INNOVATION IN POLICY
The Gorbachev leaderships' ascent to power paved the way for the transformation of Soviet nuclear arms control policy. Gorbachev and his supporters were by instinct reformers committed to revitalizing the Soviet system. They took personal charge of foreign policy and disarmament issues to ensure that rapid progress was achieved in these areas and that, as a result, resources were redirected from the defense sector to the civilian economy. They weakened resistance to "new political thinking" by weeding conservatives out of the top echelons of the government and the Communist Party and by molding institutions to render them more responsive to the needs of reform.
Officials in the highest military posts were replaced by commanders willing to accept increasingly tight constraints on the defense budget and to restructure the armed forces to enhance their technological competitiveness at lower cost. The military's influence in decision-making bodies waned as institutional checks on the armed forces were strengthened and civilian input into the formulation of arms control policy grew. The Supreme Soviet, exercising its authority as a reconstituted legislature, placed the high command's assessment of Soviet defense requirements under detailed scrutiny. Gorbachev and his associates enlisted the support of diplomats and academics to encroach on areas of policymaking previously reserved for the General Staff. They assembled staffs of civilian experts on military affairs and aug-