DATE:11/07/95 TITLE:07-11-95 POST-COLD WAR WEAPONS SPREAD SPURS NEED FOR ARMS CONTROL TEXT: (Non-proliferation is a central U.S. focus) (1225) By John D. Holum (The author is director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. The following article is adapted from a November 2 speech at Georgetown University.) With the collapse of the Soviet Union, many expected the need for arms control to decline as well. In fact, the opposite has happened. The bipolar nuclear standoff has eased -- which is not to say it has disappeared. We are only now extracting its sharpest teeth -- by formally removing thousands of missiles and warheads under START I, which went into force last December -- and working to ratify START II. Meanwhile, the Soviet-American arms race has been overshadowed by a danger perhaps even more ominous: proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- whether nuclear, chemical or biological, or the missiles to deliver them -- to rogue regimes and terrorists around the world. -- By reputable estimates, more than 40 countries now would have the technical and material ability to develop nuclear weapons, if they decided to do so. -- More than 15 nations have at least short range ballistic missiles, and many of these are seeking to acquire, or already have, weapons of mass destruction. -- We believe that more than two dozen countries -- many hostile to us -- have chemical weapons programs. -- The deadly gas attack in Tokyo's subway earlier this year crossed a fateful threshold: the first use of weapons of mass destruction not by governments but terrorists, against an urban civilian population. -- Recent revelations about Iraq provide a chilling reminder that biological weapons are also attractive to outlaw governments and groups. -- And recalling the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings, all of us must ponder how even more awful the suffering would be if even primitive nuclear, chemical or biological weapons fell into unrestrained and evil hands. As I've suggested, this remains a decisive time for strategic arms control between the United States and Russia. As we implement START I, both countries still must ratify START II -- which will complete a two-thirds reduction in the number of strategic warheads deployed at the height of the Cold war. Once START II enters into force, we have also been instructed by the two respective presidents to begin working on the next phase in strategic arms control -- which I hope will deal directly with weapons themselves, as well as delivery systems. Meanwhile, nonproliferation has also become a central national focus. The foundation for all our nonproliferation efforts is the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, and extending it was this year's paramount goal. This past May, culminating several years of intense diplomacy, the Treaty's fate was decided at a conference of all 178 members in New York. Despite many predictions that the cause was hopeless, our view prevailed and the NPT was made permanent -- a momentous national security achievement for the United States, and for all nations. Following the NPT decision, the spotlight has turned to an arms control priority that dates back to the Eisenhower administration but is at last within reach: a comprehensive ban on nuclear testing by anyone, anywhere, forever. In August, President Clinton made a decision that brings the test ban directly within our grasp. He called for a true zero yield CTBT -- with no exceptions, even for nuclear explosions with yields of a few pounds. This decision gives a powerful impetus to the test ban negotiations in Geneva. As you may know, we've had in place a partial test ban, preventing tests in the atmosphere, and more recently a threshold test ban, prohibiting underground tests of more than 150 kilotons. But at that level, development of new weapons can proceed unimpeded. In comparison, a truly comprehensive test ban will make two major contributions -- first, to help prevent any renewed qualitative arms race between nuclear powers should favorable trends change ... and second, to stem proliferation, by preventing other countries from moving beyond the most rudimentary devices. The CTB will be a very serious bar to their getting nuclear warheads down to the kinds of sizes, shapes and weights most dangerous to us -- deliverable in light aircraft, rudimentary missiles ... even a terrorist's luggage. The United States has conducted well over 1,000 nuclear tests -- hundreds more than any other country. The value to us of any tiny increment in knowledge from more tests is heavily outweighed by the value of preventing tests by others, including rogue states who could derive quantum leaps of capability from even a few tests. Whatever the future holds, the CTBT will make us grateful we locked all nations into place on the nuclear learning curve. Our nuclear arsenals have been more than sufficiently tested. Now it is we who are being tested. For most would-be proliferators, the tallest hurdle is not know-how, but the fissile materials -- the plutonium or highly enriched uranium -- needed to make a bomb. That is why we want to negotiate a global cutoff in production of fissile material for weapons -- to at least cap the programs of the threshold states, India, Pakistan and Israel. And it is why we are intensifying steps to deal with large, vulnerable stocks of these materials -- particularly the risk that as the former Soviet Union disarms, immense quantities of weapons-grade material are being taken out of weapons. You've seen the press reports of material turning up in places like Czechoslovakia or Germany. Thus far we know of no thefts of weapons quantities of weapons grade material -- but we also don't know what we don't know. This danger justifies a major effort to enhance fissile material security, accounting, and controls in the former Soviet Union and worldwide, coupled with vigorous, cooperative law enforcement, to close down this illicit trade before rogue states or terrorists get their hands on the raw materials for a bomb. The United States must lead this year in bringing into force the Chemical Weapons Convention, or CWC. The CWC essentially will oblige the test of the world to do what we are already doing -- for the Congress years ago mandated the destruction of our CW arsenal, and that is underway. The CWC outlaws not only the use of chemical weapons, but their production, stockpiling, transfer, or even possession by any member state. It has the toughest verification regime of any arms control agreement ever -- including short notice challenge inspections of suspect sites, both public and private. It will give us new ways to deal with the 25 countries of concern who now can all produce and stockpile chemical weapons. This year we are also negotiating vigorously to strengthen compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention. Our aim is to safeguard every American from the terrible threat of biological weapons, by negotiating in Geneva to harness advances both in arms control and in detection technologies. There's space only to mention some of the other important matters we're working on now: implementing the Framework Agreement to freeze and roll back North Korea's nuclear program; protecting the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty; ensuring that we can develop highly effective theater missile defenses while maintaining the benefits of the ABM Treaty; advancing the president's landmines initiative; and working to strengthen and enforce common export controls on nuclear, chemical, biological and missile technologies and equipment.