The international arms industry, no longer nurtured by the Cold War, will shrink by about 25 percent during the next five years, researchers say in a new report.
The United States and Western Europe face deep cuts, but the biggest reductions are expected in the former Soviet Union, says the report released Thursday by the Stockholm International Peace Re-search Institute.Despite the downward trend, however, the arms industry is growing in some countries, including China, Japan and Turkey.
The report estimates that arms companies employ nearly 15 million people worldwide and that 3 million to 4 million jobs in the industry will be lost by 1998.
The institute warned that although desirable, the cutbacks in the former Soviet Union could prove destabilizing if, as forecast, up to 1 million formerly privileged arms workers face unemployment.
It estimated that 6 million people work in arms factories in the former Communist empire, most of them in Russia. According to Russian sources, arms production is being cut back by up to 60 percent, the report says.
The study says plans to convert plants to civilian production have largely failed. It blames a lack of investment resources and urges the West to provide support.
The report cites estimates by the Russian government that conversion in Russia alone would cost $150 billion.
U.S. arms manufacturers have seen procurement and research and development allocations decline since the mid-1980s. From a peak of 3.36 million jobs in 1987, some 600,000 jobs were lost by 1992.