On Deck

With the exception of a long phone call that reiterated the need for a civilian-based go-to hub for USG global engagement activities, I took the weekend off. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being a matchmaker connecting parties across USG, but this is what USG should have. More on that later. Here are two posts that are “on deck”:

  • re Chris Tomlinson’s AP article, Pentagon PR, my question is “so what?” Really, what’s the real point of the article that’s edited more like a vendetta than an investigative piece? It’s not entirely clear except that after Bush-Rumsfeld and Rice, what would you expect? On the sheer numbers, only 27,000 public communicators within the military? Check again, there are more like 3 million public communicators within the military. American public diplomacy does wear combat boots and the previous Administrators purposefully put the Pentagon, from Rumsfeld to uniformed officers, front and center in communicating to Americans.
  • re letting the Under Secretary position go empty. This is not the right time to let global engagement linger nor it is the right time to think a new entity will be authorized by Congress without a proven track record. Some seem to want the public diplomacy house to burn down, linger for a while, in the hopes something better will rise from the ashes. This “Public Diplomacy as a Phoenix” approach doesn’t sit well with me. It’s better to get the house in order and spin out (ECA, education and cultural exchanges etc) and spin up (information, direct engagement) with the right velocity.  On Pat Kushlis’s post, I disagree that the Under Secretary position is too low down the food chain to accomplish anything. The U/S is a four-star equivalent and not, if supported properly, too low. I agree with the issue of configuration, staffing, and funding and see rectification coming from a supportive Sec with an empowered U/S. It must be State that leads the interagency coordination and it must transform into a Department of State AND Non-State to vertically integrate with the rest of government. If this is not to happen, then we must remove the non-state engagement capabilities from DOD, USAID, DOT, DOC, etc., which is of course a laughable proposition.

Recommended reading: Rob’s Bridging the PD Discourse Gap: The Survey Group. Be sure to read the comments, including mine. (Arabic Media Shack should be on your blog reader.)

Also, Dr. Jack’s posts at Leavenworth titled The Spectrum of Conflict: A Doctrinal Disconnect highlights the Army’s FM 3-0 one dimensional “spectrum of conflict.” In response, re-submit my two-dimensional Spectrum of Conflict that I’ve since updated and turned upside down (literally, the visual should be a descent into war not a descent into peace) and enhanced.

And for something completely different… Animator vs. Animation