Inform, Influence, and Persuade
U.S. Government Public Diplomacy, Public Affairs, Strategic Communication, Information Operations, and Psychological Operations
Concentration: Social and Behavioral Science
What does the U.S. government do to inform, influence, and persuade foreign populations in pursuit of American policy goals? This course examines existing and historical U.S. government and U.S. Department of Defense efforts in this arena, as well as exploring the shape of things to come. The tortured lexicon and variety of government activities will be plumbed, with students learning to distinguish (in principle and in practice) between strategic communication, public diplomacy, information operations, public affairs, psychological operations, military information support operations, and civil-military operations. The course also explores the relationships between these different efforts, capabilities, and organizations, as well as exploring theoretical and ethical tensions such as the distinction between inform and influence, propaganda, the use of falsehood or manipulation, and the role of actions and images in this domain. Finally, the explores challenges faced by government efforts to inform, influence, and persuade, and seek to identify solutions to some of those challenges.