Strategic Communication
Origins, Concepts, and Current Debates
by Christopher Paul
April 2011, 240pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38640-4
$55, £41, 48€, A75
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38641-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Strategic communication, the focus of much heated debate over the last few years, is widely decried as an area in which the U.S. government must improve. Unhappily, while the need to more effectively harness our capabilities to compete in the struggle for minds and hearts is clear, how, exactly, to do that is not.

This volume in the Contemporary Military, Strategic, and Security Issues series presents a concise introduction to the evolution, key concepts, discourse, and future options for improved strategic communication in today's U.S. government.

Strategic Communication: Origins, Concepts, and Current Debates is a groundbreaking study, the first book explicitly focused on strategic communication as it is currently used and discussed in the U.S. government. Written specifically for those who are new to strategic communication, this incisive book clarifies the definitional debate, explores the history of the term and its practice, and embraces a broad, practical definition.

But that is only the beginning. Moving to the realities of the issue, author Christopher Paul reviews dozens of government reports on strategic communication and public diplomacy released since 2000, examining specific proposals related to improving strategic communication in the U.S. government and explaining the disagreements. Most important, he offers consensus and clarity for the way ahead, discussing how disparate elements of the government can be coordinated to master—and win—the “war of ideas” through fully integrated and synchronized communications and actions.


  • Key document excerpts from legislation, proposed legislation, doctrine, reform proposals, and policy documents
  • A glossary of terms
  • An annotated bibliography of proposals and recommendations for strategic communication/public diplomacy reform
Christopher Paul, PhD, is a social scientist working out of RAND's Pittsburgh office. He has developed methodological competencies in comparative historical and case study approaches, quantitative analysis, and survey research. Dr. Paul's current research interests include military influence operations, integration of air and naval forces, simulations training, press-military relations, counterterrorism, and military operations on urban terrain. His published works include Praeger's Information Operations: Doctrine and Practice A Reference Handbook.


"An illuminating and timely contribution to understanding concepts, contested issues, and operational challenges in the use of communication instruments vital to successful diplomacy and armed conflict. This excellent book is indispensable reading for scholars and a broad range of military and civilian practitioners."—Bruce Gregory, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University/Georgetown University

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