Arms Control, United States Bureau

Arms Control, United States Bureau

The Bureau of Arms Control is an office of the United States Department of State devoted to policy on military arms of all types, from conventional to nuclear. It falls under the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, which Congress placed under State Department control in 1999. Among its functions is the implementation of existing arms agreements. The bureau also serves the secretary of state in an advisory capacity, providing the secretary with information on a variety of national security issues related to arms control.

The Bureau of Arms Control was a product of the merger between the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (created by Congress in 1961) and the State Department on April 1, 1999. Thenceforth, the newly created bureau, along with the bureaus of Nonproliferation, Verification and Compliance, and Political-Military Affairs, would be subordinate to the undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security. Answering to the undersecretary on behalf of the Bureau of Arms Control is an assistant secretary.

Areas of responsibility for the Bureau of Arms Control include developing policy with regard to use of conventional, chemical/biological, and nuclear forces and arms. The bureau is also charged with supporting negotiations for arms control agreements, and for implementing existing agreements. It further supports the secretary of state on relevant national security issues, such as those involving testing of nuclear weapons or the development of missile-defense systems.

The bureau's mission extends beyond these responsibilities, however, to the most creative area in the field of arms control: the negotiation of new agreements. For example, the bureau helped lead efforts toward the creation of the Moscow Treaty on strategic offensive reductions in May 2002.



Butler, Richard. The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and the Crisis of Global Security. New York: Public Affairs, 2000.

Forsberg, Randall. Nonproliferation Primer: Preventing the Spread of Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995.


U.S. Department of State Bureau of Arms Control < > (December 30, 2002).


NNSA (United States National Nuclear Security Administration)

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