International Arms Control

International Arms Control

The Intersection of Security, Strategy, and Multi-Level Negotiations

I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones
                                                                                                                                                                                 -Albert Einstein


Of all government foreign policy calculations perhaps none are more significant than those which involve a nation’s arsenal and the arsenals of their competitors. How many weapons should we obtain and of which type? Should we produce them ourselves or depend on others? If we decide on self-sufficiency which technologies do we need? Should we sell our weapons to country X and not to country Y? What would be the payoffs or repercussions? Is this the best means of ensuring our security? Or can security be better attained through international institutions, legal instruments, and policing efforts? – These are just some the question that will be explored in this course.

We begin by surveying historical trends in the proliferation of NBC weapons and their associated delivery systems. We then turn our attention to conventional weapons, and the true weapons of mass destruction—small arms and light weapons (SALW). In each case we will examine the strategic logic of possessing (or not possessing) the weapon in question, tactical logics which reduce the chance for their actual use, as well as a whole host of laws, treaties, and regimes designed to reduce stockpiles and regulate the trade / transfer of these dangerous instruments. Along the way we will draw upon individual cases to evaluate what has been done in past and what can be done in the future to curb proliferation and to insure that weapons do not fall into the hands of non-state actors.on.   

∴ Governmental Processes

∴ Critical Thought & Analysis
∴ Crisis Management
∴ Consequence Awareness

∴ Negotiation Techniques 
∴ Conflict Mediation Strategies
∴ Information Organization
∴ Policy Research Tactics
∴ Professional Policy Briefing
∴ Expert Written Correspondence
∴ Public Speaking and Presentation


  • Discern differing proliferation concerns as related to NBC weapons and the associated delivery systems; conventional weapons systems; cyber warfare; and small arms and light weapons.
  • Produce analytical reports assessing the probability of proliferation and use of individual weapons systems by specified actors on the basis of strategic and tactical logics.
  • Be sufficiently familiar with conventions, treaties, regimes, institutions, and other agreements to make feasible, prudent, and sound recommendations for achieving policy aims.
  • Discuss weapons proliferation related issues at a level sufficient for acceptance of an entry level position in the international security or arms control communities.