The Future of Conventional Arms Control.

by James L. Foster


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback28 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Dramatic changes in conventional military capabilities coupled with nuclear parity should increase the importance of conventional military power as well as raise new opportunities and problems for arms control. This paper describes current trends in weapons development and evaluates alternative interpretations of the implications of those trends. The requirements of effective and reliable arms control agreements are then enumerated and a general assessment made of the difficulties in meeting those requirements. The conclusions suggest the imminent emergence of significantly greater incentives for larger conventional forces, for larger logistics and support bases, for surprise attack, and for campaign strategies that emphasize speed and high attrition on all sides. If true, these factors will increase pressures for larger military budgets while also increasing instabilities in arms competitions. They also should increase interest in arms control measures though the characteristics of new weapons technology may make the derivation of such measures even more difficult than in the past. 28 pp.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.