The Foreign Service Journal, January-February 2021

36 JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL confirms nor denies its nuclear status, but its presumed nuclear status has long been a contentious issue in the NPT, particularly among Middle Eastern NPT members. This is a good example of the type of situation in which the involve- ment of FSOs can be of unique benefit. Former FSO Tom Countryman brought diplomatic skills, Middle East experience and Arabic language to his nonproliferation job as ISN assis- tant secretary. These skills gave Countryman special entrée to work on the issue of the Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone with Israel and its neighbors. As the new administration examines possibilities for a more systematic nuclear dialogue with China, we should develop a cadre of Asian area experts with arms control expertise similar to that of the Russia arms control cadre we developed over the long years of the Cold War. We will need both South Asian and arms control experts, as well as novel ways to engage nuclear India and Pakistan, both of whom have made clear their unwillingness to join the NPT (which will admit only nonnuclear states). One such effort, which we called the P5 Plus, brought together India and Pakistan with the five legally recognized weapons states. It was inaugurated by Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Gottemoeller in 2011. In this case, we weren’t able to overcome a long-standing disagreement on the issue of a fissile material cut-off treaty. But ad hoc fora such as this one may offer promising means to tackle a range of nuclear issues beyond existing formal structures. Tapping Expertise The State Department also needs to tap expertise beyond the government, especially as newer fields of cyber, artificial intelligence and space issues impact the nuclear field. We have an unparalleled wealth of nuclear and other technical expertise in our universities, our think-tanks and our advocacy organizations. During the last four years in particular, when nuclear negotiations and policy-level security dialogues either halted or sputtered, these nongovernmental organiza- tions did yeoman work in a variety of track two dialogues across the nuclear agenda. The value of government cooperation with nonofficial entities is perhaps best exemplified by the U.S. Government– Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) partnership, which under- girded both the Obama-era Nuclear Security Summit process (2010-2016) and the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification, which debuted in 2014 and was continued by the Trump administration. We need to expand such public-private partnerships. A more flexible assignment process—and more human resources—could allow for State details to think-tanks such as NTI and universities (and vice versa). A greater presence of FSOs in academia could also help expand interest both in the field and in State Department careers generally. I, myself, benefited from such a university year at Stanford (when Con- doleezza Rice was lecturing on arms control!) and also used the year to both explain U.S. foreign policy and recruit possible new diplomats. Finally, we need to recruit new and more diverse experts in both the Civil Service and Foreign Service if we are to more effectively approach the complex array of nuclear and other security challenges, including new weapons and technologies. A whole generation of women began moving into senior posi- tions in the historically male-dominated nuclear field during the Clinton administration and ascended further during the Obama years (Michèle Flournoy, Rose Gottemoeller, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Madelyn Creedon, Lynn Rusten, Laura Holgate, Susan Burk and Anita Friedt, to name just a few), but we need greater generational renewal and diversity through- out the field. Another of my colleagues from the Obama years is helping to lead the way here, former Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, who founded Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation. The new Secretary of State in the Biden administration will face a daunting array of nuclear issues. Many have defied solu- tion for decades and reflect difficult geopolitical problems not easily amenable to negotiation. But whatever the challenge, we need to tackle issues that are within our competence—and that is to find the best people, craft the most efficient orga- nizations and policy processes, look for closer relationships with Congress, and shape the best policies and diplomacy for advancing U.S. arms control and nonproliferation goals. n Amore flexible assignment process—and more human resources—could allow for State details to think-tanks such as NTI and universities (and vice versa).