Project Cloud Gap

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Project Cloud Gap: Demonstrated Destruction of Nuclear Weapons was a program run by the United States Department of Defense and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1963 to 1967[1] (or 1969, according to other sources[2]) whose purpose was to "test the technical feasibility of potential arms control and disarmament measures".[3] Arms control agreements discussed between the United States and the Soviet Union would involve on-site inspections, and such techniques - which involved giant drilling rigs and helicopter overflights to detect secret underground testing -[1] were field-tested by Cloud Gap.[4] The program was abandoned after a helicopter crash during a mock inspection exercise killed several team members.[1]

Cloud Gap's aborted work culminated in Field Test 34, "an extensive mock dismantlement exercise" which demonstrated two things: if any party to a treaty attempted to cheat, the risk of detection was significant, and the party that cooperated and allowed for on-site inspection would see "significant amounts of classified information be put at risk and invariably lost".[2]


  1. ^ a b c Herken, Gregg (1992). Cardinal Choices: Presidential Science Advising from the Atomic Bomb to Sdi. Stanford UP. p. 305. ISBN 9780804739665. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Fuller, James (2010). "Going to Zero: Verifying Nuclear Warhead Dismantlement". In Corey Hinderstein. Cultivating Confidence: Verification, Monitoring, and Enforcement for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons. Hoover Press. pp. 123–60. ISBN 9780817912055. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "Cloud Gap: Demonstrated Destruction of Nuclear Weapons". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 24 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Sheldon, Robert (2004). "Military Operations Research Society (MORS) Oral History Project Interview of Alfred Lieberman, FS" (PDF). Military Operations Research. Military Operations Research Society. 9 (1). Retrieved 23 November 2012.