Monday, January 28, 2008

US Public Diplomacy Operations deemed "Adequate" by OMB

U.S. Diplomacy had an interesting piece today about the White House Office of Management and Budget's assessment of the State Department's Public Diplomacy program.

US Public Diplomacy Operations deemed "Adequate" by OMB

"A 2006 assessment of the State Department’s Public Diplomacy (PD) program conducted by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB, a Cabinet-level office run out the White House) ranks the program’s overall performance “adequate,” (as opposed to “effective, moderately effective, or ineffective”).

The State Department describes the key functions of the bureau of Public Diplomacy and its foreign officers as “indispensable” to the conduct of foreign policy. Accordingly, PD’s key activities, as outlined in the assessment’s “program performance measures,” amount to no small feat for PD officers.

...According to the assessment, the program’s main goal is generating an “audience with an improved or increased understanding of U.S. policies, society and values.”

...Then there’s the granddaddy of them all: reducing the level of anti-American sentiment among key foreign audiences. This goal is commonly referred to as “winning hearts and minds,” a campaign the US first launched during the Vietnam war, and now commonly refers to US efforts at improving relations with the “Muslim” world.

...With such far-reaching and invasive goals set out, it is no wonder PD’s lowest-scoring is the “Program Results” assessment section: “Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals? Answer: No”

...Relative to other US government programs assessed by OMB, PD’s “adequate” ranking puts it on the lower end of the performance spectrum."

Clearly we need more than an "adequate" PD program to accomplish the goals set by the Department. Ironically, it is OMB that keeps asserting that the State Department budget is "adequate" to meet our current priorities, including staffing the Embassy in Iraq, without regard to calls from throughout the government that we expand our mission while we endure a 1,000 to 2,000 officer deficit.

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