Cover: The Future of Conventional Arms Control.

The Future of Conventional Arms Control.

by James L. Foster


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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.

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