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National Flame Work for Strategic Communication.

by on May 4, 2012

              The White House and National Security Council. Defense Department 1055 Report authorized by The National Defense Authorization Act. Washington, DC.

              This report was done as a  requirement of the 2009 Duncan Hunter Act. The Act  demands for the president to submit a report to the  appropriate committees of Congress, briefing them on a comprehensive interagency strategy for public diplomacy and strategic communication.

             The reports opens with an executive summary outlining the purpose of effective strategic communication as being of much essential to sustaining global legitimacy and supporting United States policy aims. The reports goes ahead to draw clarity on the meaning of strategic communication by definition as “the synchronization of our words and deeds as well as deliberate efforts to communicate and engage with the intended audiences” . This comes at the back drop of the American willingness to understand the attitudes, opinions, grievances of people they communicate to around the world in their quest to advocate promoting democracy as well as changing the world opinion .After 9/11 ,the USA recognise that  it’s a big tusk and more neccesary than before to consider in serious terms  how their actions and policies will be interpreted by public audiences .Because of this page two of the report high lights how the USA engages  Deliberate Communication and engagement as a tool in  a wide range of programmes and activities deliberately focused on  understanding, engaging, informing, influencing and communicating with people through public affairs, public diplomacy, information operations and other efforts.

              The report also explains the interagency working groups, processes and positions  that have been created to improve their ability to better synchronize words and deeds .An initiative has been done to enable a balance between military and civilian  efforts.

            The report point out in clear terms that its purpose is not an attempt to create new terms and concepts, organisations or capabilities. but clarifying different aspects of strategic communication. While analysing the Strategy for Synchronization, it established that where as in the past ,the burden for synchronizing words and deeds has often been placed on the shoulders of the communications community, The report noted that there are actions well beyond those managed by the communication community that have  communicative value and impact. This finding is the land mark of this report bearing in mind that the avenues of communication have changed as well as the audience and channels.

              Secondly on page three the report  stressed that the strategy for deliberate communication and engagement should be “ strategic long term and not just  reactive and tactical”.much focus should be put on articulating  what the USA is for ,not just what its against .It stresses that Mutual respect and mutual interest must define the USA efforts to communicate and engage with the Muslim community around the world. As this effort is vital in discrediting violent extremism and ideology in a world after 9/11.

             The report notes that Deliberate communication is bar where the USA actions are judged by the public as well as identifying how the USA actions are being interpreted and perceived.On page four the report stresses that for this purpose the USA should not focus on a “one way communication”and it highlights this as the basis of why it has emphasised the importance of “engagement” to mean connecting with, listening to, and building long-term relationships with key stakeholders.

          The report notes that the initiative acknowledges the need for  planning, development ,and execution of engagement programs and activities to be better coordinated, integrated, and driven by research ,information and intelligence and the report notes that appropriate steps are being taken towards this effort.

          The first step this is being done  through interagency planning and coordination. Which has enabled a variety of perspectives, models and approaches used in  strategic planning .it goes on as well to address National level interagency coordination and suggest an interagency policy committees should be set up to over see the development and implementation of national security policies by multiple agencies of the US government. This strategy will breach the gap between multiple agencies in particular among the intelligence community in their fight against terror as well as in other supporting policy agencies to coordinate a good communication strategy.

            The report highlight as well  the impotence  of information, intelligence ,research and analysis as key enablers for policy development and strategic planning. The report emphasised that the priorities for strategic communication and engagement are treated the same as national security priorities ,since both focus on foreign audiences in recognizing USA’s area of mutual interest, its role in global affairs and as a respectful partner in its efforts to meet complex global challenges. This is real a every effective tool and USA has pursued this  through reaching out to the foreign audiences like in the Obama speech in Cairo two years ago.

          The report on page six explains that for the above innitiatives and objectives to be possible there is need to address resources,  because accountability, assessment, and reporting are critical aspects of the initiative  newly established planning process to ensure all major deliberate communication and engagement efforts are coordinated and effective. it also goes into deep details analysing the qualitative and quantitative aspects  of all the agencies involved to enable them to effectively execute these programs and activities. It highlight the role of national security staff, the role of the department of state and the role of department of defence as key agencies among others. The report goes ahead as well to mention different departments for example the global strategy engagement centre (GSEC), The public diplomacy office director (PDOD) within these agencies playing various roles and responsibilities as well as specifying the role and responsibility of each head of department. it goes in more detail to specify which representative of the department will attend or represent the department at meetings.  These details make this report as a good  guide book for effective communication)

             The report noted that presently a number of offices across the USA are engaged in providing information and analysis on a regular basis to civilian and military decision makers on global public opinion, It acknowledges the role of culture, values, and religion in shaping human behaviour;  media trends and influence on audiences ;and the impact of information technologies ,however it concludes with  a sceptical opinion that  the report is limited in as far as providing the  correct mechanism for addressing the USA government’s abilities to form  public-private partnership; sighting  among other reasons the still pending reviews namely the presidential study directive on development and the department of state quadrennial diplomacy and development review.

          All in all the report has highlighted in detail the national framework for strategic planning operations in its effort to maximise effective communication, and the steps and initiatives that has been taken by different agencies engaged in this innitiative.It is a well researched document written in clear and simple english and where possible it has gone a step further to define terminologies used and has given them difinitions.It leaves little room for critic although in its conclusion the report has highlighted an emphasis to be put on the pending reviews but as a study paper it has provided  a good blue print that can be used as a white paper on forming the new strategy and policy for strategic communication.


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