Published in Transparency in Nuclear Warheads and Materials: The Political and Technical Dimensions, January 1, 2003. Edited by N. Zarimpas. Copyright © 2003 Cambridge University Press.
This chapter reviews the efforts of Russia and the United States to conclude agreements on the control or reduction of their inventories of nuclear warheads and military fissile materials. While some of the negotiations attempted to codify arms limitation and reduction measures, others were aimed at constraining the spread of fissile materials and technologies to the non-nuclear weapon states (NNWS). A number of the negotiations had elements of both arms control and non-proliferation.
Most of the monitoring provisions contained in nuclear agreements between Russia and the USA are in the category of transparency measures—those that give confidence that a state is fulfilling its obligations. Some transparency measures are unilateral and are intended to enhance confidence or goodwill. Verification measures, on the other hand, usually require more intrusive monitoring— enough to ensure a high likelihood that parties are in compliance with a treaty—and require formal, legally binding agreements. Taken together, these measures apply to parts of the parties’ nuclear weapon complexes, with the conspicuous exception of warhead facilities. Nonetheless, the joint efforts of the past decade have laid the technical groundwork for extending the scope of monitoring to warheads.