From "Crisis Management in the Nuclear Age," by Lynn Rusten and Paul C. Stern, a publication of the National Academy of Sciences: Recent proposals to establish formal nuclear risk reduction centers in the United States and the Soviet Union represent an attempt to address several difficult problems of information, communication, and signaling through a new institution. . . .

There is some question whether these centers might become irrelevant or dysfunctional during crises because decision-making tends to become very centralized in crises and because the centers could be used to convey disinformation. . . .

The concept of risk reduction centers has several attractive features from the standpoint of avoiding or perhaps managing certain kinds of crises, but raises many serious questions regarding implementation. The most ambitious concepts have met with some skepticism. There are limited domestic political incentives to create the centers, and there is concern that such centers could duplicate existing arrangements in the Defense and State Departments and the NSC or create another layer in an already complex security and foreign policy apparatus.

Nevertheless, agreement on a draft accord to establish very narrowly defined risk reduction centers was reached between American and Soviet negotiators in May 1987. The draft accord suggests that the centers would be used to notify each side of nuclear tests, missile tests, and military exercises. The centers were described by U.S. officials as a practical measure that could reduce the risk of miscalculation and conflict, but they are not expected to be used during crises for crisis management.