The Work of the T Family Bureaus

Rose Gottemoeller
Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security 
Chiefs of Mission Conference
Washington, DC
March 15, 2012

As prepared

Thank you so much for the kind introduction and thank you so much for having me here today. As the Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, also still serving as the Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, I am vying for the longest title in Washington. My predecessor, Ellen Tauscher, is now the Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense. She’s just returned from Moscow and is continuing to work these issues with the Russians.

The T family, as we are called, is comprised of the Bureau of Arms Control Verification and Compliance, the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation and the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

While some of you may not spend a lot of time thinking about things like nuclear material security or piracy, believe me – T family issues are cross-cutting and affect posts around the world. We cover a lot of ground, both literally and figuratively. The work we do in T can help inform, augment and implement the work of the Missions and vice versa. Today, I want to go over just a few activities that each of the T Bureaus carry out and then leave the rest of the time for discussion.


In the simplest terms, AVC is the arms control bureau. We develop arms control policies to implement and verify compliance with, existing agreements. We also negotiate new future agreements involving all weapons of mass destruction – nuclear, chemical and biological, as well as certain conventional weapons. The New START Treaty was the latest example.

Now that the implementation of the New START Treaty is well underway, we are turning our attention to the next steps in nuclear reductions. This Administration is committed to continuing a step-by-step process, as outlined in President Obama’s 2009 Prague speech, to reduce the overall number of nuclear weapons. We are pursuing a future agreement with Russia for broad reductions in all categories of nuclear weapons: strategic, nonstrategic, deployed and nondeployed.

We are also working to strengthen conventional arms control in Europe, jumpstart the negotiation of the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament and secure U.S. ratification and global entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Building international support for these treaties is a continual process and one in which the Missions can help.

For example, in addition to the primary monitoring function of the CTBT, the Treaty’s International Monitoring System, or IMS, also brings benefits in civilian and scientific sectors, most notably for dealing with natural disasters. The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan demonstrated that the system can provide critical seismic and hydroacoustic data to back up tsunami warnings, and also proved its value in tracking the spread of radioactive particles around the world after the accident. Simply signing the Treaty gives countries access to all the data and analysis collected by the IMS and the International Data Center. If your country has not signed the CTBT, we urge you to let them know that.


ISN, headed by A/S Tom Countryman, covers the nonproliferation side of the equation. Specifically, ISN leads U.S. efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. ISN also supports efforts of foreign partners to tackle the threat of WMD terrorism. In just a couple weeks, the President will go to the second global Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea. ISN, working in close coordination with the interagency, has been instrumental in helping to lock down loose nuclear material.

ISN is also preparing for the upcoming Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2015 Review Conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). Several countries from your region are key Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)/G-77 and/or emerging countries. Working on nonproliferation issues frequently helps overcome the North-South divide and helps make progress on US goals in the multilateral sphere.

ISN works to track and interdict shipments of sensitive and dual-use equipment to suspect nations. It issues guidance for COMs on how to handle requests (which may come through other agencies) for joint action to interdict such shipments. You should consider the Bureau a resource for any question you have on such cases.

I have to say, though, that some nations view nonproliferation as, at best, a secondary issue compared to other economic and development priorities. In that case, it is good to let them know that the capacity-building programs ISN offers are often of “dual benefit,” in that they achieve our nonproliferation goals while contributing to the security and development priorities of host countries. For example, ISN supports President Obama’s IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative. With this support, the International Atomic Energy Agency provides direct benefits for health care through nuclear medicine; food security through new crop development and preventing environmental pests and toxins; clean drinking water through isotope hydrology; and assistance in developing the infrastructure needed for safe and secure development of nuclear power. This initiative demonstrates to developing countries how a strong nonproliferation regime can directly help them.

Finally, ISN is one of many offices working the tough Iran and North Korea negotiations. Your assistance will be invaluable in sustaining the unprecedented international consensus on maintaining sanctions and other pressure on both states.


Secretary Clinton and former Secretary Gates, forged a professional and productive relationship between the Department of State and the Department of Defense. This good working relationship is continuing under Secretary Panetta. The Political-Military Affairs Bureau, headed by A/S Andrew Shapiro, facilitates this unprecedented coordination as State’s principal link to the Pentagon. PM provides policy direction in the areas of international security, security assistance, military operations, defense strategy and plans, and defense trade.

The Bureau helps to combat instability by training international peacekeeping forces. To date, the PM Bureau has helped train nearly 200,000 international peacekeepers. In 2009 and 2010, as the threat posed by piracy off the coast of Somalia grew, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs set up an office specifically focused on the threat posed by piracy. The Counter-Piracy and Maritime Security office or CPMS coordinates counter-piracy efforts within the State Department and has helped work with countries to strengthen the international response. PM also has the lead in responding to the threat posed by conventional weapons proliferation. In Libya, PM is leading the effort to secure loose shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles or MANPADS. Actually, securing weapons in Libya was a T-wide effort, executed in close coordination with the regional Bureaus and the interagency.

Working Together

The T Bureau works closely with a vast array of international organizations around the globe, including the United Nations, NATO, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Conference of Disarmament, to name just a few.

In addition, the T Bureau is following the lead of Secretary Clinton and embracing 21st Century Statecraft. I have been delivering a series of speeches at universities here and abroad on our efforts to take full advantage of the tools of the Information Age. Those speeches are available on our website and you will be hearing more from T on this subject.

With advances in communications and technologies and an ever-changing political landscape, State Department employees at home and abroad must be inventive and willing to explore new concepts. Together, we can craft solutions to the security challenges of the 21st century.

With that, I would really like to hear from you. I am happy to talk about T issues that apply to your region or general questions on T policy.