Some things are easier said than done.
Like eliminating medium-range nuclear weapons.While in principle, eliminating all nuclear weapons with a 300- to 3,000-mile range might sound like a good idea, in practice, it's proving to be a logistical headache.
Ask Brig. Gen. Roland Lajoie, director of the newly created U.S. On-Site Inspection Agency, whose headache it ultimately is to implement the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
"It's a hectic process," admitted Lajoie. "It's an extremely complicated treaty."
Lajoie said the $67 million first-year budget for his agency gives an idea of the treaty's scope.
Although Utahns have been focused on the full-time Soviet arms-control inspectors who will be in Utah to see that no new Pershing missiles banned by the treaty are built, Lajoie said the INF treaty also involves hundreds of other Soviet inspectors conducting spot-checks and verifying destruction of banned weapons at more than 25 other sites throughout the United States and Western Europe.
He said spot-checks require a lead-time of at least 16 hours for both sides. "That way we can't ambush the Soviets somewhere and they can't do the same to to us."
Among the locations the Soviets will spot-check will be the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah's West Desert, where cruise missiles were ground launched between 1980 and last year.
In addition to Dugway, the Soviets will be permitted short-term visits to sites in California, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Florida, Great Britain, Italy and West Germany.
The flip side, what Lajoie calls, "Blue on Red," includes a contingent of 30 American arms-control inspectors who will set up shop in the Soviet city of Votkinsk on a full-time basis, similar to what the Soviets are doing in Magna.
But there will be literally scores of other inspectors who will be responsible for making spot checks around the Soviet Union and Soviet Bloc and verifying the destruction of missiles to ensure the Soviets are playing by the rules.
And Lajoie and his staff have the responsibility to see that both operations go reasonably smoothly. He said the sheer magnitude of the job will require a tremendous effort - especially in the early going.
For example, Lajoie said, each of the 133 sites in the Soviet Union and Soviet Bloc listed in the treaty must be visited by U.S. inspectors between now and Aug. 31 to verify that all INF treaty-related activities have ceased.
Lajoie said all told more than 1,800 Soviet missiles, primarily SS-20s and SS-12s, will be destroyed under the treaty. More than 800 U.S. weapons must also be destroyed, including Pershing 1As, Pershing IIs and BGM-100s. He said the Soviets have received approval to initially destroy their missiles by launching them - what the Soviets like to characterize as the "natural death of a missile."
The Americans have opted to destroy their banned missiles by static firing.
Here in Utah, the OSIA staff has had to find the Soviets temporary housing at the Sun Arbor Apartments on North Temple until permanent living quarters can be built nearer Hercules. The location is still being determined.
Even something as seemingly simple as transporting the Soviets within the 31-mile area around Hercules meant seeking bids from 17 would-be providers. Lewis Bros. Stages was finally selected.
Lajoie said he expects it will take the Soviets about six months to get up to speed in Magna. Once they do, he expects a very efficient operation. Among the equipment the Soviets will have installed at the Hercules portal will be a scale and giant X-ray machine.
To give an idea of how sophisticated these verification operations will be, Lajoie said, the American X-ray machine to be installed in Votkinsk will be powerful enough to see through a rail car, missile canister and into the missile being examined.
Soviet inspectors will be allowed to examine all shipping containers leaving Hercules large enough or heavy enough to possibly contain Pershing hardware.
For example, if an MX missile leaves the plant, the Soviets will be permitted to measure and weigh it to satisfy themselves it's not a banned weapon. In some cases, where measuring and weighing do not satisfy the Soviets, they'll be permitted a peek at the missile's physical characteristics.