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The U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) was established as an independent agency of the United States government by the Arms Control and Disarmament Act, Pub.L. 87–297, 75 United States Statutes at Large 631, enacted September 26, 1961. The H.R. 9118 bill was drafted by presidential adviser John J. McCloy. Its predecessor was the U.S. Disarmament Administration, part of the Department of State (1960–61). Its mission was to strengthen United States national security by "formulating, advocating, negotiating, implementing and verifying effective arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament policies, strategies, and agreements."

In so doing, ACDA ensured that arms control was fully integrated into the development and conduct of United States national security policy. ACDA also conducted, supported, and coordinated research for arms control and disarmament policy formulation, prepared for and managed U.S. participation in international arms control and disarmament negotiations, and prepared, operated, and directed U.S. participation in international arms control and disarmament systems.

Early missionEdit

In the 1970s emphasis of the agency was placed upon gaining an understanding of the strategic weapons capabilities of the Soviet Union and People's Republic of China. The electronic reconnaissance capability of the United States was expanded through federal agency research and private contract research, utilizing radio frequency as well as optical technologies. The theory of this mission was that a clearer understanding of other nations' strategic capabilities was an important initial step in prevention of nuclear war.

1997 reorganizationEdit

In 1997, the Clinton administration announced the full integration of the ACDA with the State Department as part of the reinvention of the agencies which implement the nation’s foreign policy.[1]

The ACDA Director served as both the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs and a Senior Adviser to the President and the Secretary of State for Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament. He communicated with the President through the Secretary of State. In his capacity as senior advisor to the president, the Under Secretary attended and participated, at the direction of the president, in National Security Council (NSC) and subordinate meetings pertaining to arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament and had the right to communicate, through the Secretary of State, with the President and members of the NSC on arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament concerns.

1999-2000 reorganizationEdit

As of April, 1999, ACDA was merged into the Department of State. ACDA's four Bureaus were merged with the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs to form three new Bureaus, for Political-Military Affairs (PM), Arms Control (AC), and Nonproliferation (NP). In 2000, a fourth Bureau for Verification and Compliance (VC) was added by statute. All four Bureaus reported to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of State through the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs.

2005-2006 reorganizationEdit

In 2004, the State Department's Inspector General (IG) conducted a review of three of these Bureaus: NP, AC, and VC. The IG recommended merging AC and NP to move resources from arms control areas that were relatively inactive to higher priority nonproliferation issues. The IG also recommended reducing the VC Bureau to a more focused Office reporting to the Secretary of State. These recommendations were held in abeyance until Robert Joseph was sworn in as the new Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs in June 2005.

In late 2005, Under Secretary Joseph decided to accept the IG recommendation to merge the AC and NP Bureaus into the new Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN). Rather than scaling back the VC Bureau, however, he decided to expand it into the new Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation (VCI). Not only was this contrary to the recommendation of the Inspector General, but by merging implementation with verification and compliance it undercut the purpose of the VC Bureau to provide independent review of implementation.[citation needed] Furthermore, though the ISN Bureau was somewhat larger than the NP Bureau, its mission was also expanded and staff resources available for most nonproliferation functions were actually reduced. A number of senior nonproliferation experts have left the Bureau as a result, further exacerbating the staffing shortage. One of the Office Directors in the new structure told his staff that one purpose of the reorganization was to eliminate vestiges of ACDA from the Department of State.[citation needed] In a Washington Post article in March 2006, an unnamed official confirmed that one reason for the reorganization was to respond to what he called "rank insubordination" by some "disloyal" career staff, contradicting the official statement that the reorganization was intended to realign the organization with changed circumstances and priorities.[1]

Under Secretary's responsibilitiesEdit

The Under Secretary leads the interagency policy process on nonproliferation and manages global U.S. security policy, principally in the areas of nonproliferation, arms control, regional security and defense relations, and arms transfers and security assistance. The Under Secretary provides policy direction in the following areas: nonproliferation, including the missile and nuclear areas, as well as chemical, biological, and conventional weapons proliferation; arms control, including negotiation, ratification, verification and compliance, and implementation of agreements on strategic, non-conventional, and conventional forces; regional security and defense relations, involving policy regarding U.S. security commitments worldwide as well as on the use of U.S. military forces in unilateral or international peacekeeping roles; and arms transfers and security assistance programs and arms transfer policies. By delegation from the Secretary, the Under Secretary performs a range of functions under the Foreign Assistance Act, Arms Export Control Act, and related legislation. The Bureaus of Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Political-Military Affairs are under the policy oversight of the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. By statute, the Assistant Secretary for Verification and Compliance reports to the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security.

Current Under SecretaryEdit

Rose Gottemoeller has served as Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security since February 7, 2012, when Ellen Tauscher was named Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense.

Previous Under Secretaries

Former directorsEdit

Former directors include:

Current programsEdit

  • Stopping Nuclear Testing
  • Banning Chemical Weapons
  • Reducing Strategic Nuclear Arms
  • Keeping Nuclear Weapons out of the hands of rogue states
  • Preventing the use of disease as a weapon of war[2]


  • ACDA Mission Statement [3]^
  • White House Statements about 1997 Reorganization [4]^
  • Fiscal Year 2000 Budget [5]^

External linksEdit

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