The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) works to deliver programs and services aimed at reducing the harmful effects of at-risk, illicitly proliferated, and indiscriminately used conventional weapons of war. Around the world, stockpiles of excess, poorly-secured or otherwise at-risk conventional weapons remain a serious challenge to peace and prosperity. In the wrong hands, small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) fuel political instability and violence, while more advanced conventional weapons, such as man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), pose a serious threat to international security. Aging munitions stockpiles may also explode, devastating nearby population centers. Meanwhile, hazards from landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), including cluster munition remnants, artillery shells, and mortars, continue to kill and maim people long after conflicts have ended. They prevent the safe use of land, which suppresses economic development and prevents displaced persons from returning home.
The U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction (CWD) program embodies our commitment to reduce these threats worldwide. The United States is the world’s leading financial supporter of CWD, providing more than $4.2 billion in assistance to more than 100 countries and territories since 1993. The CWD program helps foreign governments destroy excess stockpiles of conventional arms, better secure the stockpiles they retain, and clear landmines and UXO. Our efforts reduce the likelihood that weapons and ammunition will fall into the wrong hands and protect civilian populations from deadly hazards. By alleviating these threats to civilian security, this program demonstrates core U.S. values that respect the dignity of every human being.
PM/WRA’s CWD program objective is three-fold:
- To enhance regional security by destroying and securing SA/LW, including MANPADS, at risk of proliferation to terrorists, insurgents, and other violent non-state actors;
- To remediate explosive hazards contamination, returning land to safe and productive use; and
- To promote U.S. foreign policy interests by broadening international support for CWD efforts.
In addition to working with other U.S. government entities, PM/WRA partners with nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, educational institutions, and private sector contractors to implement its CWD programs. Robust project performance standards, enhanced monitoring and evaluation strategies, and a comprehensive program planning process guide PM/WRA’s resource allocation decisions and hold implementing partners accountable.
Collectively, U.S. CWD efforts save lives, create lasting peace, and ensure a more secure and prosperous future for all. Thanks to our CWD programs, the world is a safer place today and will continue to be a safer place in the years to come.