The verification regimes of all modern arms control treaties permit on-site inspections of elimination and conversion activities to confirm that relevant weapons systems are destroyed or rendered incapable of performing their military functions and that this is done in the manner set out in the treaty. The Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and the Chemical Weapons Convention ban entire categories of weapons and thus contain only elimination provisions. 1 The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) have provisions that permit lower residual levels of some weapons systems and have both elimination and conversion provisions.
Elimination inspections are held for the purpose of confirming that treaty-limited items and equipment (TLIs; TLEs) have been destroyed in accordance with treaty provisions. In general, these provisions ensure that destruction has been carried out in such a manner that the item or equipment either could not be restored at all or only at a prohibitively high cost, that is, at a cost well above normal manufacturing costs. Once eliminated in accordance with treaty provisions, such items or equipment are no longer subject to treaty constraints and numerical limitations and are removed from further accountability under the treaty.
Conversion inspections help to confirm that an item, which can be legally converted under the provisions of a treaty, has been converted in accordance with established procedures so that it is no longer capable of performing its previous military functions. Converted items remain subject to certain treaty constraints and numerical limitations even after the appropriate conversion procedures have been completed.
The general provisions governing eliminations and conversions are set out in the treaty text. The specific elimination and/or conversion procedures for each weapons system are listed in a separate section or protocol. The INF Treaty has