Lt. Colonel Keith Oatman completes an inspection in Azerbaijan.



During baseline, U.S. inspectors conducted only one challenge inspection. On August 11, 1992, Major Keith A. Oatman, USA, led his team to Minsk, Belarus. Their mission was to inspect a large holding of TLE that had not been declared in the data exchange of 1990. One hour after arrival at Minsk, Major Oatman specified the area for inspection, an apparent tank storage facility at Urechye. Two hours later Belarussian officials granted the inspection request, and within an hour Team Oatman was en route to Urechye. According to escort officials, these tanks and storage facilities were part of the 969th Central Tank Reserve Base that Belarus would declare in a matter of days in its August 1992 data exchange. Although none was required, Belarus officials gave Team Oatman a modified site briefing that highlighted the 969th's relationship to the other two OOVs that were on the declared site at Urechye. The issue of declared site inspection versus challenge inspection arose, because Urechye was a declared site for both the 30th Tank Regiment and the 20th Independent Reconnaissance Battalion, and the specified area requested for inspection was located on the installation. Ultimately, the Belarus escorts afforded Team Oatman access to the tank storage facilities to complete its mission, but denied the team access to areas that were part of the two declared OOVs.29



During the baseline period, NATO guest inspectors frequently joined U.S.-led inspection teams, and U.S. inspectors participated as members of allied teams. The increase in inspection opportunities provided allied governments, through their guest inspectors, a broader view of treaty implementation throughout Europe. The multinational teams represented a united front on treaty implementation issues at the JCG, as had been the case in resolving the declared site definition and access issue. Colonel Brenno Tesori of Italy was the first allied inspector to join a U.S. team on a U.S. CFE mission, Team Gessert's declared site inspection mission to Ukraine, on July 30, 1992.30 During the baseline period, OSIA teams conducted 22 inspections with the assistance of allied guest inspectors, usually one or two augmentees per mission. Inspectors from the Netherlands, France, Germany, Denmark, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Italy represented their countries on U.S. teams. The allied multinational inspection team foreshadowed the international mix of team members subsequent to baseline. However, while U.S. inspection teams became multinational, escort teams remained strictly American.


The OSIA escort teams stood ready to react at nearly a moment's notice. Teams initially maintained a 30-minute, one-hour, or three-hour standby. The team on 30-minute standby lived on base in the 21st Replacement Battalion dormitory or the Rhein-Main Hotel. Their three-day standby rotation matched the time blocks of the NATO baseline deconfliction schedule, facilitating planning for inspection deployments. The short reaction time for escort teams was driven by the possibility that an Eastern team would declare a sequential inspection of a U.S. site in northern Germany or in the flank areas: Turkey, Greece, or Norway. Because of the travel time to distant locations, an escort team might need all of the six-hour site preparation time allowed by the treaty to arrive at one of the outlying inspection sites before the inspection team. The U.S. escort teams had to arrive on-site ahead of the Eastern inspection teams to avoid delaying the inspection process and to make certain that the site was prepared to receive inspectors.


OSIA escort team with local escorts during a declared site inspection.


American ambulances were based on the M-113 armored personnel carrier.

  During baseline, OSIA teams met nine Eastern inspection teams and escorted them through inspections of 23 U.S. declared sites. Russian teams conducted 10 of those inspections during two missions. Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia each inspected three U.S. facilities, and Romania inspected one U.S. site. All Eastern inspections of U.S. declared sites occurred in Central Europe, the focal point of the treaty; none took place in the flanks. Specifically, Eastern teams conducted 21 inspections of U.S. forces stationed in Germany, 1 in Belgium, and 1 in Luxembourg.31

Russian inspectors recorded the only ambiguities against U.S. forces during baseline. During the second Russian inspection mission of U.S. sites in September 1992, Lt. Colonel Oleg Borisovich Koptelov declared four ambiguities. On September 25, 1992, he declared an ambiguity at the General Support Center at Kaiserslautern, Germany, about the categorization of three M-728 combat engineer vehicles. The Russian team chief asserted that the vehicles should be considered M-60 tanks because of their short muzzle, 165 millimeter gun, and extra plating. The American team chief, Lt. Colonel Thomas C. Fiser, USA, countered that the M-728s were not M-60 tanks; the M-728s were designed for mine-clearing operations. Fiser cited Article III of the treaty, stating that they were not capable of "heavy firepower of a high muzzle velocity direct fire gun." The Russian team chief did not agree and exercised his treaty right to declare an ambiguity.


Lt. Colonel Koptelov declared two more ambiguities on September 28th, during a sequential inspection at Rhine Ordnance Barracks. The first concerned ambulances based on the M-113 armored personnel carrier (APC). Lt. Colonel Koptelov stated that an M-113 ambulance should be considered TLE because, with the exception of quickly removable interior equipment, it was an APC. Major Guy White, who replaced Lt. Colonel Fiser at Rhine Ordnance Barracks, responded that because the vehicle carried the "red cross and was configured for litters, it was not an APC."

Lt. Colonel Koptelov's second ambiguity at the Rhine Ordnance Barracks dealt with the site diagram and access. The Russian inspection team chief stated that U.S. military facilities on territory west of the declared site should have been portrayed on the site diagram. He observed that only a small road and chainlink fence separated the depicted declared site and military facilities to the west. Lt. Colonel Koptelov added that two roads connected the two locations, making the facilities a single declared site, and therefore the western portion should be accessible to an inspection team. Major White replied that the facility to the west was not associated with Rhine Ordnance Barracks--it was the Weilerbach Ammunition Storage Area, an old INF site--a separate facility. Major White pointed to the eight-foot chainlink and barbed wire fences that surrounded both facilities, and to the German civilian road that bisected the facilities as evidence that they were, in fact, separate military installations. The two team chiefs discussed previous site diagram and access disputes that U.S. inspectors had documented during inspections of Russian sites. Major White maintained that the situations were not the same; however, Koptelov was not persuaded and declared an ambiguity.

The Russian inspector's fourth and final ambiguity arose during the last inspection of his mission, on September 30th, at the South Park Storage at Moenchengladbach. After Russian inspectors inventoried another 30 M-113 based ambulances there, Koptelov repeated the Russian assertion that these ambulances should be considered APCs, thus TLE, contrary to the U.S. position that as ambulances they were not subject to the treaty.32


The M113 armored personnel carrier was a mainstay of American forces in Europe.


An INMARSAT provided reliable but bulky communications.



As discussed previously, the role of a U.S. liaison officer (LNO) was to protect U.S. interests by representing the U.S. government whenever Eastern inspection teams conducted inspections in a NATO state. To ensure readiness, OSIA's liaison teams in Germany operated on a rotating standby schedule. Two primary standby teams could deploy within three hours of notification. Two other teams were on a six-hour alert and moved up to the three-hour alert when one of the primary teams deployed. The remaining two teams were on a one-day standby schedule. The forward-deployed teams in Italy, Turkey, Spain, and the United Kingdom were prepared to respond at any time. Twice a day the forward-deployed teams checked with European Operations to monitor the status of treaty activities in their area. They also maintained ties with the host nation's treaty verification agency and with the American Embassy.

To communicate with European Operations and EUCOM when phones were not available, each team deployed with an INMARSAT (International Maritime Satellite) communications station. The INMARSAT, an 80-pound self-contained satellite communications system, was reliable and effective, but very cumbersome. Cellular phones offered LNOs far greater flexibility. Cellular phones were not available to all LNOs at the onset of the CFE baseline, but were provided when they became available. The cellular phones were purchased in Germany; there were different national phone systems throughout Europe, and the new cellular phones did not work on all of the systems. England and Spain were two countries where LNOs experienced some difficulties. There were also places where the cellular communications systems had "dead spots." The LNOs ultimately relied on their resourcefulness to keep lines of communication open with the host escort team, European Operations, and EUCOM.

Procedures for American LNOs varied from nation to nation. Before the baseline period, a joint State Department and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) team traveled throughout the NATO states to negotiate bilateral agreements that would outline specifically what actions the American teams could take to protect U.S. interests and rights. These agreements varied widely. The U.S.-German agreement mirrored years of close government cooperation and the interaction of significant U.S. and German military forces. This agreement permitted an American presence at the POE when Eastern inspection teams arrived. Frequently German escort teams invited the American LNOs to ride with them and the inspection team on the same bus. The German escorts kept U.S. LNOs well informed of the inspection team's status and intentions for sequential inspections. The timeliness of the German notifications allowed American LNOs, through OSIA's "Big Hog" database, to quickly determine which U.S. forces were known to be in the vicinity of the next inspection. Consequently, those forces had a better opportunity to prepare for a possible inspection.


As discussed previously, maintaining up-to-date databases was difficult because of the wide variety of activities of U.S. forces in Europe. On two occasions, neither OSIA nor EUCOM databases provided the American LNOs information of U.S. forces located on sites to be inspected. In Germany, 600 U.S. soldiers participating in an annual major NATO exercise, REFORGER, surprised a German escort team when they encountered them near Hamburg. The American LNO team standing by in the vicinity responded to the German discovery and the inspection proceeded smoothly. A similar situation arose in Florennes, Belgium. Neither EUCOM nor OSIA databases were updated to show the temporary deployment of two F-15 and four F-16 aircraft to a U.S. training program in Belgium. However, the chief liaison officer, Major Richard J. O'Shea, USAF, was aware that the training program existed and the U.S. liaison team was able to alert the U.S. forces and prepare them for the inspection. In both cases the U.S. liaison teams, with the cooperation of host escort teams, protected American interests.33  

U.S. aircraft, like the F-16, could be found throughout Europe far from American sites.


    Other NATO nations took a much more restrictive approach. Turkey and Portugal, for example, preferred to exercise their national sovereignty and insisted that U.S. LNOs not be present at the POE when Eastern teams arrived. In the opinion of these nations, the inspection process did not involve the United States until American forces became subject to inspection. In an October 1992 inspection, the Portuguese escort team chief told the American LNO, Major Charles R. Allison, USA, that the U.S. government would be notified through the American Embassy if the Russian team wanted to inspect U.S. facilities.34

Major John M. Bilyeu, USA, had a similar experience when a Bulgarian team arrived in Turkey on July 27, 1992. The Turkish government had chosen to minimize U.S. visibility during CFE inspections. The American LNOs traveled to the vicinity of the POE and attempted to contact the escort team chief, but could not. The U.S. team received no information from the Turkish escort team until after the Bulgarian team had conducted two inspections and was preparing to depart the country. Lacking information, the American team deployed to the only known U.S. facilities that were in the area of the POE and stood by in case the Bulgarians opted to inspect that location.35

In August 1992, it was clear that Eastern nations were not keeping pace with their allotted CFE baseline inspection quotas. It also became apparent that the Eastern inspection teams were inspecting several sites during each mission, thus minimizing travel expenses. For U.S. liaison teams this implied far fewer deployments to POEs, but it also meant longer missions when they did deploy.

In late August, Lt. Colonel Stephen A. Barneby, USA, Chief of the Plans Branch, evaluated the Eastern states' inspection pattern and recommended cutting the number of forward-deployed liaison teams. On September 3, 1992, Colonel William R. Smith, USAF, Commander, OSIA European Operations Command, agreed and proposed the cuts to Headquarters OSIA. In mid-September, the United States reduced its forward-deployed LNO presence to single teams in Italy, the United Kingdom, and Turkey. The single team in Spain was eliminated. Colonel Kelley decided that Lt. Colonel Barneby, a West European foreign area officer (FAO) who had come to European Operations Command in July 1992 from a three-year tour in Spain, would deploy from Frankfurt to Spain when required. Throughout the rest of the baseline period, the remaining LNO teams fulfilled the JCS requirement to provide an American presence to protect American rights and interests whenever an Eastern inspection team entered a NATO state.36


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