Improved Procedures Needed for Identifying Programs Requiring Arms Control Impact Statements

ID-78-48: Published: Sep 27, 1978. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 1978.

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A 1975 amendment to the Arms Control and Disarmament Act of 1961 required that the executive branch prepare arms control and disarmament policy and negotiations impact statements. These statements must accompany requests to the Congress for authorization or appropriations for programs meeting certain criteria. Budget requests of the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Energy (DOE) were reviewed to identify programs meeting these criteria and to determine why impact statements were not prepared for certain DOE programs.

The review showed that: a total of 300 DOD and DOE budget line items met the criteria for the impact statements; the March 13, 1978, executive branch arms control impact statement submission to the Congress covered only about half of these items; the DOD and DOE budgets contained 24 items for conceptual research which met monetary and nuclear criteria of the act; although certain aspects of the DOE's inertial confinement fusion program have weapons application, DOE officials did not believe that an impact statement was required; a complete listing of weapons research projects was not presented in the DOE budget; the executive branch impact statement submission only covers DOD and DOE programs; and it is not clear what specific budget items were covered by the statements. According to Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) officials, not all items meeting the criteria were covered because: some items were considered to have no significant effect on arms control policy, some items were overlooked in ACDA's analysis, ACDA was not provided complete budget presentations by the DOE, and the ACDA analysis was based on fiscal year 1978, instead of 1979, budget materials.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The House International Relations Committee should explore the following questions with the executive branch: How should research and development programs having broad application be addressed, particularly in which phase of development should an impact statement be prepared for a nuclear weapon? What procedures have been established to include the consideration of nonweapons technology programs which have potential military applications in the impact statement process? In what manner should well-established programs be handled in the process? What procedural changes would be necessary to assure that the submission is based on the budget request with which it is forwarded? How can coordination among executive agencies be improved with respect to sharing of information? Which Federal agency budgets should be examined as a routine part of the process? To what extent should related funding requests be considered when determining inclusion of programs? and Can the executive branch provide the Congress with information correlating budget items with programs covered by statements?


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