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Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and 
Commerce, and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, House of 
Representatives: 

April 2005: 

U.S. Public Diplomacy: 

Interagency Coordination Efforts Hampered by the Lack of a National 
Communication Strategy: 

GAO-05-323: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-05-323, a report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on 
Science, State, Justice, and Commerce, and Related Agencies, House 
Appropriations Committee: 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

The war on terrorism has focused attention on the important role U.S. 
public diplomacy plays in improving the nationís image. The United 
States has undertaken efforts to ďwin hearts and mindsĒ by better 
engaging, informing, and influencing foreign audiences; however, recent 
polling data show that anti-Americanism is spreading and deepening 
around the world. GAO was asked to examine (1) to what extent U.S. 
public diplomacy efforts have been coordinated and (2) whether the 
private sector has been significantly engaged in such efforts.

What GAO Found: 

The White House has launched several recent initiatives designed to 
promote the coordination of U.S. public diplomacy efforts, but the 
government does not yet have a public diplomacy communications 
strategy. In 2002, a Strategic Communications Policy Coordinating 
Committee (PCC) was created to help provide central direction to 
communication efforts. The committee drafted a national communication 
strategy, but the committee was disbanded in 2003 and no strategy was 
issued. In 2003, an Office of Global Communications was created to 
facilitate White House and interagency efforts to communicate with 
foreign audiences. According to a recent report by the Defense Science 
Board and comments by agency officials, the office has not implemented 
this role. Although a national communications strategy has not yet been 
developed, the White House established the Muslim World Outreach Policy 
Coordinating Committee in 2004 to coordinate public diplomacy efforts 
focused on Muslim audiences. The group is in the early phases of 
drafting strategic and tactical communications plans. In addition to 
White House efforts, the State Department created an Office of Policy, 
Planning, and Resources in 2004 to help coordinate and direct the 
departmentís wide-ranging public diplomacy operations. Further, the 
U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of Defense 
are redefining their public diplomacy roles and operations in response 
to the increased attention given to U.S. outreach efforts. 

The State Department has had some success involving the private sector 
in the area of international exchanges. However, other efforts to 
engage the private sector have met with limited success. For example, 
in 2003 State formed a panel of outside advisors to recommend areas 
where the department and the private sector could coordinate their 
efforts. The panelís July 2003 report suggested a number of 
possibilities; however, none of these suggestions was acted upon due to 
a lack of resources, bureaucratic resistance, and limited management 
commitment. 

Key White House and State Initiatives Launched to Improve Public 
Diplomacy Coordination: 

[See PDF for image]

[End of figure]

What GAO Recommends: 

GAO recommends that (1) the Director of the Office of Global 
Communications fully implement the role mandated for the office in the 
Presidentís executive order, including facilitating the development of 
a national communications strategy, and (2) the Secretary of State 
develop a strategy to guide department efforts to engage the private 
sector in pursuit of common public diplomacy objectives. The State 
Department, Broadcasting Board of Governors, and U.S. Agency for 
International Development generally concurred with the reportís 
conclusions and recommendations.

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-323.

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
the link above. For more information, contact Jess T. Ford at (202) 512-
4128 or fordj@gao.gov.

[End of section]

Contents: 

Letter: 

Results in Brief: 

Background: 

Government Public Diplomacy Coordination Efforts Lack Strategic 
Direction: 

State Department Efforts to Engage the Private Sector Have Met with 
Mixed Results: 

Conclusions: 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

Appendixes: 

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

Appendix II: Related Reports and Testimony: 

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of State: 

Appendix IV: Comments from the Broadcasting Board of Governors: 

Appendix V: Comments from the U.S. Agency for International 
Development: 

Appendix VI: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

Tables: 

Table 1: Benefits and Challenges of Public-Private Partnerships: 

Table 2: GAO Reports on Public Diplomacy and International 
Broadcasting: 

Table 3: Related GAO Testimony: 

Table 4: Selected Reports on Public Diplomacy: 

Figures: 

Figure 1: Foreign Public Opinion of the United States: 

Figure 2: State, USAID, and DOD Officials Participate in Tsunami Relief 
Efforts in Indonesia: 

Abbreviations: 

BBG: Broadcasting Board of Governors: 

DOD: Department of Defense: 

OGC: White House Office of Global Communications: 

USAID: U.S. Agency for International Development: 

Letter April 4, 2005: 

The Honorable Frank R. Wolf: 
Chairman: 
Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice, and Commerce, and Related 
Agencies: 
Committee on Appropriations: 
House of Representatives: 

Dear Mr. Chairman: 

The 9/11 Commission highlighted the important role U.S. public 
diplomacy plays in improving the image of the United States abroad, 
particularly in the fight against terrorism. Despite U.S. efforts to 
better inform, engage, and influence foreign audiences, recent polling 
data show that anti-Americanism is spreading and deepening around the 
world. Such anti-American sentiments can increase foreign public 
support for terrorism directed at Americans, impact the cost and 
effectiveness of military operations, weaken the United States' ability 
to align with other nations in pursuit of common policy objectives, and 
dampen foreign publics' enthusiasm for U.S. business services and 
products. Countering these downward shifts in foreign public opinion 
requires the coordinated effort of both the government and the private 
sector.[Footnote 1] Government agencies have a strategic edge with 
regards to knowledge of foreign policy objectives, in-depth 
intelligence on regional and local conditions, and a worldwide network 
of broadcast resources and public affairs officers. The private sector 
enjoys an advantage when it comes to marketing and public relations 
skills, perceived independence and credibility, and resources.

Prior reports by GAO and a number of other groups suggest that U.S. 
public diplomacy efforts conducted over the past several years have 
generally not been successful in responding to growing negative 
sentiments directed towards the United States.[Footnote 2] Lack of 
interagency coordination and limited involvement of the private sector 
have been highlighted as key problems in some of these 
reports.[Footnote 3] You asked that we update these earlier findings by 
reviewing the status of White House, State Department, Broadcasting 
Board of Governors (BBG), U.S. Agency for International Development 
(USAID), and Department of Defense (DOD) activities. As agreed with 
your staff, this report examines (1) to what extent U.S. public 
diplomacy efforts have been coordinated and (2) whether the private 
sector has been significantly engaged in such efforts.

To accomplish our objectives, we reviewed key documents and reports and 
met with officials from relevant government agencies, interagency 
coordinating entities, and private sector representatives. White House 
officials declined requests to meet with us to discuss their 
coordination role; however, we were able to gather sufficient 
information on their activities by speaking with agency officials and 
reviewing published data and reports. We did not include psychological 
operations or covert information operations conducted by the Department 
of Defense or the intelligence community in our review. We performed 
our work from May 2004 through February 2005 in accordance with 
generally accepted government auditing standards. Detailed information 
on our scope and methodology appears in appendix I.

Results in Brief: 

The White House has launched several recent initiatives designed to 
promote the coordination of U.S. public diplomacy efforts, and agencies 
are working to improve public diplomacy operations, but the government 
does not yet have a national communication strategy. Two of the White 
House initiatives were designed to broadly facilitate the coordination 
of all U.S. strategic communication efforts, but they have not been 
fully implemented. In September 2002, the National Security Council 
created a Strategic Communications Policy Coordinating Committee to 
facilitate interagency public diplomacy efforts. The committee drafted 
a national communication strategy to help address a range of messaging 
and program issues; however, the committee disbanded in 2003 and did 
not issue this strategy. In January 2003, the President formally 
established the Office of Global Communications (OGC) to facilitate and 
coordinate the strategic direction of White House and individual agency 
efforts to communicate with foreign audiences. This office has not 
developed a national communication strategy. Moreover, according to a 
recent report by the Defense Science Board and senior agency officials, 
the office has not facilitated the development of strategic guidance, 
which would serve to promote the effective coordination of U.S. public 
diplomacy efforts. The White House and other agencies have also made 
efforts to coordinate communications on a smaller scale. In July 2004, 
the National Security Council created a Muslim World Outreach Policy 
Coordinating Committee and tasked this group with developing strategic 
and tactical plans to help guide and coordinate U.S. communications 
with Muslims around the world. According to senior officials at State, 
the group has drafted a communications strategy and is developing a 
tactical plan to implement this strategy. The State Department, USAID, 
and DOD are seeking to improve and evolve their public diplomacy 
operations in recognition of the increased importance attached to U.S. 
outreach efforts. State has formed an office to help the Under 
Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs guide and coordinate 
the agency's diverse public diplomacy efforts. USAID and DOD are 
defining expanded public diplomacy roles for themselves. The 
Broadcasting Board of Governors continues to implement the largely 
independent role mandated by Congress for international broadcasting, 
while focusing its coordination efforts on policy-level discussions 
with the State Department.

State has engaged the private sector in U.S. public diplomacy efforts, 
primarily in the area of international exchange programs. State 
Department data indicate that three of the department's top exchange 
programs received roughly one-quarter to one-half of their funding from 
nongovernment sources. However, other efforts led by State's Under 
Secretaries for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs to engage the 
private sector have not yielded significant results. In 2003, the then 
Under Secretary sponsored the formation of a panel of outside advisors 
to review and recommend areas where the department and the private 
sector could coordinate their efforts. The panel issued a report in 
July 2003 with a number of suggested areas of cooperation; however, 
none of these suggestions was acted upon due to a lack of resources, 
bureaucratic resistance, and a lack of management commitment. Current 
engagement efforts by the Under Secretary's office are limited to 
periodic contacts and small-scale initiatives with the private sector.

This report recommends that the Director of the Office of Global 
Communications fully implement the role envisioned for the office in 
the President's executive order, including facilitating the development 
of a national communications strategy to help guide and coordinate the 
diverse public diplomacy efforts of the State Department, USAID, BBG, 
and DOD. We also recommend that the Secretary of State develop a 
strategy to promote the active engagement of the private sector beyond 
international exchanges. In commenting on a draft of this report, 
State, USAID, and BBG generally concurred with our findings, 
conclusions, and recommendations. We have reprinted their comments in 
appendixes III through V. We also incorporated technical comments from 
DOD, State, and BBG where appropriate. The White House declined to 
comment on a draft of this report.

Background: 

According to State Department officials, the goal of public diplomacy 
is to increase understanding of American values, policies, and 
initiatives and to counter anti-American sentiment and misinformation 
about the United States around the world. This includes reaching beyond 
foreign governments to promote better appreciation of the United States 
abroad, greater receptivity to U.S. policies among foreign publics, and 
sustained access and influence in important sectors of foreign 
societies. Public diplomacy is carried out through a wide range of 
government programs and activities that employ person-to-person 
contacts and attempts to reach mass audiences through print, broadcast, 
and electronic media. Coordinating these various efforts is critical to 
the short-and long-term success of U.S. public diplomacy efforts. As 
noted by the Defense Science Board[Footnote 4] in its 2001 review of 
U.S. public diplomacy efforts,[Footnote 5] coordinated information 
dissemination is an essential tool in a world where U.S. interests and 
long-term policies are often misunderstood, where issues are complex, 
and where efforts to undermine U.S. positions increasingly appeal to 
those who lack the means to challenge American power. Effective 
communications strategies and well-coordinated information systems can 
shape perceptions and promote foreign acceptance of U.S. strategic 
objectives.

Since 2001, GAO and others have issued several reports on public 
diplomacy. These reports have called for a transformation in public 
diplomacy efforts, noting its renewed importance in the post-9/11 
world. According to these reports, U.S. public diplomacy efforts face 
several challenges, including the lack of a national communication 
strategy and insufficient resources. To overcome these challenges, the 
reports have recommended, among other things, increased presidential 
leadership, structural changes at the White House and other agencies, 
and closer coordination of public diplomacy activities.

Foreign Public Opinion of the United States Remains Highly Negative: 

Recent foreign public opinion polling data conducted by such entities 
as the Pew Research Center for People and the Press and Zogby 
International indicate that the United States faces a chronic and 
widespread image problem. Although a host of factors can explain 
negative attitudes, the data document that a problem exists and provide 
general insights on the success or failure of U.S. public diplomacy 
efforts. As shown in figure 1, anti-American sentiments are not limited 
to the Muslim world; however, the relative depth of negative sentiments 
in this area of the world is pronounced and noteworthy.

Figure 1: Foreign Public Opinion of the United States: 

[See PDF for image] 

Note: Data exclude "don't know/refused to answer" responses.

[End of figure] 

According to a number of sources, unpopular U.S. foreign policy 
decisions, such as U.S. military actions in Iraq, are a major root 
cause of anti-American sentiments. In addition, research conducted by 
Business for Diplomatic Action[Footnote 6] suggests additional causes 
for anti-American sentiments, including: (1) a feeling of exclusion 
from the globalization movement led by U.S. business expansion, (2) 
resentment regarding certain elements of popular U.S. culture, and (3) 
negative views of the behavior of individual Americans.

U.S. Public Diplomacy Involves Multiple Entities: 

U.S. public diplomacy efforts are distributed across several entities, 
including the White House, State, USAID, BBG, and DOD. U.S. public 
diplomacy program funding is concentrated in the State Department and 
BBG, which shared a combined annual budget of almost $1.2 billion in 
fiscal year 2004. USAID and DOD have relatively small budgets 
explicitly devoted to public diplomacy activities.

The White House: 

The President created the Office of Global Communications in January 
2003 to facilitate the strategic direction and coordination of diverse 
outreach efforts by multiple government entities. The National Security 
Council oversees the creation and management of policy coordinating 
committees that provide a key means for coordinating and directing 
interagency efforts.[Footnote 7] The Muslim World Outreach Policy 
Coordinating Committee, established in July 2004, was formed to address 
the administration's most pressing strategic communications challenge 
and is cochaired by the National Security Council and the Under 
Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The 
committee replaced the Strategic Communications Policy Coordinating 
Committee, which was active between September 2002 and March 2003.

State Department: 

With a budget of over $620 million in fiscal year 2004, the State 
Department has lead responsibility for implementing U.S. public 
diplomacy efforts, including international exchange programs, which 
account for more than half of the department's public diplomacy 
spending. State's efforts are directed by the Under Secretary for 
Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, who oversees the operations of the 
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Bureau of International 
Information Programs, and the Bureau of Public Affairs. The Under 
Secretary's efforts are supplemented by public diplomacy resources 
located in the regional and functional bureaus and by a worldwide 
network of public affairs officers. State also plays a leading role in 
two interagency coordination bodies: the Interagency Strategic 
Communication Fusion Team and the Interagency Working Group on U.S. 
Government-Sponsored International Exchanges and Training. The fusion 
team, which was established to support the Strategic Communications 
Policy Coordinating Committee and later the Muslim World Outreach 
Policy Coordinating Committee, continues to meet weekly and brings 
together program-level officers to discuss ongoing and proposed public 
diplomacy initiatives across the federal government. The interagency 
working group meets quarterly to coordinate the exchange and training 
activities of 12 federal departments and 15 independent 
agencies.[Footnote 8]

USAID, DOD, and BBG: 

Each supporting agency has a distinct role to play in promoting U.S. 
public diplomacy objectives. USAID's role in public diplomacy is 
focused on telling America's assistance story to the world. To the 
degree that U.S. assistance plays a role in fostering a positive view 
of the United States, the efforts of other assistance agencies, such as 
the Middle East Partnership Initiative, the Millennium Challenge 
Corporation, and the Peace Corps are also part of U.S. public diplomacy 
efforts. Historically, DOD has been reluctant to define any of its 
activities in public diplomacy terms, though the department has begun 
to develop a "defense support for public diplomacy" strategy, which 
acknowledges that the department has a role to play in this arena. For 
example, DOD, State, and USAID humanitarian and relief efforts in 
response to the recent tsunami disaster in Asia have significant public 
diplomacy implications for the United States (see fig. 2).[Footnote 9] 
Overall, the BBG's stated mission is to promote the development of 
freedom and democracy around the world by providing foreign audiences 
with accurate and objective news about the United States and the world. 
The BBG pursues this mission through the collective efforts of the 
Voice of America, Radio/TV Marti, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 
Radio Free Asia, Radio Sawa, and the Alhurra satellite television 
network. BBG broadcast efforts are required by law to present a 
balanced and comprehensive projection of American thought and 
institutions, as well as to present the policies of the United States 
clearly and effectively.

Figure 2: State, USAID, and DOD Officials Participate in Tsunami Relief 
Efforts in Indonesia: 

[See PDF for image] 

[End of figure] 

Government Public Diplomacy Coordination Efforts Lack Strategic 
Direction: 

The White House has launched several recent initiatives designed to 
promote the coordination of U.S. public diplomacy efforts, while other 
agencies are also working to improve public diplomacy operations. The 
Strategic Communications Policy Coordinating Committee was established 
in 2002 and drafted a national communication strategy; however, the 
committee disbanded in 2003 and did not issue this strategy. In 2003, 
the White House established the Office of Global Communications to 
facilitate coordination of the United States' global public diplomacy 
efforts, but the office has not fulfilled the strategic role envisioned 
by the President. The Muslim World Outreach Policy Coordinating 
Committee was formed in July 2004 to facilitate U.S. outreach efforts 
to the Muslim world, but this effort is still in the early stages of 
development. The State Department recently created an Office of Policy, 
Planning, and Resources in the Office of the Under Secretary for Public 
Diplomacy and Public Affairs to help direct and coordinate its diverse 
public diplomacy operations. While it is still too early to determine 
the effectiveness of this office, it is designed to play a major role 
in coordinating the delivery of U.S. public diplomacy efforts. USAID is 
evolving its operations to respond to the new prominence the 
administration has given to development assistance. DOD has begun to 
work on a defense support for public diplomacy strategy, which is being 
actively debated by various offices in the department. Finally, 
mechanisms have been established to coordinate policy-level discussions 
between the BBG and State; however, some agency officials said that the 
BBG is not effectively coordinating with other agencies with regard to 
program content.

First Attempt at Interagency Coordination Terminated: 

In September 2002, the National Security Council announced the 
establishment of the Strategic Communications Policy Coordinating 
Committee. This group was charged with coordinating interagency 
activities to ensure that all agencies work together and with the White 
House to develop and disseminate the President's message to foreign 
audiences. As part of this effort, the group drafted a national 
communication strategy. However, the strategy was never released 
because the group's activities terminated with the departure of the 
then Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, who 
cochaired the group, and the onset of the war in Iraq.

The absence of a national strategy complicates the task of conveying 
consistent messages and thus achieving mutually reinforcing benefits. 
The absence of a strategy also increases the risk of making 
communication mistakes and diminishing the overall efficiency and 
effectiveness of governmentwide public diplomacy efforts. As suggested 
in the Defense Science Board's latest report on strategic 
communications,[Footnote 10] this strategy should originate at the 
White House level. The report notes that a unifying vision of strategic 
communications starts with presidential direction and that only White 
House leadership, with support from cabinet secretaries and Congress, 
can bring about needed changes. The report suggests that transforming 
U.S. government communications efforts is critical to protecting U.S. 
national security interests and must match the strength of commitment 
made to traditional diplomacy, defense, intelligence, law enforcement, 
and homeland security.

The Office of Global Communications Has Not Assumed a Strategic 
Coordination Role: 

The OGC has not assumed its intended role in facilitating the strategic 
direction and coordination of U.S. public diplomacy efforts as provided 
in the President's executive order, which established the office in 
January 2003.[Footnote 11] The OGC's mission is to advise the 
President, offices within the Executive Office of the President, and 
the heads of executive departments and agencies on the most effective 
means for the U.S. government to promote the interests of the United 
States abroad, prevent misunderstanding, and build support for and 
among coalition partners of the United States. To carry out this 
mission, the President tasked the OGC with several responsibilities, 
including: 

* facilitating the development of a communications strategy among 
appropriate agencies for disseminating messages about the United State;

* assessing the methods and strategies used by the U.S. government to 
deliver information to audiences abroad and coordinating with 
appropriate agencies messages that reflect the strategic communications 
framework and priorities of the United States;

* ensuring message consistency to promote the interests of the United 
States abroad, prevent misunderstanding, build support for and among 
coalition partners, and inform international audiences; and: 

* coordinating the creation of temporary teams of communicators for 
short-term placement in areas of high global interest and media 
attention.

According to a recent report by the Defense Science Board and officials 
from the key agencies responsible for implementing U.S. public 
diplomacy efforts, the OGC has not facilitated the development of 
strategic guidance to direct and coordinate interagency activities. The 
Defense Science Board met with officials from the OGC and concluded in 
its September 2004 report that the office has "evolved into a second- 
tier organization devoted principally to tactical public affairs 
coordination." The board added that the OGC has been ineffectual in 
carrying out its intended responsibilities relating to strategic 
communication planning, coordination, and evaluation. We were also told 
by DOD officials that the board's 2001 and 2004 reports on strategic 
communications represented an attempt by the department to fill the 
planning void left by the lack of strategic direction from the White 
House.

State and USAID officials we spoke with supported the report's 
conclusions. According to senior State Department officials, the Office 
of Global Communications has not facilitated the development of a 
strategic communications plan for the United States, provided guidance 
on the need for regional or country-specific action plans tailored to 
local conditions, pushed for an analysis of the root causes for anti- 
American sentiments and the best means to address such root causes, or 
encouraged the development of mechanisms to increase private sector 
involvement in U.S. outreach efforts. According to these officials, the 
OGC has focused on tactical level activities, such as preparing message 
briefs and holding a daily conference call with relevant agency 
staff.[Footnote 12] A senior State official told us the OGC is 
primarily an information provider and does not provide any long-term 
strategic planning for public diplomacy. According to another official 
at State, the OGC's planning horizon generally extends only a couple of 
days in advance, and its services are purely tactical. The Executive 
Director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy said that 
the OGC has tremendous potential, but this potential remains 
unfulfilled.[Footnote 13] According to a senior official at USAID, the 
office has not adopted the role of coordinator, despite its 
responsibility to coordinate the formulation of messages that reflect 
the strategic communications priorities of the United States. In 
contrast to the other comments we heard, the Chairman of the BBG noted 
that the BBG has had an excellent relationship with the Office of 
Global Communications and was satisfied with both the strategic and 
tactical guidance it provided.

This lack of leadership has led agencies to define and coordinate 
public diplomacy programs on their own. For example, several senior 
State Department officials told us that the department has had to 
coordinate its public diplomacy activities with other agencies on an ad 
hoc basis. This ad hoc coordination increases the risk of program 
overlap and duplication and diminished program impact because limited 
resources may be dispersed over too many or even conflicting program 
objectives.

Effectiveness of Muslim Outreach Committee Remains to be Determined: 

In July 2004, the National Security Council created the Muslim World 
Outreach Policy Coordinating Committee to replace the Strategic 
Communications Policy Coordinating Committee. This initiative is still 
in its formative stage but, according to officials at State, it has 
already developed a communication strategy to direct and coordinate 
agency outreach efforts to the Muslim world. According to a senior 
State official, the group is working on three specific activities. To 
date, the committee has collected ideas from embassies in Muslim- 
majority countries, developed a strategic plan for communicating with 
the Muslim world, and is drafting a tactical paper to operationalize 
the strategy. In its poll of embassies, the committee collected 
information on outreach activities to Muslim audiences. According to an 
official at State familiar with the committee's activities, the 
committee then developed a strategy to address the problems faced by 
the public diplomacy community and outlined two broad goals: working 
with moderate Muslims and countering extremism. The committee is 
finalizing this strategy, which emphasizes the role of regional 
partnerships and the need to tailor programs to specific countries, and 
plans to present it to the National Security Council in early 2005. 
Following approval, the strategy and tactics papers will be sent to 
embassies around the world. State expects the implementation of this 
strategy to begin in early 2005.

State Creates a New Office to Tackle Public Diplomacy Coordination and 
Evaluation Issues: 

State's Office of Policy, Planning, and Resources was created in August 
2004 in response to earlier recommendations by the Advisory Group on 
Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World and a call by the Deputy 
Secretary of State to fix the department's public diplomacy apparatus. 
The advisory group's October 2003 report[Footnote 14] identified the 
need for such an Office of Policy, Planning, and Resources to set a new 
strategic direction for public diplomacy efforts in the region. The 
report recommended that such an office should coordinate the 
development of a strategy, oversee the process of producing country- 
specific implementation plans, monitor the execution of these plans, 
and assist in the allocation and management of both financial and human 
resources. With the exception of overseeing the development and 
implementation of country-specific plans, the report's recommendations 
appear to have been addressed. However, it remains to be seen whether 
the department devotes sufficient resources to this new office, whether 
the office successfully implements its various mandates, whether future 
Under Secretaries continue to support the office's operations, and 
whether bureaus outside of the Under Secretary's direct control support 
the office's efforts to coordinate across bureau lines.

The memorandum establishing the office outlines a broad agenda, 
including: 

* assisting the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs 
with developing a long-term, wide-ranging strategic vision for public 
diplomacy for the department and communicating this vision to 
department principals, affected staff overseas and in relevant bureaus, 
the interagency community at large, and the private sector;

* coordinating with all affected bureaus within the department and 
developing resource allocation recommendations to support the Under 
Secretary's strategic vision and priorities;

* providing a focal point for public diplomacy and public affairs 
personnel issues;

* serving as the Under Secretary's clearinghouse for all public 
diplomacy and public affairs issues that cut across bureau lines;

* developing performance evaluation indicators that can be applied to 
the department's public diplomacy and public affairs activities; and: 

* analyzing the results of such evaluation efforts to determine the 
impact of public diplomacy and public affairs programs and identify 
what program adjustments or changes might be indicated.

The Director of the Office of Policy, Planning, and Resources noted 
that her office is currently drafting a strategic plan to guide and 
coordinate State's public diplomacy efforts--although a specific 
release date for the strategy has not yet been established. The plan 
will include guidance on how to develop realistic measures of the 
effectiveness of the department's public diplomacy and public affairs 
activities. Toward that end, the office has created a public diplomacy 
evaluation council, which brings together evaluation staff from across 
affected bureaus to develop a unified and rigorous approach to 
collectively assessing the department's activities. State is 
considering broadening the membership of the council to include other 
agencies, providing the possibility that the effectiveness of public 
diplomacy efforts may ultimately be assessed across agency lines.

USAID and DOD Roles and Responsibilities Are Evolving: 

Historically, USAID and DOD have had limited roles in U.S. public 
diplomacy efforts, but recently both agencies have made efforts to 
coordinate their activities with the broader interagency community. 
USAID has begun to work closely with State and has established a new 
position to publicize U.S. assistance efforts at each of its posts. DOD 
has designated the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy as its lead on 
public diplomacy and is defining a role for defense support for public 
diplomacy.

USAID is Seeking to Increasingly Tell America's Assistance Story: 

In the past, USAID's role in U.S. public diplomacy activities has been 
limited, according to agency officials, to discrete efforts to 
publicize specific development projects. These past promotion efforts 
have not met with great success. For example, we noted in our last 
report on U.S. public diplomacy efforts that according to U.S. embassy 
officers in Egypt only a small percentage of Egyptians were aware of 
the magnitude of U.S. assistance--despite the fact that Egypt is the 
second largest recipient of U.S. assistance in the world.[Footnote 15] 
This idea is echoed by the Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the 
Arab and Muslim World, which notes that much of USAID's work is "public 
diplomacy at its best;" yet, according to USAID officials, development 
work has little public diplomacy value to the American people unless 
the agency communicates it.

The President's National Security Strategy, which elevated the role of 
development in foreign policy, led USAID to develop a joint strategic 
plan with State to better tell America's humanitarian and development 
assistance story. One of the plan's strategic goals is public 
diplomacy, which emphasizes communicating with younger audiences, 
countering propaganda, and listening to foreign audiences. The State- 
USAID Policy Council was created to support the joint strategic plan by 
helping both agencies coordinate more closely on foreign policy and 
assistance issues. A Public Diplomacy Working Group was created under 
the joint policy council to improve coordination between State and 
USAID in areas such as information outreach, exchanges and training, 
interagency communication, and funding for public diplomacy programs.

In September 2004, USAID established a position to help embassies, 
USAID missions, and implementing partners publicize U.S. assistance 
activities. These newly established Development Outreach and 
Communications Officers are expected to act as a one-stop resource for 
information regarding USAID's work and will collaborate with the public 
affairs officer at post to maximize exposure and understanding of U.S. 
assistance efforts.[Footnote 16] USAID plans to have one of these 
officers in each of its 84 missions around the world by September 2005.

The Department of Defense is Working to Better Define its Role: 

The Department of Defense recognizes that it plays a supporting role in 
public diplomacy and has made recent efforts to define its role in the 
U.S. public diplomacy apparatus. According to an October 2001 report by 
the Defense Science Board, DOD's public diplomacy efforts consist of 
actions such as combined troop training and exercises, official visits, 
and defense contacts with foreign officials.[Footnote 17] During 
crises, DOD communicates to foreign audiences through military 
spokespersons, news releases, and media briefings. For example, the 
U.S. military supported relief efforts for the Asian tsunami, deploying 
approximately 13,000 personnel to deliver food and medical supplies. 
These activities provide U.S. public diplomacy and public affairs 
channels with the content and context to foster goodwill toward the 
United States.

In October 2003, DOD issued an Information Operations Roadmap, which 
discusses the roles and responsibilities of DOD's public affairs, 
public diplomacy, and information operations and how these elements 
should work together and with other government agencies to communicate 
strategically with foreign audiences. This document refers to a 
strategy for defense support for public diplomacy, but it does not 
outline such a strategy. According to DOD officials, the strategy is 
still being actively debated by various groups within the department 
and remains to be formally issued.

DOD has also made structural changes to better define its role in U.S. 
public diplomacy activities. The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy 
has been designated as DOD's lead for public diplomacy activities. DOD 
officials told us that the department drafted a directive in September 
2004 directing the Under Secretary to develop and oversee DOD strategic 
communications efforts and to serve as DOD's focal point for strategic 
communications efforts. Additionally, within the Under Secretary's 
office, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security 
Affairs has assumed responsibility for coordinating and overseeing 
defense support for public diplomacy. In September 2004, the Defense 
Science Board recommended the creation of a new Deputy Assistant 
Secretary for International Security Affairs to coordinate all 
activities associated with defense support for public diplomacy.

Broadcasting Board of Governors Coordination Largely Tied to Policy- 
Level Discussions with State: 

Congress has defined a role for the Broadcasting Board of Governors 
that is designed to maintain the independence and credibility of U.S. 
broadcast efforts while ensuring that such efforts are consistent with 
the broad foreign policy objectives of the United States. We found that 
BBG, as required by Congress, is coordinating with the State Department 
at the policy level through a variety of means. BBG officials stated 
that they work cooperatively with other agencies to develop and 
broadcast suggested program ideas and content that BBG deems 
appropriate to its mission. However, some USAID and DOD officials 
commented that BBG has not been receptive to considering suggestions on 
programming content.

Under BBG's statutory authority, a so-called "firewall" was established 
between policy makers and broadcasters to ensure that U.S. broadcast 
efforts are perceived as credible and unbiased. Separating the State 
Department and BBG provides deniability for the department when other 
governments voice complaints about specific broadcasts. However, BBG is 
also subject to an explicit requirement for policy-level coordination 
between BBG and State Department. Several mechanisms exist to help 
ensure such coordination. First, the Secretary of State or his/her 
designee serves as a member of the BBG and provides it broad policy 
advice. Second, BBG's Office of Policy works closely with State to 
produce the government-labeled editorials that the Voice of America is 
required to carry. Third, BBG seeks input from State officials for its 
annual language service review process, which determines where and how 
many broadcast services are pursued.

Concerns exist regarding BBG's coordination with other agencies on 
program content. BBG officials indicated that they are open to 
receiving other agencies' programming suggestions that support BBG's 
news and information function. One BBG official noted that such 
requests do not represent a violation of the firewall, although he 
added that care must be exercised in deciding whether and how to 
incorporate such content to avoid the appearance of becoming a 
government mouthpiece bent only on promoting U.S. interests. While 
State officials said that their daily, ad hoc coordination with BBG 
includes content and delivery issues, officials at USAID and DOD 
indicated that BBG has not been receptive to content suggestions. For 
example, USAID officials told us that they have approached BBG 
officials with stories to promote their attempts to "tell America's 
assistance story," but BBG did not respond positively to these 
suggestions. In addition, a senior DOD official noted that combatant 
commanders have asked BBG to carry public service announcements 
illustrating DOD's assistance to foreign publics but met with a similar 
lack of success. In commenting on a draft of this report, BBG officials 
indicated a willingness to consider establishing a more formal channel 
of communication for programming suggestions.

State Department Efforts to Engage the Private Sector Have Met with 
Mixed Results: 

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, State has attempted to 
increase its engagement with the private sector to improve the image of 
the United States overseas. These efforts have focused on student and 
visitor exchanges, where some success has been achieved in leveraging 
private sector resources. More recent attempts by the department to 
form public-private partnerships have met with limited success.

State's Exchange Programs Engage the Private Sector: 

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is the primary focus for 
public-private sector partnerships within State and has, according to 
State officials, demonstrated an ability to engage the private sector. 
These partnerships involve nongovernmental organizations, volunteer 
communities, and influential individuals in the United States and 
overseas. For example, Sister Cities International receives funding 
from State, USAID, and private corporations to support and strengthen 
the sister cities network between U.S. and international communities. 
According to the Interagency Working Group on U.S. Government-Sponsored 
International Exchanges and Training, three of the Bureau's top 
exchange programs received roughly one-quarter to one-half of their 
funding from nongovernment sources.

Analysis prepared by the Interagency Working Group on U.S. Government- 
Sponsored International Exchanges and Training suggests that a number 
of benefits and challenges are associated with the use of such public- 
private partnerships. Table 1 summarizes the group's analysis.

Table 1: Benefits and Challenges of Public-Private Partnerships: 

Benefits: 
* Leveraging of government funds; 
* Sharing of technical and professional expertise; 
* Cross-pollination of ideas and approaches; 
* Dialogue, cooperation, and synergy leading to more effective combined 
programs. 

Challenges: 
* Tensions over jurisdiction and program ownership; 
* Problems relating to diverse goals, values, and perspectives; 
* Burden on program staff who must implement partnership arrangements.

Source: Interagency Working Group on U.S. Government-Sponsored 
International Exchanges and Training. 

[End of table]

Other State Department Attempts to Engage the Private Sector Have Met 
with Limited Success: 

Aside from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, State has 
been unable to leverage the private sector to any significant 
degree.[Footnote 18] In 2003, the then Under Secretary for Public 
Diplomacy and Public Affairs sought to identify specific suggestions on 
how the private sector could be significantly engaged to better support 
U.S. public diplomacy efforts. She helped form a Subcommittee on Public-
Private Partnerships and Public Diplomacy under the auspices of State's 
Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy.[Footnote 19] The 
subcommittee concluded in its June 2003 report that the U.S. private 
sector can and should play an important role in supporting ongoing U.S. 
government outreach to foreign audiences in a manner that can help 
build long-term friendships and advance U.S. interests abroad. The 
report made a number of recommendations, several of which address the 
root causes for anti-American sentiments, including the need to: 

* create an inventory of current government programs specifically 
designed to promote the image of the United States abroad;

* encourage public and private support for multilingualism and cross- 
cultural education starting at the corporate level and working down to 
the foundation of our educational system;

* increase funding for English language training abroad and provide 
incentives for the private sector to carry out this activity;

* encourage private sector support for American studies programs abroad 
by developing curriculum, texts, and internet support materials;

* encourage U.S. media outlets to dub their programming into Arabic and 
make it available for distribution throughout the Middle East; and: 

* encourage the private sector to expand social investment programs 
abroad through such models as USAID's Global Development Alliance. 

The head of State's Office of Commercial and Business Affairs noted 
that the subcommittee was disbanded after its report was issued and 
that none of its recommendations was ever implemented. 

In January 2004, the Under Secretary's successor promoted greater 
private sector involvement by designating a member of her immediate 
staff as a special advisor to help facilitate interactions between her 
office and outside parties. This individual continues to serve this 
role for the current Under Secretary, facilitating outreach efforts by 
serving as a point of contact with the private sector and coordinating 
the Under Secretary's attendance at key outside meetings. Examples of 
actions taken by the advisor include State's efforts to assist the 
Wheelchair Foundation by publicizing its activities through posts 
overseas and its role in persuading Steinway and Sons to donate a piano 
to the Iraqi National Symphony in Baghdad. While these efforts have 
some merit, their impact may be limited if not backed by a more robust 
action plan or senior-level commitment to further engage the private 
sector. A commitment of additional resources would also be necessary to 
engage the private sector in more meaningful ways. 

Finally, in October 2004, State's Policy Planning Staff submitted a 
proposal to the White House calling for the creation of a clearinghouse 
titled the Center for Partnership and Human Dignity.[Footnote 20] This 
proposal defines a new model for conducting public diplomacy and calls 
for a dramatic expansion of the private sector's role. The proposal 
suggests that the government should concentrate on explaining U.S. 
foreign policy while the clearinghouse focuses on coordinating private 
sector-led outreach efforts (in such areas as sports, cultural 
activities, and medical assistance) with the strategic input and advice 
of State and other relevant agencies. According to one official, the 
new Secretary of State has been briefed on this proposal and its 
potential.[Footnote 21]

USAID has engaged the private sector through its Global Development 
Alliance. USAID reports that the alliance leveraged over $2 billion in 
private sector contributions in fiscal years 2002 and 2003, using about 
$500 million in USAID funding. The Global Development Alliance 
represents the agency's commitment to changing the way it implements 
assistance and currently represents one of the four pillars of U.S. 
economic assistance.[Footnote 22] The Global Development Alliance 
mobilizes the ideas, efforts, and resources of governments, businesses, 
and civil society by forging public-private alliances to stimulate 
economic growth, develop businesses and workforces, address health and 
environmental issues, and expand access to education and technology. 
The Global Development Alliance business model is designed to leverage 
unique private sector assets, such as foreign direct investment, 
experience with leading business practices, and technological 
innovations. According to USAID, the agency has established alliances 
in over 45 countries in the developing world, involving over 150 
private sector partners. 

Conclusions: 

Coordination of public diplomacy activities is hampered by the lack of 
a national communication strategy. An initial effort, the creation of 
the Strategic Communications Policy Coordinating Committee in 2002, did 
not result in an overall strategy. The Office of Global Communications 
has been charged by the President with facilitating White House and 
interagency strategic planning and coordination efforts; however, a 
recent study and several officials at affected agencies indicated that 
the Office of Global Communications has not facilitated the 
coordination of agency efforts by providing needed strategic direction. 
In addition, the office has not developed a national communication 
strategy. As a consequence, agencies have developed their own roles and 
missions and coordinated their activities on an ad hoc basis. 

The White House and other agencies have initiated efforts to improve 
coordination on a smaller scale. The National Security Council created 
the Muslim World Outreach Policy Coordinating Committee, which, 
according to senior State officials, has developed a strategic 
communications plan for Muslim audiences and is drafting a tactical 
plan to implement this strategy. BBG has coordinated its efforts at the 
policy level, while State, USAID, and DOD continue to evolve and 
improve their public diplomacy operations and strategic planning 
efforts. 

State recognizes the importance and significance of engaging the 
private sector in U.S. outreach efforts wherever feasible; however, the 
department has never developed a strategy to make this goal a reality. 
Past efforts by the department have focused on exchange programs, while 
other attempts have met with only limited success. More successful 
engagement of the private sector will require, among other things, 
seeking venues to actively solicit private sector support and removing 
potential obstacles to partnerships. 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To better ensure that the United States' public diplomacy efforts are 
adequately coordinated, we recommend the Director of the Office of 
Global Communications fully implement the role defined for it by the 
President's executive order, including facilitating the development of 
a communications strategy, assessing the methods and strategies used by 
the U.S. government to communicate with overseas audiences, and 
coordinating the delivery of messages that reflect the strategic 
communications framework and priorities of the United States. 

To help ensure that private sector resources, talents, and ideas are 
effectively leveraged and utilized, we recommend that the Secretary of 
State develop a strategy to guide department efforts to engage the 
private sector in pursuit of common public diplomacy objectives. 

Agency Comments and Our Evaluation: 

We provided State, BBG, USAID, DOD, and the White House with a draft of 
this report for comment. State, BBG, and USAID provided us with written 
comments that are included in appendixes III through V. They generally 
concurred with the report's findings and conclusions. State strongly 
endorsed our recommendation that the department develop a detailed 
strategy for engaging the private sector more effectively and indicated 
that working with the private sector will be a priority for the 
department's new leadership. BBG and State said that our report did not 
accurately reflect the nature of their coordination on suggested 
programming content and provided further evidence to support their 
positions. We modified our findings regarding BBG coordination with 
State. BBG said it would explore the establishment of a more formal, 
transparent channel of communication for programming ideas. In 
addition, BBG, along with State and DOD, provided technical comments, 
which have been incorporated throughout the report where appropriate. 
DOD and USAID said that developing a public diplomacy strategy is 
insufficient without addressing the content of U.S. public diplomacy 
activities. 

The White House declined to comment on a draft of this report. 

We are sending copies of this report to other interested Members of 
Congress. We are also sending copies to the Secretary of State, the 
Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of 
Governors, the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International 
Development, and the Director of the White House Office of Global 
Communications. We will also make copies available to others upon 
request. In addition, the report will be available at no charge on the 
GAO Web site at [Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. If you or your staff 
have any questions about this report, please contact me at (202) 512-
4128 or [Hyperlink, fordj@gao.gov]. Staff contacts and other key 
contributors to this report are listed in appendix VI: 

Sincerely yours,

Signed by: 

Jess T. Ford: 
Director, International Affairs and Trade: 

[End of section]

Appendixes: 

[End of section]

Appendix I: Objectives, Scope, and Methodology: 

The Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Science, 
State, Justice, and Commerce, and Related Agencies asked us to examine 
(1) to what extent U.S. public diplomacy efforts have been coordinated 
and (2) whether the private sector has been significantly engaged in 
such efforts. Our review focused on the efforts of the Department of 
State, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the U.S. Agency for 
International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense (DOD). 
We did not include psychological operations or covert information 
operations conducted by DOD or the intelligence community in our 
review. 

To determine how U.S. public diplomacy efforts have been coordinated 
across agency lines, we met with senior officials in State's Office of 
the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the Bureau 
of International Information Programs, the Bureau of Educational and 
Cultural Affairs, and a regional bureau. We also interviewed officials 
at BBG, USAID, and DOD, as well as representatives from the private 
sector. We reviewed planning, program, and other documentation from the 
relevant agencies and examined recent studies from the Defense Science 
Board, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the Council on 
Foreign Relations, and others. Officials at the White House Office of 
Global Communications declined to meet with us to discuss their role in 
interagency coordination activities; however, we were able to develop a 
basic understanding of the office's operations by reviewing published 
data and by speaking with government officials familiar with White 
House coordination efforts. 

To assess the extent to which the private sector has been effectively 
engaged in U.S. public diplomacy efforts, we discussed outreach efforts 
with officials at State and USAID, including State's Bureau of 
Commercial and Business Affairs and USAID's Global Development 
Alliance. We also met with representatives from the private sector, 
including Business for Diplomatic Action, as well as nonprofit 
organizations, academia, and the media. We reviewed State documents 
detailing the department's private sector outreach efforts, as well as 
a proposal that State's Policy Planning Staff submitted to the White 
House calling for expanded public-private partnerships. We also 
examined recent data from polling organizations and reviewed a Business 
for Diplomatic Action analysis of root causes of anti-Americanism. 

We performed our work from May 2004 through February 2005 in accordance 
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

[End of section]

Appendix II: Related Reports and Testimony: 

Table 2: GAO Reports on Public Diplomacy and International 
Broadcasting: 

Report title: U.S. Public Diplomacy: State Department Expands Efforts 
but Faces Significant Challenges (GAO-03-951); 
Date: September 2003; 
Selected conclusions: State has expanded its public diplomacy efforts 
in Muslim-majority countries since September 11, 2001; State needs a 
comprehensive strategy that integrates all of its public diplomacy 
activities; State is not comprehensively measuring progress toward its 
public diplomacy goals. 

Report title: U.S. International Broadcasting: New Strategic Approach 
Focuses on Reaching Large Audiences but Lacks Measurable Program 
Objectives (GAO-03-772); 
Date: July 2003; 
Selected conclusions: The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has 
initiated several projects designed to attract larger audiences in 
priority markets; BBG's plan lacks program objectives designed to 
measure the success of its new approach to broadcasting; BBG has not 
established a strategic vision for how many languages should be 
pursued. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of table]

Table 3: Related GAO Testimony: 

Testimony title: U.S. Public Diplomacy: State Department and 
Broadcasting Board of Governors Expand Post-9/11 Efforts but Challenges 
Remain (GAO-04-1061T); 
Date: August 23, 2004; 
Comments: Based on GAO- 03-951, U.S. Public Diplomacy: State Department 
Expands Efforts but Faces Significant Challenges, and GAO-03-772, U.S. 
International Broadcasting: New Strategic Approach Focuses on Reaching 
Large Audiences but Lacks Measurable Program Objectives. 

Testimony title: U.S. International Broadcasting: Challenges Facing the 
Broadcasting Board of Governors (GAO-04-711T); 
Date: April 29, 2004; 
Comments: Based on GAO-04-374, U.S. International Broadcasting: 
Enhanced Measure of Local Media Conditions Would Facilitate Decisions 
to Terminate Language Services; GAO-03-772; and GAO/NSIAD-00-222, U.S. 
International Broadcasting: Strategic Planning and Performance 
Management System Could Be Improved. 

Testimony title: U.S. International Broadcasting: Challenges Facing the 
Broadcasting Board of Governors (GAO-04-627T); 
Date: April 1, 2004; 
Comments: Based on GAO-04-374, GAO-03-772, and GAO/NSIAD-00-222. 

Testimony title: U.S. Public Diplomacy: State Department and the 
Broadcasting Board of Governors Expand Efforts in the Middle East but 
Face Significant Challenges (GAO-04-435T); 
Date: February 10, 2004; 
Comments: Based on GAO-03-951 and GAO-03-772. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of table]

Table 4: Selected Reports on Public Diplomacy: 

Author: U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy; 
Report title: 2004 Report; 
Date: September 2004; 
Selected conclusions: The agents and structures of public diplomacy 
need coordination; Public diplomacy messaging must become more 
strategic and responsive; Public diplomacy should be a national 
security priority, requiring an aggressive strategy and increased 
resources; The public and private sectors need to work together to face 
public diplomacy challenges. 

Author: Defense Science Board; 
Report title: Strategic Communication; 
Date: September 2004; 
Selected conclusions: Strengthening and coordinating strategic 
communications requires presidential leadership; Structural changes are 
necessary within the National Security Council, State, and DOD to 
transform strategic communications; A quasi-governmental entity should 
be created to provide information and analysis and facilitate private 
sector involvement in public diplomacy. 

Author: National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United 
States; 
Report title: The 9/11 Commission Report; 
Date: July 2004; 
Selected conclusions: The U.S. government must define its message and 
what it stands for; The United States needs to defend its ideals abroad 
through increased broadcasting efforts and rebuilt scholarship, 
exchange, and library programs. 

Author: Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim 
World; 
Report title: Changing Minds Winning Peace: A New Strategic Direction 
for U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim World; 
Date: October 2003; 
Selected conclusions: Public diplomacy requires a new strategic 
direction, led by the President and Congress and adequately funded and 
staffed; Structural changes at the White House, the National Security 
Council, and State are necessary; USAID and DOD must be incorporated in 
the new strategic direction; Public diplomacy should engage the full 
range of American civil society, including the private sector and 
nongovernmental organizations. 

Author: Council on Foreign Relations; 
Report title: Finding America's Voice: A Strategy for Reinvigorating 
U.S. Public Diplomacy; 
Date: June 2003; 
Selected conclusions: Lack of political will and the absence of an 
overall strategy have hindered public diplomacy programs; Public 
diplomacy should be considered in the formulation of foreign policy; 
The U.S. public diplomacy coordinating structure needs strengthening, 
leadership, and increased resources; An expanded private sector role 
would help public diplomacy deliver more bang for the government buck. 

Author: U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy; 
Report title: Building America's Public Diplomacy Through a Reformed 
Structure and Additional Resources; 
Date: September 2002; 
Selected conclusions: Public diplomacy requires structural reform, 
including presidential leadership, the integration of Congress in 
public diplomacy efforts, and the involvement of the private sector; 
Public diplomacy should be redeveloped by building its resources. 

Author: Defense Science Board; 
Report title: Managed Information Dissemination; 
Date: October 2001; 
Selected conclusions: The U.S. government requires a coordinated means 
to speak with a single voice abroad; Presidential leadership is 
required to strengthen the United States' ability to communicate with 
foreign audiences and coordinate public diplomacy, public affairs, and 
information operations; Structural changes at the National Security 
Council, State, and DOD are required to coordinate public diplomacy 
activities. 

Source: GAO. 

[End of table]

[End of section]

Appendix III: Comments from the Department of State: 

United States Department of State: 
Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer: 
Washington, D. C. 20520: 

Ms. Jacquelyn Williams-Bridgers: 
Managing Director: 
International Affairs and Trade: 
Government Accountability Office: 
441 G Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20548-0001: 

MAR 18 2005: 

Dear Ms. Williams-Bridgers: 

We appreciate the opportunity to review your draft report, "U.S. PUBLIC 
DIPLOMACY: Communications Strategy Needed to Improve Interagency 
Coordination Efforts," GAO Job Code 320283. 

The enclosed Department of State comments are provided for 
incorporation with this letter as an appendix to the final report. 

If you have any questions concerning this response, please contact 
Elizabeth Whitaker, Director, Office of Policy, Planning and Resources 
for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, at (202) 647-0553. 

Sincerely,

Signed by: 

Christopher B. Burnham: 

cc: GAO-Mike Tenkate: 
R-Tim Isgitt: 
State/OIG-Mark Duda: 

Department of State Comments on GAO Draft Report: U.S. Public 
Diplomacy: Communications Strategy Needed to Improve Interagency 
Coordination Efforts (GAO-05-323, GAO Code 320283): 

Thank you for allowing the Department of State the opportunity to 
comment on the draft report "U.S. Public Diplomacy: Communications 
Strategy Needed to Improve Interagency Coordination," which addresses 
the status of coordination among agencies in reaching out to foreign 
publics. 

Coming as another in a series of reports from the public and private 
sector on public diplomacy, the GAO report is the most up-to-date we 
have seen, and we appreciate the recognition of the Department's 
efforts over recent months at re-establishing its interagency 
leadership in public diplomacy through the Muslim World Outreach Policy 
Coordinating Committee. 

With regard to coordination between the Department and the BBG, the 
report correctly identifies the formal channels of policy coordination, 
but makes no mention of daily ad-hoc coordination between the two 
entities, concerning broadcast content and delivery, as well as other 
interagency coordination. Right now for example, the Department's 
International Women's Issues Office is working with Alhurra to identify 
speakers and program ideas, which appeal to women in the Middle East. 
The Department's EUR and OBO bureaus have been working closely with 
RFE/RL for the last two years to help them identify an alternate 
location for their headquarters within Prague that poses less of a 
security risk. WHA and OCB are working together to improve the 
effectiveness--in both content and delivery--of the Radio and TV Marti 
broadcasts. EUR and SA are working with IBB engineering to make sure a 
transmitter--bound for Tajikistan--is making it through customs in the 
8 countries it has to travel through from Paris. The BBG and NEA have 
been working hand-in-hand for over a year to secure transmitter rights 
for Radio Sawa in Egypt. Every day, policy questions are explored and 
vetted through the Department's country desks. There are many, many 
examples of daily, positive and active, albeit informal, coordination 
between the Department and the BBG (and its entities) that should be 
mentioned. 

We believe the description of the BBG's reaction to suggestions on 
broadcast content, specifically the promotion of Hi magazine in 
exchange for promotion of the BBG's efforts, is misleading. While this 
interaction did happen, the BBG never formally excluded the idea of 
cross-promoting State's products, including Hi magazine. At the time, 
there were concerns on BBG's part about the content on fledgling 
broadcasts to the Middle East. In recent days, however, these 
discussions have begun again, and look promising, and we look forward 
to working with the BBG to address this issue. 

During this transition period between the first and second Bush 
Administrations, we will follow with interest the reaction to the GAO's 
recommendation to the White House that the Director of the Office of 
Global Communications fully implement the role mandated for that 
office. 

We heartily endorse the GAO's recommendation to develop a detailed 
strategy for the Department on better engaging the private sector in 
mutually reinforcing efforts to reach out to foreign publics. As new 
players take their places within the Department, how to build on and 
consolidate the Department's accomplishments in working with the 
private sector will be one of the areas for early focus. 

Once again, we appreciate the opportunity to comment on the draft 
provided to us. 

[End of section]

Appendix IV: Comments from the Broadcasting Board of Governors: 

BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS: 
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: 

March 15, 2005: 

Mr. Jess T. Ford: 
Director: 
International Relations and Trade: 
U.S. Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Mr. Ford: 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the GAO's draft report 
entitled, "U.S. Public Diplomacy: Communications Strategy Needed to 
Improve Interagency Coordination Efforts."

We are pleased at the GAO's finding that the BBG coordinates with the 
State Department at the policy level through a variety of means. The 
Board maintains close ties with the Office of the Under Secretary for 
Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and enjoys a mutually supportive 
working relationship with that office. 

The GAO report also states, however, that "some agency officials 
asserted that the BBG is not effectively coordinating with other 
agencies with respect to program content," and provides several 
examples where BBG entities declined to pursue program suggestions or 
air content from other agencies. In considering these examples, it is 
important to keep in mind the BBG's legislative mandate and the 
journalistic nature of BBG programming. The legislation under which we 
operate is clear that the final decision on what is broadcast lies in 
the hands of our journalists. The U.S. International Broadcasting Act 
requires that both the Secretary of State and the Board shall respect 
the professional independence and integrity of the broadcasting 
services. While the Board is open to suggestions related to broadcast 
content, and is happy to pass these ideas along for broadcast 
consideration, it cannot and should not require the journalists to 
implement these suggestions. 

The GAO report also indicates that the Board would be open to receiving 
requests to broadcast "other agency content." While the Board has 
welcomed suggestions for programming, we do not mean to imply that the 
BBG would serve as a broadcast platform for programming created by 
other government agencies. 

The Board has not been aware of any specific instance when a suggestion 
on program content was not considered by a BBG broadcast entity. 
Furthermore, the Board has not received any specific complaints from 
the State Department in recent years with respect to programming. 

BBG entities have been receptive to program suggestions from U.S. 
Government officials. For example, at the suggestion of U.S. Embassy 
Beijing, VOA recently produced a special program commemorating the 60tH 
anniversary of Sino-U.S. Cooperation during World War II when U.S. Army 
engineers worked to restore ground transportation between China and the 
outside world. With interviews with U.S. Embassy officials in Beijing, 
the story highlighted the tremendous loss of American lives in 
completing this route that helped alleviate the suffering of Chinese 
people during the war's final months. 

In general, BBG programming is shaped by its journalists who track the 
news and develop the program content with an eye toward the program's 
relevance to the audience. BBG journalists are also mindful of their 
broadcast mission to represent America and its policies. Programming 
provides a focus on U.S. policy concerns and an emphasis on a product 
that is a tool to support the development of freedom and democracy. For 
example, each of the broadcast entities of the BBG used coverage of the 
confirmation hearings for Secretary of State Rice to both introduce the 
Secretary-designate to the world and to showcase the U.S. confirmation 
process, in which one branch of government vets the proposals and 
decisions of the other. Several broadcast entities broadcast nearly 
gavel-to-gavel coverage. Others used portions of the hearing to 
illustrate U.S. policies to particular parts of the world. 

Through their regular contact with U.S. Government officials and 
coverage of major policy speeches and Congressional hearings, our 
journalists present Administration and Congressional views on high 
priority issues that constitute "front page" news. To the extent that 
policymakers make themselves available for comment and that BBG 
journalists are made part of the press pools accompanying 
Administration officials on official travel, program content is greatly 
enhanced. 

The anecdotal reports collected by GAO that indicate frustration from 
State Department officials regarding the suggestion of program ideas, 
indicate that a more formal channel of communication for such ideas 
should perhaps be established through the Board. The Board will explore 
the establishment of a more transparent avenue of communications. 
However, as the Board is the firewall between the policymakers and the 
journalists, and must protect against government pressures to skew the 
content of the programming, such requests must be handled carefully. 
Establishment of a formal channel through which program ideas may be 
communicated should not create the expectation that all program ideas 
will be implemented. 

Sincerely, 

Signed by: 

Kenneth Y. Tomlinson: 
Chairman: 

[End of section]

Appendix V: Comments from the U.S. Agency for International 
Development: 

USAID: 

FROM THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: 

MAR 25 2005: 

Jess T. Ford: 
Director: 
International Affairs and Trade: 
U.S. General Accounting Office: 
441 G Street, N.W.: 
Washington, D.C. 20548: 

Dear Mr. Ford: 

I am pleased to provide the U.S. Agency for International Development's 
(USAID) formal response on the draft GAO report entitled U.S. PUBLIC 
DIPLOMACY: Communications Strategy needed to Improve Interagency 
Coordination Efforts. 

I have enclosed a short paper from the Agency's Bureau of Legislative 
and Public Affairs regarding comments and suggested language that might 
assist you in improving the overall report. 

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the GAO draft report and 
for the courtesies extended by your staff in the conduct of this 
review. 

Sincerely,

Signed by: 

Steve Wisecarver: 

Acting Assistant Administrator: 
Bureau for Management: 

Enclosure: A/S: 

DRAFT GAO REPORT ON U.S. PUBLIC DIPLOMACY: 

Comments from USAID's Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs (LPA) 
March 21, 2005: 

The following suggested addition is being provided by USAID staff 
members in the Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau who had an 
opportunity to review GAO's Draft of its upcoming report on U.S. Public 
Diplomacy. 

Page 16, bottom of the page: 

This GAO study obviously is about public diplomacy and engaging the 
private sector in State and other agency's public diplomacy efforts-not 
specifically about public-private partnerships. While there are several 
paragraphs about public-private partnerships, there is almost no 
mention of the Global Development Alliance (GDA) business model wherein 
we reach to both non-traditional partners in the US, and to non-
traditional partners in throughout the world. An additional paragraph 
on page 16 might provide a positive example of successful efforts being 
made to date with public-private partnerships: 

Suggested addition: "One promising example of public-private 
partnerships has been USAID's Global Development Alliance. The Global 
Development Alliance is a USAID-wide initiative to promote public-
private alliances among government, the private and the non-profit 
sectors that was launched by former Secretary of State Colin Powell in 
2001. The GDA is akin to a joint venture model in the private sector-a 
joint venture in which all the partners have an enlightened self-
interest in improving some aspect of the quality of life for people in 
one or more countries in which both USAID and partner companies 
operate. The GDA business model is to leverage businesses to bring 
unique assets to developing countries such as foreign direct 
investment, experience with leading business practices (especially 
related to environmental and workers' issues), technological 
innovations, and the ability to use buying power to affect change along 
supply chains. 

GDA prods USAID and its private partners to collectively define and 
pool their talents and resources to have greater impact on a 
development problem than any one of the partners could have alone. 
Since it's inception in 2002, almost 300 alliances have taken form 
Agency-wide-roughly $1 billion in USAID funds have leveraged over $3.0 
billion in partner resources. Alliances have been established in over 
45 countries in the developing world and over 150 private business 
partner organizations are now involved." 

[End of section]

Appendix VI: GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments: 

GAO Contact: 

Diana Glod, (202) 512-8945: 

Staff Acknowledgments: 

In addition to the person named above, Michael ten Kate, Robert Ball, 
Loren DeJonge, and Joe Carney made key contributions to this report. 
Martin de Alteriis, Ernie Jackson, and Mark Speight provided technical 
assistance. 

(320283): 

FOOTNOTES

[1] The private sector includes nonprofit and for-profit organizations, 
academia, and the American people. 

[2] Prior GAO reports have examined the public diplomacy activities of 
the State Department and Broadcasting Board of Governors. See U.S. 
Public Diplomacy: State Department Expands Efforts but Faces 
Significant Challenges, GAO-03-951 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 4, 2003) 
and U.S. International Broadcasting: New Strategic Approach Focuses on 
Reaching Large Audiences but Lacks Measurable Program Objectives, GAO- 
03-772 (Washington, D.C.: July 15, 2003). 

[3] Appendix II provides a listing of major reports issued since 2001 
and their summary findings. 

[4] The Defense Science Board, composed of civilian officials, advises 
DOD on scientific, technical, manufacturing, acquisition process, and 
other matters of special interest to the department. 

[5] Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Managed 
Information Dissemination (Washington, D.C.: October 2001). 

[6] Incorporated in January 2004 by interested private sector leaders, 
Business for Diplomatic Action seeks to counter anti-American 
sentiments that can harm U.S. business interests by helping to 
coordinate the outreach efforts of U.S. multinational companies. 

[7] Established by the current administration to replace coordination 
mechanisms established by earlier Presidents, National Security Council 
policy coordinating committees are responsible for the management of 
national security policies and are the main day-to-day forums for 
interagency coordination of national security policy. 

[8] The Interagency Working Group on U.S. Government-Sponsored 
International Exchanges and Training was established by an executive 
order of the President in 1997 and legislated by Congress in 1999. 
Among other activities, the interagency working group has been tasked 
with developing a database on U.S. exchange and training programs, 
promoting greater understanding and cooperation among government 
agencies, identifying areas of program overlap and duplication, and 
developing a coordinated and cost-effective program strategy for 
government agencies to follow. 

[9] In March 2005, a report by State's Office of Research concluded 
that Indonesian views of the United States had improved following 
tsunami relief efforts. 

[10] Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic 
Communication (Washington, D.C.: September 2004). 

[11] The Office of Global Communications is the successor to the 
Coalition Information Centers established in Washington, London, and 
Islamabad during the early stages of U.S military operations in 
Afghanistan in 2001. These centers were created to provide a rapid 
response capability to counter inaccurate portrayals of U.S. actions 
and optimize reporting of news favorable to the United States. 

[12] According to State officials, one of the office's main efforts is 
the development of the daily "Global Messenger," a one-page fact sheet 
sent worldwide to disseminate key points and daily activities on global 
issues. 

[13] The U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy is a bipartisan 
panel created by Congress and appointed by the President to provide 
oversight of U.S. government activities intended to understand, inform, 
and influence foreign publics. It is responsible for assessing public 
diplomacy policies and programs of the U.S. State Department, 
Broadcasting Board of Governors, other government agencies, and the 
private sector. 

[14] Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World, 
Changing Minds Winning Peace (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 1, 2003). The 
group was formed in June 2003 at the request of Congress and submitted 
its findings to the House Appropriations Committee. 

[15] GAO-03-951. 

[16] According to a senior USAID official, Development Outreach and 
Communication Officers will handle information related to USAID 
projects as well as other agencies' projects that are being implemented 
by USAID. USAID does not plan to handle assistance projects emanating 
from other sources, such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation. 

[17] DOD also uses public affairs activities and military psychological 
operations to communicate with foreign audiences. 

[18] Some private sector groups may be reluctant to coordinate with the 
U.S. government due to concerns over a loss of credibility. For 
example, a representative of Business for Diplomatic Action told us 
that any direct collaboration between her group and the U.S. government 
was unlikely given the government's lack of credibility with target 
audiences. 

[19] The advisory committee consists of representatives of American 
organizations and institutions, including business, labor, environment, 
academia, legal consultancies, and other public interest groups. It 
reports to the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. Within this 
bureau, the Office of Commercial and Business Affairs serves as State's 
primary point of contact for all issues dealing with the private 
sector. 

[20] This proposal was submitted without the prior review or approval 
of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The 
Under Secretary explained that she saw potential merit in the idea; 
however, she was worried that creating a new entity would take scarce 
resources away from existing programs. 

[21] This proposal incorporates elements of similar suggestions 
regarding the establishment of quasi-independent entities to promote 
public-private partnerships by the Defense Science Board and the 
Council on Foreign Relations. In its September 2004 report, the Defense 
Science Board recommended the establishment of a Center for Strategic 
Communications modeled on federally funded research and development 
centers such as the Rand Corporation or National Endowment for 
Democracy. In its report entitled "Finding America's Voice: A Strategy 
for Reinvigorating U.S. Public Diplomacy" (New York, N.Y.: June 2003), 
the Council on Foreign Relations recommended that an independent, not- 
for-profit Corporation for Public Diplomacy be established to 
facilitate public and private sector interchange. 

[22] The four pillars are: (1) Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian 
Assistance; (2) Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade; (3) Global 
Health; and (4) the Global Development Alliance. 

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