The last act in this closeout inspection of the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal was the signing of the inspection reports. Here American Colonel Ronald P. Forest and Soviet Colonel Vladimir A. Akimenkov prepare to sign the report flanked by their interpreters.


Conceptually, it is useful to think of the INF Treaty's five types of on-site inspections as a series of treaty "rights" which unfolded in a sequence. These inspections, together with the scheduled elimination of nearly 2,700 missiles, constituted the heart of the treaty. The first type, baseline inspections, began on July 1, 1988. For 60 days, INF inspectors confirmed, on site, the number and location of missile systems and sites that had been declared in the Memorandum of Understanding and the Data Update. In the second type of inspection, which also began on July 1, 1988, resident INF inspectors initiated continuous portal monitoring inspections at one former missile final assembly facility in each nation. In the third type, elimination inspections, INF inspectors observed the destruction of missiles, launchers, and support equipment at designated elimination sites. These missile eliminations began on July 22, 1988, at Kapustin Yar in the Soviet Union and on September 8, 1988, at Marshall, Texas.    


Test Range, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Closed out August 4, 1988.

Missile Operation Base, Zasimovichi USSR. Closed out June 25, 1990.
  The fourth type, closeout inspections, gave the inspecting party the treaty right, after being officially notified that a missile site had been eliminated, to send inspectors to observe the status of the missile operating base, support facility, or launcher production facility. If the inspecting party chose not to exercise its right to conduct a closeout inspection, the site was considered closed after 60 days had elapsed from the time of the elimination. Both the United States and the Soviet Union exercised their treaty rights and conducted inspections of every announced closed site. Most declarations fell into the period after baseline and before the final eliminations that came at the end of the third treaty year--May 31, 1991. In a few instances, however, the inspected party declared that the INF missiles and associated equipment had been removed and all INF activity had ceased prior to July 1, 1988, the start of the initial baseline period. In those cases, the treaty stipulated that the inspecting party had the right to conduct one inspection, which would constitute both a baseline and a closeout inspection of the site.

In all cases, the treaty stipulated explicit procedures for closing out a missile site. Thirty days in advance, the inspected party had to declare its intention to close or eliminate the INF missile operating base or missile support facility. To close the site it had to meet three conditions. First, it had to remove all INF missiles, launchers, and associated equipment from the site. Second, it had to eliminate, through dismantling or destruction, the INF missile support facilities, such as missile or launcher structures, and launch pads. Finally, it had to cease all activity relating to production, flight-testing, training, repair, storage, or deployment of INF missile systems. The site could be converted to another purpose; the treaty only restricted use of the site from any future activity associated with any INF missile system. Once these conditions had been met and the inspecting party officially notified, the missile site or facility was considered under the treaty to be closed out after 60 days had elapsed or after the site had been subjected to a closeout inspection.1

The fifth type of on-site inspection was called "short-notice." Short-notice inspections worked within a quota system--20 per year allowed during the first three treaty years, 15 per year for the next five treaty years, and 10 per year for the last five years. Their function was to give the inspecting party the right to inspect any INF site, active or closed, to ascertain the declared status of the site. These short-notice inspections placed all of the Soviet and American INF sites "at risk" to be inspected at any time, within the quota limits. The inspection teams were limited to 10 inspectors and they had 24 hours to conduct the inspection.2


Initial American Closeout Inspections    
The Soviet Union declared 130 INF sites, all of which had to be closed out under the provisions of the treaty within three years. By comparison, the United States declared only 31 INF sites. There were two reasons for this significant disparity. First, the Soviet Union agreed in the INF Treaty to eliminate 1,846 missiles, the United States, 846. One thousand more Soviet missiles meant that there were simply more sites--missile operating bases, production facilities, flight-testing areas, training sites, repair depots, and storage facilities--associated with the USSR's INF missile systems than with those of the United States. Second, the two nations had different political constraints for deploying missile systems. The United States deployed its missiles on a few, centralized bases in Western Europe, while the USSR used many smaller, more dispersed missile operating bases. Thus, the disparity in the number of sites--130 Soviet to 31 American--reflected differences in treaty missile numbers and deployment strategies.

The initial closeout inspections began during the baseline period--July 1 to August 29, 1988. Before that, both the United States and the Soviet Union had prepared several INF sites for elimination. When the INF Treaty officially entered into force on June 1, 1988, these sites were listed in the Data Update to the Memorandum of Understanding as having no missiles or associated treaty-limited items. According to the treaty, this listing constituted notification that the sites had been "closed out." To confirm that condition, the inspecting party had the right to examine the site during one of its baseline inspections. Thus, in this instance, a baseline inspection was also a closeout inspection. Both the United States and the USSR, in every instance, deployed an inspection team to inspect these sites.

The Zasimovichi Missile Operating Base was closed out in June 1990. These American inspectors and their Soviet escorts are standing on the rubble of a detonated missile launch pad.

Map of INF Sites in the Western Soviet Union



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