Verifying Conventional Stability in Europe

An Overview

by Thomas J. Hirschfeld


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Verifying the obligations in the prospective Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty will be far harder and more expensive than verifying those in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, or in other previous arms control agreements. This Note presents a qualitative overview of conventional arms control verification issues, including (1) monitoring force levels calibrated in major items of equipment and personnel, in a large production area that makes concealment possible; (2) watching force withdrawals, restructuring, or disbandments involving removal, reexport, or destruction of thousands of heavy equipment items; (3) monitoring the post-agreement stasis of the largest and most complex force concentration in peacetime history; and (4) meshing these observations with the concurrent need to monitor unilateral Warsaw Pact force reductions and force changes on a massive scale.

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