Public Diplomacy Lessons Learned

by Steven R. Corman

Bruce Gregory has just released a new essay at Small Wars Journal that should be of interest to COMOPS Journal readers.  In it he identifies five lessons learned from recent experiences in U.S. Public Diplomacy:

  • Abandon message influence approaches
  • Drop the “war on terror” language
  • Leverage civil society
  • Emphasize net-centric perspectives
  • Rethink media strategy

The teaser for the piece notes unheeded calls in our own National Defense Strategy documents from 2002 and 2008 for improved public diplomacy.  Let me point out that we’re also ignoring similar calls from the Defense Science Board reports in both 2004 and 2008 for changes in the organization of the whole U.S. strategic communication enterprise.

It is hard to think of any explanation for this other than  willful ignorance of these issues at the highest levels.  So I think we need to add one more lesson learned to Bruce’s list:

  • Care about whether or not you have good strategic communication

UPDATE

Bruce points out in an e-mail that his essay talks about “lessons from” rather than “lessons learned,” as I have it in the title.   He’s right of course; the lessons have not been learned.  A Freudian slip revealing wishful thinking on my part, I guess.