When is a search logic not a search logic?

Answer: When everyone knows what it is!search

A logic is needed by the inspection team to make decisions about how to progress the geographic search of the inspection area, and how to allocate its limited resources to that search.

An easy to follow “if this… then that…” search logic would have many advantages for the inspection team. The decision of what resources to deploy where would be simple, and the technical experts could concentrate on their own areas of expertise. So is this the search logic we are using fro the OSI? No, it isn’t.

The reason why is simple. Imagine you had a prescriptive search logic which set out rigid steps for the Inspection Team to follow. A state intending to violate the treaty would know exactly how an inspection would progress their search. They could assemble a team of experts to plan their test in such a way that they could be confident that the inspection team, following the search logic, would not spend time looking in the critical place.

We operate within a framework which allows us to think, rather than telling us what to think

So, how does the inspection team organise its search? We operate within a framework which allows us to think, rather than telling us what to think. We focus on ‘Areas of Interest’, areas of the map where we have questions that need answers. Each of these questions demand new information to be answered. The allocation of resources is done on the areas the team are most interested in, and the value of the information that any particular activity is able to acquire.

The search logic requires the inspectors to consider each need for information objectively, not based on how easy that bit of information is to obtain, nor on what resources are available to deploy, but on how useful that piece of information is to the progress of the inspection.

This is why the search logic developed for an OSI is described as ‘information led’.

The methodology deliberately encourages understanding and participation by every member of the inspection team

The critical test of a search logic is a measure of how robust it is. A robust search logic is defined as one that will eventually lead to the correct investigative path regardless of the application of subjective information and opinion and regardless of the interim decisions made by the IT. The search logic has to allow the progress of the OSI to be quick and efficient, but must achieve this without violating the robustness of this progress.

There are five discrete steps. Each step has a clear set of tasks. The inputs are defined by the outputs of the previous step, and the outputs are clearly defined. The steps form a continuous iterative loop of activity, analysis and decision-making.


The whole inspection team are familiar with the methodology, in theory and in practice. The methodology deliberately encourages understanding and participation by every member of the inspection team.

If the information-led search logic is followed, the team can only fail to reach OSI accomplishment if it runs out of time, or the technical experts within the IT report a false negative (that is, failing to measure or recognize a relevant observable, and therefore reporting that no observable is present when in fact it is). Reporting a false positive does not necessarily mean that the IT will fail to reach OSI accomplishment, if there is enough time to investigate the observable, demote its relevance and continue with the progress of the OSI. The issue of time can be addressed to some extent by efficient communication within the team and the accurate, concise and focussed reporting and sharing of information.  The risk of false negatives can be addressed in three ways. First, negative results must be revisited before concluding the inspection; second, the capability and limitations of each of the pieces of equipment used in the OSI to detect relevant observables is known and quantified; and third, the IT experts are trained to be able confidently and consistently to recognize and report relevant observables.