Toward a 21st Century Verification Regime
"With the December 2009 expiration of the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the United States is unable, for the first time in more than 20 years, to conduct nuclear arms inspections inside Russia," wrote Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance, and Inspection in a recent Arms Control Today article.
Gottemoeller said that on-site inspections are crucial in providing the U.S. with eyes into Russia's nuclear arsenal:
They provide not only the “boots on the ground” presence to confirm Russian data declarations, thus helping to verify compliance with treaty obligations, but also insights into Russian strategic forces located at those facilities. Simply put, the United States is more secure and safer when our country is able to gain a better understanding of the Russian strategic arsenal.
The New START Treaty, which was signed by Presidents Obama and Medvedev in April 2010 and is currently awaiting Senate ratification, includes a robust verification and inspections regime that will allow the United States to monitor and inspect Russia's strategic forces.