The congressionally mandated estimates of the impact of weapons programs on U.S. arms control efforts are inadequate and not in compliance with the law, according to a report made public yesterday.
In the foreword to a 414-page analysis of the administration's arms control impact statements, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Sparkman (D-Ala.) and the ranking Republican, Clifford P. Case of New Jersey, call the statements "neither complete nor adequately analytical."
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Director Paul C. Warnke replies that he will play a central role in the preparation of future statements and will work to see that they comply with the spirit of the law.
In the two years since Congress ordered the executive branch to supply such statements, ACDA has not played a major role in preparing the statements, leaving them to the Pentagon, the Energy Research and the National Security Council.
"Unless a dominant voice," the report says, "is an impartial 'third' party which does not have a vested interest in the defense programs," the statements are likely not to be neutral.
Charles R. Gellner wroter the overall comments of the report, which was prepared by him and other analysts of the Library of Congress Congressional Research Service.
Congress ordered the arms control statements to be better informed when it makes decisions about development of weapons programs.
It conceived of the statements as an integral part of the yearly Pentagon budget requests 2nd the debate over weapons programs.
Instead, the administration has treated the statements separately. "After they finish their budge request then they say 'Oh, now we have to do the damn impact statements," one congressional staffer said.
The report is an effort to increase congressional interest in the statements and to pressure the administration to improve its performnance in preparing them.
Gellner cites the decisions to proceed with development and deployment of MIRV (multiple, independently targeted warheads) and cruise missiles as having had "a profound impact on arms control policy and negotiations."
He urges that the arms control impact reports would become more valuable if they were to compare a weapons systems with the available alternatives in the earliest considerations of a new weapons system.
The report also criticizes the executive branch for overclassifying the impact statements that have been provided, thereby making it more difficult for the Congress and public to learn from the statements.
Both sets of statements that have been sent to Congress were done under the Ford administration.