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Better Addressing the Threats from WMDs

The Reorganization of Bureaus to Better Address the Threat From Weapons of Mass Destruction and to Promote Democracy

Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph,
Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky
On-The-Record Briefing
Washington, DC
July 29, 2005

(2:15 p.m. EDT)

MR. CASEY: Good afternoon, everyone. I have one of our two promised briefers with us. Our second one has been delayed. But we did want to give you a chance to hear, first and foremost, from Under Secretary Joseph to try and talk to you a little bit more about the announcement made by the Secretary this morning and explain a little bit more about what this is about and how it's going to work in terms of the functioning of the Bureaus under his area of responsibility.

And I will just it over to you, sir.

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: Okay, thank you. Let me just give you a little background. The reorganization of the T Bureaus goes back about a year. In fact, it was last September that the State IG recommended that the Arms Control Bureau and the Nonproliferation Bureau emerge, emerge because there was -- identified in the IG Review a number of duplications and overlaps and a need to update the focus of these bureaus to concentrate on contemporary threats, particularly threats of WMD, rather than the threats of the past, as the Secretary characterized them earlier in her remarks, that is, the threats from the Arabic Cold War when we faced the Soviet Union, a single nation with thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at us in which deterrence of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact was based on a balance of terror -- a balance of terror that was established by being able to annihilate each other through nuclear exchanges. These concepts and these capabilities have very little relevance to today's threats, whether it be a terrorist with a nuclear weapon or a hostile state like Iran or North Korea.

When I came into office, I made reorganization a priority. I talked to a lot of people inside the building and I've talked to a lot of people outside of the building to get their inputs. I wanted to get the job done right and I wanted to get the job done quickly. It had to be done right because it is absolutely essential, as part of what the Secretary calls transformational diplomacy, that we readjust the structure of the State Department bureaus in order to be able to best contribute to the national security agenda that has been set by the President. And the President has identified as the preeminent threats the threats from weapons of mass destruction, whether in the hands of hostile states or terrorists.

I think the reorganization that the Secretary announced today reflects the goal of transformational diplomacy. It also reflects the goal that the President has made public and that is the need to alter government structures beyond the State Department, but including the State Department, to best address the security threats of the post-9/11 world.

I met today with the members of both Bureaus. I described the reorganization. And I also characterized the reorganization as a set of opportunities. The first opportunity is an opportunity to exercise good government and to do what the IG report said we needed to do and that is eliminate duplication, eliminate overlaps in order to be able to put more resources and more effectively put those resources on today's missions and, in particular, the mission to stop proliferation and to protect against proliferation.

Second, the reorganization, I believe, provides the opportunity to allow the professionals in these two Bureaus to be merged into one Bureau, to work -- to achieve even greater results and even greater success in advancing a very vital part of the President's national security agenda.

The third opportunity that I described, and I think clearly it's the most important. And that is the opportunity that reorganization provides in terms of allowing us, as a department, as an important element of the inner agency, to combat, to counter the preeminent threats that we face as a nation. I think those of us who work here are very privileged to be part of this opportunity -- the opportunity to contribute to the defense of the United States.

And fourth, there is an opportunity in this reorganization for individuals in these Bureaus to advance professionally. There are new offices that will be created, new staffing positions in a number of key areas that I will describe to you. And these present, I think, terrific individual opportunities to contribute to what are, I think, the most challenging and most exciting professional opportunities of today.

Let me just talk a little bit about the restructuring. And I will just -- I won't give you the wire diagrams. You know, you probably have those. Let me just say that the principal change in terms of the T Bureaus will be the creation of this new Bureau, the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. And this is the principal result of the merger of the two earlier bureaus, the Arms Control and Nonproliferation Bureau.

We are going to be creating in the context of this new Bureau a principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterproliferation, which I think it's quite significant. And I think it's quite significant that both the Secretary and Senator Lugar talked about the importance of counterproliferation in the context of this reorganization.

We're also going to create a WMD terrorism office to address the truly challenging threat of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction and using them against us. We'll be creating a new office of counterproliferation initiatives. As you know, the President has undertaken a number of initiatives in the counterproliferation area in the first term, including the Proliferation Security Initiative, including the G-8 Global Partnership, including UN Security Council Resolution 1540, a number of initiatives that are designed to advance the counterproliferation agenda.

And finally, we'll be creating a new office of strategic planning, something that hasn't existed in the T Bureaus, such that we can approach strategically the challenges really across the various bureaus of the T family.

Let me just elaborate a bit on the WMD Terrorism Office. When I was on the National Security Council staff during the first four years, during the first term of the Administration, it occurred to me during the campaign that there was one point of agreement between the President and Senator Kerry. They disagreed on just about everything; they agreed on one thing. And that one thing was the preeminent threat we face as a nation is a terrorist with a nuclear weapon. I don't know if you remember that debate, but it was one point of consensus. It seems like a pretty important point.

I was on the National Security Council staff at that time. I just decided to do an assessment of how well we were doing in addressing that threat. And I did a personal assessment and that personal assessment led me to believe that we could do a lot more interagency and agency-by-agency. And when I came to the State Department, I looked to see what contribution we were making and what contribution we possibly could make in this critically important area. And I found that not unlike the situation more generally, there were a number of very important initiatives that we were undertaking with others, whether it's port security or detection capabilities, but that we lacked a strategic approach. We were working consequence management issues, all very important capabilities, working with allies, but we lacked a strategic approach.

And what this new office will do is it will provide a strategic approach to dealing with the preeminent threat. It will provide the building blocks for creating a defense in-depth against WMD terrorism, a layered defense because we truly have to work with our friends and our allies in the international community more broadly. It's a very complex threat. It's as complex as it is dangerous. And it's these types of new initiatives that you'll see coming out of this reorganization.

I'll just stop there. I see Paula has arrived so --

MR. CASEY: And (inaudible) and I'm also delighted that our second briefer Under Secretary Dobriansky has been able to join us. Why don't you go ahead and start -- make your sort of initial remarks and then we'll see where the questions go, Paula.

UNDER SECRETARY DOBRIANSKY: Okay. With regard to the announcements relevant to democracy and democracy promotion, as you know, President Bush in his Second Inaugural Address very clearly stated and highlighted the importance of democracy promotion as linked to our security strategies, counterterrorism specifically and, even more broadly, security strategy as also linked to the furtherance of prosperity and economic development abroad. And no less, as the democracy promotion being the best guarantor and democracy being the best guarantor of human rights.

Toward that end, we have internally been looking at how to more systematically deal with democracy promotion abroad. And as part of that let me just delineate the specifics of what we are doing. As the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, my new title, I had been asked specifically to look at the promotion strategies in a number of areas, such as an area looking at where we have backsliding, where democracy needs to be consolidated, a number of scenarios and basically worldwide and to also look at associated funding with that.

So the focus here is how one goes forward and in a timeframe looks at, okay, these are the things that we're going to be doing. We're going to be doing with other countries, we're going to be doing with indigenous groups. A big emphasis here is on working with civil society and indigenous groups in country and with governments and with other interlocutors and international organizations to have the most effective promotion, if you will, of democracy abroad. Also as part of that structurally, the Secretary has designated also a new Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor -- a DAS for democracy.

In addition, we will also have an advisory committee that will focus on providing advice to the Secretary. The committee would be comprised of a wide range of democracy experts, who would be in a position to render commentary on what we're doing, how we're doing, and what are the most effective strategies that could be pursued.

Let me stop there.

MR. CASEY: Okay. That's terrific, and thank you both for the presentations. Why don't we move around and see what kind of questions we have.


QUESTION: I had a question about democracy and how your new -- well, it's not really new -- I guess, it's not new responsibilities because bureaus are there but the restructuring, how there'll be an interaction with the regional bureaus, like MEPI. Is there an overlap here? Are you taking some of that?

UNDER SECRETARY DOBRIANSKY: Well, let me say specifically, on a region-by-region basis we are actually setting up what would constitute a type of a working group between DRL and every regional bureau to, as I said, to sit down and to specifically look at exactly what needs to be done in, you know, what we're already doing and what needs to be added to different strategies.

We will go out to each post to also get their specific input and then, in turn, come forward with a consolidated strategy that, by the way, will also involve USAID in this process, so DRL, each regional bureau, as well as USAID, as well as our post. We also plan in this regard to have a dialogue with the NGO community. We think that in the development of any full comprehensive strategy, it would be important to have their input.

On to the Middle East, one, we already have a process afoot, as you know, with BMENA and also with MEPI. So in that case, we already have strategies that we have been already part of in that context. I think you know that the NEA Bureau and Liz Cheney have been working this. We will be part of that. We will be working with them. We're looking at other areas that have not been addressed so systematically. EUR, you know, EAP, SA -- well, portions of SA, as well as WHA, for example.

MR. CASEY: Let's go to Elise?

QUESTION: I have one question for each of you. Paula, we have been hearing a little bit over the last couple of months about how there's an extra emphasis on combating terrorism through combating Islamic extremism and democracy promotion. Will you be working on that particular aspect and how does that fit into kind of what you're doing? And how does that fit into counterterrorism efforts?

And for Mr. Joseph, you said that you were going to be creating an office of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. What specifically is that office going to do that isn't being done through counterterrorism? I mean, how does that kind of fit into each other?

UNDER SECRETARY DOBRIANSKY: I'll just answer the question to me briefly. The answer is yes and the answer is I believe we are already in the process of doing that because the whole essence of the broader Middle East North Africa partnership is focusing on civil society. We've had a series of meetings through the dialogue, you know, assistance -- democracy assistance dialogue as well as the Forum for the Future, which will also be held later this year. And specifically, we, meaning, my office, DRL, as well as NEA, as well as our post and also let me mention very much so in the mix are the Bureau of Educational Cultural Affairs, the Public Diplomacy shop. This is something that we have been working on together and it will continue. But the emphasis very much in this area is on partnering more strongly and more fully with civil society.

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: The President has talked repeatedly about that nexus between terrorism and WMD. And the office that will be created, the WMD terrorism office, is intended as I said to provide a means to deal with this problem to combat this threat in a very systematic and strategic fashion.

What we have been doing, to date, is undertaking a number of very important initiatives -- everything from container security to consequence management to working with our friends and allies. What we need to do is take a more strategic approach to build this defense in depth, working even more closely with friends, allies and the international community more generally and we will do that. We will do that in this office. And this office, of course, will play an important role in the interagency as we push this agenda forward.

QUESTION: This is more trying to stop actual WMD from getting into the hands of terrorists?

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: No. I think it's really -- well, it is stopping the transfer of sensitive materials and weapons, such that terrorists don't acquire them, so it's prevention. It's also protection because prevention is never going to be 100 percent effective. So you've got prevention, you've got protection and, ultimately, you've got consequence management, if there is a chemical event or a biological event. We have been working that very hard domestically, particularly on the bio side, with bio shield and bio watch and a whole number of other multibillion dollar programs that provide us the capability to respond to an event. We need to do more of that internationally. We need to put together a layered defense in depth against this problem.

MR. CASEY: Let's go over to Peter and then down to Saul and then back around.

QUESTION: Right. Under Secretary Joseph, several months ago, I think it was the presidential panel assessing intelligence committees in Iraq, also made a statement that we know disturbingly little about the nuclear goings on, nuclear plans of rogue states and others. Do you think that still exists? Do you think it's been an improvement and how is this kind of organization going to address that particular problem?

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: Well, I think the findings of the report speak for themselves. And clearly, the finding was disturbing in terms of what we don't know about a number of these programs. We are, of course, as a government working to improve our collection capabilities and our analytical capabilities and that will continue.

In terms of being a consumer of intelligence, the various offices that I have described will work closely with, you know, with our partners in the intelligence community to fashion the best policies and the most effective counters, given what we know.

QUESTION: When you explained how the new structure matches the strategy, you said that there are hostile states, such as North Korea and Iran. Just to be clear, did you mean they were hostile because they have a hostile policy towards the United States or because the U.S. has a hostile policy towards them?

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: Well, I think it's a hostile act if we're talking about Iran acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. That's a threat not just to the United States, but to the region and to the international community more broadly.

QUESTION: And in the case of North Korea?

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: I think that speaks for itself.

QUESTION: It's the same idea. So it's not that the U.S. has a hostile policy towards either of those nations?

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: The United States is trying to -- working with others in both cases -- in the Iran context, it's through supporting the EU-3 efforts, for example. In the North Korea context, it's working in the context of the six-party talks to deal with these threats in a diplomatic manner.

QUESTION: Diplomatic -- I'm trying to -- it's very hard to absorb this or at least I'm having a lot of trouble because I'm thinking in traditional -- maybe I'm thinking too much in traditional diplomacy because everything you're -- most everything you're talking about sounds like something diplomats don't do. Sounds like the kind of thing the CIA does, the NSC worries about, the Pentagon worries about. So just to make my point, I'm not --

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: What do you think diplomats do?

QUESTION: Well, I think diplomats in the old days, when there was an arms control agency, went out and tried to negotiate arms control treaties on the theory this lessens dangers by eliminating all sorts of weapons. In fact, the original name was the Disarmament Agency, but conservatives didn't like that. It sounded like we want to disarm. It made them very nervous. So they called it the Disarmament and Arms Control Agency, that's technical, but they got a new name. They got a name that satisfied everyone. I'm not quibbling. I'm just trying to figure out -- the best way I can put my question is: The negotiations with North Korea now that are going on, wouldn't all these officers you are describing be essentially to support offices for the negotiations? Otherwise, in other words, we have a bureau. We have an Assistant Secretary. Am I making sense, so far? Probably, not. (Laughter.)

The problem is Chris Hill wears two hats already in this thing, right. It used to be the Secretary of State or an Assistant Secretary and Under Secretary would negotiate to try to ameliorate, minimize, get rid of a problem.

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: Right. But the whole message that the Secretary sent this morning was that the world has changed. In the old days --

QUESTION: Yeah. I'm saying that.

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: -- when we did have these set peace negotiations that went for decades, as you remember --

QUESTION: I do. The Pershing Missile.

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: -- in the case of SALT and START and INF and the rest of these. I guess you and I are probably the -- old enough to remember that era. (Laughter). Arms control was a very critical and central part of our strategic relationship with the Soviet Union. That's how we talked to the Soviet Union. We talked to them in Geneva about throwaway and about missile loadings and about bomber loadings. And arms control was the, you know, was the basis of our relationship to a great extent.

That's not the way it is with North Korea or with Iran or with WMD terrorists. That's not the way that we protect against the new threats or that we deal with the new threats even diplomatically. Right now we've got an EU-3 effort, we got a six-party talk effort, we're supporting both of those. And by supporting both of those, we're trying to increase the prospects that they will be successful diplomatically.

QUESTION: I realize the Soviet Union --

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: But diplomats ought to be out there promoting U.S. national security and international security more broadly in the context of the security environment as it exists today, not as it existed in the 1970s and '80s.

QUESTION: I understand. There was a -- the Soviet was a good part of it. The CFE talks were about forces in Europe. The Pershings were about missiles that were placed -- reluctantly received by European countries. And the disarmament negotiations --

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: Well, personally, I think that the best moment of the NATO alliance was when the Pershings went into Germany --

QUESTION: Well, it seemed to work.

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: -- in November of '83.

QUESTION: You have the (inaudible).


QUESTION: It worked.


QUESTION: And the Russians (inaudible) -- it worked.

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: And remember, they were going in because of the SS-20.

QUESTION: No, but -- but this is a history lesson. (Laughter).

QUESTION: I'm just saying that (inaudible) of arms control used to be to lower the threshold by eliminating threatening weapons through negotiations, right. And everything I've heard --

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: Between two superpowers.

QUESTION: Not only. But what I'm hearing today is how to see where the threat is, how to figure out what those sons-of-guns are up to. It sounds like detective work, instead of diplomacy, analysis instead of diplomacy. You know what I'm trying to say?

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: Well, hopefully, sound diplomacy is based on sound analysis and sound intelligence.

QUESTION: Yeah. But it's a backup. Where's the diplomacy going to come from?

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: Well, the diplomacy is working -- let me give you an example. The United States has been for how many years, ten years, putting a great deal of taxpayer money into Cooperative Threat Reduction programs and Nonproliferation Assistance programs.


UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: Okay. I think that makes a very important contribution to our defense because it prevents the leakage of sensitive technologies and materials to the bad guys, whoever they may be, whether they're hostile states or whether they're terrorists. The President in 2002 undertook a diplomatic effort to get others, other countries, to shoulder responsibility for this global challenge. And in fact, in Kananaskis in the G-8 context, he achieved agreement on the G-8 partnership, which doubled the amount of resources. That's something that nobody ever writes about -- something that you reporters write about, but that's diplomacy.

QUESTION: That's right.

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: When the President announced the Proliferation Security Initiative in May of 2003, he said, I want to have, you know, these other ten countries work to set the bar very high and then we can open it up for others. That has been a tremendous diplomatic success.

UN Security Council Resolution 1540, the President in his February 2004 speech at the National Defense University said we need to push forward on a Security Council resolution that will set very high standards for all countries to pass and to enforce strict and effective export controls and enact national legislation to protect against and to criminalize A.Q. Khan-type behavior.

We did that and we did that through diplomacy. This is a different form of diplomacy. It's diplomacy to match today's threats and it's working on new tools. It's not sitting down in Geneva and negotiating over throw-weight.

MR. CASEY: Let'ssee --

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: Did that make sense?


MR. CASEY: We've got time for just a couple more here, so let's go around, please.

QUESTION: Two questions, if I could. And the first one follows on Barry's.

The Secretary, in her remarks today, sort of left the impression -- maybe she didn't mean to, that nothing had changed organizationally since the Cold War. In fact, ACTA was closed down. The PM Bureau was cut into three and the Verification Bureau was created and et cetera, et cetera, so this is more -- it seems to me, it's more evolutionary than revolutionary.

And secondly, you're talking, in both cases, about creating some fairly senior level positions -- the new PDAS, the new office director. Are you thinking -- is the Secretary thinking of Foreign Service Officers or political appointees for these positions or a mixture?

UNDER SECRETARY JOSEPH: No personnel decisions have been made. But clearly, there is a need, I believe, to bring more Foreign Service Officers into the T Bureaus, at all levels. And I think that restructuring and providing new opportunities -- and I think it's really exciting to be working WMD terrorism. I think that's a critically important task for diplomacy. And I think by creating those opportunities, you're creating incentives for Foreign Service Officer to, you know, to come into -- and good Foreign Service Officers, get solid Foreign Service Officers, you know, with futures, to come into these areas.

And yes, it's evolutionary but this is a very important step, moving to this new structure with these new offices that the Secretary, you know, that the Secretary has approved and the ones that I had outlined. This is a big move. When we're talking about counterproliferation and we're talking about it as a key theme of the State Department, this is very important.

UNDER SECRETARY DOBRIANSKY: It's a good question for this area because definitely, we want to see more Foreign Service Officers engaged in this area. They are very much so abroad. In fact, they are on the line, depending upon what's happening abroad in which country.

But back here at home, yes, we would like to see more Foreign Service Officers in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

I should've probably mentioned at the outset, all of these steps relevant to democracy are part of what we see as an institutionalization here in the State Department of democracy promotion. A change my title, the new position in DRL itself with that specific responsibility, as well as the creation of the advisory committee, is very much geared towards, if you will, an institutionalization that -- it's reflecting what has also, I think, become very much, it's always been a core part of our foreign policy, but it's very much part of transformational diplomacy to use that term.

QUESTION: Roughly, how many people will be in it? How much -- what is -- give me some estimate, please, if you could, what does this do to the number -- the raising the total of people working here.


QUESTION: All this hoping, the new strategic this and the new WMD that and the shuffling of (inaudible) Deputies. They come with staff. They come with PR people. They come with all sorts of trimmings. And I'm just wondering in terms of big government and small government, how much government are we adding here to the State Department?

UNDER SECRETARY DOBRIANSKY: Well, in this case, I think we're talking about, in terms of adding -- I don't see it as adding new positions, I think it's more actually the question -- you asked that's why I said I thought your question is a good one -- is actually an emphasis on a substantive area, number one.

And then number two, actually the way in which we're doing democracy promotion by having a very close relationship between a functional bureau and a regional bureau and AID that we are married in our approach and the posts, no less. So that's what I see, which is what is new here. It is an institutionalization of democracy promotion.

MR. CASEY: Time's up. I'm afraid we're just going to have to stop it here. Both our Under Secretaries have other appointments they've got to get to. So thank you very much. Thank you, both of you.




Released on August 2, 2005


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