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Diplomacy in Action

Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs (ISN/MNSA)


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The Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs (MNSA) develops, coordinates, and implements elements of U.S. policy on the global nuclear nonproliferation regime, in particular the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the International Atomic Energy Agency and nuclear-weapon-free zones. MNSA also coordinates U.S. participation in nonproliferation dialogues within the G8 and with the European Union. Its work is in direct support of the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, the Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Nonproliferation Policy and Negotiations, the Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, and other senior policymakers.

Key Issue Areas:

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: MNSA develops, coordinates and implements U.S. policies and activities relating to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The NPT – with its “pillars” of nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy – is the legal and political cornerstone of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. MNSA’s work includes leading U.S. preparation for and participation in the meetings among NPT Parties that form the Treaty’s review process.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): Working closely with other State Department offices and our interagency partners, MNSA provides overall policy coordination concerning nuclear safeguards, security, and technical cooperation programs under the IAEA. The IAEA serves an essential role in the nonproliferation regime by helping to ensure through its safeguards system that material employed in the peaceful use of nuclear energy is not diverted to a weapons program. In addition to safeguards, the IAEA promotes the peaceful use and application of nuclear energy and related technologies through various programs. Among its other functions regarding the IAEA, MNSA oversees the U.S. contribution to the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative as well as provides policy support for U.S. bilateral safeguards. Additionally, MNSA formulates, coordinates, and implements U.S. policy relating to fissile material control measures (other than the negotiation of a global fissile material cutoff treaty, which is done by the UN Committee on Disarmament, or CD). The IAEA would however, address those aspects of such a treaty that would involve the IAEA and IAEA safeguards. In this regard, MNSA would jointly manage, with the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, the augmentation of such a treaty with political measures concerning existing stocks.

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) Treaties: MNSA leads interagency efforts to develop and carry out U.S. policies that support the establishment and implementation of NWFZs. Well crafted NWFZs that meet certain criteria serve to strengthen the NPT and the global nuclear nonproliferation regime, thus supporting U.S. foreign policy goals. The ratification of relevant protocols to these treaties is the only legally binding way in which the United States and the other nuclear-weapon states (NWS) recognized by the NPT provide so-called negative security assurances, i.e., assurances that they will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against parties to NWFZ treaties. MNSA coordinates U.S. policy on NWFZs and works to develop common approaches to the various NWFZs among the five NWS, who frequently pursue joint policies in this area.

G-8 Nonproliferation Directors Group (NPDG)

The NPDG provides a forum where G-8 countries*, at the Director-General-level, consult on nonproliferation and arms control issues of urgent concern to narrow differences and coordinate on common approaches. One of the group’s top priorities is preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery; as such proliferation is a major threat to international peace and security. To promote its goals, the NPDG releases a Declaration of common views on regional security and the implementation of multilateral treaties and regimes, and conducts coordinated “demarches” (government-to-government communications) on the same topics.

* G-8 countries include: U.S.A., U.K., France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Italy, and Russia, with the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) as an observer. The U.S. held the Presidency in 2012, the U.K. in 2013 and Russia in 2014.

U.S.-European Union Verification and Compliance (Nonproliferation) Dialogue

The U.S. Undersecretary for International Security and Arms Control and the European External Action Service (EEAS) leadership, as well as representatives of the 27 European Union countries, meet several times a year in Brussels for in-depth discussions of pressing arms control and nonproliferation issues. These range from regional security issues of concern to the implementation of arms control and multilateral disarmament agreements and matters related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related delivery systems, as well as related nonproliferation regimes and other coordinated efforts.

Director: John Fox



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