Advocates For the People & the Test Ban

Date of Graduation

Fall 1994


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Jack Crouch


For over forty years, the issues and questions surrounding a comprehensive nuclear test ban have remained generally the same. Of these concerns, nine U.S. Administrations have debated the national security implications of one issue in particular: verifying a nuclear test ban. From 1981 to 1986, the scientific community witnessed a renaissance of political activism that would influence the national public debate for years to come. This thesis examines the events leading up to the Reykjavik Summit and the unorthodox methods used by one organization to influence the administration's nuclear weapons testing policy. The political impact of this particular group, referred to as the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), remains the subject of debate. Despite their anonymity, this private group played a significant part in the arms control debate during this period. Following the "Reagan/Bush Era" the future of nuclear testing was questionable. This thesis suggests that NRDC's role proved to be a significant factor in the arms control debate of the 1980s.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Austin W O'Toole