U.S. Public Diplomacy: State Department Efforts Lack Certain Communication Elements and Face Persistent Challenges, GAO-06-707T, May 3, 2006
"Public opinion polls have shown continued negative sentiments toward the United States in the Muslim world. Public diplomacy activities--led by the State Department (State)--are designed to counter such sentiments by explaining U.S. foreign policy actions, countering misinformation, and advancing mutual understanding between nations. Since 2003, we have issued three reports on U.S. public diplomacy efforts that examined (1) changes in public diplomacy resources since September 11, 2001; (2) strategic planning and coordination of public diplomacy efforts; and (3) the challenges facing these efforts. We have made several recommendations in the last 3 years to the Secretary of State to address strategic planning issues, private sector engagement, and staffing challenges related to public diplomacy. For example, today's report recommends that the Secretary develop written guidance detailing how the department intends to implement its public diplomacy goals as they apply to the Muslim world. State has consistently concurred with our findings and recommendations for improving public diplomacy, and the department, in several cases, is taking appropriate actions. However, the department has not established a timetable for many of these actions."