Emerging Technology Systems and Arms Control
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) agreements call for unprecedented cuts in strategic nuclear and conventional forces. But in contrast to earlier attempts to restrict technology development in previous arms control agreements, these two treaties will have no significant limitations on emerging technology weapons systems. This report considers whether the decision to set aside emerging technology restrictions may undermine the benefits of START and CFE over the lifetimes of these treaties. The authors conclude that the United States should not be concerned that the START and CFE treaties do not restrict emerging technology systems. Over time, however, such systems could upset the balance of conventional forces in Europe mandated by the CFE treaty, and they will probably become more important to the negotiations if the United States chooses to pursue strategic nuclear and conventional arms control with the Soviet Union beyond START and CFE toward START II and CFE II treaties.