Welcome and good afternoon.
I want to thank all of you for joining me here today when I know how very busy all of you are.
Last Spring, Secretary Blinken set out the Biden-Harris Administration’s vision of a foreign policy that leads with diplomacy, revitalizes our global network of alliances to meet emerging global challenges, and delivers for the American people. It is a vison, as the Secretary noted, that springs from two fundamental principles: that American leadership and engagement matters, and those countries need to engage and cooperate, now more than ever. It is the role of the State Department – and America’s diplomats and development workers – to engage around the world and build that cooperation.
Today, I am happy to be here to present my priorities as Under Secretary of Arms Control and International Security; known inside of the State Department as ‘T.’
The ideas I list today are in light of the many changes that we see in the international security landscape. I chose today to present my priorities, just as we mark the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) in 1972. To me, it is a humbling reminder that even as we face monumental international security challenges today, our predecessors prevailed through the power of diplomacy. In everything we do, we will look not only to make progress on short-term problems, but also to address their root causes and lay the groundwork for our long-term strength.
I should note that while I am presenting these ideas, adjustments will be made as we continue to better understand the changes that are taking place and the security environment around us settles. Little did we know last year at the beginning of the Biden Administration that Putin would invade Ukraine. Things are continuing to change on a large scale.
Some of today’s arms control and international security landscape remains the same, such as the DPRK’s insistence on advancing its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs and refusing to engage in diplomacy. The future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), still the most viable option to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, remains unclear. We remain strongly committed to our efforts regarding both the DPRK and the JCPOA. In the meantime, there are other changes – like Russia’s brutal and unprovoked war in Ukraine and the growing challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) – that present us with many more questions than answers.
Now is the time to consider a new way to address what are new challenges. Russia’s unprovoked invasion has led us to consider what gaps now exist. What does the new landscape mean for us and the issues within T such as arms control, deterrence, nonproliferation, security assistance, and emerging technologies? The People’s Republic of China is also posing new challenges in many areas of our responsibility. How do we address those challenges? Technology is advancing, as are the opportunities and challenges posed by an increased interest in space, while at the same time, climate change and resource limitations can lead to conflict if not addressed. We need to focus on the headlines of today, while keeping an eye on the trendlines for the challenges to come.
The T Family is comprised of three Bureaus: The Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. It is my honor to lead these Bureaus and work closely with their leadership to use our diplomatic engagements and programs and when needed, sanctions and other pressure, working with the interagency, to implement these priorities of mine.
Let me give you a preview. I have nine priorities. They are as follows:
- Fortify Arms Control, Nonproliferation, Disarmament, and Related Activities
- Reimagine Security Sector Governance (SSG) and Security Assistance
- Address Emerging Technologies from a National Security Perspective
- Protect and promote the U.S. and Allies Technological, Military, and Economic Advantages
- Promote, protect, and advance the U.S. Civil – Nuclear Industry
- Strengthen Existing Alliances and Partnerships and Establish New Partnerships
- Building the “T Family Brain Trust” to Address New and Emerging Challenges to International Security
- Examine “New” Areas of Conflict in International Security
- Strengthen and Amplify the T Bureaus
The three T Bureaus are developing or will develop a way forward on these priorities, including new priorities I have asked them to incorporate. While these are my priorities, I note that all of the work of the Bureaus are important to the U.S. and to international security.
Priority One: Fortify Arms Control, Nonproliferation, Disarmament, and Related Activities
The T Family will continue to engage the international community in strengthening existing arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament regimes, and related activities, including in light of recent challenges to those regimes. This includes, where possible, meaningful engagements and dialogues with Russia and the People’s Republic of China.
I have worked in the areas of arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament for 30 years and I can say that arms control remains as important today as it ever was. While there have certainly been challenges to and violations of international arms control agreements by a handful of countries, arms control is not dead as some would like you to believe. Arms control remains an important means to increase allied and global security by reducing risk and enhancing stability. The importance of arms control will also grow as we face competitors pursuing reckless and destabilizing buildups of their nuclear forces combined with opaque, nontransparent nuclear use doctrines. However, progress can only be made in a situation of de-escalation, not escalation. In all cases, we need willing partners sitting across and around the table.
We remain committed to the implementation of New START and eventually getting back to the table to continue the dialogue on laying the groundwork for future arms control and to the pursuit of follow-on measures to the New START treaty. As you know, following Russia’s unprovoked and brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, we have suspended our Strategic Stability Dialogue (SSD). That said, the issues that have been laid out prior to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine are even more important now. In that respect, we want to sustain limits on the Russian systems covered under New START beyond 2026, limit the new kinds of nuclear weapons Russia has fielded or is developing, and address all nuclear weapons including Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons.
We must also be flexible as we consider the ways in which we pursue risk reduction and future arms control measures. We will be looking at the different types of forms these efforts can take, including but not be limited to a traditional approach of focusing on negotiating treaties. The way forward in this new international security landscape may be in the form of initiatives like the U.S. voluntary commitment not to conduct destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile testing recently announced by Vice President Harris, or codes of conduct, or best practices. We can see from the current crisis that the security environment remains complex and is becoming more complex. There is no single, elegant solution to managing nuclear or other 21st century risks. The U.S. is prepared to be creative in finding ways forward and partnering with others to make the world safer. That is what being a leader in arms control is about.
On nuclear disarmament, we remain committed to a world without nuclear weapons in the context of enhancing international security overall. While our concerns about the ability of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) to achieve its goals have not changed, we remain committed to engaging in pragmatic efforts to pursue effective measures related to nuclear disarmament. This includes work conducted by the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification (IPNDV), the Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament (CEND), the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament, and the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), with whom we work closely.
We support the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and will work to achieve its entry force while maintaining our moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. We also continue to seek negotiations on a cut-off in the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices and call on all relevant countries to join us in declaring and maintaining a moratorium on such production. We will also continue to work with our P5 colleagues, circumstances permitting, to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and its three pillars. The U.S. assumes coordination of the P5 Process in June, and we hope to build on previous efforts. The recent P5 statement on the prevention of nuclear war is a good example of the important work we can do together; we must hold each other to those commitments.
We will put renewed focus on these efforts and now that travel restrictions have lifted, we are looking at when we can meet face to face with partners in these forums and discuss ways to move ahead, especially taking into account how the Kremlin’s further invasion of Ukraine has impacted the landscape of that work. Indeed, Russia’s nuclear saber-rattling only underscores the importance of preserving the record of non-use of nuclear weapons.
Our Bureaus will also continue to lead efforts to maximize support for enhanced verification capabilities throughout the U.S. government by partnering with the interagency, academia, the scientific community, non-Governmental Organizations, private industry, and others.
There are other new challenges that require continued attention. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is rapidly building up a larger, more diverse nuclear arsenal. The accelerating pace of the PRC’s nuclear expansion may enable it to have up to 700 nuclear warheads by 2027. The PRC likely intends to have at least 1,000 warheads by 2030, exceeding the estimated size that the United States projected just two years ago in 2020.
As I noted in my speech last year at the NATO Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Conference, and it remains true to this day, the U.S. continues to request that the PRC be more transparent about the purpose and direction of its nuclear strategy. There is currently no formal dialogue between our governments on this subject, and limited tools are available to mitigate risk and prevent crisis escalation with the PRC. We will continue to seek engagement with appropriate PRC officials on risk reduction.
As you know, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference, or NPT RevCon, will at long last take place in August in New York. With the Russian government’s reckless and destabilizing rhetoric, it is more important now than ever for all States Parties to reaffirm the importance of the nuclear nonproliferation regime and recommit to its goals. The August NPT RevCon provides an opportunity to do that. While the U.S. recognizes the challenges that Russia’s actions pose to the NPT, we will emphasize practical actions responsible nuclear powers can take to reduce nuclear risks and pursue a realistic path on arms control and disarmament, and to ensure that all NPT Parties can realize its full benefits. The RevCon presents an opportunity to reflect both on how much has been accomplished and on what can and must be done to preserve and extend that progress. The NPT remains instrumental in limiting the risk of nuclear war by avoiding a cascade of nuclear proliferation and laying the groundwork for progress on disarmament.
The U.S. will use the Review Conference to promote its objectives in all three of the NPT’s pillars – the areas of nonproliferation and strengthened safeguards, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and nuclear disarmament. We plan to find areas of common ground on measures to reduce the risks of nuclear war and a positive dialogue among Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) and Non-Nuclear Weapons States (NNWS).
The U.S. is also committed to the third pillar of the NPT – the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, science, and technology. In that respect, the U.S. and the UK have co-led an effort to build a multilateral deliverable, called the “Sustained Dialogue on Peaceful Uses,” to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy, science, and technology. The Sustained Dialogue aims to integrate non-traditional stakeholders in the NPT process to promote broader acceptance of peaceful uses as a solution to development challenges and to create a lasting framework that better captures peaceful use assistance as a dividend of the NPT. It provides a benefit of the NPT that often gets overshadowed by political debates on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.
Here, I want to thank my colleagues, Ambassador Adam Scheinman, Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, for his leadership as we prepare for the NPT Review Conference, and for the work that former Assistant Secretary Tom Countryman has accomplished since he agreed to return to us and assist in this process.
We also see the Review Conference as an opportunity to recognize the continued need for a strong International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its work on safeguards, safety, and security. The IAEA has been doing significant work in the area of peaceful uses as well as in other areas of concern, including convening the recent first Review Conference of the Amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials, its work on cybersecurity, on nuclear law, and in other areas. Strong U.S. leadership on nonproliferation will also involve continuing to promote the combination of an IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement and an Additional Protocol (AP) as the de facto international standard for verifying that nuclear material is not diverted from peaceful uses. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the AP, and so now is the time to reinvigorate our efforts in support of its universal adoption. We will also reiterate our support for the negotiation of a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) and for all states to halt production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons.
Moving on to the other important areas in priority one, there is a renewed focus on the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). As I noted at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva last year, for the past two decades, efforts to strengthen the Convention have been treading water. States Parties have been unable to agree to significant action. We face a biological weapons threat that is real and, in many respects, growing. Some states continue to possess sophisticated, well-established biological weapons programs, while non-state actors have shown continuing interest in acquiring biological weapons capabilities. Additionally, the widespread availability of sophisticated scientific and technological tools and methods is gradually eroding barriers to the development of biological weapons.
COVID-19 is a wake-up call for all of us. The astonishing human toll of the pandemic has illustrated our shared vulnerability to novel pathogens.
In Geneva, I noted a two-pronged approach. The Review Conference should take near-term, concrete action to strengthen the Convention and benefit States Parties. These actions include further operationalizing assistance under Article VII; establishing a voluntary fund for technical cooperation; creating a mechanism to review advances in science and technology; deepening collaborations on biosafety and biosecurity; staffing the Implementation Support Unit to carry out these roles; and enabling more agile decision making. The second way forward is for the Review Conference to take steps to address the harder issues. It should establish a new expert working group to examine possible measures to strengthen implementation of the Convention, increase transparency, and enhance assurance of compliance.
I was very happy this year to appoint a new BWC Special Representative and Deputy Special Representative to lead the government’s engagements on the BWC. I am pleased that the States Parties reached consensus to delay the Review Conference until November, which allows time for the newly nominated RevCon President to prepare for the meeting. Our Special Representative Ken Ward will spend the next few months working closely with allies and like-minded countries as we turn our broad concepts into specific proposals.
Along with this effort is work by my team to enhance biosafety and biosecurity norms, practices, tools, and resources to bolster cooperation in forums such as the BWC, Global Partnership, and the Global Health Security Agenda. We will work to ensure the tools needed to address these challenges have the attention and resources needed to confront biological challenges. We will work to build national capacity to mitigate biological threats.
Regarding the Chemical Weapons Convention or CWC, the United States is on track to complete destruction of its chemical weapons by September 2023, and we have destroyed over 97 percent of our fully declared stockpile. Given the potential chemical weapons threat to Ukraine, the United States is again leading and working closely with allies and partners. I am proud of the bilateral security assistance that the United States has provided to Ukraine, including over $100 million in life-saving protective and detection equipment and related medical countermeasures, in addition to funds provided to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that will be used to assist Ukraine to protect against the threat of chemical weapons.
The Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance is also continuing to work with the OPCW to hold Russia and Syria accountable for their past chemical weapons use and to deter further use. We look forward to additional OPCW reports this summer from its Investigation and Identification Team that will identify those responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The Bureau will continue to make advances in chemical forensics to improve the ability of the United States, allies, partners, and the OPCW to attribute the use of chemical weapons. The CWC States Parties Review Conference in 2023 is another opportunity for States Parties to reaffirm their commitment to the CWC and its implementation. We are now considering our goals for the Review Conference to advance its work.
In all our work, we will continue to combat disinformation against U.S. activities and engagements.
The U.S. has been a leader in the development of conventional arms control instruments, including the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and the Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures. Despite Russia’s war on Ukraine, we continue to see a role for conventional arms control in the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond. This kind of arms control can enhance mutual confidence and transparency among states and reduce the risk of conflict. The Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance continues to support full compliance with existing conventional arms control agreements and the development of new ideas for future confidence- and security-building mechanisms, including the modernization of the Vienna Document to reflect the new political-military realities in Europe. It is important to have a base of existing conventional arms control instruments that we can build on to restore a more enduring peace.
Moving on to fortifying related activities as I also noted in this priority, we will enhance the role of export controls and counter proliferation measures in preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, destabilizing advanced conventional weapons, and related technologies. The multilateral export control regimes – Missile Technology Control Regime, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Wassenaar Arrangement, and Australia Group – remain important bodies through which we work with our allies and partners to address proliferation challenges. The regimes protect nonproliferation imperatives while providing predictability for exporters and are the basis for preventing advanced technologies from falling into adversarial competitors. These regimes and institutions must adjust to the challenges in the international security landscape. We will enhance U.S. leadership in these regimes and institutions and advance novel approaches to the challenges each regime face. We will also support the important work of the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation’s programmatic offices that promote adherence to the regimes’ guidance and updates to the control lists among non-member countries, thereby expanding the reach of nonproliferation norms. In that respect, I commend you to go online and learn more about the extensive programmatic work of the T Bureaus.
Priority Two: Reimagine Security Sector Governance (SSG) and Security Assistance
The T Family will continue to promote democracy, transparency, and accountability among our allies and partners as we lead the Department’s Security Sector Governance (SSG) efforts. This includes ensuring SSG is accounted for in a methodical, transparent way in our arms transfer and security assistance decision-making, supported by holistic diplomatic engagement, and protecting human rights and civilian security. SSG is about encouraging the leadership and security institutions we partner with to provide security to their people as a public good, rather than leveraging their power to further the narrow interests of the elite. The T Family will reassert the imperative of democratic principles and human rights at the center of our nation’s security assistance programs.
A fundamental aspect of this future work is to ensure that we integrate SSG into larger issues of foreign policy. Assistance should be an integral part of a longer, holistic, diplomatic strategy for our foreign policy goals and approach with countries rather than be transactional. We seek SSG integrated in a methodical, transparent way in our arms transfer and security assistance decision-making with diplomatic engagement.
For example, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs will continue providing advisory assistance through the Global Defense Reform Program (GDRP), which seeks to improve security sector governance and institutional capacity of select partners at the service, ministerial, and national levels. By focusing on systems and processes, GDRP projects aim to build the resilience of U.S. partners and their security institutions, enhance effectiveness and accountability, and better align the security sector to the needs and challenges of the partner nation and its citizens.
SSG is shaped by hard lessons learned. Americans are rightly wary of prolonged U.S. military interventions abroad. We have seen how they have often come at far too high a cost, both to us and to others. When we look back at the past decades of our military involvement in the world, we must remember what we have learned about the limits of force alone to build a durable peace; that the day after a major military intervention is always harder than we imagine; and how critical it is to pursue every possible avenue to a diplomatic solution. Security sector assistance cannot overcome or ‘fix’ underlying structural or political challenges. Rather, it must be part of a broader effort alongside lines of effort in the areas of justice, democratization, economic growth, countering corruption, and addressing stakeholder equities and concerns across the political spectrum. It is not enough to build defense institutions in tandem with “train and equip” missions; security sector governance must be the pacesetter.
Priority Three: Address Emerging Technologies from a National Security Perspective
As part of the Secretary’s modernization efforts to address 21st Century threats, the T Family is important to the Department’s efforts to address emerging technologies from a national security perspective. That includes leading efforts to prevent the proliferation of these technologies for purposes related to weapons of mass destruction, delivery systems, and destabilizing advanced conventional weapons, to enhance alliance military cooperation on these technologies, and to develop appropriate norms of responsible behavior regarding their use. T Bureaus will enhance their work on emerging technology with new offices and expertise.
Our Bureaus are also engaged in discussions on other threats posed by emerging national security challenges presented by new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum information sciences, and biotechnology, among others. We are looking at ways in which these challenges can be addressed considering the changing nature of the technology and threats posed by adversarial uses. The PRC’s Military-Civil Fusion strategy, which blurs the lines between civil and military development, further compounds these challenges. The risk that sensitive technologies can be transferred via intangible means make it critical to conduct outreach to academia and industry and ensure proper vetting of foreign visitors and students, so they do not contribute to programs of concern.
We will work to implement related national security-focused strategies developed by the T Bureaus and including by supporting related Department efforts in the United Nations. This work will focus on how new technologies could present opportunities and risks to the security of U.S. allies and partners.
The T Bureaus and I will also promote the use of norms of responsible behavior or codes of conduct when promoting risk reduction in areas of emerging technologies such as space. AVC’s Office of Emerging Security Challenges has been consulting with allies and partners at multilateral forums and there is broad support for this approach. Other areas where we will seek to advance efforts to develop norms of responsible behavior include artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and quantum computing.
The U.S. is also part of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on emerging technologies in the area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons (LAWS) under the auspices of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). In March 2022, the U.S. Delegation submitted a proposal for consideration by the GGE titled “Principles and Good Practices on Emerging Technologies in the Area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems” cosponsored by delegations from a number of other countries. This document builds on how International Humanitarian Law applies to LAWS and proposes additional measures that will be discussed by the GGE in July 2022. I will continue to support this effort.
Priority Four: Protect and promote the US and Allies Technological, Military, and Economic Advantages
American and allied technological advancements are core elements of the U.S. industrial strategy and President Biden’s key priorities, and the T Family will continue efforts to keep such technology and advancements from illegal acquisition. As noted, we are particularly concerned with threats posed by the PRC’s Military-Civil Fusion Strategy that will fuse together its civilian economy and defense establishment so that advanced and emerging technologies drive economic and military modernization simultaneously.
The T Family has led U.S. participation in the four nonproliferation export control regimes for over 30 years and is partnering with allies and partners in other regional and bilateral efforts as we further build on these coalitions to protect sensitive technologies from adversarial acquisition and exploitation.
The T Family will also continue its updates to the U.S. Munitions List, engaging foreign governments as well as industry and university partners at home and at abroad to bolster their understanding on how to comply with applicable U.S. export control regulations, and strengthen allies and partners’ end-use monitoring programs for U.S. defense articles and services.
Priority Five: Promote, protect, and advance the US Civil – Nuclear Industry
The T Family supports the Department’s efforts to promote U.S. nuclear power alternatives that support global norms of nonproliferation, safety, and security, including traditional large nuclear power plants and new, innovative small modular reactors, as part of the solution to global climate change. The U.S. will also continue to promote and support global norms of nonproliferation, safety, and security, and help to protect allies and partners’ critical energy infrastructure.
The Foundational Infrastructure for the Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) is one such endeavor.
The FIRST program provides capacity-building support consistent with the IAEA’s Milestones Approach to enable partner countries to benefit from advanced nuclear technologies and meet their clean energy goals under the highest standards of nuclear safety, security, and nonproliferation.
We will continue to seek engagements with countries through FIRST and other efforts that build capacity under the highest international standards and meet their energy needs.
FIRST was one of the Presidential deliverables for the April 2021 Leaders’ Summit on Climate and at the COP26 Climate Change Conference. We spearheaded an announcement by Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on cooperation to build a first of a kind small modular reactor in Romania. We have begun engagements under FIRST in recent months with the Philippines and Ghana, and we continue to seek engagement with other countries considering nuclear power for their clean energy needs. We have also recently signed two Memorandum Of Understandings on nuclear cooperation with the Philippines and Armenia.
We will also continue to engage all who are looking to take advantage of nuclear energy’s benefits to carefully consider the larger political, economic, and strategic consequences of their choices for peaceful nuclear energy cooperation partners, and—as countries are reminded of the urgent security risks posed by Russia and others’ energy diplomacy—we will aim to greatly deepen cooperation and coordination among like-minded allied and partner nuclear suppliers.
Priority Six: Strengthen Existing Alliances and Partnerships and Establish New Partnerships
This goal connects all the other priorities. While it remains important to strengthen our relationship with traditional allies and partners, it is also important that we build new relationships with other countries who also are within our national security interests. In that respect, the T Family will enhance consultations with allies and partners and establish dialogues with new partners to develop and deepen a shared understanding of the changing international security environment and thereby further national goals and objectives. We will also negotiate security agreements to support closer cooperation.
For example, where appropriate, arms transfers and defense trade offer a key tool to strengthening alliances and establishing new partnerships. In the wake of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, many of Russia’s traditional security partners express concern on their own dependance on Moscow in terms of the demonstrated performance of Russian systems in their inventories as well as potential future difficulties obtaining future support and sustainment. We will work with industry to encourage countries to diversify away from Russian dependance.
Additionally, in an environment where some partners prefer to diversify their procurements and some competitors are able to provide equipment faster and cheaper, though not necessarily better, we are actively working to support efforts to make U.S. security assistance, and arms transfers more broadly, more competitive and responsive to the needs of our partners while ensuring they align with U.S. foreign policy interests. As part of these efforts, we are reviewing ways to improve the competitiveness of U.S. industry on the global playing field, including through flexible financing options and building exportability into platforms and technology early in the acquisition process.
As we consider how to best meet the urgent needs of Ukraine and other partners, one underlying issue that has come to the forefront is production timelines. Long production timelines are one of the top concerns we consistently hear from our partners and a key consideration in whether partners choose a U.S. system over a competitor. We are looking closely at what we can do to improve production timelines for critical military systems and equipment. However, we cannot solve this issue on our own. Industry plays a crucial role in this process, and we need industry to collaborate with us in these efforts. With the increased demand and an increase in defense budgets, we will be looking intently to industry for creative solutions on how to improve the speed of production in order to meet critical needs.
Through these partnerships, the T Family can promote goals that cross all the T Bureaus. We can be more strategic in all our efforts, and help our partners and allies understand how their engagements with the T Bureaus promote security that is also in their interests. We must continue to renew alliances and strengthen partnerships to push back against the PRC influence, particularly in the Indo- Pacific, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere.
One such new partnership is AUKUS. My Bureaus are committed to supporting this important initiative, not only by determining the most appropriate nuclear-powered submarine and additional advanced capabilities that strengthen our mutual security. The three countries will continue to work closely with the IAEA on issues of safeguards, remain committed to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and to the requirements of the Arms Export Control Act.
We can develop better relations as we address traditional international threats and new ones, some closer to their perception of security threats. New international security challenges require the T Family to be more innovative in who we engage.
Priority Seven: Building the “T Family Brain Trust” to Address New and Emerging Challenges to International Security
As the three Bureaus will be implementing the goals I have set out, we must also be strategic in addressing new challenges with a new way of thinking. There has never been a more important time for the need to “think.” This priority centers on the establishment of a “T Brain Trust,” where the entire T Family can go to help find solutions to challenges we seek. For that reason, one of the first actions I took when I arrived in office last year was to reestablish the International Security Advisory Board – ISAB. ISAB members represent a wide range of U.S. government experience, including backgrounds from various national security-related agencies of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government as well as the Congress; represent a wide range of non-governmental expertise to include leaders in business, science, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations; and reflect a wide variety of scientific, technology, military, diplomatic, and political backgrounds.
In addition to ISAB, I will reach out to my fellow leadership in the T related work areas. Our U.S. Ambassadors at the IAEA, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Conference on Disarmament (CD), and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), are also faced with a changing landscape. I will take advantage of their situational awareness and expertise to see where we can find answers.
I have also been meeting with non-governmental organizations, including private sector, to better understand their perspectives and expertise on the changing international security landscape. I look forward to continuing to engage with non-governmental organizations in the future.
I also have access to other platforms that I mentioned, such as the CEND, the IPNDV, and research funded through the State Department’s Key Verification Assets Fund (V Fund), which supports the preservation of critical verification assets and promotes the development of new technologies to enhance verification of existing and future arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements or commitments and related compliance requirements.
All of these entities will help build the thinking power needed to address the international security threats of the 21st century.
Priority Eight: Examine “New” Areas of Conflict and International Security
I will be asking the ISAB to consider what should be the role of the T Family in addressing new types of conflicts that impact international security. How do we address new threats posed by climate change, resource scarcity, and other nontraditional threats? How should we work with other Bureaus, U.S. departments and other agencies?
I seek to have a more comprehensive approach to international security. While the T Family is involved in many areas of hard security, not just the ones already mentioned in the Bureaus but also on the destruction on conventional weapons, peacekeeping operations, and small arms, we may need a new mindset to engage in new “soft security” areas of threats. In this respect, the T Family is already engaged in energy security and climate change through its FIRST program (Priority Five).
Priority Nine: Strengthen and Amplify the T Bureaus
The T Family cannot be successful if we do not ensure we have strong Bureaus that have the expertise needed and are diverse in its personnel. I have invested in building the Bureaus and in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). We have all of our Assistant Secretaries, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretaries, Deputy Assistant Secretaries in place, and now await only the confirmation of our Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. The T Family has strong leadership, and we are fully ready to engage on all our issues. I will continue to support the investment and support of the T Family efforts to build and strengthen its workforce by continuing to improve expertise, professional development, and DEIA, as well as increased engagement on the U.S. Government’s Women, Peace, and Security Agenda. I will also promote workforce flexibility for our current staff and work to retain and recruit the future workforce. In this respect, I am hiring a Senior Advisor to focus on these T Family issues and recommend modifications as necessary to ensure consistency with the Department’s goals and amongst the T Bureau DEIA councils. We will also promote DEIA principles at each related multilateral fora including the UN First Committee, the Conference on Disarmament, and the CTBTO Preparatory Commission.
Before I conclude, I want to say a couple of words about the Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy and on landmines. The Biden Administration recognizes conventional arms transfers have significant implications for U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, and as such the U.S. CAT Policy establishes the priorities and rationale for adjudicating arms transfer decisions. The policy is still under review, but we hope to have more information to share in the near future. On landmines, I have been working, along with other partners in the U.S. government, on a White House-led policy review on the use of anti-personnel landmines. The review is comprehensive and ongoing. I am proud to say that the United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction, providing more than $4.2 billion to more than 100 countries since 1993. This work is a priority for me, and our efforts to remove landmines and other explosive remnants of war are even more critical now due to the devastation caused by Russia’s full-scale and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
I would like to conclude by noting that we find ourselves at a time where we are certainly challenged. And while concern is certainly warranted, we are also at a moment when we can consider what new approaches, policies and programs, and relationships are needed to tackle these challenges. We need to consider the traditional to ensure we remember that is our foundation as it has been for years, but bring in innovation, vision, and young and diverse voices who have a passion for solving global problems. Every day, we are writing the next chapter of our history. It is up to us to decide whether the story of this time will be one of peace and prosperity, security and equality; whether we will help more people in more places live in dignity; and whether we will leave the United States stronger at home and in the world. I very much look forward to engaging others on how the T Family can meet this mission in this new security landscape.
Let’s do this.