The Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies (IDDS) was founded by Dr. Randall Forsberg in 1980 to advocate for American nuclear disarmament, in the belief that such a course of action would give rise to a worldwide movement to do the same. IDDS describes itself as “a nonprofit center where we study global military policies, arms holdings, production and trade, arms control and peace-building efforts; and run educational programs on current and alternative policies.”
With a staff of seven (sometimes thirteen, counting interns), the IDDS think tank compiles two major reference works: the monthly Arms Control Reporter, and the annual IDDS Database: World Arms Holdings, Production, and Trade. The Editor-in-Chief of the Arms Control Reporter is Dr. Appu Soman, who authored the book Double Edged Sword: Nuclear Diplomacy in Unequal Conflicts (2000), based upon his doctoral work studying U.S. threats to use nuclear weapons in the 1950s during the Korean War and in several subsequent crises in the Taiwan Straits.
Ronald Siegel is a research associate in the IDDS’s Northeast Asia Security Project, studying issues of nuclear weapons, conventional forces, and global warming. He wrote the IDDS report on “rogue state” missiles in 2001, the rogues identified at that time as Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
In 2004, Dr. Forsberg criticized U.S. plans to install a National Missile Defense (NMD) system in Alaska and California, stating that the so-called “rogue states” posed no threat to America, and that the missile defense scheme was really targeted at Russia and China. She suggested that the development of a NMD system would only prompt China to expand its intercontinental ballistic missile force, and would cause Russia to slow the rate of its own nuclear arsenal reductions. Forsberg also predicted that any Chinese nuclear expansion would trigger growth in the nuclear forces of India and Pakistan.
Similarly, Ronald Siegel has derided the Bush administration’s wish to deploy a NMD system in Alaska as “manifestly unworkable.” He contends that the missile interceptors could only be sufficiently effective if they were nuclear-tipped, and that they would actually be intercepting missiles in Russian airspace.
The President of IDDS is Jonathan Dean, who is the Union of Concerned Scientists‘ advisor on global security issues. The IDDS Board Chair is Dr. Judith Reppy of the Cornell University Peace Studies Program. Another Board Member is MIT physics professor Dr. Philip Morrison, formerly a member of the Communist Party — from which he resigned in time to take a job with the Manhattan Engineering District, the secret World War II-era project to develop an atomic bomb.
A recently instituted IDDS program is Urgent Call, which Forsberg describes as “an Internet-based grass-roots campaign that calls for the United States to build on decades of international nuclear arms control agreements and continue to move, step by verifiable step, toward global nuclear disarmament.”
IDDS currently sponsors several education programs designed to spread its anti-military, anti-nuclear message. In 2005 the organization published the first edition of its annual survey ArmsWatch, which is subtitled Global Trends, Prospects, and Policy Options in War and Peace, Arms and Disarmament. According to IDDS, this 80-page publication “sketch[es] out global trends in armaments and warfare; describe[s] likely future developments, given current policies; and discuss[es] alternative policy options that would be more likely to reduce the risks of war and the costs of preparing for war.” ArmsWatch is intended for use by college teachers and students, journalists, congressional aides, activists, concerned citizens, and professional military and arms control analysts.
IDDS has also developed an Internship Program for college, graduate, and post-doctorate students to conduct research and writing for the Arms Control Reporter or ArmsWatch. Moreover, interns attend weekly seminars that explore “basic questions relating to the causes of war and conditions for peace.”
In 2006 IDDS launched its College Outreach Project, whose goal is “to encourage college teaching of courses, or units, which introduce students to security issues, including weapons of mass destruction, proliferation and nonproliferation efforts, arms control, arms production, military spending, and national security policy.”
IDDS has also developed the Philip Morrison Disarmament Fellowship, designed for college graduates, graduate students, and post-doctorate students seeking “to work on a specific research and writing project at IDDS … which will advance their ability to pursue a career relating to disarmament in academia, government, or the public-interest sector.”