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The Arms Control and International Security Papers are produced by the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security to make U.S. State Department policy analysis available in an electronically accessible format compatible with “social distancing” during the COVID-19 crisis.

Paper #25: 1/8/21
Four Years of Innovation and Continuity in U.S. Policy: Arms Control and International Security Since January 2017 – (Plain Text Version)

In this ACIS Paper, Assistant Secretary Ford looks across the policy arenas covered by the State Department’s “T” family of bureaus to provide a survey and summary of policy development and innovation in key issue areas since the current U.S. administration took office in January 2017.

Paper #24: 12/29/20
Issues To Watch in Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament – (Plain Text Version)

Assistant Secretary Ford surveys a number of current questions in the arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament arenas, identifying key “issues to watch” in the years ahead.

Paper #23: 12/7/2020
Technology-Transfer De-risking: A New and Growing Need  [4 MB]

In this ACIS Paper, Assistant Secretary Ford explores the emerging issue of “de-risking” as applied to engagements with the technology sector of the People’s Republic of China, stressing the need for commercial actors to ensure that technology-related engagements with China are not abused, and describing the emerging arena of “technology transfer de-risking” (T2D), which is of increasing importance for commercial entities and financial institutions that wish to avoid reputational risk, to prevent potential future U.S. sanctions or penalties, and to keep their involvement with the PRC from inadvertently supporting human rights abuses and fueling destabilizing military developments.

Paper #22: 11/13/2020
Law, Morality, and the Bomb [10 MB]

In this paper presented to a panel hosted by the Global Security Institute and the American Bar Association, Assistant Secretary Ford explores some key legal and moral issues attendant to the possession and potential use of nuclear weapons, arguing for a more factually and morally nuanced approach than one normally hears from many disarmament advocates.

Paper #21: 11/5/2020
Strategic Stability and the Global Race for Technology Leadership [9 MB]

This edition of the ACIS Papers series looks at the challenges involved in preserving strategic stability in a modern environment of technology-fueled great power competition, arguing the importance of meeting these challenges through a mix of traditional nuclear arms control, the enforcement of norms of responsible behavior in new conflict domains such as cyberspace and outer space, and the development and implementation of effective, coordinated approaches to technology competition among the “likeminded” states of the non-authoritarian world.

Paper #20: 10/20/2020
International Security in Cyberspace: New Models for Reducing Risk [6 MB]

In this ACIS Paper, Assistant Secretary Ford recounts the evolution of U.S. cyberspace security diplomacy over the last several years, describing the difficulty of making traditional “arms control” concepts work in this novel domain, but emphasizing the valuable contributions nonetheless already being made through the articulation of voluntary, nonbinding norms of responsible state behavior and a shift to a more explicitly deterrence-focused cyberspace security policy.

Paper #19: 10/15/2020
Competitive Strategy in Divided Times [4 MB]

Dr. Ford participated in a workshop hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Perry World House and Brookings Institution entitled “Roadmap for Reentry in 2021 and Beyond: Advancing Institutional Commitments in a New Geostrategic Environment.” He presented this latest ACIS paper to workshop panelists and attendees.

Paper #18: 9/9/2020
Deterrence and the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Infrastructure [9 MB]

This latest addition to the Arms Control and International Security paper series — prepared by Under Secretary of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty and with an introduction by Assistant Secretary Ford — offers a perspective upon the United States’ nuclear deterrent needs and what NNSA is doing to meet them.

Paper #17: 8/26/2020
U.S. National Security Export Controls and Hong Kong: A Case Study in the Unhappy Death of a Happy Teleology [5 MB]

This addition to the ACIS Papers series looks at recent changes in United States national security export controls as they apply to Hong Kong, and as U.S. officials have readjusted these controls in response to changes in that territory and the degree of control over it exercised by the People’s Republic of China.

Paper #16: 8/19/2020
Export Controls and National Security Strategy in the 21st Century [11 MB]

​This ACIS paper reprints the full text that Assistant Secretary Ford prepared for his presentation to the Center for a New American Security on August 19, 2020, as a part of CNAS’ new Project on Export Controls and National Security.​

Paper #15: 8/4/2020
Evolving Approaches to the “Middle East WMD-Free Zone” [10 MB]

In this ACIS Paper, Assistant Secretary Ford looks back at the history of efforts to implement the Middle East WMD-Free Zone called for in the Resolution on the Middle East adopted by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’s Review and Extension Conference in 1995, outlining how traditional ways of trying to achieve this goal have become irrelevant or counterproductive, and calling for a new approach based around trying to ameliorate challenges in the security environment and develop good-faith engagement between all regional states.

Paper #14: 7/30/2020
To Tango Alone: Problems of Theory and Practice in the Sociology of Arms Control, Nonproliferation, Disarmament, and Great Power Competition [16 MB]

In this paper, Assistant Secretary Ford offers some thoughts on conceptual currents in international relations thinking over the last generation that helped both produce and lead to the failure of major elements of the post-Cold War agenda in arms control, disarmament policy, and great power relations. This paper, however, also explores how we may find a better path forward, informed by a sounder understanding of some of these same currents.

Paper #13: 7/24/2020
The New U.S. Policy on UAS Exports: Responsibly Implementing the MTCR’s “Presumption of Denial” [7 MB]

In this ACIS Paper, Assistant Secretary Ford recounts the United States’ effort to reform the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) controls with respect to a subcategory of Unmanned Aerial Systems, and explains the new U.S. national approach to implementing the MTCR’s “strong presumption of denial” for proliferation-responsible transfers of “Category I” items under the MTCR Guidelines.

Paper #12: 7/24/2020
Arms Control in Outer Space: History and Prospects [14 MB]

In this ACIS Paper, Assistant Secretary Ford discuss his long-standing efforts to find effective forms of arms control in outer space and the reasons such efforts have failed in the modern era, before exploring what prospects there yet may be for international efforts to reduce risk, increase transparency and predictability, and head off the dangers of an outer space arms race — even as both the Russian federation and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are rushing to weaponize the space domain.

Paper #11: 7/23/2020
Strengthening Deterrence and Reducing Nuclear Risks, Part II: The Sea-Launched Cruise Missile-Nuclear (SLCM-N) [2 MB]

This edition of the Arms Control and International Security Papers — produced by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and with an introduction by Assistant Secretary Ford — explains the U.S. policy and strategy behind the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile-Nuclear (SLCM-N).

Paper #10:  6/18/2020
Russian Arms Control Compliance: A Report Card, 1984-2020 [13 MB]

Following the public release of the unclassified “Executive Summary” of the State Department’s 2020 report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, Assistant Secretary Ford looks back at 35 years of U.S. compliance assessments to outline the history of U.S. concerns over Russian/Soviet behavior in this arena. In particular, he describes how the history of Moscow’s noncompliance closely tracks the global security environment’s evolution, from Cold War tensions to post-Cold War relaxation, and more recently back to competitive tension.

Paper #9:  6/5/2020
Technology Transfers to the PRC Military and U.S. Countermeasures: Responding to Security Threats with New Presidential Proclamation [10 MB]

In this addition to the ACIS Papers, Assistant Secretary Ford outlines the changes the United States recently announced to rules pertaining to the entry of certain students and researchers from the People’s Republic of China in response to the national security challenges presented by Beijing’s Military-Civil Fusion strategy.

Paper #8:  5/22/2020
U.S. National Security Export Controls and Huawei: The Strategic Context in Three Framings [10 MB]

In this latest addition to the ACIS Papers, Assistant Secretary Ford discusses recent U.S. moves to restrict transfers of cutting-edge U.S. technology to the Chinese technology company Huawei, explaining these steps and placing them in the strategic context of a great power competition with the People’s Republic of China brought on by Beijing’s geopolitical revisionism, exploitation of such firms to steal and divert foreign technology to support the Chinese military, abuses of human rights in China itself, and employment of companies such as Huawei as tools of strategic influence.

Paper #7:  5/20/2020
Arms Control and Disarmament: Adjusting to a New Era [11 MB]

This latest ACIS Paper publishes Assistant Secretary Ford’s remarks on May 20, 2020, as the keynote speaker at an event commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Sandia National Laboratory’s Cooperative Monitoring Center.  He offers thoughts on some of the most critical challenges the public policy community is facing regarding how diplomacy in arms control and disarmament can contribute to global security.  How we adapt our approaches to a changing security environment is perhaps the most important and potentially consequential decision diplomats have faced since the height of the Cold War.

Paper #6:  5/11/2020
Competitive Strategy vis-à-vis China and Russia: A View from the “T Suite” [10 MB]

In this latest part of the series, Assistant Secretary Ford outlines the approach being taken in the “T” family of bureaus at the Department of State in support of U.S. competitive strategy vis-à-vis the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation, as inspired by the U.S. National Security Strategy.

Paper #5:  5/5/2020
Iranian Nuclear Safeguards Concerns and the Integrity of the IAEA Safeguards System [8 MB]

In this issue of the ACIS papers, Assistant Secretary Ford discusses new evidence that has emerged suggesting the possible presence of undeclared nuclear material or activity in Iran, and what this information means, not just for Iran diplomacy but for the integrity of the global nuclear safeguards regime.

Paper #4:  4/23/2020
Strengthening Deterrence and Reducing Nuclear Risks: The Supplemental Low-Yield U.S. Submarine-Launched Warhead [9 MB]

This latest monograph in the Arms Control and International Security Paper Series – produced by the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, and with an introduction by Assistant Secretary Ford – explains U.S. thinking behind the supplemental low-yield W76-2 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile.

Paper #3: 4/21/2020
Security Assistance and U.S. Competitive Strategy: Improving Our Game [6 MB]

In this third issue of the T paper series, Assistant Secretary Ford outlines the ways in which the State Department applies U.S. arms transfers to enhance the capabilities of allies and partners in support of U.S. competitive strategy vis-à-vis state-level competitors.

Paper #2: 4/20/2020
AI, Human-Machine Interaction, and Autonomous Weapons: Thinking Carefully About Taking “Killer Robots” Seriously [12 MB]

This second in the T series of papers offers thoughts on the public policy challenges presented by the prospect of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS).  In this paper, Assistant Secretary Ford offers his perspective upon these issues, urging readers not to be seduced by sensationalized simplifications, and calling for careful, sustained attention to the complexities they raised – such as through the work already being done by the LAWS Group of Governmental Experts.

Paper #1: 4/6/2020
U.S. Priorities for “Next-Generation Arms Control” [5 MB]

The first of a series of papers offers thoughts on U.S. priorities for “next-generation arms control” involving both Moscow and Beijing, which we hope will be able to forestall the global nuclear arms race that may otherwise be sparked by the ongoing nuclear build-ups by both Russia and the People’s Republic of China.

U.S. Department of State

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