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U.S. Department of State

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Owen J. Sheaks
Assistant Secretary of State for the
Bureau of Verification and Compliance

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Biography

Dr. Owen J. Sheaks was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Verification and Compliance on September 18, 2000. He was nominated by President Clinton on May 4, 2000 and confirmed by the Senate on September 8, 2000.

Dr. Sheaks is responsible for the overall supervision of Department policy and resources for all matters relating to verification and compliance with international arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements and commitments. He manages the Bureau's participation in all interagency groups on verification or compliance matters. In this regard, he serves as the principal policy community representative to the intelligence community on verification and compliance matters.

As Assistant Secretary, he also manages the congressionally mandated Verification Assets Fund (V Fund), which provides the Secretary of State with the authority to transfer funds to other agencies for research, development, and operation of verification technologies and programs important to arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament. In addition, he has oversight of the U.S. Government coordination of international Science and Technology as it relates to Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP). His responsibilities include developing proposals for the effective verification of agreements, promoting and assessing the effectiveness of technologies and procedures used in verification regimes, assessing and reporting to Congress on compliance with treaty obligations, and coordinating Research and Development on verification and CIP technologies.

Dr. Sheaks received his B.S. and Ph.D degrees in nuclear engineering at North Carolina State University and began his career with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1968. In 1969, he joined the faculty of the Nuclear Engineering Program in the Chemical Engineering Department of the University of Maryland. His course offerings included a broad spectrum of topics in nuclear physics; nuclear, mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering; energy economics; and mathematics for all levels of undergraduate and graduate students.

He joined the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) in 1978 and served in three of ACDA's four Bureaus. He was Nuclear Energy Division Chief for the Bureau of Nonproliferation; Science and Technology Policy Division Chief in the Bureau of Multilateral Affairs; Verification Division Chief and Deputy Director for the Bureau the Bureau of Intelligence, Verification, and Information Management. For his last 4 years with ACDA, Dr. Sheaks served as the Acting Assistant Director of the Bureau, and as the Agency's Chief Information Officer.

Prior to his appointment as Assistant Secretary for Verification and Compliance, Dr. Sheaks served as the Special Advisor to the Under Secretary for International Security and Arms Control/Senior Adviser to the President and the Secretary of State for Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament.

During his 20-year career in arms control, Dr. Sheaks has worked on the technology policy aspects of virtually every significant arms control agreement, including those relating to the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological weapons conventions, strategic weapons treaties, and nuclear testing treaties. His work has placed special emphasis on compliance assessments; on developing architecture and implementation modalities, and on verification technologies used for inspection and verification regimes. As ACDA's Chief Information Officer, he provided the leadership within ACDA for international information technology issues applicable to U.S. national security interests, including CIP.

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