PART III -- THE REAGAN REVOLUTION IN DEFENSE AND ARMS CONTROL

Chapter 15 - Soviet Arms Treaty Violations

Establishment of Arms Control Information Group (ACIG). As levels of classified arms control policy work in Reagan’s second year reached intensive levels, its public affairs and public diplomacy requirements grew correspondingly in volume and importance. At the same time, it became both increasingly difficult and important to coordinate a wide range of proposed unclassified interagency statements, briefings, and publications developed within the Administration, including those designed for the U.S. Congress, the media, the public, and international audiences. For this purpose, the NSC established the interagency Arms Control Information Group (ACIG) to meet under NSC arms control staff direction with the participation of the Department of State Political-Military Bureau staff, Senior Department of Defense officials and other departments and agencies. This group actively took on content and scheduling of the Administration’s wide range of domestic arms public affairs and outreach programs as well as international public diplomacy efforts, including those of the U.S. Information Agency. Topics included the “nuclear freeze,” Soviet violations and U.S. verification requirements, Soviet/U.S. military asymmetries, and other core arms control subjects. Many of its unclassified products are reviewed in this book and are provided in the book’s Internet Document Library.

4. The President’s General Advisory Committee (GAC) Report on Soviet Compliance—1982, 1983

In November 1982, the new NSC efforts to assure comprehensive arms control compliance assessments as directed by President Reagan were greatly aided by the work of a further, newly invigorated presidential committee.

General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament (GAC)—November 1982. A dormant bipartisan presidential advisory panel of experts known as the General Advisory Committee on Arms Control (GAC) was first established by President Kennedy in 1961. Its purpose was to advise the President, the Secretary of State, and the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) independently of the U.S. Government’s bureaucratic process. Reagan met with the GAC members for the first time on November 19, 1982
at the White House when they were sworn in by National Security Advisor Judge William Clark. Reagan’s twelve GAC appointments included his White House Science Advisor, William Graham, as chairman, and Donald Rumsfeld, James Woolsey, William Schneider, John Roche, Laurence Silberman, and others as members. They were supported by NSC arms control staff that assisted the GAC in drawing on briefings from all U.S. government agencies and a wide range of independent experts. The GAC was similar to the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), headed by John Foster, which also benefited from frequent NSC and others’ briefings and exchanges on arms control and related national security issues.

GAC Tasking. At their White House meeting, Reagan personally tasked the GAC members to undertake an unprecedented comprehensive historical analysis of Soviet arms control compliance issues over the past twenty-five years. The GAC was to utilize all available intelligence and relevant legal data, including full access to the Interagency Groups’ work, and was to complete its work in a year. While the GAC role was initially contested by some agencies, including ACDA, as too broad in scope and a potential a rival to the Interagency Groups’ efforts, Reagan’s directions were reaffirmed by the NSC. The GAC was assured office space at ACDA in the Department of State building and was supported by NSC staff in gaining the required access to experts and documents throughout the Administration.

The Classified GAC Report—November 1983. In November 1983, as the Interagency Group’s study of Soviet non-compliance was also reaching completion (see Topic 5 below), the GAC sent a highly classified report to the President. Its 200-some pages provided a comprehensive independent perspective on the historical pattern and evidence of Soviet non-compliance and outright violations of arms control treaties. Beginning in December 1983 and in the following months, the GAC briefed its classified report to President Reagan, the Interagency Groups on arms control, the Congress, and key allies, including senior officials at NATO headquarters. The GAC report’s full text has not been declassified at this time, but an unclassified version, prepared in 1984, is reviewed below and provided in full in this book’s associated Internet Document Library.

Congressional Interest. During this intensive briefing process, classified GAC charts used at Congressional briefings were retained and circulated in Congress from where some were leaked to the press. As Congressional and media interest rose, House and Senate defense appropriations bills introduced requirements that the Reagan Administration send a classified version of the GAC report to the Congress within 30 days of the appropriation being approved, followed by a declassified version within 60 days. This timeframe was intend-

[Book pg. 359]

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