IFE14 kicks off
On 3 November the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) began its largest-ever on-site inspection simulation exercise, the Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE14). The launch phase activities are currently taking place in Vienna, Austria. All of the field activities will then take place from 7 November to 9 December on the banks of the Dead Sea in Jordan in an inspection area of up to 1,000 km2.
A realistic but fictional scenario
On-site inspections are a key element in the global alarm system being built by the CTBTO to detect nuclear explosions anywhere on the planet. During IFE14 a team comprising up to 40 inspectors will search a clearly defined inspection area to establish whether or not a nuclear explosion has been conducted. During such an inspection, facts might also be gathered to identify a possible violator of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). The exercise will be carried out in response to a technically realistic but fictional scenario.
The Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE14) in Jordan will prove that CTBT on-site inspections are a viable deterrent against would-be Treaty violators. With a range of new techniques envisaged by the CTBT but never used before in on-site inspection-related tests and exercises, IFE14 will take our capabilities to a new level.
This will be the CTBTO’s second full-scale simulation of an on-site inspection since IFE08 which took place in Kazakhstan in 2008. IFE14’s main goal is to evaluate the progress made regarding the CTBTO’s operational capacity to conduct an on-site inspection and to further refine this capability.
The ultimate verification measure
A real on-site inspection can only take place once the CTBT has entered into force. Any State Party will then have the right to request the inspection of an area where it believes a nuclear explosion may have been carried out in violation of the CTBT. It will be preceded by the analysis of monitoring data at the CTBTO’s International Data Centre in Vienna which may indicate the possibility of a nuclear explosion. For the purpose of the exercise, the event in question is an unusual seismic event and subsequent detection of radioxenon in the fictitious country of Maridia.
Follow IFE14’s progress over the next few weeks on our Fieldblog.