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Atlantic Council Report Calls For Separate Public Diplomacy Agency

Revised State Department organization chart

(Atlantic Council)

(16 September 2017) A Washington, DC think tank recommends forming a stand-alone agency devoted to public diplomacy under the rubric of State Department. The Atlantic Council issued its assessment of State Department’s mission and organization on 6 September 2017, prepared at the request of Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The panel preparing the report consisted of former high-level officials at State Department and National Security Council, as well as representatives from universities, business, and law.

In putting together the pieces into a coherent structure at State Department, panel members found two functions requiring special skills and having unique budgetary demands: foreign assistance and public diplomacy. The committee considered three options for organizing these functions into an overall State Department structure, ranging from complete integration to independent agencies reporting to the president, and settled on stand-alone agencies under the State Department umbrella.

The recommendation on public diplomacy says …

Public Diplomacy should be considered to form a stand-alone agency within the department somewhat like USAID. Because of different skills required, especially in program management and information operations, it should have its own personnel, assignments process, budget, and so forth. It would report to the secretary.

The entity named Agency for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, like USAID …

… would report to the secretary, have a rank equivalent with the deputy secretary of state, and have full autonomy in budget creation subject to the secretary of state’s personal approval; they would also have separate personnel in the foreign and civil service recruited and trained for their special, heavily program-dominated tasks, and operate overseas and in Washington in close conjunction with State but at a sufficient distance that their funds and people could not be co-opted or absorbed by State to the detriment of the special mission they perform.

The full report is found on the Atlantic Council web site.

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