Seven years after the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) was dissolved, America’s international communications efforts still lack coordination and a guiding strategy. Instead of one agency speaking to the world, various entities including the Department of Defense, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) compete, and public diplomacy functions are spread across many bureaus in the U.S. Department of State.

In October 2006, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen P. Hughes circulated a draft National Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication for interagency review. If the final plan skips the lofty rhetoric and vague tasking typical of broad policy analysis, such a strategy could improve U.S. public diplomacy by simply:

  • Defining the public diplomacy mission;

  • Establishing guiding principles by…



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