Silicon Valley Meets The Snake Eaters: State Department’s Countermessaging Goes Back To The Future

The Obama Administration recently announced the overhauling of the State Department’s Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications into the Global Engagement Center. As discussed last week on NPR, the new Global Engagement Center will be, “bringing people from Silicon Valley and Madison Avenue who can help us work through our approach and the information battle space.”

I worry the State Department’s new approach looks eerily like failed attempts from the last decade and I hope this new effort avoids past mistakes.  The social media marketing gurus’ ideas largely didn’t work.  Their winning strategies sought to sell lots of things to lots of people. They proved far less effective at convincing angry young men from sympathizing with or joining extremist groups. More important during the NPR interview was what was not said.  The Global Engagement Center’s predecessor CSCC suffered mostly from challenges outside of its control.

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