Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: US digital diplomacy gets a reboot

It should come as no surprise that government bureaucracies move slowly. After all, over a year into its term, the Biden administration has successfully filled fewer than half of its key positions a year. But that just makes this week’s launch of the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy (CDP), just six months after it was announced, seem positively nimble by comparison. (https://techcrunch.com/2022/04/08/digital-diplomacy-gets-a-reboot/) It will have to be if it is to succeed. “The United States is the most technologically advanced country on Earth,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a speech announcing the bureau last year at the Foreign Service Institute. “The State Department should be empowered by that strength.” Yet until now technology has been, if not an afterthought, certainly not front and center of American diplomacy. Despite the establishment of a cyber office in 2011 under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the office was downgraded during the Trump administration. No longer. “The last few years have made evident how vital cybersecurity and digital policy are to America’s national security,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote State Department staff in an email provided to TechCrunch. “We’re in a contest over the rules, infrastructure and standards that will define our digital future.”

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