The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy is charged with appraising U.S. Government activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics. The Commission formulates and recommends to the President, the Secretary of State, and Members of Congress policies and programs to carry out the public diplomacy functions vested in the State Department, Broadcasting Board of Governors, and other government agencies, as well as appraising the effectiveness of the public diplomacy policies and programs carried out by government agencies. There are seven members on the Commission, with "not more than four members may be from one political party." In February, the White House sent to the Senate four nominations for the Commission. The Commission also includes an Executive Director hired as a civil servant on a two-year appointment.
Today, Matt Armstrong, author and publisher of MountainRunner.us, was sworn in as the Executive Director of the Advisory Commission. The immediate impact is the suspension of blogging, including the publishing of guest posts, at MountainRunner.us.
And for your bit of trivia and the "obligatory" mention of Smith-Mundt: The Commission was established by the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 as a result of a June 1947 amendment by Rep. Everett M. Dirksen (R-IL), later Senator Dirksen.