Mission Statement

The Office of Missile Defense & Space Policy (MDSP) provides research, analysis, options, and recommendations to support the AVC Bureau Assistant Secretary, the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and other senior Department of State officials on issues related to missile defense, strategic early warning cooperation, and national security-related space policy. The office represents the Bureau and/or Department on U.S. Delegations for bilateral and multilateral consultations and negotiations in those areas.

AVC/MDSP is the Department’s lead in the development of Department of State positions regarding missile defense policy and programs, as well as missile defense cooperation with foreign governments, and works closely with the regional bureaus in multilateral fora such as NATO and the NATO-Russia Council. Furthermore, AVC/MDSP is responsible for organizing, directly supporting, and participating in, the bilateral negotiations with countries related to the deployment of European-based Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) missile defense assets in Europe. AVC/MDSP supports the Under Secretary (T) in consultations with the Russian Federation in the Presidentially established Arms Control and International Security Working Group.

The AVC/MDSP office provides support to consultations and negotiations regarding USG diplomatic initiatives such as early warning cooperation and pre-launch notification regimes. AVC/MDSP is the lead within the Department for the negotiation and implementation of U.S.-Russia agreements regarding early warning and pre-launch notification of ballistic missile and space launches.

Within the Department, AVC/MDSP plays a leading role in the development and implementation of U.S. space policy as it relates to national security affairs. In particular, this Office provides analysis, options, and recommendations to support the Bureau and Department regarding all policy, programmatic, technical, and threat issues related to strategic space arms control concepts and proposals as well as military- and intelligence-related space policy issues,

Key missions of the office include:

Developing and Implementing Missile Defense Policy: In coordination with the Department’s regional bureaus, and in support of the Assistant Secretary, AVC/MDSP has the leading role in developing and implementing a diplomatic strategy to encourage cooperation and participation by foreign governments in missile defense programs and related activities.

Developing and implementing policies regarding the national security uses of outer space: In coordination with the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the Bureau of Political Military Affairs, the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, and the State Department’s regional bureaus, AVC/MDSP has the lead in developing and implementing diplomatic strategies regarding national security doctrine and policy as it applies to military- and intelligence-related space programs and operations. The office’s portfolio includes diplomatic and public diplomacy initiatives in support of vital U.S. national interests in outer space. These initiatives seek both to preserve U.S. rights and the free use of space for national security and homeland security activities. Consistent with the guidance provided in the President’s National Space Policy, AVC/MDSP also promotes international cooperation with allies and partners on space activities that enhance security, stability, and responsible behavior in space, protect the security of the United States and its allies, and advance U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives around the world.

Ensures Coordination and Consistency between Missile Defense Policy and National Security Space Policy: Although the two major functions of the office are not directly connected in national policy guidance, policy decisions in one area may have policy implications to the other. By serving as the State Department's focal point for both issues, AVC/MDSP can ensure that overlapping issues are effectively coordinated in their formulation and implementation.