Statements that Analyze Effects of Proposed Programs on Arms Control Need Improvement

ID-77-41: Published: Oct 20, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 1977.

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The statements submitted to Congress by the executive branch analyzing the impact of proposed programs on arms control and disarmament policy and negotiations have not accomplished their intended objectives.

The intended objectives of the statements were: (1) to make the executive branch formally and systematically consider the possible effects of proposed programs on arms control; (2) to improve the quantity and quality of information submitted to Congress on proposed defense programs so it can better deliberate the merits of these programs; and (3) to enhance the role of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the national security policymaking process. Although these objectives are laudable and the idea of having arms control impact statements has merit, the quality of the statements cannot be expected to improve until the executive branch overcomes past difficulties in implementing legislative requirements. Executive branch compliance with the legal requirements has been hampered by interagency disputes over such basic questions as: (1) whether programs require arms control impact statements; (2) what information the statements should contain; and (3) the role various agencies are expected to play. Uncertainty over the intended use of these statements by the Congress also appears to have inhibited full disclosure of arms control factors.

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