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April 2011

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Reader Comment on: “Public Diplomacy in Uniform: The Role of the U.S. Department of Defense in Supporting Modern Day Public Diplomacy”
www.unc.edu/depts/diplomat/item/2011/0104/comm/greensapn_pduniform.html

by James Rockwell, Financial Management Specialist, Global Financial Services Center, Department of State

This (rather biased) article shoots itself in the foot. No one really denies that DOS is/should be in-charge-of Public Diplomacy (PD). Further. I doubt that anyone disputes the facts that the Department of Defense (DOD) has somewhat similar (although limited) capabilities, and MAYBE receives more funding (it is most difficult to split such “fine hairs” in DOD).

While the author supports PD being primarily/ultimately directed under the DOS, she defeats her own argument when acknowledging that DOD does step into some voids, which are unfilled/unwanted by DOS. And, of course DOD is “nice to have along” for security in hostile conditions… but should not have any PD functionality? Duh? The writer fails to recognize that there are more, many more, contacts between an indigenous population and a uniform vice a non-uniformed PD specialist from the Department of State (DOS).

Rather than carping about mismatched budgets, and whining about who “owns” the ball, should we not be attempting to ensure (I remember “hearts and minds” from Vietnam) that those uniforms receive the best appropriate training, information, intelligence and DOS' genuine support? That just might foster much more inter-Departmental cooperation than any MOU, LOI, or Directive.

 



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