Effective verification is an essential element of arms control treaties especially with respect to nuclear capabilities. Future nuclear disarmament treaties, which may result in further reductions in the numbers of nuclear weapons, likely will contain more intrusive verification mechanisms, and operate in more challenging environments than any others in history. In order to overcome these challenges, a common understanding of the technical challenges associated with nuclear disarmament verification is necessary, and in the interest of all states.
For this reason, the United States, through a public-private partnership with the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), established the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification. The Partnership brings together more than 25 states — both with, and without nuclear weapons — under a cooperative framework to further understanding of the complex challenges involved in the verification of nuclear disarmament, and to identify potential solutions to those challenges.
The United States believes that such engagement strengthens existing work toward achieving the goals of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), while acknowledging and identifying the role non-nuclear weapon states can play in the challenging work of verifying nuclear disarmament.
The Partners established three working groups to address specific areas related to future nuclear disarmament verification.
- Working Group One: “Monitoring and Verification Objectives,” is co-chaired by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
- Working Group Two: “On-Site Inspections,” is co-chaired by Australia and Poland.
- Working Group Three: “Technical Challenges and Solutions,” is co-chaired by Sweden and the United States.
During the initial two-year phase of the Partnership’s work, the working groups have focused on the dismantlement phase of the nuclear weapons lifecycle. In this context, the Partnership developed a scenario involving the dismantlement of a notional nuclear weapon, the inspection of that dismantlement by a multilateral team of inspectors, and the related technologies that could support such an inspection. This scenario has allowed the three working groups to coordinate their efforts and develop common understandings of the challenges and potential solutions associated with nuclear disarmament verification.
Phase I of the Partnership’s work will conclude in November 2017 at the fifth plenary in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At that plenary, the Partnership will launch Phase II building upon the results from Phase I.
For more information about the Partnership, including the Terms of Reference for the three Working Groups and an online “Monitoring and Verification Resource Collection,” please visit: https://www.state.gov/international-partnership-for-nuclear-disarmament-verification-ipndv/ or http://www.nti.org/about/projects/international-partnership-nuclear-disarmament-verification/.