Paul C. Warnke, an outspoken advocate of limiting the arms race, will be named director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and also the top U.S. negotiator on U.S.-Soviet arms limitiation, according to reliable sources.

The choice of Warnke rounds out a top-level Carter administration team that rejects the "worst case" arguments of Soviet military superiority and will first for arms reductions.

The point man will be Warnke, but Defense Secretary Harold Brown, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance and President Carter have all called for new strategic arms agreements with Moscow.

Warnke has criticized the U.S.-Soviet agreements made by the Nixon and Ford administrations as too permissive, allowing levels of armament and development of new weapons systems that permit continued mutual defense spending increases.

In the spring, 1975, issue of Foreign Policy magaznien, Warnke suggested trying "a policy of restraint, while calling for matching restraint from the Soviet Union."

The United States, he wrote, could begin by telling Moscow privately and publicly that it was placing a hold on development of certain weapons systems that would be reviewed in six months in the light of what actions the Soviets had taken.

If the Soviets responded by some significant pause in their weapons development, the United States could announce further initiatives, Warnke wrote.

A compulsion to proclaim "we're No. 1" militarily is incompatible with effective arms control agreements, Warnke wrote. "To conclude that we must overcome every Soviet lead despite its lack of military meaning is to accept the rule of illogic."

These views will place Warnke in the front line of those who defend the current U.S. military posture against critics who charge that the Soviet Union has achieved military superiority that imperils the United States.

A group of outside experts engaged by the Central Intelligence Agency attacked the national intelligence estimates of Soviet strength last year in a report that has touched off furious debate in Congress as well as in the executive branch.

Arms control advocates are eager to see the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency once again play a leading role in pushing for arms limitations. Many think their cause was weakened in recent years because out going director Fred C. Ikle was less enthusiastic about cutbacks than Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

Kissinger, in turn, found it difficult to operate in the field as the administration's strongest toplevel advocate of arms reductions, particularly after the Republicans primaries last spring brought President Ford under attack from challenger Ronald Reagan, an advocate of greater defense spending.

Warnke was a candidate to be Carter's Defense Secretary, a job he wanted, and when first approached about the terms control job reportedly was not eager to accept.It could not be learned yesterday what persuaded him to take the post.

Vance told a press conference yesterday that the announcement of a director for the agency would be made by the White House yesterday. However routine checks on Warnke had not been completed and the formal not been completed and the formal announcement is expected within a few days, sources said. Apparently, someone in the White House mistakenly told Vance the announcement would be made yesterday.

Warnke, whose 57th birthday was yesterday, has a credential widely shared in the Carter administration - he was a member of the Trilateral Commission. At least 14 other members of this David Rockefeller-supported. Abigniew Brzezinski-organized group that examined U.S.-European-Japanese relationships in the world have joined the Carter administration.