Collaborative Project on Soviet Defense Conversion

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Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control (CISAC) has undertaken a project to work with elements of the Soviet defense industry to help them convert production from military to civilian uses. In this project we refer to conversion as the use of defense industry facilities, personnel, and/or technology for the production of nondefense products and services. One aspect of this work is to facilitate cooperation between U.S. and Soviet companies. Representative Les Aspin, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), asked the Center to initiate this project. The Institute of U.S.A. and Canada Studies (ISKAN) of the Soviet Academy of Sciences is coordinating the Soviet Union's participation.

In recent years issues in international security have been increasingly influenced by economic factors. This is evident in the defense budgets of the major powers as well as in arms transfers to regions such as the Middle East. Furthermore, arms control has taken on a broader meaning, involving unilateral cuts and confidence-building measures to supplement negotiated structural arms-control agreements.

The principal objective of this project is to assist the Soviet defense industry in their defense conversion activities by:

  • Analyzing the conversion problem in the Soviet Union and, if appropriate, extracting lessons from the U.S. experience.
  • Assisting the Soviets in contacting and exploring cooperative ventures with appropriate U.S. companies.
  • Stimulating discussions among Soviet defense experts and U.S. government officials and academics on appropriate changes to trade policy.

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