President Reagan met with U.S. INF inspectors in the White House on June 22, 1988. Eight days later, the inspections began.


On Monday, February 8,1988, 40 Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps officers and enlisted personnel, along with two civilians, reported to a large vacant office at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters located at Buzzard Point in southeast Washington, D.C. These people constituted the On-Site Inspection Agency. They began working in an atmosphere more akin to a task force than a fully staffed federal agency. From the beginning they worked under considerable pressure. President Reagan had submitted the treaty to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent in late January, and hearings in the Senate and the House of Representatives were scheduled to begin in late February. Some experts predicted that the treaty would be ratified and enter into force as early as April 1. That meant that on-site inspections might begin as early as May 1, less than 90 days away. That left little time to organize the agency, set up field offices, establish communications centers, write operations plans, recruit inspectors and escorts, conduct training classes, schedule and perform mock inspections, purchase and field equipment, and deploy INF inspection and escort teams.    


    Inherited Decisions: First Task Force

The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Gates of the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant, Udmurt, USSR, site of the U.S. continuous portal monitoring.
  In the late fall of 1987, as the final treaty provisions were being negotiated and the agenda for the Washington Summit completed, Lt. General Colin L. Powell, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, asked Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to set up a small task force. Their assignment was to develop a concept of operations and recommend an organizational structure for implementing the INF Treaty. One week later, on December 1, 1987, General Powell issued specific guidelines for the task force. Verification and compliance mechanisms within the U.S. government would remain for the INF Treaty as structured for all other treaties. A new on-site inspection organization, located in either the Department of Defense or the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, would have the mission of preparing for, conducting, and managing INF Treaty inspection and escorting activities, including the transportation of inspection teams to and from the designated points of entry in the Soviet Union and the United States. For U.S. inspections of Soviet missile sites, the Treaty stipulated that a list of up to 200 inspectors would be established. The new organization would be responsible for recruiting, training, equipping, and managing these inspectors. They would be drawn from people knowledgeable about the Soviet Union and its military, Russian linguists, and from specialists in INF missile operations. The treaty also stipulated that there would be a pool of up to 200 portal monitoring inspectors. At any one time, up to 30 of these inspectors could be stationed at the designated Votkinsk missile final assembly plant to monitor the plant's portal and perimeter around the clock, 365 days a year. For escorting Soviet on-site inspectors to U.S. INF missile sites, a designated group of escorts would be the responsibility of the new agency. The air crews, responsible for flying the inspectors and escorts to the designated national points of entry, would be managed by the new agency, and would be limited, by provisions in the Treaty, to no more than 200 members.


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