Conventional Arms Threat Reduction Director Ann K. Ganzer
  Remarks for the 2016 Update Conference
October 31 – November 2, 2016

 

Good morning.  It’s an honor to be here today and see so many familiar faces and also have an opportunity to meet new colleagues.  I would like to thank Under Secretary Hirschhorn for hosting this event, and for inviting me to participate.  

 

Let me start by reiterating what President Barack Obama said in Prague in 2009, when he gave the first major foreign policy speech of his presidency.  In his remarks, the President stated “clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”  For the duration of his administration, he has held firm to this promise to work toward a world free of nuclear weapons.

 

Underscoring this commitment is a clear understanding of the devastating impact of these weapons and our moral responsibility to act to eliminate them.  But he also was realistic: a world free of nuclear weapons is a marathon effort, not a sprint.  Achieving this goal, he said, would likely take this generation and perhaps the next.

 

In the United States, combating proliferation has long been a bipartisan priority.  It has been one of President Obama’s top priorities since day one.  He has invested an enormous amount of time and energy in addressing the threats we face from nuclear weapons.  

 

At the State Department, the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, where I work, is at the forefront of implementing President Obama’s nonproliferation policy.  Our overriding goal:  to prevent the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction and their means of delivery, as well as the spread of advanced conventional weapons.

 

This is a challenging goal, and as many of you know, the bad guys—those who assist in the proliferation of WMD and those engaged in arms smuggling—are constantly looking to take advantage of weaknesses and gaps in our international net.  So you know that we have to work creatively to stay one step ahead of them. Technology advances quickly, so we are constantly working to make sure our strengths offset our weaknesses.  

 

Fortunately, we have many tools that help us achieve this.  We help our partners build comprehensive strategic trade control systems; we negotiate—and then help implement—international treaties and agreements that advance our shared interests; we interdict weapons flowing to terrorist groups; we implement sanctions.  

 

We support and push for action by the four international nonproliferation export control regimes:
•    the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual Use Goods and Technologies (WA);
•    the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR);
•    the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG); and
•    the Australia Group (AG).  

 

ISN leads the U.S. delegations to these regimes and our work with them is what I want to update you on today.

 

    Continuously working with likeminded countries to maintain effective export controls is one of the best ways to fight proliferation.  The bilateral and multilateral diplomacy involved in these efforts is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State.

 

As many of you know, regime members use harmonized control lists and share information to frustrate proliferators’ efforts to obtain WMD, missile, and conventional arms-related equipment and technology.  We routinely communicate information to regime members about the status of programs of concern, procurement networks, the types of items sought by proliferators, and foreign supply chains.  

 

Sound export decisions by supplier and transshipment countries deny would-be proliferators access to the world’s best sources of technology.  They are then forced to resort to elaborate and often “covert” procurement methods that slow their pace, drive up their costs, and reduce the quality of their acquisitions.

 

This is why one of the core principles of the President’s export control reform initiative is to honor our commitments to these nonproliferation regimes.  Multilateral standards for export controls support the effectiveness of our own measures at home.  Proliferation of WMD, delivery systems, conventional arms, and related components is an international problem requiring an international solution. We alone can’t keep weapons and technologies away from those who would do us harm.  Multilateral export controls help and also level the playing field for U.S. suppliers of strategic goods and technologies.  It’s not just U.S. industry that has to go through these types of regulations.    

 

Our work with regime partners is a dynamic process that includes discussions from the latest tech advances to changing proliferation trends.  We use these conversations as a framework to refine regime guidelines and their corresponding control lists with the overarching objective of countering proliferation in all of its constantly changing forms.
        
Now, a quick overview of what has been happening in the regimes.  I will cover them in this order:
•    Wassenaar Arrangement
•    Missile Technology Control Regime
•    Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
•    Australia Group (AG)
The Wassenaar Arrangement:
    The Wassenaar Arrangement currently consists of 41 participating countries.  Its purpose is to promote transparency and greater responsibility in international transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, and its control lists underpin our dual-use control system.
This year the Wassenaar Arrangement is conducting an Assessment of its processes and effectiveness, increasing its focus on terrorist access to small arms, and balancing the broader benefits with the potential security risks of emerging technologies.  Fifty-one proposals for changes to the Wassenaar control lists were agreed by the Experts Group this year.  They will be sent next month to the Plenary meeting for approval.

 

The Missile Technology Control Regime:
The Missile Technology Control Regime seeks to prevent the proliferation of unmanned delivery systems capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and related equipment and technology.  
The annual MTCR Plenary was held just last month in Busan, South Korea.  Some of the key developments from this meeting include the adoption of several changes to the MTCR Annex, such as the addition of controls on Ultra High Temperature Ceramic composite materials, aerothermodynamic test facilities (such as arc jet facilities and plasma wind tunnels), and gel propellants, as well as propellant tanks, combustion chambers and nozzles for gel propellants.  Other changes to the MTCR Annex were to clarify controls on re-entry vehicles, flow-forming machines, inertial measurement equipment, and software necessary to convert a manned aircraft to an unmanned aerial vehicle.  Finally, the MTCR Partners formally welcomed the regime’s newest member, India, which joined the regime this summer.

 

The Nuclear Suppliers Group:
The NSG develops and implements guidelines for the control of nuclear and related dual-use exports.  The NSG consists of most of the largest suppliers of nuclear and related dual use technology, equipment, and material.  
This year the NSG discussed the Indian and Pakistani requests to open a dialogue on their membership into the regime; considered changes to the Procedural Arrangement on outreach; and clarifications on software controls in the Part 1 Guidelines and revisions to the Part 2 Guidelines.  At their plenary meeting in Seoul this summer they also adopted six new technical changes to the Part 1 and Part 2 lists.  

 

The Australia Group:

 

The AG seeks to harmonize export controls to prevent the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.

 

The 2016 AG Plenary meeting was held in Paris, France.  Members agreed to intensify the Group’s focus on emerging technologies that can be used for chemical and biological weapons, and on impeding chemical and biological terrorism.  Members agreed to continue sharing approaches to challenges posed by intangible technology transfers, proliferators’ procurement of unlisted items, proliferation financing, online procurement, and transshipment.  Members also pledged to continue expanding their outreach to non-member countries and relevant international fora, as well as industry and academia, to highlight the threat posed by state and non-state actors seeking to acquire the ability to develop chemical and biological weapons.

 

The four regimes have been very active, and I anticipate that this pace will not let up in the coming months or years.  As we all know, the United States is in an election year and it is a time of uncertainty for many of us.  The future is somewhat unknown until we know who will be at the helm of the next administration.  But regardless of the outcome, our teams at the State Department and across the interagency will continue full steam ahead on our nonproliferation priorities and our commitments to our international partners.  Despite much progress made, now is not the time for complacency.  We have many challenges ahead, and our continued commitment to WMD nonproliferation proves that when we hold firm, we can make this world a safer place.   

 

In this fight I am thankful to share the trenches with you.  Compliance with export controls may seem like a headache at times, but you are our first line of defense, and we need your vigilance in identifying and stopping suspicious transactions.   Every time you identify an end user who isn’t who he says he is, a shipment route that doesn’t make sense, or payment terms that set off alarm bells, you are making an important contribution to our national security.  We want to build and maintain a stronger relationship with global industry leaders like you, to raise awareness of our objectives, help identify suspicious procurements, and assist industry in developing effective internal compliance practices that incorporate checks on end-users and end-uses of concern.

 

We are all in this together and incrementally – together - we are making a difference.  Thank you, again, for the work that you do and for your time and attention today.

 

   
© BIS 2016