Powell OKs Merging Arms-Focused Bureaus
Byline: Nicholas Kralev, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The State Department plans to merge its arms control and nonproliferation bureaus, having concluded that much of their work overlaps and resources are being wasted, officials said yesterday.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell signed off on the recommendation - which was made in September by the department's inspector general - after his office completed a routine evaluation of the four divisions involved in international security policy.
The other two bureaus - dealing with political-military affairs and with verification and compliance - will remain separate, officials said.
"The report of the inspector general found that we still have structures created for Cold War challenges," a State Department official said. "We need to reduce overlap by retooling and improving efficiency."
He pointed out that many issues fall within the purview of more than one office in the department, such as chemical weapons or missile technology.
He rejected suggestions by some critics that the merger reflects a lack of interest in arms control and the international laws that regulate it.
"That is a distortion of the truth," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
"It's true that we are not judging our success by the number of new treaties we sign, but we are very concerned about countries abiding by existing agreements, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. …