Bureau of Political-Military Affairs

The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM) is the Department of State's principal link to the Department of Defense. The PM Bureau provides policy direction in the areas of international security, security assistance, military operations, defense strategy and plans, and defense trade.

PM's activities are central to four of the Department of State's strategic goals:

  • Achieving Peace and Security: PM plays a key role in achieving peace and security around the world by:

    • managing and regulating defense trade and arms transfers to reinforce the military capabilities of friends, allies, and coalition partners, and to ensure that the transfer of U.S.-origin defense equipment and technology supports U.S. national security interests;

    • promoting regional security through bilateral and multilateral cooperation and dialogue, as well as through the provision of security assistance to friendly countries and international peacekeeping efforts;

    • providing diplomatic support to U.S. military operations, including the negotiation of status of forces, defense cooperation, cost-sharing, and base access;

    • countering the destructive effects of conventional weapons by clearing landmines and reducing the availability of at-risk small arms and light weapons to include man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS); and

    • countering terrorism and responding to crises by managing and sustaining coalitions, working with the Department of Defense on strategic and contingency planning to include counterinsurgency policy, and reinforcing the capabilities of friends and allies to respond to respond to humanitarian and natural disaster.

  • Governing Justly and Democratically: PM promotes American values of democracy, respect for human rights, and civilian control of military forces by funding training that exposes the armed forces and civilian personnel of other countries to these values and to the professionalism of the U.S. military.

  • Providing Humanitarian Assistance: PM manages humanitarian mine action programs around the world, promotes public-private mine action partnerships, and works with the Defense Department to provide assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises abroad.

  • Strengthening Consular and Management Capabilities: PM continues to develop, refine, and maintain information technologies that support defense trade and diplomatic support for U.S. military operations.