Structural disarmament occurs when a nation's defence budget, plus exports, provide too small a market to bring armament development and production costs down to a politically affordable level. Even when governments are spending more money to rearm, disarmament occurs. As unit costs go up, fewer and fewer weapons can be procured. Such unilateral disarmament will continue until governments establish an intercontinental market structure for the production and exchange of armaments.
In the case of the Western NATO alliance, even after 35 years no common arms market has been organized as a basis for common defence. Research and development tends to proceed independently of production. Access to technology is restricted. Economical procurement is undermined by protectionism.