The NDF provides a means through which the Department of State addresses unanticipated nonproliferation opportunities and priorities that emerge around the world. The NDF maintains expertise in policy development, negotiations, program management, financial operations, and contract administration to ensure the work is accomplished in the most secure, safe, and cost-efficient manner possible. The NDF is a global operation, with projects executed worldwide, often in areas where other U.S. government programs lack legal authority to operate. The NDF typically has a small footprint when working in foreign countries and maintains readiness for fast and flexible responses to a wide variety of situations. For this reason, NDF resources are not committed to any project or region in advance, unlike traditional assistance programs. The Fund has established a record of real threat reduction achievement. Examples include destroying WMD facilities, removing nuclear material from unsecured areas, and securing WMD until it can be eliminated.
The FREEDOM Support Act authorized the President to establish the NDF. The President delegated that authority to the Secretary of State, who redelegated that authority to the Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs (subsequently renamed the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security). NDF funds are “no-year” (funds need not be expended in the fiscal year in which they are appropriated) to permit maximum flexibility in project execution and may be made available “notwithstanding any other provision of law.”