Arms Proliferation and Control

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The U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race ended in détente, but nuclear development efforts and WMD proliferation in India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran have caused geopolitical instability since the Cold War's end. RAND has applied strategic analysis to nuclear confrontation scenarios and international deterrence efforts since its earliest work on game theory, with particular focus on the roles of both diplomacy and missile defense systems in global as well as regional security.

  • The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a mausoleum in Pyongyang, North Korea, photo by narvikk/iStock

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    How Does North Korea Evade Sanctions?

    The United Nations has imposed increasingly restrictive sanctions on North Korea after each of the six nuclear weapons tests that it conducted between 2009 and 2016. Enforcement has been mixed, and North Korea has become adept at several techniques to evade sanctions.

    Sep 23, 2021

  • Russian Mi-28N helicopters fly in formation at the Dubrovichi range near Ryazan, Russia, August 2, 2015, photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

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    Where Russia Markets and Sells Advanced Conventional Weapons

    Russia uses arms exports to further relations with other countries, influence their political and military leaders, and further its broader foreign and defense policy goals. A series of maps show the extent of its marketing, negotiating, and sales of key weapons systems.

    Jun 11, 2021

Explore Arms Proliferation and Control

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    U.S.-Soviet Nuclear Arms Control: Where We Are and How We Got There

    This paper reviews recent obstacles to progress in arms control negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union.

    Jan 1, 1985

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    Of arms control, summit meetings, and the politics of make-believe

    This paper argues that arms control negotiations and summit meetings are a dangerous panacea because they do not achieve the goals commonly claimed for them: (1) alleviate tension and contribute to international peace and security; (2) create a clima...

    Jan 1, 1985

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    The Intelligence Process and the Verification Problem

    In an effort to improve public understanding of the relationship between intelligence and the feasibility of verifying compliance with arms control agreements, this paper provides a primer on the intelligence-gathering process, discusses the need ...

    Jan 1, 1985

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    Strategic nuclear weapons, arms control, and the NATO alliance

    The development of new strategic nuclear weapons systems and the current chill in Soviet-American relations have clouded the future of strategic arms control. Prospective deployments of certain strategic weapons also strain relations between the Unit...

    Jan 1, 1985

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    Monitoring bombers and cruise missiles for the purposes of arms control

    This paper discusses the extent to which bomber/cruise missile characteristics and activities can be monitored by national technical means. Monitoring, which involves detection, identification, and measurement, should be distinguished from verificati...

    Jan 1, 1985

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    Nonnuclear strategic weapons: implications for arms control policy

    The future acquisition of nonnuclear strategic weapons (NNSW) is likely to have profound consequences for a wide range of U.S. foreign and defense policy issues. This paper examines the implications of NNSW acquisition for arms control policy, focusi...

    Jan 1, 1984

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    Space: A Sanctuary, The High Ground, Or A Military Mission?

    Discusses military strategy for space and how this strategy should be reflected in our decisions concerning the Soviet threat, the role of the military in space, the shuttle, military space programs, arms control negotiations for space, and military...

    Jan 1, 1982

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    The Future of Nuclear Arms Control

    The postwar security framework that has kept the peace for 35 years depends on nuclear weapons.

    Jan 1, 1982

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    The politics of arms control and the strategic balance

    If strategic arms control is to play an important role in American defense security policy in the future, it is crucial for policymakers and the attentive public to understand the precise reasons why the SALT II Treaty acquired such a poor reputation...

    Jan 1, 1982

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    Arms control and defense planning in Soviet strategic policy

    A perspective on how Soviet arms control strategies should be understood, with emphasis on the important differences between the Soviet approach and that pursued by the United States. The paper examines the role assigned to arms control in the overa...

    Jan 1, 1981

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    The Case for First-Strike Counterforce Capabilities

    In this briefing prepared for the 41st meeting of the Military Operations Research Society, the author challenges much of the current thinking behind U.S. arms control and strategic policies.

    Jan 1, 1978

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    Soviet proposals for international reduction of military budgets

    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 th...

    Jan 1, 1977

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    Developments in arms transfers: implications for supplier control and recipient autonomy

    Critically examines the assumptions that arms transfers are leading to a qualitative change in relations between arms suppliers and recipients, and a profound shift in the balance of military power between industrialized and nonindustrialized states....

    Jan 1, 1977

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    The faces of verification: strategic arms control for the 1980s

    For the United States credible verification of Soviet compliance with the terms of strategic arms limitation agreements is a sine qua non for enlarged arms control. Most recent proposals for increasing either the detail or the credibility of verifica...

    Jan 1, 1977

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    Selective Nuclear Options in American and Soviet Strategic Policy

    Whatever behavior the Soviets might pursue in a nuclear crisis, the desirability of maintaining a U.S. selective options strategy need not hinge exclusively on the course and outcome of future developments in Soviet nuclear planning.

    Jan 1, 1976

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    Selective Nuclear Operations and Soviet Strategy

    Discusses Soviet doctrinal views on nuclear targeting restraint, the Soviet public reaction to the U.S. pursuit of limited nuclear options, and possible private Soviet attitudes regarding selective nuclear employment.

    Jan 1, 1975

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    The Future of Conventional Arms Control.

    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...

    Jan 1, 1975

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    Selected Papers on National Security, 1964-1968

    Compilation of nine papers, three dealing with arms control and nuclear spread and six with defense (and other governmental) decisionmaking.

    Jan 1, 1974

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    Military-Industrial Simplicities, Complexities, and Realities.

    An argument that the difficulties and obstacles to arms control are not governed, or even heavily influenced, by military-industrial-complex (MIC) characteristics. The MIC is less a source of opposition to budget limitations and efficiency increases ...

    Jan 1, 1971

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    One American Perspective on Nuclear Guarantees, Proliferation, and Related Alliance Diplomacy.

    Argues that, to limit nuclear proliferation, the superpowers should seek arms control quantitative limits that permit modernizing their strategic weapon systems (e.g., MIRVing of missiles). Other nations will complain that such superpower "vertical ...

    Jan 1, 1971