IX. Organizing and Storing Arms Control Information

Arms control and nonproliferation information is critical, voluminous and complex; by taking full advantage of rapidly advancing technology, management of this information becomes ever more efficient and cost-effective.

ACDA's Office of Information Management and Computer Operations is responsible for developing, managing, and acquiring a wide range of information and communication systems containing arms control negotiation records, data exchange information, notifications, inspection reports, and other arms control-related data. These systems are used by subject matter experts for analysis on verification and compliance issues and in some cases for declaration reporting as required by treaty. Data stored on these information systems are shared with the United States arms control community in electronic format including use of classified intragovernment intranet SIPRNET, INTELINK, and unclassified World Wide Web (WWW). Established databases maintained by the Agency include:

  • the classified Automated Recourse to Electronic Negotiation Archives (ARENA) system, which contains around 80,000 documents, permits search of the complete text of all arms control negotiating records, and is available to federal agencies upon request;

  • the Processor for Arms Control Treaties (PACTS) database which permits similar search of the complete texts of all arms control treaties to which the United States is a party;

  • the World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers (WMEAT) databases of international arms sales, arms treaties, and military expenditures;

  • associated economic data used to prepare the Annual Report to the Congress on WMEAT;

  • the ACDA Integrated Retrieval System (AIRS) database of citations to thousands of arms control studies and reports;

  • the Arms Control Research Network (ACORN) database listing all federal arms control research projects and their recent products; and

  • the Arms Transfer Database Tracking (ATDT) database used for tracking arms transfer licenses.

ACDA is the U.S. Government repository of data exchange among nations pursuant to arms control treaties. The Arms Control Community On-line Repository of Treaty Data (ACCORD) database/repository was established by ACDA in 1993 to automate this function. In all subsequent years, the database has been updated with the current verified data of all previous information exchanged as a result of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and the Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBM) Agreement. This computer-based federal repository allows exchange data, notifications, and inspection reports to be archived in a single location. To the extent possible, the information is made available in electronic form so that federal agencies can have immediate access. The repository consists of both classified and unclassified computer databases, as well as paper copies of data. We are now adding START, Global Exchange of Military Information data, and data resulting from the Open Skies Treaty. We will be adding Treaty notifications for the Chemical Weapons Convention now that it has entered into force.

Data becomes information when it is organized so that it becomes useful for decision making. The activities of the Information Management Division have included support for the transformation of raw data into information. Particularly worthy of note are CargoScan and the Acceleration Tool which have been developed and used to assist in the verification of treaty compliance.

The ACDA wide area network (WAN) between Washington-area offices and Geneva has now been operational for several years. Most of the obsolete office automation and computer systems have been retired. The remaining older systems will be retired over the next year. This WAN connectivity provides excellent e-mail communications among the agencies and instant distribution of electronic files. In addition, all ACDA staff now have desktop access to the electronic cable dissemination and retrieval system which replaces the previous manual system for acquisition, sorting and distribution of daily cable traffic. During the next year the LANs will be upgraded to the Windows NT operating system.

We have established a homepage on the classified lntelink which will make several of the Agency's databases available to the interagency and we are currently expanding our audience through use of SIPRNET.

During 1997, we completed the installation of an Agency-wide unclassified LAN which offers ACDA users Internet connectivity, remote access while on travel, and access to information sources on the World Wide Web.

For the Office of Public Affairs, we provide technical support to the ACDA Homepage on the World Wide Web (http://www.acda.gov), which is open to the public and contains:

  • Texts of arms control treaties;

  • A repository of recent public documents relating to arms control issues;

  • The report on adherence to and compliance with arms control agreements;

  • The annual report on World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfer (WMEAT);

  • The Agency's latest press releases and fact sheets.

ACDA has added contractor resources to support its Records Management staff in meeting federal record-keeping regulations governing the creation, maintenance, and disposition of ACDA records to achieve proper documentation of the policies, decisions, and essential transactions of the Agency and ensure effective and economical management of its records. During 1997, training of all staff members in the proper records management procedures was initiated. In the coming year, an exerted effort will be made to ensure all ACDA record holdings, both domestically and at all overseas locations, are identified and documented.