The Foreign Service Journal, December 2006

D E C E M B E R 2 0 0 6 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 7 Public Diplomacy & Career FSOs We read with surprise in your Oc- tober issue (“Damage Control: Karen Hughes Does PD”) that Under Secre- tary Karen Hughes has supposedly not recruited experienced Foreign and Civil Service officers for key positions on her staff and in the “R” (public diplomacy and public affairs) bureaus. What about us? As senior career Foreign Service officers who have been working for U/S Hughes for over a year, and are members of her core public diplomacy and exchanges team, we submit that the Journal article was incorrect and misleading. In fact, U/S Hughes has put in place an integrated team of career Foreign Service, Civil Service and non-career professionals, all dedicated to the mission of advancing public diplomacy and more fully integrating public diplomacy into the mainstream of the department. Your readers should also know that the under secretary very strongly sup- ports and encourages the professional growth and development of the public diplomacy function across the State Department. Her energetic support for the PD cone in particular has given public diplomacy professionals an unprecedented voice in the depart- ment’s senior policy and management circles. Under Secretary Hughes is also providing needed leadership in the interagency community to strengthen our public diplomacy across the U.S. government. None of this is easy or inevitable. Respect in the administration and Congress for U/S Hughes’ strategic ability and leadership has led direct- ly to increases in funding for educa- tional and cultural exchanges. She has pioneered new information out- reach support like the Rapid Res- ponse Unit and overseas regional public diplomacy hubs, all led by career department officers. She has also strengthened our language Web sites and added features to the PD community’s dedicated Web site, INFOCENTRAL, to make it more useful to posts. Overall, she has worked to make existing public diplo- macy tools more effective, and she has encouraged everyone to consider public diplomacy part of their core responsibilities. Under Secretary Hughes has also made addressing issues such as the competitiveness of PD-coned officers for promotion and senior assignments a top priority, together with building into the system better professional training of public diplomacy officers. Most important, she has championed the central role of public diplomacy in shaping effective diplomacy for the United States in the 21st century. Those of us who are privileged to see firsthand the many ways in which Under Secretary Hughes is making a difference know how lucky public diplomacy and the department are that she has thrown in her lot with ours. Miller Crouch, Jeremy Curtin, Daniel Smith and Gretchen Welch FSOs Washington, D.C. Editor’s Note: We welcome the four officers’ testimonial to the work Karen Hughes is doing as under sec- retary for public diplomacy — most points of which, in fact, appear in the Zeller article — and for their first- hand account of her aims and goals. Indeed, the author requested, and we would have welcomed, direct input from the under secretary’s office; unfortunately, it was not forthcoming. Quotes cited in the article, of course, do not necessarily reflect the views of either the author, the Journal or AFSA. Public Outreach Is Not Public Diplomacy First, I would like to commend the FSJ for an excellent and balanced October magazine focusing on public diplomacy. As a PD-coned officer, it was gratifying to see many of the issues that my colleagues and I discuss informally put out to a larger audi- ence. I’d also like to expand on an issue raised in Shawn Zeller’s article. To quote the article, “Hughes has not taken it upon herself ... to commend career staff when they do a good job, or give them assurances that hard work and training in the public diplo- macy arena will lead to career advancement.” True enough, as far as it goes, but the real issue goes even deeper. The oft-repeated phrase “every officer is a PD officer” is not only untrue, but is demeaning and demoralizing to those of us who are career public diplomacy professionals. It takes years of train- L ETTERS