January 29, 2016
Harnessing Communications and Public Diplomacy
By Mark Seip
Largely neglected after the end of the Cold War, the use of information and public diplomacy to influence audiences and help achieve national objectives is making a comeback. This comeback however is not from the United States, but from actors such as ISIS, Russia, and China, whose objectives often run counter to ours. Using graphic imagery, misinformation, and censorship, they undermine US efforts around the globe and challenge US influence.
While communications and public diplomacy experts throughout the government understand how potent the use of information, narrative, and engagement can be, national policymakers too often fail to appreciate their power and treat them as afterthoughts in strategy development. That in turn often leads to incorrect perceptions and missed opportunities and negatively impacts strategic goals.
In "Harnessing Communications and Public Diplomacy," Nonresident Military Fellow Mark Seip explores how the communication evolution–some say revolution–is changing how audiences perceive the US government and its actions. Seip then offers four straightforward rules for policymakers to consider during strategy development in order to maximize success.
Read the Issue Brief (PDF)