What is meant by conventional arms control?
Conventional arms control describes the processes of limiting numbers of conventional weapons, reducing their stationing and monitoring the production, stockpiling, transfer and upgrading of these weapons along with military equipment and, in some cases, troop deployment. The overriding aim is to reduce the conventional arms (and troops) in general or reduce them in specific areas or to restrict or prevent access to weapons.
There are a number of important peace treaties involving conventional arms control arrangements. Moreover, multilateral or bilateral agreements on ceilings for conventional weapons and troops constitute a significant instrument for confidence-building.
It is particularly difficult to implement measures to control small arms given their very wide spread. And history shows that, compared with NBC weapons, small arms, in particular, have had a huge destructive impact and wider proliferation than non-conventional weapons, with more people being killed by small arms than any other types of weapons.
Within EU jurisdiction, the most important instrument for controlling the export of conventional arms is the Wassenaar Arrangement.
Many arms control agreements only address the technical possibilities that existed at the time when an agreement was concluded. Given the rapid advances in some areas of military technology and new technical possibilities, treaties and conventions need to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.