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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) > Releases > Other Releases > 2005

The Arms Control Philosophy and Accomplishments of the Bush Administration

Bureau of Arms Control
Washington, DC
February 11, 2005

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The Bush Administration recognizes that effective arms control contributes to achieving our paramount goal of reducing the threat of weapons of mass destruction to our nation and people everywhere. As President Bush said on February 11, 2004, "The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility of secret and sudden attack with chemical or biological or radiological or nuclear weapons."

The Bush Administration has adapted our arms control and nonproliferation policies to the post-Cold War era and focused on the emerging threats of the 21st century, in particular, terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

This has meant abandoning anachronistic Cold War institutions, such as the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and establishing a new, more cooperative partnership with Russia. Our withdrawal from the ABM Treaty opened new opportunities for cooperation in missile defense with Russia and other friends and allies that would not have been possible under that Treaty.

The Administration will continue to enter into new arms control agreements if they are demonstrably in the United States’ national security interests.

  • Our new strategic relationship with Russia allowed us to rapidly negotiate deep reductions in deployed strategic nuclear warheads by two-thirds (to 1,700-2,200) by the year 2012. This represents the largest reduction in nuclear forces ever mandated by an arms control treaty.
  • When Russia has fulfilled its obligations to withdraw its forces from Moldova and Georgia, we will seek the Senate’s advice and consent to the Adapted Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and its entry into force.
  • The Administration supports a continued moratorium on nuclear testing. The Administration also supports multilateral efforts to establish an International Monitoring System (IMS) that will complement U.S. national capabilities to monitor nuclear testing worldwide.

The Administration seeks full compliance with existing agreements, and is committed to effective multilateralism properly targeted at today’s security threats.

  • To an unprecedented degree, the Administration has publicly confronted states that are violating their obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). These treaties collectively serve as the cornerstone of our non-proliferation policies. In a significant diplomatic success, on April 28, 2004, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution proposed by President Bush to keep chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.
  • The U.S. is strongly committed to combating the biological weapons threat, but the Administration rejected the draft BWC Protocol because its verification provisions would have been singularly ineffective. As an alternative, the Administration developed and promoted new approaches to strengthen the BWC. In November 2002, BWC States Parties agreed to a three-year work program based on the new U.S. proposals. Among other things, we are pressing all States Parties to enact a variety of national measures aimed at securing dangerous pathogens and criminalizing the development of biological weapons.
  • President Bush announced the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) in 2003 as part of the U.S. National Strategy to Combat WMD Proliferation. The Administration worked with 10 other countries to develop a set of "principles" identifying steps to interdict shipments of WMD-related materials by air, sea, or land. The PSI "Statement of Interdiction Principles" was agreed upon by the 11 countries to show our commitment to strengthen efforts to combat the growing proliferation threat.
  • The Administration developed a new landmine policy that commits us to be the first major military power to stop using land mines that are persistent or undetectable to metal detectors. The new policy reinforces the long-standing U.S. leadership role in -- and a commitment to -- curbing the humanitarian problems caused by indiscriminate use of landmines and opens the door for possible international dialogue on a prohibition on the sale or export of persistent landmines.

The Administration is committed to improving the effectiveness of arms control-related multilateral organizations.

  • The Administration brought new management to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and reformed its inspection activities to help make CWC implementation more effective. We have named the first full-time U.S. ambassador to the OPCW, and made a $2 million voluntary contribution to the organization in 2002 to help address financial problems the new management had inherited. Since the beginning of the Bush Administration, 18 more nations have become States Parties to the CWC.
  • The Administration is working to make other multilateral arms control institutions such as the Conference on Disarmament (CD) and the United Nations First Committee (UNFC) more effectively address current challenges. In particular, we are transforming the agendas of both bodies to make them more relevant to the security threats we face in the post-September 11 world. At the Fall 2003 UN General Assembly session, the Administration’s resolution on reforming the UNFC passed by consensus.

Finally, the Administration developed additional approaches to complement traditional treaty-based arms control regimes.

  • The May 2002 Moscow Summit led to the creation of two U.S.-Russian working groups on missile defense and offensive nuclear transparency that are aimed at strengthening confidence, cooperation, and predictability. We are exploring areas of missile defense collaboration with Russia aimed at combating the common threat we face from ballistic missile proliferation.
  • The Administration has begun strategic stability and security dialogues with China, India, and Pakistan. These dialogues will promote increased mutual understanding and help identify specific actions to, among other things, reduce the risk of nuclear confrontation.
  • The Administration welcomed the historic decision of Libya to end its WMD programs and expects other regimes to follow this example. Libya pledged to work with the U.S., the United Kingdom, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the OPCW to:
    • eliminate all elements of its chemical and nuclear weapons programs;
    • declare all nuclear activities to the IAEA;
    • eliminate ballistic missiles with more than 300 km range when carrying a payload of 500 kg;
    • accept international inspections to ensure Libya’s complete adherence to the NPT and sign the IAEA Additional Protocol; and
    • eliminate all chemical weapons stocks and munitions, and accede to the CWC.

In all of these ways, the Bush Administration is working actively to meet arms control’s original purpose -- lowering the chance of war or conflict and reducing the damage if it does occur -- while also transforming traditional arms control methods to address new threats to U.S. and international security.


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