News International Public Information (IPI) (PDD 68)

Reorganization Plan and Report

Submitted by President Clinton to the Congress on December 30, 1998,
Pursuant to Section 1601 of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, as Contained in Public Law 105-277

III. The Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Missions

We place very high priority on public diplomacy with foreign audiences, and are firmly committed to integrating public diplomacy more fully into foreign policy. Our goal is to strengthen public diplomacy through its integration into the policy process. Negotiations on such issues as NATO enlargement, Iraqi sanctions, and global climate change show the value of being proactive in informing and influencing foreign publics, NGOs, and others. These audiences are playing greater roles on international issues as communications improve and pluralism expands. When public diplomacy strategies are applied from the outset as policy is formulated, policy and its articulation will improve and be more persuasive to foreign publics and policy-makers.

What Will Happen to the U.S. Information Agency (USIA)

Current Responsibilities

Public diplomacy promotes U.S. national security and other interests by seeking to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics and policy-makers, and by broadening the dialogue between American citizens and institutions and their counterparts abroad. In comparison, public affairs is the provision of information to the public, press, and others about the policies and activities of the U.S. government.

Different aspects of the public diplomacy mission roughly correspond to the role of each of the Agency's current major programmatic elements (current USIA broadcasting functions are enumerated in Chapter IV on International Broadcasting):

Bureau of Information (I), Area Offices, and USIS Posts Abroad -- Inform and seek to influence foreign opinion-makers by presenting U.S. positions on policy issues through a variety of products, including the daily Washington File, expert speakers (in person and in digital video or telepress conferences), Information Resource Centers overseas, electronic journals and Web sites, and print publications. The I Bureau provides a rapid response to implement public diplomacy strategies for U.S. foreign policy and national security initiatives, including in crises, and to post requests for materials tailored to particular foreign audiences.

Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (E), Area Offices, and USIS Posts Abroad -- Broaden long-term dialogue with foreign publics through a variety of person-to-person exchanges, including the Fulbright Program for scholars, teachers, and students; the International Visitors program to bring foreign leaders to the U.S.; Citizen Exchanges efforts to develop international exchange programs through nonprofit American institutions; and programs to affiliate U.S. and foreign academic institutions, advise foreign students about American colleges and universities, foster the teaching abroad of U.S. studies and the English language, and strengthen educational institutions abroad.

Office of Research and Media Reaction (R) -- Seeks to understand foreign publics through opinion polling abroad and, utilizing reporting from USIS posts abroad and other media, to analyze attitudes toward U.S. policies and activities in the foreign media.


USIA has 6,714 full-time permanent positions, of which 2,689 are engaged in broadcasting activities. The remaining 4,025 consist of 655 Americans and 2,079 Foreign Service Nationals (FSN) overseas, and 1,291 positions in the U.S.

Key Issues Considered

Budget Structure -- Funding for public diplomacy (excluding exchange and academic programs, which have and will continue to have their own appropriations) will be incorporated through increases to existing Congressional appropriations to State for Diplomatic and Consular Programs Abroad, the Security and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad, Representation Allowances, Emergencies in the Diplomatic and Consular Service, and the Capital Investment Fund. In the appropriation for Diplomatic and Consular Programs Abroad, State will separately plan for, identify, and account for public diplomacy resources for programs and products aimed at foreign audiences, and foreign national personnel and other programmatic expenses of public diplomacy sections of embassies and missions abroad and in appropriate offices in State.

Organizational Structures -- We will promote maximum appropriate synergy of public diplomacy and public affairs activities under the oversight of the new Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. The Under Secretary will oversee State's Bureau of Public Affairs (PA), although State's spokesperson will continue to have daily contact with the Secretary and Deputy Secretary. The Under Secretary will also oversee the new Bureau of Information Programs and International Exchanges, which will be responsible for exchange and academic programs and will produce information programs and products tailored to influence foreign opinion-makers. The Assistant Secretary for Information Programs and International Exchanges will oversee three deputy assistant secretaries, who will be responsible for academic exchange programs, professional exchange programs, and international information programs, respectively.

Smith-Mundt and Zorinsky Amendments -- In legislation over the years, Congress has restricted USIA's public diplomacy apparatus from being used to influence U.S. public opinion. The Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1972 amended the Smith-Mundt Act to include a ban on disseminating within the United States any "information about the United States, its people, and its policies" prepared for dissemination abroad. The Zorinsky Amendment added a new prohibition: "no funds authorized to be appropriated to the United States Information Agency shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States, and no program material prepared by the United States Information Agency shall be distributed within the United States." The Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (the Act) addresses the application of these restrictions to State, giving it the flexibility to allocate personnel and other resources effectively and efficiently. In integrating USIA, State will observe all applicable legal restrictions.

Consistent with Congressional intent, public diplomacy information efforts will focus on programs and products for foreign audiences. Exchange programs will continue to engage American and foreign participants and organizations under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (Fulbright-Hays).

The establishment of a public diplomacy organization reflects the high importance attached to public diplomacy and its distinctive aspects. As an example of the latter, public diplomacy officers engage foreign audiences with techniques, language skills, and area knowledge not duplicated in domestic public affairs activities. At the same time, much policy content is the same for foreign and domestic audiences, e.g., State's daily press briefings and fact sheets on policy issues. These messages are delivered both to domestic and foreign audiences by many of the same media, e.g., CNN, the World Wide Web, and international wire services. More than half of the journalists whom State serves on a daily basis work for foreign media, and State and USIA web pages can be accessed from anywhere.

Proposed Integration into State

The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs will advise the Secretary of State on public diplomacy and public affairs. The Under Secretary will provide policy oversight for two bureaus dealing with public diplomacy and public affairs, and coordinate such activities in State. State's Strategic Plan will encompass public diplomacy goals, and respective Bureau and Mission Performance Plans will reflect targets and projects for each region, country, and functional area. The office will have nine full-time permanent positions, all from USIA. The Under Secretary will chair the interagency international public information (IPI) Core Group, which will develop and coordinate U.S. public information strategies and activities to address regional and transnational threats and crises.

USIA's Office of Research and Media Reaction will be merged with its parallel State components. We will look to even more sophisticated ways to understand and evaluate trends in foreign opinion. Its public opinion research function (35 full-time permanent positions) and its media reaction division (six full-time permanent positions) will be incorporated into the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Six of the Office of Strategic Communications and Program Coordination's full-time permanent positions will go to the Bureau of Information Programs and International Exchanges, as well as one nonreimbursable one. The seventh full-time permanent position will transfer to State's Policy Planning Staff.

The office of the new Assistant Secretary for Information Programs and International Exchanges will be formed from the staff of USIA's current offices of the Associate Director for Information and the Associate Director for Educational and Cultural Affairs. A staff of twelve full-time permanent positions, formerly in the USIA General Counsel's office, will report to the Assistant Secretary and be responsible for exchange visitor program designations; one additional full-time permanent position, responsible for film attestations under the Beirut Convention, will also transfer to the Assistant Secretary's office. The Assistant Secretary will be supported by the continuing efforts of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee and the Fulbright Scholarship Board (three full-time permanent positions).

International information activities will continue to emphasize rapid response, cross-functional teamwork, and field orientation. Thus, the achievements of USIA's innovative Bureau of Information, launched four years ago as a Reinvention Laboratory based on Vice President Gore's National Performance Review and the best practices of private industry, will be maintained and strengthened under the leadership of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Programs. It will incorporate the Office of Strategic Communications (six full-time permanent positions and one nonreimbursable position). There will be a total of 215 full-time permanent American domestic positions plus 16 overseas American and one FSN.

These international information services will be available to all bureaus and overseas posts, to provide them with the assistance they need to advance U.S. interests abroad. Information programs will be prepared in response both to Washington initiatives and to post needs. Guided by country information, including polling data, and other available information, the assistance provided in these programmatic packages, will enable the field to aggressively promote our foreign policy goals through world-class information services.

Educational and cultural activities will be carried out in the Bureau of Information Programs and International Exchanges under the direction of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Exchanges and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Professional Exchanges. It will have 273 full-time permanent American positions domestically, including nine positions involved in grants management that were originally in the USIA central contracts office, plus 11 overseas.

The Bureau of Information Programs and International Exchanges will be supported by an administrative office drawn from existing support positions, plus the transfer of 33 full-time permanent positions from USIA's current Management Bureau, which has been providing these services.

Similar State and USIA information-related support functions will be combined into existing State structures. USIA's print operations and associated support (22 American and 91 foreign national full-time permanent positions) will join State's. Domestic library activities will be combined (two full-time permanent positions.) Efforts to promote U.S. foreign policy on the Internet will be combined and coordinated and domestic libraries will be merged.

The three USIA foreign press center operations and its offices in Washington, New York, and Los Angeles (24 full-time permanent positions) will be transferred to the Bureau of Public Affairs.

Consistent with the Act, BBG personnel who carry out Worldnet TV interactives (12 full-time permanent positions) will be transferred to State's Bureau of Public Affairs. Additionally, the Foreign Broadcast Support Unit (eight full-time permanent positions) will be transferred to the Foreign Press Centers in the Bureau of Public Affairs.

USIA's area offices will integrate where practical and efficient into State's regional bureaus (103 full-time permanent positions), building on the successful European Bureau/Office of West European Affairs model. Units in regional bureaus will coordinate public diplomacy activities of their respective embassies and missions abroad. Overseas 447 full-time permanent American positions and 1,720 FSN positions will engage in public diplomacy work.

Public diplomacy personnel (initially 25 full-time permanent positions, drawn from USIA's staff, area, and support offices) will be added to State's functional bureaus. These units will advise on policies from a public diplomacy perspective, and help develop public diplomacy strategies on regional and thematic basis to promote such U.S. national goals in areas such as counter terrorism, narcotics, arms control, and nonproliferation.

One position from ACDA's Bureau of Public Affairs will transfer to State's Office of the Historian, located in PA.

Positive Outcomes

The two bureau structure will bring together all elements charged with presenting and interpreting U.S. foreign policy to public audiences. It will give public diplomacy practitioners greater access to the foreign policy formulation process. The new structure will ensure that the policy content of State's domestic and international outreach programs is consistent and coordinated, yet tailored for specific target audiences. It will ensure that all applicable legal requirements are adhered to. And it will strengthen State's Bureau of Public Affairs by increasing its press expertise.

By placing public diplomacy staffs in State's regional and functional bureaus, the new structure will offer a better integrated mechanism for identifying and acting on priority public diplomacy issues, and coordinating Washington resources with the needs of the field. International broadcasting will preserve its editorial integrity while adding new services and maintaining close ties with State, complementing other U.S. public diplomacy efforts in support of U.S. foreign policy interests.