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Arms Control Association: Four Decades of Accomplishment

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1971 Arms Control Association (ACA) founded by leading military, defense, and diplomatic officials involved in the early years of nuclear and chemical arms control.

1972 ACA Treasurer Herbert Scoville, Jr. gives the first of many ACA testimonies to Congress. In this case, the topic was the Seabed Arms Control Treaty.

1974 Arms Control Today debuts as the new name of the ACA newsletter, which began in April 1972.

ACA co-hosts a three-day international conference in France on policy recommendations for governments before the first-ever nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference.

1975 Arms Control Today articles cover a wider range of subjects, including: the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty; the future of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and nuclear safeguards; the rationale for a “nuclear suppliers cartel;” negotiations on a treaty to ban chemical weapons; the need for a comprehensive test ban treaty (by Sen. Edward Kennedy); rising global arms sales; and arms control implications of “smart” weapons.

1976 ACA opposes the threshold test ban treaty and agreement on peaceful nuclear explosions as a “disheartening step backward” for arms control.

Arms Control Today publishes arms control questions and answers with presidential candidates Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. This inaugurates what will become a regular feature in presidential election years.

1977 ACA co-hosts the first of several annual international meetings for young arms control analysts and scholars (New Faces Conferences). ACA itself becomes a training ground, helping to launch the careers of many men and women who later served in high government positions.

1979 ACA President Herbert Scoville, Jr. helps lead non-governmental opposition to the MX ICBM and two years later publishes MX: Prescription for Disaster. ACA publishes Negotiating Security: An Arms Control Reader, the first of many books and studies.

1982 ACA helps organize Ground Zero Week to educate the public about nuclear weapons, nuclear war, and arms control.

1983 ACA commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Limited Test Ban Treaty by honoring its chief U.S. negotiator, W. Averell Harriman, and calls for the renewal of comprehensive test ban talks.

1984 ACA helps establish the National Campaign to Save the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and warns against the destabilizing and costly impact of the Strategic Defense Initiative.

1985 Arms Control Today expands from newsletter to journal format, which physicist Hans A. Bethe praises the following year as “by far the best magazine in the field.”

1986 ACA inaugurates is Scoville Visiting Lectureship program in which arms control specialists visit smaller colleges and universities to speak on arms control.

1988 Arms Control Today publishes analysis, summary, and text of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty; a practice it follows for all major arms control treaties.

1989 ACA publishes the primer, Arms Control and National Security: An Introduction.

1990 ACA Director Spurgeon Keeny and Deputy Director Jack Mendelsohn are awarded “Laurel” citations by Aviation Week and Space Technology for ACA’s “highly accurate information on arms control and national security issues.”

1991 Arms Control Today receives the 1991 Olive Branch Award for “outstanding” coverage of international security for a notable series of articles on the potential for terrorist acquisition of nuclear weapons material in the former Soviet Union.

1995 ACA plays major role in the Campaign for the NPT supporting the accord’s indefinite extension and strengthening of the nuclear-weapon states’ commitments to nuclear disarmament, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

1997 ACA launches its Web site, making Arms Control Today and other research products available to tens of thousands more readers.

ACA director Keeny and several Board Members serve on National Academy of Sciences study panel on the Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy, which recommends reducing U.S. nuclear weapons to fewer than 1,000 warheads.

1997-99 ACA and other organizations in the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers wage a high-profile, but unsuccessful, bid to win Senate approval of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and preserve the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency as an independent entity.

2001 ACA expands Board of Directors to include more women and minorities; hires new executive director to update the approach of the organization.

ACA exposes and helps counter efforts by administration hardliners to repudiate the U.S. signature of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

2002 ACA becomes leading nongovernmental critic of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, the two-page long Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, and the George W. Bush administration’s policy decision to pursue new nuclear capabilities to destroy non-nuclear targets.

ACA publicly urges the United States to restart talks with North Korea on implementation of its nonproliferation commitments and to avert a restart of its weapons program.

Arms Control Today publishes a special report on the history, findings, and status of arms inspections and disarmament in Iraq; urges continued inspections to eliminate prohibited weapons and missiles.

2003 ACA draws attention to Bush administration’s “cherry-picking” of National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq at press conference featuring former intelligence officials. CBS’ 60 Minutes later created an entire segment focusing on one of the ACA speakers, Greg Thielmann, titled “The Man Who Knew.”

Arms Control Today publishes seminal article by group of physicists and diplomats on the negative impact of proposals to build new earth-penetrating nuclear weapons, sparking key members of the House and Senate, including Sen. Edward Kennedy to launch a campaign against the proposal.

2004 Arms Control Today is redesigned for first time in nearly two decades, expanding to a 56-page format with added news coverage, more frequent higher-level newsmaker interviews, book reviews, and more. Arms Control Today is first to report on U.S. negotiations with eastern European states on deployment of strategic missile interceptors in their territory.

ACA establishes presence in Europe with an international representative, increasing its presence at meetings on the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the CTBT, and the IAEA.

National Journal profiles ACA Director Daryl Kimball as one of the 10 people whose ideas “will help shape the debate on nuclear weapons and nonproliferation in the years to come.”

2005 The Washington Post cites ACA as having successfully led the opposition to a proposal for research and development of a new U.S. earth-penetrating nuclear weapon.

ACA cosponsors the “Campaign to Strengthen the NPT” and rallies bipartisan support for a comprehensive U.S. nonproliferation strategy ahead of the 2005 NPT Review Conference.

ACA publishes influential report What Are Nuclear Weapons For? by Dr. Sidney Drell and Amb. James Goodby calling for steep nuclear reductions to 1,000 strategic warheads.

2006-2008 ACA leads a diverse national and international coalition of NGOs and experts against exempting India from U.S. and international nuclear trade restrictions that almost tipped the balance against the deal. ACA Board member Robert Gallucci and Director Daryl Kimball testify before Senate and House committees noting that it will indirectly boost India’s fissile production capacity and undermine efforts for a global fissile production cut off treaty.

2007 With the approach of a new presidential administration, ACA develops a detailed legislative proposal for a comprehensive strategy to strengthen the nonproliferation and disarmament system, which was embraced by Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Chuck Hagel and introduced as S. 1977 in August 2007. The bill became the blueprint for President Obama’s nuclear risk reduction strategy outlined in his speech in Prague in 2009.

2008 ACA publishes reports and articles by staff and by Board Member Rose Gottemoeller that provide blueprint for negotiation of a new strategic arms reduction with Russia beginning the following year.

ACA hosts debate on nonproliferation and disarmament involving representatives of the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns. Arms Control Today publishes an extensive Q & A with president-elect Barack Obama on his views and policies on nonproliferation and disarmament.

ACA launches Project for the CTBT to coordinate public and policy education efforts on the CTBT. At request of Presidential Transition Team, ACA provides recommendations for test ban policy.

2009 New grants and donor contributions result in 40% increase in ACA budget, leading to new research and communications projects, including new “Realistic Threat Assessments Project” led by a new Senior Fellow to improve understanding of the threats from and policy responses to the Iranian nuclear and missile programs.

ACA Director Daryl Kimball is invited to speak to U.S. Strategic Command conference on recommendations for new Nuclear Posture Review; he outlines case for reducing the role of U.S. nuclear weapons to “deterring the use of nuclear weapons by other states.”

2010 ACA plays a leading role in the nongovernmental effort to build public understanding and support for the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

ACA launches a series of conferences in Brussels, Warsaw, Ankara, and Washington on revising NATO’s nuclear policy and the future U.S. tactical nuclear bombs in Europe.

ACA is well-positioned to help advance progress on arms control now and in the years to come.