The Office of Strategic Stability and Deterrence (AVC/SSD), headed by Office Director Wade Boese, supports the Assistant Secretary of the AVC Bureau 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. AVC/SSD conducts analysis and research, coordinates with other U.S. government departments and agencies, engages with foreign governments, and supports public outreach efforts to advance effective, concrete steps to safely work toward achieving President Obama’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons while maintaining a credible deterrent so long as nuclear weapons exist.
AVC/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. The office also leads diplomatic engagement on strategic and nonstrategic nuclear arms control, deterrence, and reassurance policies and serves as the Department of State’s lead in working those issues with the National Security Council, the Departments of Defense and Energy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Intelligence Community.
Key missions of the office include:
Implementing existing nuclear arms control agreements with Russia: In coordination with the interagency, AVC/SSD leads interagency efforts in the implementation of the New START Treaty and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. In addition to chairing the interagency committees that develop U.S. policy for the commissions that implement these treaties, AVC/SSD is responsible for drafting U.S. delegation guidance and representing the Department of State on the U.S. delegations to both commissions: the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) for the New START Treaty and the Special Verification Commission (SVC) for the INF Treaty.
Advancing measures to improve strategic stability with China and Russia: Working with others in the Department of State and the interagency, AVC/SSD formulates and promotes efforts with China and Russia to increase cooperation and mutual understanding and restraint regarding strategic force postures and doctrines while seeking to decrease or mitigate areas of potential misunderstanding, conflict, and crisis.
Engaging with allies to provide reassurance of U.S. defense commitments: AVC/SSD is the Department of State’s lead office supporting the Extended Deterrence Dialogue (EDD) with Japan and the Extended Deterrence and Policy Committee (EDPC) with the Republic of Korea. Through these sessions and other regular engagements, AVC/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. AVC/SSD engages in similar collaborative activities with other allies and partners around the globe.
Developing and implementing initiatives to reduce the role and numbers of nuclear weapons worldwide: Consistent with the 2010 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, AVC/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: AVC/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, AVC/SSD contributes to the Department of State’s annual arms control compliance report to Congress and provides a separate annual report on implementation of the New START Treaty. The office participates in interagency deliberations and international negotiations and consultations related to the verification and compliance of relevant agreements and commitments, and examines the potential impact of new technological developments on strategic and nonstrategic arms control and confidence-building measures.