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SWJED
11-30-2007, 01:49 AM
What the SecDef Didn’t Call For, But Should Have (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2007/11/what-the-secdef-didnt-call-for/) by Matt Armstrong at SWJ Blog.


Today, American public diplomacy wears combat boots. In the global media and the blogosphere, the military and its uniformed leaders shape the image of the United States. But that is not how it has always been. On the contrary, American public diplomacy was born out of the need to directly engage the global psyche and avoid direct martial engagement.

On November 26, 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, speaking at Kansas State University, recalled how the United States marshaled its national power at the beginning of the Cold War. Mr. Gates reminded his audience that sixty years ago the United States dramatically restructured itself in the face of a global threat and passed the National Security Act of 1947, created the United States Information Agency and the United States Agency for International Development, among other agencies and institutions. Key to the success of all of these was the timely creation and transmission of quality information, or truthful propaganda...

Cannoneer No. 4
11-30-2007, 12:20 PM
I'd love to see it repealed, but see no realistic chance of that happening any time soon. I'd love to see it reinterpreted, which is somewhat more likely, but won't happen until strategic communicators, currently content to accept no as the final answer, grow a pair and start begging forgiveness instead of asking permission.

There is no product that can't make it back to the domestic audience.

The domestic audience has been left essentially at the mercy of uncountered enemy propaganda, most of it disseminated almost unchallenged by American and British media organizations that PA treats like long lost brothers and IO leaves alone for fear of Smith-Mundt lawfare. The Regulars have left the home front undefended in the battle space that counts the most in this war, the area between the ears of the American voter. Nobody in the government is going to do much to oppose the enemyís strategic communications campaign. Half of their political masters profit from the enemyís unchallenged, unopposed, unmitigated 24/7/365 barrage.

Smith-Mundt, DOD implementation policies of Executive Order S-12333, United States Intelligence Activities; DOD Instructions S-3321.1, (S) Overt Psychological Operations Conducted by the Military Services in Peacetime and in Contingencies Short of Declared War (U); and National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 130, U.S. International Information Policy all provide a shield of plausible ineffectiveness behind which non-partisan careerists cower lest the "Loyal Opposition" block their promotions and defund their programs because they gored the wrong ox.

Cannoneer No. 4
11-30-2007, 12:44 PM
Smith-Mundt does NOT apply to DoD (http://jmw.typepad.com/political_warfare/2007/05/smithmundt_does.html)

Punting on Propaganda (http://threatswatch.org/rapidrecon/2007/09/punting-on-propaganda/)

The PAO Conversation: (http://grimbeorn.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_archive.html#114591250747530869)

Smith-Mundt (http://mountainrunner.us/2007/09/smithmundt.html)

MountainRunner
11-30-2007, 01:00 PM
I've been told that recently the Senate foreign relations committee was ok with revisiting and revising Smith-Mundt. The House committee was vehemently against it.

Ron Humphrey
11-30-2007, 01:39 PM
I've been told that recently the Senate foreign relations committee was ok with revisiting and revising Smith-Mundt. The House committee was vehemently against it.

Excellent article,

Considering that this is true if we look at recent deliberations, what is the expectation for effective re-definition / better implementation vs political posturing which may create an even larger gap between what we can and what we should do?

Do you think this might be why it is better to focus on what one can affect vs what one would like to accomplish?

Might it also point to the wisdom of growth of somestic non-military growth in these areas vs pure DOD action/capabilities.

Cannoneer No. 4
11-30-2007, 01:54 PM
Gumming up the wheels of progress. (http://www.internationalrelations.house.gov/)

The enemy gets a vote, and so do both wings of the "Loyal Opposition." (http://cannoneerno4.wordpress.com/2007/10/29/democracies-at-4gwar/)

http://bp3.blogger.com/_ODB4xSFKQGE/RyaPpvwZrQI/AAAAAAAAAD4/veZ6h_uR4Ng/s320/Insurgency-vs-Democracy.gif

Graphic courtesy of Wolf Pangloss (http://wolfpangloss.wordpress.com/2007/10/28/democracies-at-4gwar/)

St. Christopher
11-30-2007, 03:20 PM
Great article, Matt. You've got a lot of fans inside the beltway.

MountainRunner
12-01-2007, 07:52 PM
Considering that this is true if we look at recent deliberations, what is the expectation for effective re-definition / better implementation vs political posturing which may create an even larger gap between what we can and what we should do?

Do you think this might be why it is better to focus on what one can affect vs what one would like to accomplish?

Might it also point to the wisdom of growth of somestic non-military growth in these areas vs pure DOD action/capabilities.

What is the expectation of change? Personally, I have a very low expectation unless a charismatic champ emerges to back it. For all the talk of a Golderwater-Nichols like revamp, G-N had Goldwater to push it through. The time after 9/11 was a wake-up that facilitated change like 1947, but the opp was lost. I saw Karen Hughes' role as one to lobby for this type of change, but...

I think it's telling that Karen Hughes didn't know DoD subjected itself to Smith-Mundt, she was (is?) probably not aware of Gen Meyers firewalling PA/IO a few years ago either. Meanwhile, DOD's general counsel apparently believes Smith-Mundt applies to his client. JFK made it clear when he gave his direction to America's public diplomacy apparatus that DOD was not to be covered, which was inline w/ the practice of the decade and a half prior.

Side note: if you look at the literature and discussions on Smith-Mundt, it's not until the 1960's that the Act is viewed primarily as a internal propaganda limiter. This view was entrenched by the 1970's and cemented in the 1980s. As I wrote, it's ironic that a piece of law aimed at clarifying a message would become so misunderstood and misinterpreted.

For all the limits today and without a champion, change will come slowly and resulting from institutional and attidunal changes the SecDef is pushing for. State's people want to be doing something (a few terrified FSOs notwithstanding) but their leadership lacks the vision and guts. If we get capable leadership in Hughes' old position and Rice stays away, or both Rice gets replaced with competency that doesn't view the world as a 1960's / 1980's Cold War, I think there's a possibility of real change. To paraphrase and adjust a famous quote, We don't need to go to war with the public diplomacy we have, we can go to war with the public diplomacy we need (PD defined as it was, not as it is).

COIN and PD are children from the same mother. Once we realize that, PD may get the kick it needs.