UNSCOM - Report to the Security Council - 25 January 1999



1. The Commission's monitoring operations in Iraq rely heavily on the availability to all disciplines of common infrastructure and support services for their operational use. These services include such things as Export/Import monitoring, aerial support, remote camera monitoring system, personnel, transport and facilities.

Export/Import Monitoring Mechanism

2. The Export/Import monitoring mechanism, which was approved by Security Council resolution 1051 (1996), was designed to provide for timely information about any sale or supply to Iraq by other States of items listed in the Commission's and the IAEA's Annexes to the Plans for OMV.

3. The mechanism is a support element, albeit an important one, in the overall OMV system in Iraq. The central feature of the mechanism is the provision of information by the Government of Iraq and by Governments of exporters on imports by Iraq, and intended and actual exports to Iraq of relevant items. The other significant feature of the mechanism is inspection.

4. In New York the system is operated by a Joint Unit, composed of personnel from the Commission and the IAEA. The Joint Unit has an Export/Import Group which operates in Iraq, inspecting newly arrived items subject to monitoring, as well as conducting inspections at facilities throughout the country, checking for undeclared imported notifiable items. The Group works in conjunction with relevant experts from the other resident monitoring teams (chemical, missile and nuclear), as it relies heavily on their expertise in assessing identified items. Once newly imported goods have been inspected by the Group, they become subject to monitoring by the relevant resident teams in each discipline.

5. The items listed in the Annexes to the Plans for OMV are, in some cases, extensive and some of the items are not necessarily contained in any other arms control regimes. This presents some States with difficulties in understanding what should be notified. In addition, practice has shown that in some instances the description of items to be notified is not sufficiently clear to allow precise interpretation.

6. In order for the system to be effective in the future, it is recommended that the current lists of notifiable items be studied with a view to providing increased specificity and clarification. Once that is done, it will be possible to increase awareness about the requirements of the system. It will also give Governments a more practical basis on which to base national legislation. A further recommendation is to consider strengthening Export/Import Monitoring at points-of-entry to Iraq, thereby ensuring that goods required to be reported under the mechanism are immediately incorporated into the overall monitoring system.

7. The resources, including personnel and infrastructure, required to support the system in the future will be dependent on the number of relevant items being exported to Iraq. This, in turn, will derive from the contents of the lists of notifiable items and the status of the sanctions regime. The same considerations will apply to the number of personnel in the Joint Unit in New York and its group at the BMVC.

Aerial Operations and Support

8. In respect of aerial operations, the Plan for OMV includes the right of the Commission to overfly any area, location, site or facility in Iraq and to operate its own aircraft with appropriate sensors from such airfields in Iraq as its deems most appropriate for this work.

9. The Commission currently employs four types of aircraft:

One high altitude surveillance aircraft (U2)

One medium altitude surveillance aircraft (Mirage IV)

Five UH-1H helicopters

One L-100 transport aircraft

10. The U-2 and Mirage IV aircraft are dedicated imagery collection platforms. The UH-1H helicopters are used as a platform for imagery collection by an Aerial Inspection Team (AIT). The helicopters are also used for transportation, as is the L-100.

11. The prime function of the Commission's aerial surveillance activities is to take photography of "listed sites". This imagery is used to: detect changes and activities at "listed sites"; deter Iraq from undertaking prohibited, or non-declared dual-use activities which could be detected from aerial surveillance; and, assist resident and non-resident inspection teams by providing a tool from which line diagrams of sites can be drawn.

12. The U2 and Mirage aircraft are also used to take imagery of "non-listed" sites of possible relevance to the Commission's mandate. If, after analysis, on-site inspection is required, the imagery is then used for ground inspections teams to prepare inspections. Helicopters cannot be used for this purpose as their presence would alert the Government of Iraq in advance to a potential inspection at the site, thereby eroding the credibility of the inspection.

13. The U2, Mirage IV and helicopters can be used for site security surveillance during ground inspections. The U2 has a maximum endurance of some 12 hours flight time, equating to some 2,500 nautical miles coverage. This permits an extended "loiter" time over sites. The Mirage can fly for 40 minutes, covering some 300 nautical miles. The helicopters can remain in situ almost indefinitely as they can be rotated out when refuelling is required.

14. The Commission currently has no ability to conduct aerial surveillance at night but has been investigating the acquisition of such a capability.

15. The L-100 is currently used exclusively for the transport of inspectors and materials between Bahrain and Iraq. The aircraft is capable of carrying up to 92 passengers, or a mix of up to two vehicles and passengers.

16. Currently, the Commission operates only light helicopters which are not able to carry all the required verification equipment and tools to listed sites. The helicopters can be used in a limited transport role; they can carry ten passengers for very short distances, thereafter the number of passengers decreases in relation to the requirement to carry additional fuel. There is no capability for carrying vehicles, nor the required verification and tools to listed sites. The current flight arrangements also require 12 hours notification to Iraq. Therefore, four-wheel drive vehicles are the main transportation means in Iraq for the Commission's team. This does not meet the Commission's air transport requirements.

17. Over the years, the Commission's use of its aerial assets for surveillance purposes and transportation have been restricted.

18. Since the inception of aerial inspection missions in 1992, modalities governing the operation of the Commission's helicopters require the Commission to provide Iraq with a geographically defined "box" within which aerial activity will take place. This box is provided to the National Monitoring Directorate some 12 hours before the helicopter mission. The use of the boxes where sites are isolated, or some distance from Baghdad, degrades the element of surprise (and thus credibility) achieved during aerial inspections. Iraq claims that it requires the boxes in order to warn the air defence of the operating area of the Commission's aircraft. Under current modalities, the Commission is unable to fly unrestricted aerial missions over Baghdad.

19. On a number of occasions, Iraq has prevented the Commission's helicopters from overflying sites which it declared sensitive. The means by which such flights have been prevented include physical interference with the conduct of the flight and threats to shoot the aircraft down.

20. Iraq has refused to allow the Commission to exercise its rights to land helicopters throughout Iraq, by restricting the number of landing sites. It has also refused to allow the Commission to land the L-100 aircraft at any site in Iraq except Habbaniyah Air Base some 80 miles from Baghdad and the BMVC. Thus the aircraft cannot be used for inspection purposes.

21. The operational constraints on the Commission's aerial activities, have a clear derogatory impact on the ability of the Commission to conduct credible aerial missions. Iraq must honour all its obligations under the Plan for OMV, particularly with respect to aerial operations.

22. Aerial requirements for the OMV system in the future, desirably, should include:

- A high/medium altitude imagery collection capability, under the control of the Commission. It must be able to operate day and night to collect imagery and undertake surveillance at sufficient height to prevent the Government of Iraq from detecting what is being observed. The Commission also needs the capability for prolonged loiter time. To be effective, the product from all such missions should be made available to the Commission in real time, or shortly after the mission is completed.

- "UH-1H" type helicopters to collect high quality, low altitude imagery, undertake surveillance, provide transport for small groups of inspectors and provide medical evacuation capability. These helicopters will also be used as platforms for other forms of airborne sensors which the Commission may choose to employ.

- "CH 53G" type helicopters. Primarily for the transport of large inspection teams and vehicles throughout Iraq, thereby obviating the requirement to rely on ground transport.

- The ability to use various forms of Infra-red imagery collection.

- Access to high resolution commercial satellite imagery to provide an unobtrusive and undetectable means of collecting imagery.

Cameras and Sensor Monitoring Systems

23. The video and sensor monitoring system (Remote Monitoring System - RMS) is employed in Iraq as a tool to support the Commission and IAEA in their monitoring activities. The system provides electronic on-site surveillance of designated sites located throughout Iraq. Surveillance is conducted through real-time viewing and the collection of recorded images by video equipment in conjunction with supporting communications equipment. It is also conducted through the collection of air samples and power data through special sensor equipment. The system allows the inspectors to detect unusual activities in real time to allow for a quick response to inspect sites as required. The RMS has proved to be capable of assisting the inspectors but it should not be interpreted as an effective stand-alone system. It has to be employed in conjunction with all other OMV assets to be useful and effective.

24. The current RMS has been operating for over four years. During this time it has undergone some improvements in its design and communications links to ensure the system remains functional, and also to extend the life of its components. Its effectiveness has been enhanced through the use of video review stations (Multi Optical Review Equipment - MORE) in the BMVC to support the review and analysis process.

25. A number of technical teams were sent to Iraq to work on the system during its implementation and additional technicians with specific skills have been employed on a case by case basis to enhance the system.

26. The RMS supports real time viewing, time-lapse videotape recording and sensor recording. Time-lapse recording is done through a system of image retrieval by camera and recorded to a videotape. The images can be transmitted via radio frequency links from the site to the BMVC where the result can be seen as an image on a computer screen as a "near" real time view. Data of power usage at sites is recorded via sensor on data cards that can be down loaded to a computer for review.

27. The RMS system operates under the existing maintenance regime and environmental conditions. The system has, however, its operational limitations. Disadvantages of the system are that; the cameras are limited in their capability; the system has required a significant amount of manpower to maintain and adapt; some sites cannot be accessed through communications links because of the type of communications employed; and, communications links suffer degradation primarily due to the environmental conditions.

28. The system's components may no longer be logistically sustainable, as the manufacturers of the components may no longer be willing to support repair or replacement other than at considerable cost. Consequently, there is a requirement to address issues with upgrading the system as it stands in order for it to be robust and supportive of the mandated monitoring.

29. The current technology uses a mix of digital and analogue techniques to deliver an adequate image for review. Depending on the inspection requirements, this standard can be improved by upgrading analogue and digital technology or by using purely digital technology. The areas that need to be upgraded include: cameras; power supply sub-system; communications links; image storage, retrieval, and review mechanisms; and improved sensors. The upgrade would need to be done as a complete system rather than on a piece-meal basis. This level of technology should be flexible to allow for easy component upgrades as required.

30. Initial outlay for improving the system to meet current needs could be between $4-5 million with ongoing costs being approximately $900,000 per year. These figures incorporate equipment upgrades, commercial communications costs, manpower and logistic support resources. The system is supported by one operator and five technicians in the field, as well as through management and coordination from the headquarters in New York. Manpower support (operational and technical) may need to be increased to operate and maintain the existing or an upgraded system.


31. Since the establishment of the monitoring system in mid-1994, the Commission has had a requirement for staff to support its monitoring operations in Iraq. This staff is currently composed of personnel from a number of governments as well as a small group of United Nations staff stationed in New York, Baghdad and Bahrain.

32. The Commission will have to increase the number of its personnel, in all locations, in direct relation to projected increases in the size of the monitoring activity. If regional monitoring sub-centres are established in Iraq it will result in a further increase in the Commission's staff.

33. The Commission's resident teams depend on a high degree of technical expertise to conduct monitoring inspections. Hitherto, the Commission has depended almost exclusively on personnel provided by governments, serving on a three month basis. The Commission has identified several problems with this arrangement. Continuity of operations are impacted severely by the short-term presence of experts. Additionally, training of short-term personnel in the methods and techniques of monitoring, as well as Iraq's activities, is very difficult to do.

34. The Commission is considering using a mixture of long and short-term personnel. Long term personnel would be technical experts employed by the Commission on United Nations established posts supported by the budget of the Commission. Short-term personnel would be supplied by supporting governments.

35. The long term personnel would provide continuity to the Commission's operations and could be trained in the technical details of both Iraq's current activities and its past proscribed programmes.

36. The Commission will still require the provision of short term technical experts from governments. Short term personnel bring technical skills and knowledge that can not generally be obtained on a long term basis. These personnel would be recruited for specific tasks which would not require the longer training period. The Commission will likely have to reimburse the supporting governments for the cost of such highly technical personnel.

37. In addition to expert personnel, the Commission will require: medical; communication; administrative; logistical; operational; maintenance, aerial and technical support services to all resident and non-resident monitoring teams. Monitoring teams will be further supplemented with specialised linguists and computer experts.


38. The Commission's most powerful and valuable tool in its monitoring system is inspectors. The Commission has relied on the technical knowledge and inspection skills of personnel provided by Governments on a short-term basis. Over the past four years of operation of the monitoring system, this has generally served the Commission's objectives.

39. In the future, improvements would be required to maintain efficient inspection teams, in particular resident teams in the BMVC. As mentioned above, the Commission is considering the use of a mixture of short and long-term technical experts and support personnel for its monitoring teams. If this is to be implemented, the Commission will have to dramatically alter the training of its inspectors.

40. For long-term inspectors, the Commission would need to create a specialized training programme. The Commission is considering a training programme of several weeks in duration in which a cadre of long-term inspectors would receive training on a variety of general and specialized subjects, and practical exercises. The Commission would be able to recruit from this cadre its inspectors. Such a system would provide for both Commission's guaranteed access to appropriate experts trained as international inspectors, and a continuity in the Commission's inspection operations in Iraq and in its assessments of Iraq's compliance over time.

41. The training programme will need to include, inter alia, the Commission's mandate, inspection procedures and practices, activities under monitoring in Iraq, export/import regulations for Iraq, Iraq's proscribed weapons programmes, Iraq's technology level, etc. The trainees would require a thorough familiarization with specific inspection techniques and tools, the operation of the Commission's remote camera/sensor systems, lists of facilities and dual-use equipment and other elements of other monitoring system architecture.

42. For short-term inspectors, the Commission intends to create an abridged training programme containing many of the subjects from the longer duration training programme and suited for specific tasks that they are expected to perform during their term of duty. The programme for each inspector or a small group would begin on their joining the Commission's inspection team. It will need to include a preparatory period and the on-job training.


43. The Commission currently operates facilities in Baghdad, in Bahrain, and at the headquarters in New York. The facility in Baghdad is designed to house all of the services required by the resident and non-resident inspection teams for both the Commission and the IAEA, including, inter alia, office space, transportation, computer support, medical services, communications (including remote camera monitoring), storage, training, vehicle maintenance and administration. The Baghdad Monitoring and Verification Centre (BMVC) has been in operation since August 1994. The BMVC is located in the Canal building along with several other United Nations organizations. On several occasions since October 1994, the Commission has been forced to expand its use of the facility, at the expense of these other United Nations organizations, in order to meet its mission requirements. The BMVC's current office space in the Canal building is barely meeting the Commission's and the IAEA's requirements.

44. In the future, the Commission expects it will require space nearly double of that of its current requirements. This will either require the dedication of the Canal building to the Commission's mission or the construction or refurbishment of a new facility to meet its requirements. This will have substantial budgetary implications. The future annual operating cost of the BMVC cannot be estimated at this time until decisions on the future size and structure of the Commission have been made.

45. Additionally, the Commission is considering the establishment of regional monitoring sub-centres in Mosul and Basrah, in order to limit the notification time for inspections in those regions. This would provide an additional deterrent to Iraq for using such outlaying facilities for undeclared or proscribed purposes. This would require the strengthening of the coordination infrastructure, a review of operational procedures, and the placement of staff to effect the coordination. The establishment of such sub-centres would require a variety of support services similar to those provided at the BMVC, however, on a smaller scale. It is possible that these centres could be operated only during certain periods each year to reduce the overall cost. Construction or refurbishment of facilities to house such sub-centres would have a significant budgetary impact. Annual operating costs of such facilities cannot be estimated at this time until decisions on the future size and structure of the Commission have been made.

46. In order to support the Commission's and IAEA's resident and non-resident teams, the Commission maintains a large number of logistical, technical, communications and transportation equipment necessary to conduct operations in both Bahrain and Baghdad. The Commission's logistical support includes, inter alia, office supplies and equipment; field support equipment such as camping equipment, trailers, generators; and protective clothing as required to support each team. The Commission's technical equipment includes computers and computer support, global positioning system receivers, chemical sensors, video and still cameras, two-way radios, and other equipment as required. The Commission maintains a fleet of vehicles in both Baghdad and Bahrain in order to support the Commission's and IAEA's teams. These vehicles include sedans, four-wheel drive vehicles, mini-buses, and trucks.

47. As stated earlier, the Commission's projected increase in size will require a corresponding increase in the size of the logistical, technical, communications and transportation equipment. The Commission expects that much of this equipment will have to be upgraded or replaced to support the projected expansion of the Commission's and IAEA's monitoring operations.

48. The Commission's new facility, currently under construction in Bahrain, will provide office space, computer services, storage, logistical support, training, and administration for the Commission's and IAEA's resident and non-resident teams as well as for its Bahrain Field Office support staff. The new facilities are expected to provide for the Commission's long term needs.

49. The Commission's headquarters in New York provides for the management operation, and administration of all of its activities. The Commission has constantly experienced severe space limitations in the headquarters. In the future, the Commission would require an increase in its headquarters staff with a consequent need for expansion of its office space. This is expected to have substantial budgetary considerations for both initial refurbishment and annual operating costs.