A public-private partnership between the U.S. State Department and Nuclear Threat Initiative, the International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification is a major new effort to further understanding of the complex technical challenges involved in nuclear disarmament verification. A new IPNDV website, with wide-ranging analyses from Phase I, was launched in December 2017.
Verification measures are implemented around the world every day for commitments related to nuclear and chemical weapons, nuclear material, and other military activities. Inspectors use an extensive toolkit of instruments, techniques, and methods—including data exchanges, on-site inspections, tags and seals, containment and surveillance equipment, and environmental sampling—to verify compliance with a range of bilateral and multilateral agreements.
Such verification systems and methods are crucial to managing risks and mitigating threats, but gaps remain. Going forward states will need the ability to monitor and detect smaller items and quantities of nuclear material. While important contributions have already been made to address these challenges, the development and application of new technologies and concepts will be essential.
To this end, in December 2014, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Rose Gottemoeller, announced that the U.S. government would lead an International Partnership for Nuclear Disarmament Verification in cooperation with NTI.
The International Partnership is designed to build capacity among both states with and without nuclear weapons, and develop technical solutions for monitoring and verification challenges. In particular, in order to lay a solid foundation for further reductions in nuclear weapons and advance NPT nuclear disarmament goals, the IPNDV is assessing monitoring and verification issues across the nuclear weapons lifecycle (from production of fissile material and warheads, warhead inventories, the dismantlement of nuclear weapons, and the disposition of nuclear material resulting from the dismantlement process). The initial focus of the International Partnership is addressing the most important, most complex, and most challenging aspect related to future arms control reductions, namely, determining potential options for how to monitor the dismantlement of a nuclear warhead.
This initiative sets into motion the key recommendation from NTI's Innovating Verification: New Tools & New Actors to Reduce Nuclear Risksseries, released in July 2014: States should come together now to begin an international process to assess verification gaps, develop collaborative technical work streams and contribute to overall global nuclear threat reduction.
More than 25 states attended IPNDV's inaugural meeting, where participants agreed that the International Partnership will be a sustained, multi-year effort and will consist of both technical working groups that take on specific projects, tasks, and collaborative research and development activities, and up to two plenary meetings each year. These plenary meetings are comprised of senior officials and technical experts and are designed to monitor the progress of the working groups, discuss common themes or challenges, and increase the understanding of other relevant research that may inform the work of the Partnership. The Partnership has established three working groups for the first phase of work.
The working groups are focused on:
Each working group is led by two co-chairs. Piet-de Klerk (The Netherlands) and Emanuele Farruggia (Italy) are co-chairing the Working Group on Monitoring and Verification Objectives (WG 1). Rob Floyd (Australia) and Marek Sobotka (Poland) are co-chairing the Working Group on On-Site Inspections (WG 2). Jens Wirstam (Sweden) and Kurt Siemon (United States) are co-chairing the Working Group on Technical Challenges and Solutions (WG 3).
Looking to Phase II
At the 5th plenary meeting in Buenos Aires, IPNDV participants developed an initial program of work for Phase II, which will continue to concentrate on multilateral verification measures. The two-year phase will deepen understanding of and develop effective and practical verification approaches to support future nuclear disarmament. Specifically, working groups will address verification related to declarations and inventories; nuclear arms reductions; and technologies for verification. The first meeting of Phase II will take place in Sweden in March of 2018.
Additional details and resources for the Partnership can be found on the IPNDV's website: www.ipndv.org
Monitoring and Verification Resource Collection
To complement the International Partnership, NTI developed a "Monitoring and Verification Resource Collection," a comprehensive, centralized library of articles, reports and studies on a range of verification and monitoring topics. The documents have been divided into five subject areas: Arms Control Agreements, Demonstrations & Experiments; Future Monitoring & Verification Challenges; Warhead Confirmation & Radiation Measurements; Information Protection & Information Barriers; and Chain of Custody, Tags, Seals & Tamper Indicating Enclosures. Please note that this collection will continue to expand over time. If you would like to submit additional studies, reports, or articles, please contact Andrew Newman.