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International Public Information (IPI)
Presidential Decision Directive PDD 68
30 April 1999
No text or factsheet for this PDD has been released.
On 30 April 1999 President Clinton issued a secret Presidential Decision Direction -- PDD 68 -- ordering the creation of an International Public Information (IPI) to address problems identified during military missions in Kosovo and Haiti, when no single US agency was empowered to coordinate US efforts to sell its policies and counteract bad press abroad. The IPI system is geared towards prevention and mitigation of crises and operate on a continuous basis. PDD-68 is evidently intended to replace the provisions of NSDD 77 "Management of Public Diplomacy Relative to National Security" issued by President Reagan on 14 February 1983.
PDD 68 ordered top officials from the Defense, State, Justice, Commerce and Treasury departments and the Central Intelligence Agency and FBI to establish an IPI Core Group. The IPI Core Group is chaired by the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department. The IPI Core Group is ordered by the Presidential Directive to "assist [U.S. government] efforts in defeating adversaries." "The intelligence community will play a crucial role . . . for identifying hostile foreign propaganda and deception that targets the U.S.," the Group's charter says. The IPI Core Group will arrange "training exercises at the National Defense University, National Foreign Affairs Training Center, the Service War Colleges" and other institutions.
The International Public Information [IPI] System is designed to "influence foreign audiences" in support of US foreign policy and to counteract propaganda by enemies of the United States. The intent is "to enhance U.S. security, bolster America's economic prosperity and to promote democracy abroad," according to the IPI Core Group Charter. The Group's charter statess that IPI control over "international military information" is intended to "influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups and individuals." The IPIG will encourage the United Nations and other international organizations to make "effective use of IPI . . . in support of multilateral peacekeeping." According to the IPIG Chater, IPI activities "are overt and address foreign audiences only" while domestic information should be "deconflicted" and "synchronized" to avoid contradictory messages.
Previously, the US Information Agency and the State Department were the primary agencies with responsibility for international public diplomacy. But with the information revolution, all agencies now have the ability to communicate internationally and interact with foreign populations. IPI is a mechanism that has been established to make sure that these various actors are working in a coordinated manner. According to the IPIG Charter, "The objective of IPI is to synchronize the informational objectives, themes and messages that will be projected overseas . . . to prevent and mitigate crises and to influence foreign audiences in ways favorable to the achievement of U.S. foreign policy objectives." The charter insists that information distributed through IPI should be designed not "to mislead foreign audiences" and that information programs "must be truthful."
The new information policy will not be used to influence the American public, which is prohibited by U.S. law. However, since foreign media reports are frequently reflected in American news media, it will be impossible to entirely preclude a backwash of the IPI-generated information into America. The IPIG Charter recognizes this, calling for the US Government domestic public affairs activities to be coordinated with foreign IPI efforts. According to the IPIG Charter, information aimed at domestic audiences should "be coordinated, integrated, deconflicted and synchronized with the [IPI Core Group] to achieve a synergistic effect for [government] strategic information activities."