(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

-- 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

-- 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

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