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Arms control theory in the United States was first developed during the period from 1958 to 1962. The term traditional arms control theory refers to the premises of strategic analysts who first formulated arms control as a possible adjunct to national security. Traditional arms control theory is reflective of the assumptions, analyses and priorities of defense analysts from that era. Development of arms control was part of a re-evaluation of U.S. foreign policy which arose after several unsuccessful attempts to form disarmament arrangements with the Soviet Union through diplomatic means since 1945. The Baruch Plan and the Open Skies Treaty are a couple examples of these attempts. The lack of results yielded was largely due to Soviet dissatisfaction with measures for verification. Thus, more modest goals of arms control came to replace the original ones of complete disarmament. A new generation of theorists and military leaders free of traditional biases led to a revisionist outlook on tactics and strategy. And finally, the Soviet launching of Sputnik in 1957 and the reverberations of the event caused anxiety about long-term effectiveness of nuclear deterrence. It caused U.S. defense intellectuals to consider the technological threats to nuclear stability.

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