Lessons learned from the first US/Russian Federation joint tabletop exercise to prepare for conducting on-site inspections under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

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A U.S./Russian Federation Joint Tabletop Exercise took place in Snezhinsk, Russia, from 19 to 24 October 1998 whose objectives were to examine the functioning of an Inspection Team (IT) in a given scenario, to evaluate the strategies and techniques employed by the IT, to identify ambiguous interpretations of treaty provisions that needed clarification, and to confirm the overall utility of tabletop exercises to assist in developing an effective Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) verification regime. To achieve these objectives, the United States and Russian Federation (RF) agreed that two exercises would be conducted. The first would be developed by the ... continued below

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Filarowski, C; Kreek, S; Smith, A; Sweeney, J; Wild, J; Gough, R et al. March 24, 1999.

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A U.S./Russian Federation Joint Tabletop Exercise took place in Snezhinsk, Russia, from 19 to 24 October 1998 whose objectives were to examine the functioning of an Inspection Team (IT) in a given scenario, to evaluate the strategies and techniques employed by the IT, to identify ambiguous interpretations of treaty provisions that needed clarification, and to confirm the overall utility of tabletop exercises to assist in developing an effective Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) verification regime. To achieve these objectives, the United States and Russian Federation (RF) agreed that two exercises would be conducted. The first would be developed by the RF, who would act as controller and as the inspected State Party (ISP), while the United States would play the role of the IT. The roles would be reversed in the second exercise; the United States would develop the scenario and play the ISP, while the RF would play the IT. A joint control team, comprised of members of both the U.S. and RF control teams, agreed on a number of ground rules for the two exercises and established a joint Evaluation Team to evaluate both of the exercises against the stated objectives. To meet time limitations, the scope of this joint exercise needed to be limited. The joint control team decided that each of the two exercises would not go beyond the first 25 days of an on-site inspection (OSI) and that the focus would be on examining the decision-making of the IT as it utilized the various technologies to clarify whether a nuclear test explosion had taken place. Hence, issues such as logistics, restricted access, and activities prior to Point of Entry (POE) would be played only to the extent needed to provide for a realistic context for the exercises' focus on inspection procedures, sensor deployments, and data interpretation. Each of the exercises began at the POE and proceeded with several iterations of negotiations between the IT and ISP, instrument deployments, and data evaluation by the IT. By the end of each of the exercises, each IT had located the site of the underground nuclear explosion (UNE). While this validated the methods employed by each of the ITS, the Evaluation Team noted that each IT employed different search strategies and that each strategy had both advantages and disadvantages. The exercises also highlighted ambiguities in interpretation of certain treaty provisions related to overflights and seismic monitoring. Likewise, a substantial number of lessons were learned relating to radionuclide monitoring and the impact of logistical constraints on successful OSI execution. These lessons are discussed more fully in the body of this report. Notwithstanding the overall positive assessment by the U.S. and RF participants, as well as by the Evaluation Team, that the exercise had met its objectives, there were a variety of areas identified that could be improved in subsequent OSI exercises. Some of these included reexamination of the methods used to convey visual observation data in an exercise; the amount of time compression employed; and the need for better verification of agreements pertaining to the structure, format, and other rules of the exercise. This report summarizes the lessons learned pertaining to both the technical and operational aspects of an OSI as well as to those pertaining to the planning and execution of an OSI exercise. It concludes with comments from the Evaluation Team and proposed next steps for future U.S./RF interactions on CTBT OSIs.

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4.3 Megabytes pages

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  • Other Information: PBD: 24 Mar 1999

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  • Report No.: UCRL-ID-135318
  • Report No.: GJ1200000
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/14147 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 14147
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc625549

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  • March 24, 1999

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 16, 2015, 7:43 a.m.

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  • May 6, 2016, 1:35 p.m.

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Filarowski, C; Kreek, S; Smith, A; Sweeney, J; Wild, J; Gough, R et al. Lessons learned from the first US/Russian Federation joint tabletop exercise to prepare for conducting on-site inspections under the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, report, March 24, 1999; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc625549/: accessed June 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.