Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements [September 20, 2011] [open pdf - 605KB]
"Arms control and nonproliferation efforts are two of the tools that have occasionally been used to implement U.S. national security strategy. Although some believe these tools do little to restrain the behavior of U.S. adversaries, while doing too much to restrain U.S. military forces and operations, many other analysts see them as an effective means to promote transparency, ease military planning, limit forces, and protect against uncertainty and surprise. Arms control and nonproliferation efforts have produced formal treaties and agreements, informal arrangements, and cooperative threat reduction and monitoring mechanisms. The pace of implementation slowed, however, in the 1990s, and the Bush Administration usually preferred unilateral or ad hoc measures to formal treaties and agreements to address U.S. security concerns. But the Obama Administration has resumed bilateral negotiations with Russia and pledged its support for a number of multilateral arms control and nonproliferation efforts. [...] The United States is also a prominent actor in an international regime that attempts to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. This regime, although suffering from some setbacks in recent years in Iran and North Korea, includes formal treaties, export control coordination and enforcement, U.N. resolutions, and organizational controls. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) serves as the cornerstone of this regime, with all but four nations participating in it. The International Atomic Energy Agency not only monitors nuclear programs to make sure they remain peaceful, but also helps nations develop and advance those programs. Other measures, such as sanctions, interdiction efforts, and informal cooperative endeavors, also seek to slow or stop the spread of nuclear materials and weapons."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33865