Evolution of the WMD Control Regime

  • Berhanykun Andemicael
  • John Mathiason
Part of the Global Issues Series book series (GLOISS)


A historical perspective is necessary for understanding the importance of verification as an indispensable element of any disarmament process, especially with respect to weapons of mass destruction. Verification is the process of gathering, analyzing and evaluating information to determine whether a State is complying with its obligations under a treaty or another type of agreement.1 The concept of verified disarmament is an integral part of the broader concept of arms control, which includes the regulation of armaments, the limitation of armed forces and the various measures to ensure transparency and build mutual confidence. Arms control was first defined in the 1960s as including ‘all the forms of military cooperation between potential enemies in the interest of reducing the likelihood of war, its scope and violence if it occurs, and the political and economic costs of being prepared for it’.2 A more concise recent definition broadens the concept to apply it to the century-old process by stressing security enhancement as a goal of all States: it presents arms control as ‘measures directly related to military forces, adopted by governments to contain the costs and harmful consequences of the continued existence of arms, within the overall objective of sustaining or enhancing their security’.3


International Atomic Energy Agency Security Council Mass Destruction North Atlantic Treaty Organization Nuclear Disarmament 
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Copyright information

© Berhanykun Andemicael and John Mathiason 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Berhanykun Andemicael
    • 1
  • John Mathiason
    • 2
  1. 1.Energy Agency to the United NationsUSA
  2. 2.Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public AffairsSyracuse UniversityUSA

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