In March each year, the United States celebrates the important contributions and achievements of women throughout history. In the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, we celebrate our fearless and fantastic women every single day. They work tirelessly year-round with one goal in mind: to make the world safer.
ISN leads the State Department’s efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). We work to keep the world’s most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the world’s most dangerous people. Talented women in ISN take center stage in accomplishing our collective mission on behalf of the American people. These patriots work tirelessly on some of the most pressing foreign policy challenges facing the world today. Today, more than half of the bureau’s 12 offices have women in leadership roles.
We do not have enough room in this post to highlight all the phenomenal work that the women of ISN do, in the limelight or behind the scenes, but here is a brief snapshot of some of the experts who keep the American way of life — and Americans — safe.
At ISN’s helm is Ann Ganzer, a seasoned professional with over 30 years of experience in foreign policy. Ann leads a bureau of more than 200 experts, 50 % of whom are women. A career member of the Senior Executive Service, and skilled diplomat, Ann has negotiated treaties and agreements, represented the United States in a host of bilateral and multilateral meetings and international organizations, and built coalitions to counter proliferation. She has worked tirelessly to limit the spread of weapons of mass destruction, their systems of delivery, and destabilizing advanced conventional weapons.
Sarah Orndorff is a U.S. Navy veteran and is one of the key players negotiating civil nuclear cooperation agreements between the United States and partner nations. Sarah feels passionately about her work because she can contribute to international security through nuclear nonproliferation and to international development through peaceful nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is a dynamic and innovative field, and it is playing an increasingly big role in countries’ plans to shift to more environmentally responsible sources of energy. A Georgetown University alum, Sarah is committed to pursuing global support of clean energy for better air and water quality and improved health and quality of life for every person on every continent.
Pam Durham is one of the highest-ranking officers in ISN. She has directed the Office of Missile, Biological, and Chemical Nonproliferation since 2006. Every time there is a pressing proliferation challenge, Pam and her team are hard at work deploying a wide range of nonproliferation tools to make sure the world continues to be safe and secure. Pam is known throughout the global nonproliferation community for her commanding and encyclopedic knowledge of her field. She once single handedly delivered 13 separate briefings on missile proliferation challenges at a multilateral diplomatic meeting. Pam is also mentor to many women professionals getting their start in international security.
Jane Bocklage is a trailblazing Foreign Service Officer with a distinguished career that has included tours in Vienna, Bolivia, Vietnam, and Washington. She served as Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé de Affaires at the U.S. Mission to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Indonesia. Jane earned her Master’s degrees from King’s College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science, and is a Distinguished Graduate of the National War College. In ISN, she leads a team of scientists and experts to strengthen international processes to prevent, detect, disrupt, and roll back proliferation of nuclear weapons. Her office is greatly involved in the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as well as the U.S. relationship with the International Atomic Energy Agency. “Knowing that my work contributes to securing the United States is both an honor and a privilege,” Bocklage proudly declared. Apart from multiple honor awards for her exemplary work, Jane won the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in International Security Affairs in 2009 for her work in advancing U.S. political-military relations in Vietnam.
Regina Kang is one of the rising stars in ISN. She heads up our efforts to screen visa applications for nonproliferation concerns and has been at the forefront of China visa policy discussions. Before joining ISN, she worked on a range of nonproliferation and transnational crime issues in the Bureau of East Asian Affairs and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. She also worked on counterterrorism at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “It has been fulfilling to see that the day-to-day work we do has a big impact in protecting the United States,” she said. Kang has received a number of honor awards for leadership and excellence in the Department.
Kirsten Kulcsar Weand
Kirsten Kulcsar Weand is an infectious disease expert who specializes in emerging and high consequence pathogens including coronaviruses. She recently published a paper on coronaviruses, with an in-depth look at the importance of biosecurity. Kirsten joined ISN as an American Association for the Advancement of Science policy fellow shortly before the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. She has become ISN’s in-house expert for all the latest scientific research on the virus. She also advises on policy and programmatic biosecurity and global health security issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other dangerous pathogens. Before joining ISN, Kirsten was a research scientist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases. Kirsten received her PhD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Kate Insley directs the Export Control and Border Security Program, which operates in more than 50 countries and is designed to prevent the proliferation of WMD, delivery systems, and advanced conventional weapons. Kate joined ISN in 2006 and has worked tirelessly to advance national security programs ranging from biosecurity to nuclear smuggling and cybercrimes, and everything in between. Kate has had temporary duty assignments in places as diverse as Vienna and Baghdad, and long-term assignments at the Pentagon and National Security Council, where she relished the opportunity to work transnational threats from a different angle. Kate has received multiple awards including the Secretary’s Award in 2015 for her efforts to remove chemical weapons from Syria. Kate is a proud Marylander and holds a J.D and MPP from the University of Maryland Law School and School of Public Policy.
People do not often see the behind-the-scenes work that allows the rest of us to live our daily lives in peace. And yes, the work the United States undertakes could not be done without the valuable contributions of the many dedicated women in ISN who help design and implement policy and programs that keep America safe. Nonproliferation may seem to be a male dominated space, but as you can see here, that is far from the truth. In ISN, brilliant women work at all levels alongside their male colleagues to make our world a safer place – for this generation, the next and beyond.
About the Author: Maria Dudding proudly serves in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation at the U.S. Department of State.