The formidable array of on-site inspection provisions now contained in arms control treaties has required adjustments in existing bureaucracies and the creation of some new structures at both the national and multinational level to ensure proper implementation and compliance. As a rule, the major responsibilities for handling on-site inspections are centered in a relatively few bodies, although many departments, agencies, and offices throughout the government may have specialized operational roles. Since the thrust of most arms control treaties is the elimination, limitation, or banning of military weapons systems or activities, national defense establishments generally have assumed the bulk of responsibility for ensuring arms control implementation and compliance, including on-site inspection activities.
In the United States, the Department of Defense (DoD) ensures most arms control implementation and compliance. A centralized structure has been established within the Department of Defense to ensure proper oversight, while the operational responsibilities for carrying out on-site inspections and other arms control obligations are widely dispersed throughout the department. The Joint Chiefs of Staff and each of the military services—the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines—implement specific on-site inspection obligations within their respective areas of responsibility. Other DoD components, such as the Defense Special Weapons Agency (formerly the Defense Nuclear Agency), the Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Air Force Technical Applications Center also have specialized verification research and monitoring and implementation responsibilities.
An entirely new body—the On-Site Inspection Agency (OSIA)—was established within DoD in January 1988 to handle the unprecedented on-site inspection and escort responsibilities contained in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. OSIA's on-site inspection responsibilities subsequently have been extended to all arms control agreements with on-site