Jeffrey LewisBob Joseph Leaving State

Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security “Space Based” Bob Joseph is set to leave the State Department:

Good jobs opening up at the State Department. Buzz is Robert Joseph, undersecretary for arms control and international security, is going to be moving on, possibly at the end of this month.

The date is uncertain, we’re told, because it has changed a few times. Apparently Secretary Condoleezza Rice wanted Joseph, who we’re told has been frozen out of some important issues, to stay on for a bit given all the openings.

I don’t know him, but I hear he’s actually a nice guy.

Anyway, I’ll never forget when he told the Carnegie Nonproliferation Conference that the US decision to sink the BWC draft protocol was “an act of leadership more than unilateralism” because, among other reasons, verifying a ban on biological weapons might lead to “a false confidence” that certain states weren’t pursuing an offensive BW capability.

I guess we should be glad that we didn’t have more intel on Iraq—otherwise we might totally have missed that clandestine Iraqi BW program.

Cuts both ways, Bobby.


  1. Amyfw (History)

    “A nice guy.” Hmm. Well, I guess, relative to his predecessor. I can’t offer up any warm, caring thoughts about this one, like I did about Linton Brooks (who I really do like), even though Joseph was also a Reagan-era arms controller (he headed the Defense and Space talks, i.e. he was a true believer in SDI). I had a run-in with him at a conference a bunch of years ago (maybe 10), and I walked away convinced that he was absolutely living in the twilight zone. He actually seemed to be wishing for the return of the Soviet threat, so we could continue planning our lives (and nuclear forces) to defeat it. I’m just curious about who they can get to jump on this sinking ship at this point in time….

  2. Haninah

    For me, at least, my last impression of Joseph’s tenure will be these chilling words, from last week’s Times piece on RRW:

    “On Friday, Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration of the Energy Department, said the government would not proceed with the Reliable Replacement Warhead “if it is determined that testing is needed.” But other officials in the administration, including Robert Joseph, the under secretary of state for arms control and international security, have said that the White House should make no commitment on testing.”

    Good riddance, Bobby.

  3. Jeffrey Lewis


    To be precise, what I heard was that his children are nice, and, hence, he is a good father.

    Doesn’t make him a good Undersecretary, though.