Arms control agreements aren't the only way to reduce the risk of nuclear war. There are numerous other steps the United States and the Soviet Union could take to lessen the likelihood of armed conflict, says a just-released book from Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies.
``Each such measure requires careful and objective evaluation; none are without some costs and risks,'' write Sens. Sam Nunn (D) of Georgia and John W. Warner (R) of Virginia in their chapter in the book.
For the most part, these actions would make it easier for the superpowers to read each other's intentions in a crisis. Among the suggestions in ``Preventing Nuclear War, A Realistic Approach'':
Establishment of ``nuclear risk reduction centers'' in Moscow and Washington, D.C. These centers, perhaps staffed with both US and Soviet officials, could keep a close watch on tinder-box political crises. In less-tense times they could serve as a forum for informal infomation exchange.
Such centers might be particulary useful in guarding against a nuclear war begun by accidental loosing of one weapon, and in heading off nuclear terrorism.
Restrictions on nuclear weapons tests. A missile system in development is typically tested about 12 times a year. Allowing only half that number of tests would significantly slow deployment. If US or Soviet authorities judge such a step not in their national interest, they might still agree to exchange more test information.
Placement of early-warning radars on each other's territory. Small, tamper-proof radars may now be technologically possible. The US and USSR might agree to exchange such black boxes, placing them near missile fields to provide quick information on silo launches.
Expanded contacts between superpower military representatives.
More discussion between the superpower service chiefs might result in less chance of war through military miscalculation.
Currently, among the most successful forums for US-Soviet dialogue are the ``Incidents at Sea'' meetings between Navy officers. These meetings, held annually, have greatly lessened the chance of superpower confrontation on the high seas, according to US Navy officers.