Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM)

"The Mission of the Political-Military Affairs Bureau (PM) is to build enduring security partnerships to advance U.S. national security objectives."


The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM), headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary Marik String, is the Department of State's principal link to the Department of Defense. The PM Bureau provides policy direction in the areas of international security, security assistance, military operations, defense strategy and plans, and defense trade.

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Vietnam: In a Legacy of War, a Path to Partnership

Under Secretary Thompson meets a survey team, who demonstrate search techniques to unearth unexploded munitions. (U.S. Department of State photo).

Under Secretary Thompson (Dec. 17): "Survey and clearance projects funded through our Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs are addressing a continuing legacy of the Vietnam War era, saving lives in local communities, and helping contribute toward a new era of partnership between the United States and Vietnam." DipNote» PM/WRA»

Global Peace Operations Initiative Combats Sexual Violence and Abuse With Training in Nepal

Students from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka participate in the National Investigative Officer Course. State Dept. Image.

Dec. 17: The U.S. is committed to supporting the UN’s zero-tolerance policy against sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and addressing issues of misconduct by peacekeepers. To this end, in 2018 the U.S., through its Global Peace Operations Initiative program, funded and coordinated the development and implementation of a joint UN–U.S. NIO Course focused on improving accountability for conduct and discipline issues, with a focus on SEA. DipNote»

Conventional Arms Transfer Policy: Creating a Flexible, Effective Foreign Policy Tool

Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson meets Jordanian F-16 Pilots in Amman, Jordan. (U.S. Department of State photo).

Under Secretary Thompson (Dec. 10): "This administration is working every day to ensure that arms transfers are a flexible and effective tool of U.S. foreign policy, supporting the capacity of our partners, the growth of our economy and the security of the American people." Op-Ed»

Enduring Promise: Serving as a Foreign Policy Advisor Aboard the USNS Comfort

With the USNS Comfort team in Esmeraldas, Ecuador on October 26, 2018. (U.S. Department of State photo).

Dec. 7: PM Foreign Policy Advisor Mariju Bofill traveled aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort on its recent voyage to Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Honduras. DipNote»

U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program - Iraq

An Iraqi demining technician working outside Irbil. (Photo courtesy of Al-Hurra).

Nov. 20: The United States has invested more than $381 million in Iraq since 2003 toward the clearance and safe disposal of landmines, unexploded ordnance (UXO), improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and excess conventional weapons and munitions. Fact Sheet» PM/WRA»

Advancing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Region

Navy ships assemble to form a multinational fleet off the coast of Hawaii during the Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC) 2018 (Photo courtesy of DoD/DVIDS).

Nov. 18: PM security assistance and defense trade furthers the President’s Indo-Pacific strategy by strengthening maritime security and domain awareness, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and peacekeeping capabilities, as well as to counter transnational crime. Fact Sheet»

U.S. Partner Spirit of Soccer Recognized for Innovative and Lifesaving Work in Iraq

Spirit of Soccer posters depict landmines and other ERW commonly found in Iraq. (Photo courtesy of Spirit of Soccer).

Nov. 13: Spirit of Soccer has been implementing U.S.-funded programs in Iraq for almost ten years, and, in 2017, provided ERW risk education to more than 40,200 children. As Iraq starts to rebuild from the death and destruction of ISIS, U.S.-funded programs like this play a critical role in keeping Iraqis safe from ISIS’s deadly legacy. DipNote»

Removing Explosive Hazards To Promote Stability in Northeast Syria

Educating school children about explosive hazards. State Dept. Image.

Nov. 13: The State Department is working to remove explosive remnants of war (ERW) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from critical infrastructure in portions of northeast Syria liberated from ISIS control and to educate people living in these areas how to stay safe when facing the threat of explosive hazards on a daily basis. DipNote»

U.S. Arms Transfers Rise 13 Percent in 2018

Date: 11/08/2018 Description: Manufacturing floor at a Lockheed plant building F-35 aircraft (Photo courtesy of LHM) - State Dept Image

Nov. 8: Defense trade overseen by the PM Bureau is a powerful diplomatic tool to strengthen our security partners while growing American jobs. Fact Sheet»

Conventional Arms Transfer Policy Implementation Plan Update

Date: 11/08/2018 Description: A factory worker at a Boeing plant adjusts wiring (Photo courtesy of Boeing) - State Dept Image

Nov. 8: PM and our interagency partners are making progress on a series of practical, results-focused initiatives to transform the way the U.S. government works to support and grow our defense industrial base. Fact Sheet»

U.S.-Funded Clearance of ISIS Explosives Enables Iraqi Minorities To Rebuild Their Communities

U.S.-funded ERW searcher hunts for ISIS IEDs in the Ninewa Plains (Photo courtesy of Janus Global Operations).

Oct. 29: Since 2015 ERW clearance teams funded by the State Department have cleared more than 10,500 explosive hazards in minority communities across Ninewa and Kirkuk Provinces affecting critical infrastructure associated with the delivery of clean water, power, healthcare, and education, as well as homes, churches, temples, and farmland. DipNote»

U.S. Security Cooperation With the Baltic States

Date: 11/07/2018 Description: US and Lithuanian forces during Exercise Saber Strike 18 (Photo courtesy of DoD/DVIDS) - State Dept Image

Oct. 26: The United States has a robust and enduring security partnership with the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Since 2016 we have convened the U.S.-Baltic Security Cooperation Dialogue to broaden and deepen our range of security cooperation activities and address Baltic-wide security gaps. Fact Sheet»

Belgium To Purchase F-35 Fighter Aircraft, Reaffirming Enduring Partnership With the United States

Date: 10/26/2018 Description: F-35A Lightning II in flight during the Bell Fort Worth Alliance Air Show Oct. 14, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo courtesy of DoD/DVIDS) - State Dept Image

Spokesperson Nauert (Oct. 26): “With Belgium’s commitment to the F-35 program, its five-star aerospace industry will continue to expand as it supports this 5th generation aircraft, which was jointly developed with European partners.” Full Text»

U.S. Assistance Enabling Iraq's Yezidis To Return Safely to Their Ancestral Homelands

U.S.-funded Yezidi explosive remnants of war (ERW) clearance team in Sinjar. (Photo courtesy of MAG).

Oct. 23: Thanks to assistance provided by the State Department, Salwa and other Yezidis who survived ISIS are playing a critical role ridding Sinjar of dangerous explosive hazards. Salwa leads one of eight U.S.-funded ERW survey and clearance teams fielded by NGO Mines Advisory Group (MAG) in Sinjar. DipNote»

Taking the Fight to Boko Haram: PM Helps Strengthen Chad's Security Sector

Chadian soldiers prepare for an exercise. (Department of State photo).

Oct. 9: Through the Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF), we combine diplomacy and defense to provide support to partner nations’ security and law enforcement institutions to address emergent challenges and opportunities important to U.S. national security and our foreign policy interests. DipNote»

Saudi-led Coalition's Announcement on Reviewing Rules of Engagement in Yemen

Date: 09/09/2017 Description: State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, Aug. 9, 2017. © AP ImageSpokesperson Nauert (Sept. 2): "The United States regards the Saudi-led Coalition's ‎announcement that it will review their rules of engagement, hold those at fault accountable, and compensate victims following the Joint Incident Assessment Team's finding that last month's Sa'ada air strikes lacked justification as an important first step toward full transparency and accountability." Full Text»

U.S. Partners With Uganda To Strengthen Rapid Crisis Response Capabilities on the African Continent

Date: 2018 Description: U.S.-provided APRRP equipment recently delivered to the URDCC in Jinja, Uganda. - State Dept Image

Aug. 22: At a ceremony in Jinja, Uganda, the State Department and Department of Defense delivered essential equipment to the Uganda People’s Defence Force as part of the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership. DipNote»

Global Peace Operations Initiative Promotes International Peacekeeping

Peacekeepers at a ceremony marking International Day of UN Peacekeeping. (UN Image)

June 12: As the U.S. Government’s primary global investment for strengthening international peacekeeping capacity and capabilities, GPOI’s positive impact can be seen in virtually every UN or regional organizations’ peace operation around the world today. Media Note» PM/GPOI»

With U.S. Support, El Salvador Steps Up for Peacekeeping Mission in Mali

El Salvador contributes military helicopters and a contingent of ninety peacekeepers to peacekeeping efforts of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

May 29: El Salvador stands as a leader and role model to many other countries seeking to step up to the challenge of international peacekeeping. DipNote» PM/GPOI»

Defense Trade: Proposed Rules for Oversight of Firearms Exports Published for Public Comment

Attendees at the National Rifle Association convention view a display of weapons on display on the convention floor in Dallas, Friday, May 4, 2018. (AP Image).

May 24: The proposed rules are part of an ongoing effort to modernize the U.S. export control regulations to create a simpler, more robust system that eases industry compliance, improves enforceability, and better protects America’s most sensitive technologies. Fact Sheet»

U.S.-India Joint Training Further Strengthens Peacekeeping Missions in Africa

U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Juster and Secretary Ruchi Ghanashyam, of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs meet with African officers attending UNPCAP III and the Indian and U.S. course instructors. ( U.S. Embassy New Delhi photo).

May 15: U.S. Ambassador to India Kenneth I. Juster gave remarks at the opening ceremony for the third annual UN Peacekeeping Course for African Partners (UNPCAP-III), a joint U.S.-India initiative to build and enhance the capacity of African troop and police-contributing countries to participate in UN and regional peacekeeping operations. DipNote» Remarks» Briefing»

Iraq: U.S.-Funded Explosive Hazard Clearance Restores Access to Clean Water in Mosul

Janus team members move on to the next area after safely clearing a building in the al-Dawassa Water Treatment Facility. (Photo courtesy of Janus Global Operations).

May 10: With PM support, 40,000 people will again have access to clean water now that explosive hazards left behind by ISIS have been safely cleared. DipNote» PM/WRA»

PM Enables the Safe Return of Iraqi Children to School

Janus cleared explosives from this schoolhouse, enabling the return of teachers and students. (Photo courtesy of Janus Global Operations).

May 1: A school in Ninewa province reopens after U.S. assistance helps clear deadly explosives left behind by ISIS. DipNote» PM/WRA»

U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Program - Syria

In this Thursday, April 5, 2018 photo, children look from the window of their house that was damaged last summer during fighting between U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighters and Islamic State militants, in Raqqa, Syria. (AP Image).

Apr. 27: Since 2015, PM has invested $54 million toward clearing more than 20,000 landmines, pieces of unexploded ordnance, and Improvised Explosive Devices from over 15.5 million square meters of land in northeastern Syria liberated from ISIS. Fact Sheet» PM/WRA»

U.S. Department of State Concludes $30 Million Settlement with FLIR Systems, Inc.

This undated image taken with a FLIR One infrared camera shows people on a New York City subway train. (AP Photo).

Apr. 25: Settlement demonstrates PM’s role in strengthening U.S. industry by protecting U.S. defense articles, including technical data, from unauthorized export. Media Note» PM/DDTC»

U.S. Department of State Takes Action Against Arms Export Violations

Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building, Friday, June 19, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik).

Apr. 25: PM’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, working in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations, identified 168 persons subject to statutory debarment based on their criminal conviction by a court of the United States. Media Note» PM/DDTC»

Export Policy for Unmanned Aerial Systems

An Unmanned Aerial System in flight (DVIDSHub.net Image).

Apr. 19: New policy promotes U.S. values and international standards, while also ensuring that U.S. industry has fair and competitive access to the global marketplace. Fact Sheet» PM/RSAT»

Afghanistan Donor Coordination Workshop for Mine Action

A demining technician working in a field in northern Afghanistan. AP Image.

Ambassador Wood (Apr. 9): "The United States has invested well over $450 million U.S. dollars in conventional weapons destruction in Afghanistan since 1993. This number is not just an expenditure of cash but an investment in the safety and security of the people of Afghanistan." Full Text»

Opening Statement at the Group of Governmental Experts Meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

U.S. Mission Geneva . AP Image.

Apr. 9: U.S. representatives to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons meet in Geneva to discuss emerging military technologies. Remarks» Statement»

U.S. and India Work Together To Support Zambia Peacekeeper Training

PV2 Zhen Quin Deng (US Army Medic) and Indian military service members, COL Rohit Kapur and Lt Col Dev Tyagi, discuss the day's training exercises in Zambia. (Photo Credit: AFRICOM).

Apr. 4: The United States and India jointly provided medical training to build the capacity of Zambian military personnel who were preparing to deploy to the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. DipNote» PM/GPOI/POCB»

'Shanti Doot 4' Training Exercise Prepares Peacekeepers for Real-World Challenges

Date: 04/02/2018 Description: Multinational UN Peacekeepers clear a house as part of a Counter IED/EOD field training exercise. Photo courtesy of DVIDS - State Dept Image

Apr. 2: PM’s Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) supports brings together 1,000 new peacekeepers from more than 30 countries. DipNote» PM/GPOI/POCB»

United States and Poland Sign Patriot Deal

Delta battery Soldiers from 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command perform a crew drill on their Patriot rocket launcher during exercise Panther Assurance 2015, in Sochachew, Poland.(Photo courtesy of DVIDS, Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Randall Jackson, 10th AAMDC Public Affairs)

Spokesperson Nauert (Mar. 28): "The United States welcomes today’s signing in Warsaw of an agreement concluding Phase I of Poland’s purchase of the Patriot missile defense system, worth $4.6 billion. This includes a brand new, state-of-the-art command and control system for Poland’s air and missile defense." Full Text»

Support of Lebanese State Security Services

On March 15, 2018, at the Rome II Conference the U.S. committed to provide the LAF with three additional transportation helicopters, like those pictured here. - © U.S. Embassy Beirut

Spokesperson Nauert (Mar. 15): "The United States today renewed its support for two of Lebanon's vital national institutions, the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces, in Rome at the conference in support of Lebanese state security services." Full Text»

Angola: These Women Clear Landmines

Date: 03/08/2018 Description: A group of women deminers heading toward a training site - Photo courtesy of The HALO Trust © The HALO Trust

Mar. 7: PM supports The HALO Trust’s #100WomenInDemining initiative, which provides training in landmine clearance for 100 women from rural Angola. DipNote» PM/WRA»

Coffee, Conflict, and the Congo

Date: 03/06/2018 Description: A woman working in a coffee field in North Kivu province, DRC-photo courtesy of Polus - State Dept Image

Mar. 6: New PM initiative helps war survivors in Democratic Republic of the Congo with prosthetics and rehabilitation services as well as new opportunities in the region’s coffee industry. DipNote» PM/WRA»