Trust, but Verify

Building an effective verification regime would likely be the most challenging aspect of any post-New START nuclear arms control agreement, especially one that covers non-deployed nuclear warheads and tactical nukes, said Maj. Gen. William Chambers, Air Staff lead for nuclear issues. “We are used to, in a bilateral way, monitoring our big strategic systems in an arms control regime: onsite inspections, national means, etc.,” said Chambers during a May 24 speech sponsored by the Air Force Association, National Defense Industrial Association, and Reserve Officers Association. He continued, “When you go into the non-deployed category or the non-strategic category, we’ve got to work hard on the technology and the footprint of an onsite inspection team that would actually go verify numbers of smaller things out there with nuclear warheads.” Chambers said the US government is examining new technologies for such a role. “Obviously those new technologies are going to have to be agreed upon between our arms control partners. But I think the verification piece, and the resulting footprint of the onsite team that would do this verification, is going to be the biggest challenge,” he said. (For more from Chambers’ speech, read Addressing a Nuclear Priority.)