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USIS Washington 
File




12 October 1999

 
  

Text: Senator Lugar's Statement Announcing his Opposition to CTBT

(Says more debate needed on this complex arms control treaty) (2660)

Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, says he will vote
against ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

In a statement October 7, Lugar, a senior member of the Senate
Intelligence Committee, Foreign Relations Committee and National
Security Working Group, said the Treaty -- which would ban all nuclear
explosions worldwide -- needs fuller debate by the Senate than the two
days that has been allowed under the unanimous consent agreement.

"For a Treaty of this complexity and importance a more sustained and
focused effort is important. Senators must have a sufficient
opportunity to examine the Treaty in detail, ask questions of our
military and the administration, consider the possible implications,
and debate at length in committee and on the floor. Under the current
agreement, a process that normally would take many months has been
reduced to a few days. Many Senators know little about this Treaty.
Even for those of us on national security committees, this has been an
issue floating on the periphery of our concerns," Lugar said..

Lugar also said "the Administration has failed to make a case on why
this Treaty is in our national security interests."

Following is the text of the Lugar statement from his office:

(begin text)

The Senate is poised to begin consideration of the Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty under a unanimous consent agreement that will provide for
14 hours of general debate, debate on two amendments, and a final vote
on ratification.

I regret that the Senate is taking up the treaty in an abrupt and
truncated manner that is so highly politicized. Admittedly, the CTBT
is not a new subject for the Senate. Those of us who over the years
have sat on the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, or Intelligence
Committees are familiar with it. The Senate has held hearings and
briefings on the treaty in the past.

But for a treaty of this complexity and importance a more sustained
and focused effort is important. Senators must have a sufficient
opportunity to examine the treaty in detail, ask questions of our
military and the administration, consider the possible implications,
and debate at length in committee and on the floor. Under the current
agreement, a process that normally would take many months has been
reduced to a few days. Many Senators know little about this treaty.
Even for those of us on national security committees, this has been an
issue floating on the periphery of our concerns.

Presidential leadership has been almost entirely absent on the issue.
Despite having several years to make a case for ratification, the
administration has declined to initiate the type of advocacy campaign
that should accompany any treaty of this magnitude.

Nevertheless, the Senate has adopted an agreement on procedure. So
long as that agreement remains in force, Senators must move forward as
best they can to express their views and reach informed conclusions
about the treaty.

In anticipation of the general debate, I will state my reasons for
opposing ratification of the CTBT.

The goal of the CTBT is to ban all nuclear explosions worldwide: I do
not believe it can succeed. I have little confidence that the
verification and enforcement provisions will dissuade other nations
from nuclear testing. Furthermore, I am concerned about our country's
ability to maintain the integrity and safety of our own nuclear
arsenal under the conditions of the treaty.

I am a strong advocate of effective and verifiable arms control
agreements. As a former Vice-Chairman of the Senate Arms Control
Observer Group and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I have
had the privilege of managing Senate consideration of many arms
control treaties and agreements.

I fought for Senate consent to ratification of the INF Treaty, which
banned intermediate range nuclear weapons in Europe; the Conventional
Forces in Europe Treaty, which created limits on the number of tanks,
helicopters, and armored personnel carriers in Europe; the START I
Treaty, which limited the United States and the Soviet Union to 6,500
nuclear weapons; the START II Treaty, which limited the U.S. and the
former Soviet Union to 3,500 nuclear weapons; and the Chemical Weapons
Convention, which outlawed poison gas.

These treaties, while not ensuring U.S. security, have made us safer.
They have greatly reduced the amount of weaponry threatening the
United States, provided extensive verification measures, and served as
a powerful statement of the intent of the United States to curtail the
spread of weapons of mass destruction.

I understand the impulse of the proponents of the CTBT to express U.S.
leadership in another area of arms control. Inevitably, arms control
treaties are accompanied by idealistic principles that envision a
future in which international norms prevail over the threat of
conflict between nations. However, while affirming our desire for
international peace and stability, the U.S. Senate is charged with the
constitutional responsibility of making hard judgments about the
likely outcomes of treaties. This requires that we examine the
treaties in close detail and calculate the consequences of
ratification for the present and the future. Viewed in this context, I
cannot support the treaty's ratification.

I do not believe that the CTBT is of the same caliber as the arms
control treaties that have come before the Senate in recent decades.
Its usefulness to the goal of non-proliferation is highly
questionable. Its likely ineffectuality will risk undermining support
and confidence in the concept of multi-lateral arms control. Even as a
symbolic statement of our desire for a safer world, it is problematic
because it would exacerbate risks and uncertainties related to the
safety of our nuclear stockpile.

STOCKPILE STEWARDSHIP: The United States must maintain a reliable
nuclear deterrent for the foreseeable future. Although the Cold War is
over, significant threats to our country still exist. At present our
nuclear capability provides a deterrent that is crucial to the safety
of the American people and is relied upon as a safety umbrella by most
countries around the world. One of the most critical issues under the
CTBT would be that of ensuring the safety and reliability of our
nuclear weapons stockpile without testing. The safe maintenance and
storage of these weapons is a crucial concern. We cannot allow them to
fall into disrepair or permit their safety to be called into question.

The Administration has proposed an ambitious program that would verify
the safety and reliability of our weapons through computer modeling
and simulations. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on the Stockpile
Stewardship Program. The last nine years have seen improvements, but
the bottom line is that the Senate is being asked to trust the
security of our country to a program that is unproven and unlikely to
be fully operational until perhaps 2010. I believe a National Journal
article, by James Kitfield, summed it up best by quoting a nuclear
scientist who likens the challenge of maintaining the viability of our
stockpile without testing to "walking an obstacle course in the dark
when your last glimpse of light was a flash of lightning back in
1992."

The most likely problems facing our stockpile are a result of aging.
This is a threat because nuclear materials and components degrade in
unpredictable ways, in some cases causing weapons to fail. This is
compounded by the fact that the U.S. currently has the oldest
inventory in the history of our nuclear weapons programs.

Over the last forty years, a large percentage of the weapon designs in
our stockpile have required post-deployment tests to resolve problems.
Without these tests, not only would the problems have remained
undetected, but they also would have gone unrepaired. The
Congressional Research Service reported last year that: "A problem
with one warhead type can affect hundreds of thousands of individually
deployed warheads; with only 9 types of warheads expected to be in the
stockpile in 2000, compared to 30 in 1985, a single problem could
affect a large fraction of the U.S. nuclear force." If we are to put
our faith in a program other than testing to ensure the safety and
reliability of our nuclear deterrent and thus our security, we must
have complete faith in its efficacy. The Stockpile Stewardship Program
falls well short of that standard.

The United States has chosen to re-manufacture our aging stockpile
rather than creating and building new weapon designs. This could be a
potential problem because many of the components and procedures used
in original weapon designs no longer exist. New production procedures
need to be developed and substituted for the originals, but we must
ensure that the re-manufactured weapons will work as designed.

I am concerned further by the fact that some of the weapons in our
arsenal are not as safe as we could make them. Of the nine weapon
designs currently in our arsenal, only one employs all of the most
modern safety and security measures. Our nuclear weapons laboratories
are unable to provide the American people with these protections
because of the inability of the Stockpile Stewardship Program to
completely mimic testing.

At present, I am not convinced the Stockpile Stewardship Program will
permit our experts to maintain a credible deterrent in the absence of
testing. Without a complete, effective, and proven Stockpile
Stewardship program, the CTBT could erode our ability to discover and
fix problems with the nuclear stockpile and to make safety
improvements.

In fact, the most important debate on this issue may be an honest
discussion of whether we should commence limited testing and continue
such a program with consistency and certainty.

VERIFICATION: President Reagan's words "trust but verify" remain an
important measuring stick of whether a treaty serves the national
security interests of the United States. The U.S. must be confident of
its ability to detect cheating among member states. While the exact
thresholds are classified, it is commonly understood that the United
States cannot detect nuclear explosions below a few kilotons of yield.
The Treaty's verification regime, which includes an international
monitoring system and on-site inspections, was designed to fill the
gaps in our national technical means. Unfortunately, the CTBT's
verification regime will not be up to that task even if it is ever
fully deployed.

Advances in mining technologies have enabled nations to smother
nuclear tests, allowing them to conduct tests with little chance of
being detected. Similarly, countries can utilize existing geologic
formations to decouple their nuclear tests, thereby dramatically
reducing the seismic signal produced and rendering the test
undetectable. A recent Washington Post article points out that part of
the problem of detecting suspected Russian tests at Novaya Zemlya is
that the incidents take place in a large granite cave that has proven
effective in muffling tests.

The verification regime is further bedeviled by the lack of a common
definition of a nuclear test. Russia believes hydro-nuclear activities
and sub-critical experiments are permitted under the treaty. The U.S.
believes sub-critical experiments are permitted but hydro-nuclear
tests are not. Other states believe both are illegal. A common
understanding or definition of what is and what is not permitted under
the treaty has not been established.

Proponents point out that if the U.S. needs additional evidence to
detect violations, on-site inspections can be requested.
Unfortunately, the CTBT will utilize a red-light inspection process.
Requests for on-site inspections must be approved by at least 30
affirmative votes of members of the Treaty's 51-member Executive
Council. In other words, if the United States accused another country
of carrying out a nuclear test, we could only get an inspection if 29
other nations concurred with our request. In addition, each country
can declare a 50 square kilometer area of its territory as off limits
to any inspections that are approved.

The CTBT stands in stark contrast to the Chemical Weapons Convention
in the area of verifiability. Whereas the CTBT requires an affirmative
vote of the Executive Council for an inspection to be approved, the
CWC requires an affirmative vote to stop an inspection from
proceeding. Furthermore, the CWC did not exclude large tracts of land
from the inspection regime, as does the CTBT.

The CTBT's verification regime seems to be the embodiment of
everything the United States has been fighting against in the UNSCOM
inspection process in Iraq. We have rejected Iraq's position of
choosing and approving the national origin of inspectors. In addition,
the 50 square kilometer inspection-free zones could become analogous
to the controversy over the inspections of Iraqi presidential palaces.
The UNSCOM experience is one that is best not repeated under a CTBT.

ENFORCEMENT: Let me turn to some enforcement concerns. Even if the
United States were successful in utilizing the laborious verification
regime and non-compliance was detected, the Treaty is almost powerless
to respond. This treaty simply has no teeth. Arms control advocates
need to reflect on the possible damage to the concept of arms control
if we embrace a treaty that comes to be perceived as ineffectual. Arms
control based only on a symbolic purpose can breed cynicism in the
process and undercut support for more substantive and proven arms
control measures.

The CTBT's answer to illegal nuclear testing is the possible
implementation of sanctions. It is clear that this will not prove
particularly compelling in the decision-making processes of foreign
states intent on building nuclear weapons. For those countries seeking
nuclear weapons, the perceived benefits in international stature and
deterrence generally far outweigh the concern about sanctions that
could be brought to bear by the international community.

Further, recent experience has demonstrated that enforcing effective
multilateral sanctions against a country is extraordinarily difficult.
Currently, the United States is struggling to maintain multilateral
sanctions on Iraq, a country that openly seeks weapons of mass
destruction and blatantly invaded and looted a neighboring nation,
among other transgressions. If it is difficult to maintain the
international will behind sanctions on an outlaw nation, how would we
enforce sanctions against more responsible nations of greater
commercial importance like India and Pakistan?

In particularly grave cases, the CTBT Executive Council can bring the
issue to the attention of the United Nations. Unfortunately, this too
would most likely prove ineffective, given that permanent members of
the Security Council could veto any efforts to punish CTBT violators.
Chances of a better result in the General Assembly are remote at best.

I believe the enforcement mechanisms of the CTBT provide little reason
for countries to forego nuclear testing. Some of my friends respond to
this charge by pointing out that even if the enforcement provisions of
the treaty are ineffective, the treaty will impose new international
norms for behavior. In this case, we have observed that "norms" have
not been persuasive for North Korea, Iraq, Iran, India and Pakistan,
the very countries whose actions we seek to influence through a CTBT.

If a country breaks the international norm embodied in the CTBT, that
country has already broken the norm associated with the
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Countries other than the recognized
nuclear powers who attempt to test a weapon must first manufacture or
obtain a weapon, which would constitute a violation of the NPT. I fail
to see how an additional norm will deter a motivated nation from
developing nuclear weapons after violating the long-standing norm of
the NPT.

CONCLUSION: On Tuesday the Senate is scheduled to vote on the
ratification of the CTBT. If this vote takes place, I believe the
treaty should be defeated. The Administration has failed to make a
case on why this treaty is in our national security interests.

The Senate is being asked to rely on an unfinished and unproven
Stockpile Stewardship Program. This program might meet our needs in
the future, but as yet, it is not close to doing so. The treaty is
flawed with an ineffective verification regime and a practically
nonexistent enforcement process.

For these reasons, I will vote against ratification of the CTBT.

(end text)