Information operations · Information Warfare

CRS: Global Engagement Center: Background and Issues

August 4, 2017 (IN10744)

Related Author Matthew C. Weed

The State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) is tasked with countering foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation targeting the United States and U.S. interests. A number of recent reports have stated that the GEC has not been given access to authorized funds for FY2017, leading to speculation and concern in some quarters about its continued role and operations.

Counterterrorism Communications in the State Department

The GEC is the latest iteration of State Department efforts to coordinate interagency communications countering the messaging and influence of terrorist organizations and other groups and countries that threaten U.S. interests and security. Beginning in 2006, several “centers” have been established in the State Department to produce strategy for, direct, and coordinate counterterrorism (CT) and countering violent extremism (CVE) communications:

  • The Counterterrorism Communication Center (CTCC) was established in the Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) in summer 2006, coordinating interagency messaging and creating specific messaging for the Departments of State and Defense
  • The Global Strategic Engagement Center (GSEC) replaced the CTCC in 2008, conducting similar activities guided by the decisionmaking and planning of the National Security Council’s (NSC’s) Policy Coordination Committee (PCC) for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication.
  • Established by executive order in 2011, the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communication (CSCC) replaced the GSEC in 2010, with dedicated funding, an interagency Steering Committee and operational Support Office, and a Coordinator leading the organization.

Download report here: Global Engagement Center: Background and Issues