November 25, 2015
U.S. security assistance and defense trade efforts under the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, and the status of U.S.-Russian cooperation were among the range of topics addressed by Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller and School of Public Policy students during a November 17 visit to State Department headquarters. Gottemoeller began the meeting by outlining the range of responsibilities that fall under the purview of what the State Department calls the T-family bureaus. She described the Bureau of Arms Control Verification and Compliance’s role in driving arms control policy and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation’s work on countering the threat of WMD terrorism. Gottemoeller also emphasized the work of the third T-family entity, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, during the meeting, as she had just returned from a visit to Djibouti, where the State Department collaborates with the Defense Department on a number of security assistance initiatives, including ones to train international peacekeepers and implement counter-piracy programs in the Horn of Africa. The message to students was clear—the T-family’s responsibilities are cross-cutting, and it requires dynamic and well-rounded thinkers to carry out its mission. A discussion between Gottemoeller and the students, all of whom are enrolled in CISSM interim director Nancy Gallagher’s course on arms control, nonproliferation, and cooperative security, followed. Most notably, Gottemoeller highlighted sustained compliance with the New START Treaty, collaboration on the Iranian nuclear deal, and efforts to dismantle the Syrian chemical weapons program as positive examples of recent U.S.-Russian cooperation despite the two global powers souring bilateral relations in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis. The students’ visit to the State Department began with a guided tour of the decorative arts from early-American history that line the walls of the dignified Diplomatic Reception Rooms. After the tour, the students met with Gottemoeller and Alexandra Bell, the Under Secretary’s Director for Strategic Outreach. The visit concluded with a networking lunch attended by School of Public Policy alumni and current students working or interning at State.