OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL (GC)



The Office of the General Counsel (GC) is responsible for all matters involving domestic and international law that arise from arms control and disarmament activities of the U.S. Government and the work of the Agency. It provides legal advice and assistance throughout the negotiation, conclusion, ratification, and implementation of arms control treaties and agreements. GC lawyers regularly provide the following specific services:

  • Draft and provide advice and legal counsel during the negotiation of arms reduc-tion/control treaties and international agreements. Provide counsel on questions regarding implementation, interpretation, compliance, and revision of such agreements, including participation in interagency working groups and backstopping committees. Serve as the Legal Adviser on U.S. delegations to arms control and security arrangement negotiations.

  • Interpret legislation affecting the Agency, including representing the Agency with respect to proposed and pending legislation, and reviewing all Agency reports required by law and regulation.

  • Provide legal support for the ratification of arms control treaties. This includes drafting the article-by-article analyses of treaties for transmittal by the President to the Congress, and liaison with Members of Congress and staff on matters concerning arms control Treaties and Executive Agreements.

  • Assist in the preparation and review of arms transfer impact statements, reports on the verifiability of arms control proposals and agreements, and similar documents to be submitted to executive branch decisionmakers and/or Congress, all of which require legal interpretation of treaty provisions.

  • Draft and review legislation affecting the Agency, including the Agency's legislative programs such as the annual or bi-annual authorizations for appropriations.

  • Provide legal support for the Director's membership on the Board of Directors, United States Institute of Peace.

  • Provide legal support for initiatives by the President, the Director, and the different bureaus of the Agency by reviewing proposed positions from legal perspectives. This includes participation in working groups formed by the NSC to write and review papers establishing U.S. options that are proposed to the NSC and to the President.

  • Develop and interpret legal positions on Agency policies and operations in the areas of personnel, security, patents, procurement, fiscal, equal employment opportunity, and administrative matters.

  • Operate the Agency's ethics program. This includes obtaining financial disclosure statements and making conflict of interest determinations, interpreting and drafting regulations, providing ethics training, providing counseling and written legal opinions on regulations regarding executive branch standards of conduct, providing conflict of interest and post-employment conflict of interest advice, and attending interagency meetings and conferences concerning matters relating to the standards of conduct regulations.

  • Review all proposed contracts, grants, and reimbursable agreements.

  • Determine Agency responses to Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act, discovery, or other records production requests.

  • Provide legal instruction at both domestic and international arms control courses and seminars.

During 1997, attorneys from GC played a central role in the signature of the Protocol to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START II), signature of documents related to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems (ABM), negotiation of a Protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), ratification and implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), implementation of the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (START I), implementation of the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF), negotiation of measures to strengthen nuclear safeguards applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), negotiation in the Joint Consultative Group (JCG) on adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), preparatory work toward the negotiation of START III, representation of the United States at the Oslo Conference on Banning Anti-Personnel Mines, participation in the meeting of the Preparatory Committee of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and interagency efforts to gain Senate advice and consent of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).