Office of Strategic Stability and Deterrence (AVC/SSD)

The Office of Strategic Stability and Deterrence Affairs (SSD) supports the AVC Assistant Secretary and the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security (T) in enhancing the security of the United States and its allies by promoting stability and reducing nuclear threats through the policy development, negotiation, and implementation of arms control and confidence-building measures, as well as developing and implementing policies to assure allies and ensure a credible deterrent.

SSD leads the Department of State in the policy formulation, negotiation, ratification, implementation, verification, and compliance analysis of arms control initiatives and agreements pertaining to strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons. SSD prepares and incorporates analysis for the annual Compliance Report as well as treaty-specific implementation reports. The office also leads analysis and research, diplomatic engagement and public outreach on strategic and nonstrategic nuclear arms control, deterrence, and reassurance policies and serves as the Department of State’s lead in coordinating those issues with the National Security Council, the Departments of Defense and Energy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Intelligence Community.

Core Missions

Implementing existing nuclear arms control agreements with Russia: SSD leads interagency efforts on the implementation of the New START Treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and is responsible for drafting U.S. delegation guidance and representing the Department of State on the U.S. delegations to the New START Treaty’s Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) and the INF Treaty’s Special Verification Commission (SVC).

Advancing Strategic Stability with China and Russia: The Office formulates and promotes efforts with China and Russia to increase cooperation and mutual understanding concerning strategic force postures and doctrines while seeking to decrease or mitigate areas of potential misunderstanding, conflict, and crisis.

Alliance Reassurance: SSD is the lead Department of State office supporting the Extended Deterrence Dialogue (EDD) with Japan and the Deterrence Strategy Committee (DSC) with the Republic of Korea. Through these sessions and other regular engagements, SSD works with these two allies to develop common understandings on deterrence policies, and promotes cooperation and stability within the changing security environment in the Asia-Pacific region. SSD engages in similar collaborative activities with other allies and partners around the globe.

Reducing the role and numbers of nuclear weapons worldwide: Consistent with the 2010 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, SSD explores new proposals to limit and reduce strategic and nonstrategic nuclear weapons, as well as to increase confidence, transparency, and predictability regarding the postures and doctrines relating to such weapons.

Performing verification assessments: SSD co-chairs the interagency committees responsible for assessing compliance with the New START and INF Treaties. The office also regularly assesses the compliance of foreign governments with their nuclear arms control commitments and obligations. As such, SSD contributes to the Department of State’s annual arms control compliance report to Congress, and provides separate quarterly and annual reports on implementation of the New START and INF Treaties.