In the 1970s emphasis of the agency was placed upon gaining an understanding of USSR and China strategic weapons capabilities. The electronic reconnaissance capability of the USA 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.
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.
Under Secretary's Responsibilities
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 ACDA Head
The current Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs is Robert Joseph.
Former directors include:
- John D. Holum (1993-97)
- Ronald F. Lehman (1989-93)
- William F. Burns (1988-89)
- Kenneth Adelman (1983-87)
- Eugene V. Rostow (1981-83)
- Ralph Earle (1980-81)
- George M. Seignious (1978-80)
- Paul Warnke (1977-78)
- Fred Ikle (1973-77)
- Gerard C. Smith (1969-72)
- William C. Foster (1961-1969)
- 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