Dispelling Myths About Verification of Sea-Launched Cruise Missiles

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Science  10 Nov 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4931, pp. 765-770
DOI: 10.1126/science.246.4931.765


It is widely believed that an arms control limit on nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles would be nearly impossible to verify. Among the reasons usually given are: these weapons are small, built in nondistinctive industrial facilities, deployed on a variety of ships and submarines, and difficult to distinguish from their conventionally armed counterparts. In this article, it is argued that the covert production and deployment of nuclear-armed sealaunched cruise missiles would not be so straightforward. A specific arms control proposal is described, namely a total ban on nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles. This proposal is used to illustrate how an effective verification scheme might be constructed.

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