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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Office of Strategic Affairs (AVC/SA)


Mission Statement

The Office of Strategic Affairs (AVC/SA), headed by Jerry A. Taylor, Office Director, supports the AVC Bureau Assistant Secretary and the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security in the formulation, negotiation, ratification, implementation, verification, and compliance analysis of both current and prospective arms control agreements involving strategic offensive weapons systems, as well as intermediate-range and non-strategic nuclear offensive weapons systems. AVC/SA leads the Department in working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Intelligence Community, the Department of Energy, and the National Security Council in the development of U.S. policies relating to such arms control agreements.

AVC/SA leads the Department in diplomatic engagement on strategic military issues. The office develops concepts for future initiatives in the arms control, transparency and confidence-building aspects of strategic and non-strategic offensive nuclear weapons, as well as initiatives related to transparency and confidence-building in the development and deployment of delivery vehicles for weapons of mass destruction. The office also leads efforts to create the international security environment necessary to reduce the salience of nuclear arsenals in governments’ national security strategies.

AVC/SA plays a major role in the area of verification by leading the Department in preparing verifiability assessments of existing and prospective arms control and disarmament agreements and commitments involving strategic and non-strategic nuclear forces. The office also assesses compliance by foreign countries with arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements and commitments involving such forces and their delivery systems, and incorporates compliance analyses and assessments into the annual compliance report to the Congress.

Key missions of the office include:

Implementing existing nuclear arms control agreements with the Russian Federation: These agreements are currently the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the Moscow Treaty, and prospectively the Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START). AVC/SA chairs interagency committees that develop U.S. policy for, and represents the Department on U.S. delegations to, the commissions that implement these treaties: the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC) for the New START Treaty, the Special Verification Commission (SVC) for the INF Treaty, and the Bilateral Implementation Commission (BIC) for the Moscow Treaty.

Developing and implementing new initiatives to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in governments’ national security strategies: In conjunction with the Department’s regional and functional bureaus and other agencies, AVC/SA advocates and negotiates new proposals to increase stability, transparency, and confidence building in the areas of strategic and non strategic nuclear weapons, as well as their delivery systems. These initiatives are undertaken consistent with the U.S. Nuclear Force Posture, the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives, and U.S. extended deterrence and declaratory policy.

Performing verification assessments: The office brings to bear its expertise in assessing the compliance of foreign governments with commitments and obligations undertaken. The office participates in international negotiations and consultations related to the verification, compliance, and implementation of relevant agreements and commitments, and examines the potential impact of new technological developments on strategic and non-strategic arms control, transparency and confidence-building measures.


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