Office of Emerging Security Challenges (AVC/ESC)

The Office of Emerging Security Challenges (AVC/ESC) provides research, analysis, options, and recommendations to support the AVC Bureau Assistant Secretary, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (T), and other senior Department of State officials on all policy, programmatic, technical, and threat issues related to missile defense systems and cooperation, outer space security issues and transparency and confidence building measures (TCBMs), cyber strategic stability, and Arctic and Antarctic security issues. The office represents the Bureau and/or Department in interagency meetings and in bilateral and multilateral consultations and negotiations in those areas.

Core Missions

Ballistic Missile Defense Cooperation: ESC leads in the development of Department of State positions to enhance ballistic missile defense cooperation among Allies and Partners including in bilateral and multilateral fora, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) , and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). ESC also works to promote confidence building measures with Russia and China related to U.S./Allied/Partner missile defense deployments. As part of efforts to enhance missile defense cooperation, ESC supports the implementation of AVC-negotiated bilateral agreements related to the deployment of European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) missile defense assets in Europe. ESC supports the continue development of NATO BMD from a policy and political perspective while also playing a supporting role in developing BMD cooperation with Allies in East Asia. Finally, ESC plays a leading role in development of a GCC region-wide missile defense architecture.

Space Policy: The Office leads the effort of the Department of State to implement security aspects of the President’s National Space Policy by promoting outer space security cooperation and engagement. ESC leads the pursuit of space-related transparency and confidence building measures (TCBMs) as well as bilateral and multilateral Space Security Dialogues with allies and other established and emerging spacefaring nations. , The office’s portfolio includes diplomatic and public diplomacy initiatives in support of vital U.S. national interests in outer space. ESC also supports the formulation and implementation of military- and intelligence-related space policies, including the space situational awareness information sharing and international cooperation in the utilization of dual-use space capabilities for maritime domain awareness activities. ESC supports the efforts of the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science at the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, including the Working Group on the Long-term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities.

Cybersecurity: ESC plays a leading role in the efforts of the Department of State to promote transparency, enhance cooperation, and build confidence in cyberspace. ESC supports the State Department’s Office of the = Coordinator for Cyber Issues in negotiating and implementing bilateral, regional, and multilateral confidence-building measures (CBMs), such as the development of cyber CBMs by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). ESC is assisting in the development of international norms of behavior for state conduct in cyberspace such as through the UN Group of Governmental Experts on “Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security.”

Arctic Policy: The Office leads the Department’s efforts to ensure peace and stability in the Polar Regions, including through monitoring the arms control provisions contained in the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, and developing policy to preserve the Arctic as a region free of conflict. To promote these efforts, the office works closely with the State Department’s Office of the Special Representative for the Arctic, other State Department Bureaus/Offices, and U.S. interagency counterparts with Polar Region responsibilities.