By William A. Rugh
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Extra resources for Front Line Public Diplomacy: How US Embassies Communicate with Foreign Publics
To take another example, if a political track officer who has never done PD work is assigned as PAO, his or her subordinates and local staff in the PD section will be in the awkward position of having to teach the boss all about PD work because it is unfamiliar. In the past few years, the State Department added a requirement that all entry level FSOs must do a consular tour early in their career, in order to qualify for tenure. This new rule applies to PD-track FSOs and further reduces the number of assignments that they will have doing public diplomacy work.
These requirements of FSOs in general and PD officers in particular contrast starkly with many other professions, where the individual operates mostly on a solo basis, or is only dependent on one or two others for success. A university professor, for example, basically operates mostly alone, and is only obliged to work with students but rarely with others. Professors may occasionally work with other academics but on a very temporary basis, and faculty meetings are usually not complex teamwork exercises.
At any well-run overseas mission, the two strands interweave together all the time, attending meetings together, drafting policy papers together, organizing events together. It could be said that, in our overseas missions, public diplomats and their work comprise a different ‘“culture” than that of traditional diplomats. ”18 Impact of the Merger The 1999 merger of USIA into State had an impact on public diplomacy personnel working at embassies. When USIA existed, PAOs at embassies were heads of an agency, who reported not only to their ambassadors, but also to the Director of USIA in Washington.