paper was the first in a series of working papers , published by the Institute for Resource and Security Studies (IRSS) in an effort to provide readers with access to current research on resource and international security issues. The writing and publishing of this paper were performed within the Proliferation Reform Project (PRP), a research and education effort of IRSS. This paper explores options for strengthening and adapting the existing arms control and disarmament framework through many small steps–a “piecemeal” approach to peacebuilding. The ultimate objective is to create a comprehensive, universal, international arms control structure. Much of the discussion centers on the control of nuclear weapons. From the end of World War II until the early 1960s, it was generally assumed that arms control and disarmament should be pursued through international measures. A period then began in which arms control was largely the preserve of the superpowers.
This paper argues that a resurgence of international arms control is feasible, timely, and necessary. Present arrangements are inadequate to address current and potential challenges. If progress in international arms control is to be made, two major problems must be faced: the difficulty of finding agreement on comprehensive, international measures; and the need for consensus. A piecemeal approach, a comprehensive plan of arms control and disarmament disaggregated into discrete, self-contained “modules”, would overcome these problems