A New Center for Global Engagement

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
January 8, 2016

The State Department is revamping its counter-violent-extremist communications efforts through a new Global Engagement Center. This center will more effectively coordinate, integrate and synchronize messaging to foreign audiences that undermines the disinformation espoused by violent extremist groups, including ISIL and al-Qaeda, and that offers positive alternatives. The center will focus more on empowering and enabling partners, governmental and non-governmental, who are able to speak out against these groups and provide an alternative to ISIL’s nihilistic vision. To that end, the center will offer services ranging from planning thematic social media campaigns to providing factual information that counters-disinformation to building capacity for third parties to effectively utilize social media to research and evaluation.

The State Department is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael D. Lumpkin to lead this new effort as the Director of the new Global Engagement Center. Mr. Lumpkin currently serves as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict, a Senate-confirmed position he has held since late 2013. In this role, Mr. Lumpkin oversees all special operations, including counterterrorism, counter narcotics, and humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.

“I am delighted that Michael has agreed to bring his wealth of experience and expertise on counterterrorism issues to lead the new Global Engagement Center at the State Department,” said Secretary of State John Kerry. “At this critical stage in the fight against Daesh – and in the global effort to counter violent extremism – the GEC will lead the effort to synchronize messaging to foreign audiences that will counter the destructive messages of violent extremist groups.”

Under Mr. Lumpkin’s leadership, the Global Engagement Center will employ a strategy defined by:

  • Drawing upon data and metrics to develop, test, and evaluate themes, messages, and messengers;
  • Building narratives around thematic campaigns on the misdeeds of our enemy (e.g., poor governance, abuse of women, narratives of defectors), not the daily news cycle;
  • Focusing on driving third-party content, in addition to our own; and
  • Nurturing and empowering a global network of positive messengers.

The Center will implement its strategy by:

  • Seeking out and engaging the best talent, within the technology sector, government and beyond
  • Engaging across our government to coordinate, integrate and synchronize counterterrorism communications directed toward foreign audiences;
  • Identifying and enabling international partners with credibility and expertise
  • Establishing and implementing a campaign-focused culture;
  • Scaling up data science and analytics and using both throughout the design, implementation and evaluation phases of these campaigns;
  • Providing seed funding and other support to NGOs and media startups focused on countering violent extremist messaging;
  • Identifying gaps in U.S. Government messaging and counter- messaging capabilities directed toward foreign audiences, and recommending steps to resolve them; and
  • Sharing information and best practices with U.S. Government agencies focused on the challenge of homegrown violent extremism.
  • Amplifying the successes of the Counter-ISIL Coalition in defeating ISIL on both the military and information battlefield.

The Center will continue to be housed within the Department of State and staffed by experts from the private sector and U.S. Government agencies charged with protecting our national interests and security – as well as the security of our allies – against the threat of international terrorism.