Video Remarks on the ISN Bureau Webpage

Thomas M. Countryman
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation
Washington, DC
August 14, 2014

Hi. I’m Tom Countryman, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of State. Thank you for visiting our website.

Here at the I-S-N bureau, our primary mission is to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, destabilizing conventional weapons, and related technologies. It’s hard to pick up a newspaper and not see some issue where the bureau has a role.

Nonproliferation has long been a bipartisan priority. Keeping the world’s worst weapons out of the worst hands has also been one of President Obama’s top priorities since day one. Both the President and Secretary Kerry have personally helped lead this global effort.

For many decades, the United States and the world have relied on three primary international treaties to fight proliferation among States: the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, and the Chemical Weapons Convention. Over the years, these treaties and the international organizations that monitor them have been reinforced by a wide range of tools: a network of informal rules and arrangements; national export control systems; efforts to stop shipments of technology to proliferators; sanctions to discourage cheating; and a variety of national security programs and new cooperative arrangements between countries that help build the capacity to confront threats.

We need this large tool kit, because the proliferation danger has evolved in today’s globalized world. Secretive, government-run programs remain a key concern, but we now also confront a much wider range of actors—from front companies and shadowy procurement networks to nuclear smugglers and terrorist groups empowered by technological advances.

It takes hard work, determination, and creativity to meet the challenge. These traits were on display during I-S-N’s recent role in helping eliminate the Syrian regime’s declared chemical weapons and the successful negotiation of an Arms Trade Treaty.

We are working each and every day to keep the world safe from the most dangerous weapons. That is I-S-N’s inbox. I invite you to keep up with our bureau on Facebook and on Twitter. Thanks again for visiting our website.