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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Office of Conventional Arms Threat Reduction (CATR)


The Office of Conventional Arms Threat Reduction leads the working-level U.S. government efforts to curb the proliferation of advanced conventional weapons and related dual-use goods and technologies. These technologies include major weapons systems and heavy military equipment (tanks, aircraft, missiles), sensor and lasers, man-portable air defense systems, and precision-guided munitions. CATR also leads U.S. State Department policy on commercial remote-sensing. CATR reports to the deputy assistant secretary for threat reduction, export controls, and negotiations. It works closely with the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, the Department of Defense’s Defense Technology Security Agency, and relevant components of the intelligence community.

Key Missions

Conventional weapons controls and transparency: CATR leads U.S. efforts to develop, coordinate, and implement policy to promote bilateral and multilateral coordination in export control policy for conventional weapons and related dual-use technology. It heads the U.S. delegations to the 41-nation Wassenaar Arrangement. Officers formulate, coordinate, and implement U.S. policy in the Wassenaar Arrangement on controlling or providing transparency with respect to conventional weapons and related dual-use goods/technologies transfers and proliferation, focusing upon multilateral export control policies and practices for these items. CATR leads the development of U.S. policy on multilateral efforts on conventional weapons transfers, including the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and the U.N. Register of Conventional Arms. The ATT is an additional important step in our efforts to stem the illicit international trade in conventional weapons and reduce the risk that they will be used to carry out the world’s worst crimes, including terrorism, war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. CATR also participates in the annual U.S.-EU Troika Consultations on Conventional Arms. The office coordinates closely with ISN’s Regional Affairs office and the Political-Military Affairs bureau on conventional weapons negotiations.

Dual-use export control implementation: CATR leads the development and implementation of Wassenaar-related dual-use export controls (including Dept. of Commerce regulatory changes), reviewing export applications in such sensitive areas as high performance computers, encryption technology, numerically controlled machine tools, and low light level sensors. Officers represent the State Department on working-level interagency groups and support senior-level groups, including the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the Operating Committee, and the Arms Control Export Policy Committee, all of which are charged with such dual-use export control responsibilities. CATR also reviews visa applications related to advanced conventional weapons, dual-use goods concerns, and related controlled technology issues.

Conventional arms interdictions and sanctions: CATR leads U.S. government worldwide efforts to identify and stop specific shipments of conventional weapons and related sensitive dual-use items of concern, particularly to regions of conflict and states of concern, such as state sponsors of terrorism. The office chairs the interagency Technology Transfer Working Group, which monitors all-source intelligence and information and coordinates interdiction actions to counter transfers. CATR prepares reports and recommendations for the Deputy Secretary on decisions related to transfers to state sponsors of terrorism of lethal military equipment or that otherwise trigger U.S. legal sanctions, and implements those decisions. CATR coordinates with ISN bureau leadership and other ISN offices in drafting relevant sections of nonproliferation reports to Congress. The office is responsible in ISN for sanctions and interdiction policy for conventional weapons, working closely with bureau leadership and ISN’s Counter-Proliferation Initiatives office to ensure that U.S. sanctions policy is effectively integrated with broader U.S. and international counter proliferation efforts.

Commercial remote sensing satellites: Officers coordinate and lead development and implementation of U.S. policy on the commercial export of remote sensing technology. CATR chairs the Remote Sensing Imagery Working Group, negotiates government-to-government agreements establishing the basis for commercial sales of remote sensing imagery satellites either built by the U.S. or containing U.S. satellite technology, and reviews export license applications for commercial satellites.

Man-portable air defense systems proliferation: CATR leads U.S. efforts to promote greater international controls over the export of man-portable air defense systems. Officers develop and implement efforts to strengthen other countries' export controls laws and practices, bilaterally or through regional and other security groups such as the G-8, Wassenaar, OSCE, APEC, and the OAS. In leading these efforts, the office partners with a number of other State Department offices and other government agencies: the Office of Export Control Cooperation in its Export Control and Border Security programs to strengthen MANPADS controls, the Office of WMD Terrorism in its efforts to thwart possible terrorist access to or use of MANPADS or thermobaric weapons, with the Political-Military Affairs’ WRA office in its bilateral stockpile management efforts, and the Department of Defense in its military-to-military cooperation efforts related to MANPADS.

Director: Ann K. Ganzer


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