Coordination of Federal Arms Control Research Program To Be Improved

ID-80-6: Published: Mar 17, 1980. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1980.

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The efforts of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) to coordinate arms control research sponsored by other Federal agencies and the management of ACDA external research program were studied. The Director of ACDA is the principal advisor to the Secretary of State, the National Security Council, and the President on arms control and disarmament matters. Congress clearly intended that ACDA spearhead the Government's arms control research program through conducting and coordinating research and providing advice relating to arms control and disarmament policy formulation; managing U.S. participation in international arms control negotiations; disseminating and coordinating public information about arms control and disarmament; and directing, as needed, U.S. participation in international control systems that may result from U.S. arms control or disarmament activities. The ACDA external research program is designed to advance U.S. arms control objectives by focusing on issues under active or imminent negotiation and by providing a base for policy planning.

The ACDA has not carried out its coordination function as mandated by law. During the past 5 years, ACDA has not: (1) developed a Governmentwide comprehensive, balanced plan or program of research on arms control and disarmament; (2) advised other agencies as to their roles in arms control research; (3) maintained a comprehensive inventory of arms control research performed or sponsored by other Federal agencies; (4) sought agencies' assessments of their arms control research programs; and (5) evaluated arms control research done by or for other Government agencies. Agency officials contend there are mitigating circumstances in their failure to perform the required coordination. They reason that frequent interactions with other agencies are sufficient to keep abreast of other research and to keep others informed of ACDA research. They believe their ability to realistically accomplish the required coordination is questionable, and that compliance with the law would be very expensive and time-consuming beyond ACDA capabilities. They also doubt whether all Federal research with arms control implications should be coordinated by ACDA. Recently, ACDA has been withholding substantial portions of its research funds in reserve to meet potential shortfalls in operating funds. ACDA personnel were not systematically identifying research relevant to proposed projects, disseminating research results, or evaluating research products.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Director, ACDA, should coordinate all Federal arms control research in compliance with the Arms Control and Disarmament Act and Executive Order 11044. If such coordination is not feasible or appropriate, the Direcror should urge the Congress to amend the Act and seek to have the Executive Order revised or rescinded.

    Agency Affected:


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