Soviet proposals for international reduction of military budgets

by Abraham S. Becker

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Traces the history of proposed arms control by reduction of military budgets in the postwar period. The Soviet Union continues frequently to propose moderate sized reductions by the great powers. Western States never regard these seriously because there has been no provision for comparing budgets or verifying compliance. The author argues that military expenditure limitation poses stringent information requirements and thus is no different than strategic arms limitations or other arms control arrangements. If anything, the information requirements are greater in as much as the information cannot be obtained by "national technical means." Regrettably, the Soviet Union remains unmoved by this argument; nor does it show any intent in easing its ban on release of military information. Near-term prospects for agreement by major powers on reductions are not promising, although there is an effort at the United Nations to develop a standardized system of reporting military expenditures.

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.

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