To date, nuclear arms control has focused on restricting the number and capabilities of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles— intercontinental missiles and bombers. In the future, it will become increasingly important to combine these measures with restrictions on nuclear warhead and fissile-material stockpiles and on the operation and targeting of nuclear forces. Restrictions on nuclear warheads, materials, operations, and targeting would not only help improve stability, but would also help reduce the risk of accidental, unauthorized, or erroneous use of nuclear weapons. A major challenge is verifying compliance with such restrictions. This paper outlines the technical possibilities for verifying limits on stockpiles of warheads and fissile materials, on the dismantling of nuclear warheads and the disposition of fissile materials, and on the launch-readiness of nuclear forces in the hope of stimulating further research on these topics.
Author(s): Xu Chunyang