If progress is to be made toward peace, public education on arms‐race issues is crucial both in the short run and for the long term. Because technical information is invariably essential to an understanding of issues, physicists can make a major contribution. However, educational efforts on the arms race face great difficulties, which we must first recognize if we are to overcome them:
• Teaching about the arms race has in the past been a cyclical activity, rising and falling in parallel with public concern. These cycles are not all bad; the arms race is a real problem, not just an academic one, and hence it must be addressed whenever it surfaces in the political arena. But cycles tend to inject an aura of crisis into discussions, providing short‐term motivation at the cost of credibility and efficiency in the long run. The longer‐term approach has more educational implications. It means that arms‐race education must be general enough to be useful for analyzing unknown future issues. The danger with short‐term education is that by the time current educational efforts have roused public support for, say, a new round of arms control, the political need and opportunity may have passed.
• The arms race presents interdisciplinary problems. Physicists may be unaware of contributions other disciplines can make to this issue and insensitive to their own biases.
• There is little encouragement for physicists undertaking arms‐race educational efforts. Peer recognition for either research or teaching in the area is sparse. There is little financial support for this kind of work. The DOD looks for technical research of direct use to its missions, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency is in disfavor within the government, the National Science Foundation has difficulty supporting anything involving the social sciences or science education and the Ford Foundation also appears to be decreasing its support for these activities.