad. And you know, DoD in that context -- or the foreign policy/diplomacy standpoint through State Department. (Inaudible) inside the United States.
And I think you properly raise the point about Smith-Mundt. But you have to actually dissolve that, because it only applies to State. Or can you start to incorporate a new agency in this whole conversation, and really address this at an inter-agency level, and try to level the full resources of the departments and agencies of the United States?
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Do you want to take a stab at that one?
MR. DOUGLAS: Yes, that was an interesting campaign. I’m aware of that one.
Just to start, Sweden -- I like Swedish models, the Swedish Institute -- all right. The Swedish Institute, because they established these deep partnerships and these relationships across -- I mean whether it’s tourism to industry to the IKEA branding, they participate.
The Swedish public diplomacy program used to go by two names. One was an external name, “Sharing Sweden with (inaudible).” The domestic name, (inaudible). And they actively engaged the private sector, and they empowered and enabled the private sector.
So, in this sense, if we had private-public partnership that was effective in engaging, we would have been aware of it, we would have perhaps had some sort of forum that was operational that Absolut could -- you know, some industry forum that would have been involved there. Maybe there is something like business for diplomatic action, which may have been plugged in better.
But what’s very interesting is that private-public partnerships is where? Is it in R? No, it’s in G. This gets into some of the dysfunction and lack of capability. So, of course, the China Pavilion is G, thus far.
But so that’s par, that you have a lack of integration with the private sector. And when it does integrate, it’s with a different part of State. And then that goes toward the Smith-Mundt issue, where how do we engage them (inaudible) hands off?
And again, if we go back to history, we can look at race relations. I like (inaudible)’s book that makes a compelling argument that the domestic civil rights, the U.S. civil rights movement was greatly assisted by the White House, because -- and State -- because they realized this was a public diplomacy disaster, a fiasco. And so you actually had State actually engaged within the United States to deal with these issues.
And so, there is a precedent and, B, some limitations that we have imposed upon ourselves to prevent that active integration and, to your first point, your comment, a blockage to prevent the participation from the private sector -- or academia, in many cases -- to facilitate, engage, support, and further along the mission. And that’s part of the challenge.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Good, thank you. Yes, sir?
MR. GARLAND: Yes, I’m Greg Garland, and I’m State PD (inaudible) Defense Intelligence Agency, kind of a –
PARTICIPANT: We can’t hear you back here.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: You have to face that way a little bit.
MR. GARLAND: I’m Greg Garland, and I’m (inaudible) assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency right now. I want to follow up on this question and ask Walter -- Walter keeps referring to “we PD,” “us PD,” (inaudible). Talk about PA for a few minutes building (inaudible).
MR. DOUGLAS: Okay.
MR. DOUGLAS: (Inaudible.)
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Walter, there is a speaker right there.
MR. DOUGLAS: I’m trying to think what I -- what exactly you’re looking for there.
MR. GARLAND: Maybe that’s the problem.
MR. DOUGLAS: If you want to bring in PA, obviously R covers both domestic and foreign, because we have public affairs as part of our portfolio. So we do get involved with what they are doing.
It’s -- structurally, it’s a little bit different than the other bureaus, because they -- obviously, the assistant secretary for PA reports -- works directly with the Secretary, travels with her, does all those sorts of things.
So -- but where exactly are you headed? I’m just trying to think.
MR. GARLAND: Talking about outreach. You have a whole office of public liaison there.
MR. DOUGLAS: Yes.
MR. GARLAND: What’s your thinking about outreach for domestic constituencies like, for example, sister cities, like the gentleman was talking about. What are you thinking about –
MR. DOUGLAS: Okay –
MR. GARLAND: -- for touching base with those? We do that in some fo the bureaus.
MR. DOUGLAS: Yes.
MR. GARLAND: The African Bureau we (inaudible). What’s the link with you?
MR. DOUGLAS: Okay, the -- I tell you, it’s kind of interesting. Going back to what you were saying there, the -- it’s interesting how you bring the private sector into all of this.
But I can tell you recently -- and I tell you this, you know, it has been a long (inaudible), and it’s been driven by a few individuals, especially, and the State Department has really embraced this. I’m thinking of Jared Cohen, Alec Ross, and these guys, where we are bringing these businesses together -- they tend to be the high-tech ones, they tend to be working in Internet, media, that sort of thing -- but to try to work sort of -- that’s a public-private partnership.
They’ve been out traveling to various countries. Judith McHale went to Moscow as part of a strategic dialogue. But one thing that was really interesting is she took a number of these sort of businessmen who head these kind of companies. It was actually broad range. I shouldn’t say it’s all the new media or social media. But these guys who have been out to Iraq, they’ve done things, and really are jumping in to fill in where the diplomats can.
And when you say, “How do you get involved,” boy, that’s a way to do it. And we are really pleasantly -- maybe even surprised to see how enthusiastic the companies are to get involved with what’s going on that way. And everywhere we can, we do try to bring them in. It’s a wonderful thing.
From the private sector, that’s the best way to get involved with public diplomacy, is -- you’re bringing something to the table that way. And certainly, if you look out at the world, connecting people together helps all of our goals, you know, Because basically we want these -- whatever country where that guy is being oppressed, we want him to now have a wider view. Where they’re not, we just want them to understand how the rest is going on. We think it’s very good for engagement. That’s why this Administration is so keen on global engagement, the global engagement directorate that Rosa Brooks referred to.
So, it’s a wonderful way to get involved. From the State Department’s perspective, I’ve heard what you’re saying before: How do we out there get involved? One, I would say take the State Department test. I mean, that’s a great way to become a public diplomacy officer, and some of the other officers who are doing it, and get on the inside if you want, because we’re always looking for officers to help out that way.
And I can’t stress enough how those who are fluent in the new media and the social media and all this, they’re very valuable to us. I learned this when I was PAO in Saudi Arabia, where, because of the hardship there, they flooded me with junior officers. And they just taught me how to communicate in a way that I didn’t even understand existed. And it’s really helpful to have those kind of people around, joining our effort.
But once again, that private sector involvement, it’s wonderful. Is it perfectly coordinated? No. You know, that’s still a work in progress. And Matt is right in highlighting some of that.
PARTICIPANT: Well, may I say something?
MR. DOUGLAS: Yes.
PARTICIPANT: As a former ambassador, and more to answer your question, we got calls all the time, people wanting to help. “What can we do?”
Now, you have somewhat answered this fellow’s question, but there is not a 1-800-call public diplomacy if you want to help number. You know, “Engage the State Department,” it’s like saying, “Engage the White House.”
Could you be more specific? I mean, we don’t all work in Judith McHale’s office. Even the Commission has problems sometimes engaging your office, let alone someone off the street.
MR. DOUGLAS: Yes.
PARTICIPANT: What would be your answer to this young fellow, or -- not to Coke or Pepsi or someone who is going to, you know, pay for a Fourth of July celebration at the embassy in Azerbaijan –
MR. DOUGLAS: Yes, sure.
PARTICIPANT: -- but young people who want to engage, who want to be part of the country, who want to bring it forward, and there is just a great building, and you say, “Engage State.” I mean, imagine standing out on Fleet Street and thinking, (inaudible).
MR. DOUGLAS: Well, have an idea. Come to us with an idea.
PARTICIPANT: Who is that?
MR. DOUGLAS: What?
PARTICIPANT: Who is “us?” Your office?
MR. DOUGLAS: Well, you can come to us, you can come to IIP. There are a lot of different places to come in. Try to find a way. You come out to these meetings like here, or -- we’re out there. You’re going to have to take -- make some -- you know, put in some work.
PARTICIPANT: Do you have emails on your website?
MR. DOUGLAS: Yes, there are contacts there. We’re not hidden or anything. We are there. But come to us with an idea. That’s what we need, more than anything else, something that would work, and where you have resources.
I’m thinking of something called the Alliance for Youth movement, that started about a year-and-a-half ago, which was a group of young people with a lot of the new media. They came together. They had their first meeting in New York, and most recently in Mexico City. And they bring together a lot of these people. And these are really citizens who are sort of jumping into the diplomacy role with some, but not major, coordination from the State Department. Some, don’t get me wrong. But this is a group that came together with something because they want to connect the people like them in all these other countries. And so, they do it every way they can.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Matt?
MR. ARMSTRONG: I’m going to owe Walt a drink, I think.
MR. ARMSTRONG: But I want to jump on something here, and that is that if you’ve read my blog, I do a little -- it’s my own little trick, and that is when I write the under secretary’s title I put, “and public affairs,” in italics, and that’s intentional. After all (inaudible) that was accurate, (inaudible) accidental.
And the reason why I do that is that the under secretary really isn’t in charge of public affairs. And I’ve talked to Sean McCormick about that before, and I speak with PJ Crowley, the current assistant secretary, about this.
The practical reality is that the under secretary, unfortunately -- and my position, let me just say this, I want a more empowered under secretary. So everything I am doing is trying to create a more empowered under secretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, so it is actually one entity.
But the reality is that public affairs is a separate entity. And the coordination is loose. You have a disconnect between, at times, IIP and the assistant secretary. And I’ve spoken with him several times about this. So, that’s one, is that this definitely has to be improved, because the assistant secretary has historically been working straight for the Secretary, which is a problem.
The second thing is -- and you teed this up for me very well; I appreciate it -- is Alec Ross, by his own insistence -- I was talking to him about this, as well -- does public diplomacy. He stays away from the under secretary’s lane, very intentionally.
I think it’s very interesting -- Walt raised it -- and I think it’s interesting that Senator Lugar’s piece, “Twitter versus Terrorism,” or whatever the piece was of foreign policy, mentioned several projects that Alec does in the context of public diplomacy. I believe -- and I’ve talked to Alec about this -- that the senior -- sorry, Alec Ross is the senior advisor for innovation directly for -- attached directly to the Secretary’s office.
I believe -- and I’ve told Alec this -- is that he should be -- most of what he does should be done by the Under Secretary, but it’s not. And this is part of the dysfunction, and the fact that the Secretary realized that she needed capacity and flexibility and nimbleness.
And then, Jared Cohen also doesn’t work within R, so some of the examples of R -- I mean this gets into more of the diffuse nature of what is the public diplomacy entity. So I just wanted to highlight these things.
And actually, one last thing is that Greg, who always loves to speak up like this -- I put on a symposium last January, and he was a good personality there, as well -- he’s over -- he was a PD desk officer over at the Africa Bureau. Now, the State Office Inspector General came out with a report last year, talking about how PD at AF is not integrated with R and is not actually integrated with the leadership of AF.
And this gets into another issue that R is over here -- we talk about DC -- and R doesn’t own the post resources, doesn’t own the PD -- I’m sorry, the regional geographic bureau resources. So you have these informal relationships, all of which I think need to be greatly enhanced. The framework has a new –
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Yes, that’s –
MR. ARMSTRONG: So they’re working in that direction. But I think these are issues that need to be highlighted. And what is actually limited -- R is limited in what we think it does. When we say “State public diplomacy,” we’re talking about McHale, we’re talking about (inaudible), we’re talking about Alec, and maybe a number of other things.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Good, thank you. Yes, ma’am, and then -- sure.
PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible.) First of all –
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Speak up, though.
PARTICIPANT: I’m sorry. First, thank you all for -- both of you, and for Rosa, for coming to speak with us today. And I would like to just briefly state how interesting I think –
CHAIRMAN HYBL: They can’t hear you in the back. You are going to have to move right by this.
PARTICIPANT: Sorry about that. Usually I am so loud I don’t have to -- need a speaker or anything.
But first of all, thank you both for coming, and for Rosa to come. And I wanted to thank you and the Under Secretary’s office for this strategic approach initiative, which I think is an excellent start.
But my first question is, you put in regional (inaudible) into the bureaus. How do you intend to further have direct line control of them, and how do you see this relationship between the dual reporting structure and, more importantly, the dual financing structure of the regional bureaus? So that’s my question.
MR. DOUGLAS: You’re right. I mean it is a -- it’s -- sometimes it can look complicated because we deal with what the reality of the State Department is, which is that the regional bureaus are the most powerful parts of the State Department. And that’s where the PD for the regions is put.
But one thing is we do control those resources. And they don’t get them in the past -- and I was the -- at NEA I was the PPD office director. Our budget was generally the year before plus three percent, let’s say. There wasn’t much direction to it, it just came to us. Fine.
Now, these guys have to say what they plan to do. And our PPR function, R/PPR, is evaluating that. And the idea is to put resources and policy closer together, which I think is something that hadn’t been done in the past.
So, right now, our head of R/PPR has been -- our new head -- has been going out to the bureaus and having them say what’s going on. You know, “What are you planning to do with this?”
We have a global PAO conference in October, as we’re building the strategic framework, we call it, because -- and we wanted to hear from (inaudible) -- so region by region, NEA presented, WHA, that way -- what they wanted to do. And they gave us ideas of what were important to them.
Now, they’ve got the sense that, as bureaus, they have to present to us. The DAS up there will put a PD officer up much more into a powerful position in the bureaus. He knows all the money he deals with, and everything comes through R, but his reporting structure goes through the regional bureau. That’s the reality of the State Department, getting back to Matt’s point.
But we think it’s something that’s going to work very well, and the regional bureau -- or the assistant secretaries regional bureaus all said, “That should work.” You know, we briefed them all before and said, “You have any criticism?” And they came back and said, “I think that will work.”
PARTICIPANT: How are you addressing the difference between short-term funding projects and longer-term projects? Because you know, as a PAO in a particular country, you have (inaudible) A Program and B Program and C Program this year, and I would also like to do these multi-year programs. And when you talk about exchanges or Fulbrights, or whatever.
MR. DOUGLAS: Sure.
PARTICIPANT: And how are you integrating two different groups for priorities –
MR. DOUGLAS: I would say, you know, obviously you want to have as much -- the long-term ones, have it all planned out. You can be pretty assured that if, say you’re in Cairo, that you’re going to have a certain budget next year. It’s not going to be slashed to the bone or something. So there is a certain amount of planning that goes on year after year.
But, nonetheless, we are, you know, dependant on the budget and the cycle that it works under, we -- but basically there is the money that will go year after year to the posts, based on what they’re going to do. We also set up a fund for innovation, where if somebody has a new idea, they can present to us, make the pitch, and we will see if it meets the standards we have to try to do some of the more short-term things. It could be a (inaudible), but it could be something that continues, also.
But I wouldn’t say there is a hard and fast way we deal with it. But you can see in the budget process that the long-term ones should be funded.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Good, thank you. Yes, ma’am?
MS. BALASSA: I am Carol Balassa. I am currently with the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University. But before that I was, for a number of years, in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
So, my first question is I hear you talking about inter-agency coordination. I hear you speaking only about DoD. What about some of the other agencies?
In particular, (inaudible) USTR, we negotiated a number of free trade area agreements. Now, those were of relatively little economic importance, they were primarily -- I’m thinking Morocco, Jordan -- for strategic importance. Yet, there was no attention given to some of the public diplomacy overtones.
Another example would be the UNESCO cultural diversity connection. The United States was totally isolated in UNESCO on that. That vote received relatively little press coverage in the United States. But there was a total -- the negotiators in Geneva from USTR were screaming for greater support. State carried out its functions on the public -- on the human rights side. USTR was interested in the trade implications. But that was really a major public diplomacy fiasco. And there was nobody there, looking at that gap. I wrote a report on just what was not taking place.
And so, my question is, when you talk about inter-agency are you talking about going wider than DoD?
MR. DOUGLAS: Well, yes, we are. The inter-agency side is through DNSC led IPC process. So if that’s an issue they bring us in on, we work with whoever is around the table. And I would say when we go there, sometimes 1, maybe 2 State guys, maybe three, depending, and you have about 15 or 18 around the table, depending on what the issues is, so that they’re all feeding in.
And if that’s an issue that we are called to, to work on USTR, we do it. USTR can ask for that. We go to the IPC, when we think there is an issue that we should bring wider, and we ask them to call the meeting, so that we can all get together and discuss something. And we just did that, and we’ve got one coming up on Friday that will do exactly that.
So, you’ve got to reach out and say, “We want some support.” You’ve got to bring every -- inter-agency is always NSC-led, and they are very -- They’re responsive, when they think it is something worthwhile doing. And so that would be the system for doing it right now.
I should also say you’ve just got things -- Bob Hormast is out there doing a -- traveling around the United States, speaking about exports and free trade agreements, and he just met with Judith McHale before he went out. And our offices did some chatting about that. So there is some like that. But this is -- you know, it does depend often on their coming to us and saying, “Here is where I’m going out and I’m doing something,” if we don’t know about, and we see that it fits into something we are already doing.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Good, thank you. Listen, I will tell you what we are going to do. A meeting that ends early is always a good meeting. And our speakers will be with us for just a few minutes, as well as the Commission.
I want to thank the staff, particularly Executive Director Carl Chan, our speakers, and certainly the Commission. And most of all, all of you, for being here and sharing your thoughts, sharing your impressions on public diplomacy.
And maybe just a round of appreciation for our speakers today, and we are adjourned.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: You don’t want us to be adjourned?
PARTICIPANT: Well, I am a little bit -- my name is Debbie (inaudible), I am a student at GW. I have worked at the U.S. Information Agency for many years, and now I am writing my dissertation on public diplomacy in the United States toward the Arab world.
I am a little bit surprised that you wouldn’t ask if there are any more questions before you adjourn the meeting early, because I had a couple –
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Because we’re going to have the speakers right here, so we can address them. That’s the –
PARTICIPANT: Well, one question, please. How will there be –
CHAIRMAN HYBL: By the way, just in case you didn’t notice, we’re not quite adjourned yet. Yes?
PARTICIPANT: How will there be follow-up on the great ideas and the discourse that the new folks on the Commission have said today? And is there a possibility of continuing this conversation on email with a list serv, something? I mean these are the kinds of things that I would have said, had we not been adjourned.
CHAIRMAN HYBL: Why don’t you give us your email address, so we can include you in what we do. Because there are some things that you can do, and that we can do, for follow-up on this.
And with that, we are adjourned. Thank you very much.