Friday, May 25, 2018

At Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing, Portman Urges Secretary Pompeo to Continue the Maximum Pressure Campaign on North Korea

Portman image (not from entry) from

Portman also Secures Commitment for Full Support of Global Engagement Center’s Counter-Propaganda Mission & Help European Countries Screen Foreign Investments in Critical National Security Technologies and Industries


“Based on legislation Senator Murphy, who is here today, and I wrote several years ago, you now have the ability to do that because we have invested in the State Department this responsibility to coordinate all of our international efforts on pushing back on disinformation, propaganda, but also being more effective on getting our information out. I am encouraged by your budget request, $53.5 million. I’m also encouraged that the DOD funding is finally coming your way. I do think that the DOD funding should perhaps be looked at as a two-year funding source now that we’re so close to the fiscal year. I hope you’ll look into that, I think that would be helpful. You also talked about ensuring that the right people are in place, not just contractors but having folks who are there who are senior members of your Foreign Service Organization who can really make this GEC the effective body that you believe it can be. First, I appreciate your personal commitment to this that you made during the confirmation process, and second, I just want to ask you, where are you with GEC and what can we be doing to help you?”

“I have sadly little progress to identify for you this morning. We now can hire, there are 13 full-time positions that were frozen out from being hired. We’re working on it. I agree with you, we need career professionals working and leading parts of that organization. It’s going to take me a bit to get us where we need to be, so a little forbearance. But now that we are working hard at it, I would like to put it in context with what I think is an incredible priority. It’s not just the GEC that’s an important place that has a lot of money. As public diplomacy [JB emphasis] goes, $60 million is a lot of money; we should be able to do some incredibly effective work there. But we’ve got the BBG, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, that I’m an ex-official member of, there’s just a lot of places, and I will tell you, I don’t believe it’s well coordinated inside the State Department. It sits in at least two different places, four bureaus, two secretariats, there’s a lot of work to be done to get that right so that we can begin that important piece of American diplomacy. I’m focused on it, I’ve got one of my senior advisors coming to me with a plan, I have believed this for a long time. I was a young member from Kansas, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to get it going and it overwhelmed me but now I have the opportunity to do it and I’m looking forward to building it out.”...

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