The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) marks a historic milestone in our efforts to reduce the nuclear threat and build a safer world. President Clinton transmitted the Treaty to the Senate on September 22, 1997. The CTBT - conceived by President Eisenhower, advanced by President Kennedy, and concluded by President Clinton - is the "longest sought, hardest fought prize in the history of arms control." For the record here are the facts about the CTBT:
The Deterrence Fiction:
We can meet the challenge of maintaining a high level of confidence in the safety and reliability of our nuclear deterrent under a CTBT through a science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program without conducting nuclear tests.
President Clinton directed the implementation of such a program almost 6 years ago, and it is being pursued by the Department of Energy with the support of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We are confident that with this program we can maintain a safe and reliable nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing.
The President has directed the Secretaries of Defense and Energy to certify annually the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons. On December 22, 1998 the Secretaries of Defense and Energy made the required certification on the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile for 1998 even though the United States has conducted no nuclear tests since 1992.
In order for the program to continue and to succeed, both the Administration and the Congress must provide sustained support for the Stockpile Stewardship Program. The Administration is committed to working with Congress to ensure this support.
The "Low-Yield Nuclear Test" Fiction:
The United States can today have high confidence in the safety and reliability of the nuclear weapons that will remain in the stockpile. This confidence is based on the understanding gained from 50 years of experience and analysis of more than 1000 nuclear tests, including approximately 150 nuclear tests of modern weapon types.
Looking to the future, the key to maintaining high confidence in the safety, reliability, and performance of the types of weapons in the enduring stockpile for several decades under a CTBT is continuing and steady support for a focused, multifaceted stockpile stewardship program.
A "supreme national interest" withdrawal clause would permit the U.S. to respond appropriately should such a need to conduct nuclear tests arise.
The "need for validating Stockpile Stewardship prior to ratification" Fiction:
There now exists a strong consensus that we have a sound program for stockpile stewardship, which has underpinned the last three yearly certifications by the Secretaries of Defense and Energy that our nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe and reliable.
Ratification of the CTBT together with the President's six safeguards provides the strongest possible commitment to the Stockpile Stewardship Program.
Delay in ratification would undercut our efforts to bring the CTBT into force at the earliest possible date, and would seriously undermine the U.S. ability to lead the global nonproliferation effort.
The "no modernization" Fiction:
We have already proven that we can make modifications to existing designs in the enduring stockpile to meet military requirements, without nuclear testing. The B-61 Mod 11, which replaced an older weapon in the stockpile, was certified in 1998.
The Treaty's supreme national interest clause provides protection in the unlikely event that a new nuclear warhead design that required nuclear testing was deemed essential to our national security.
The "confidence" Fiction:
The "no effect on proliferation" Fiction:
Without nuclear testing or direct foreign assistance, potential proliferators would lack confidence in the performance of sophisticated nuclear weapons beyond simple fission designs.
The Verification Fiction:
The treaty establishes a comprehensive international verification regime, which includes an International Monitoring System, provisions for requesting on-site inspections, consultation and clarification provisions, and confidence building measures. The regime will improve America's ability to detect and deter nuclear testing.
Our national intelligence means, augmented by the CTBT verification regime and diplomatic means, will allow the United States to effectively verify the CTBT.
The judgement that the Treaty is effectively verifiable reflects our judgement that the U.S. nuclear deterrent would not be undermined by possible nuclear tests so small that the United States failed to detect them.
The Cost Fiction:
The average annual cost between 1950 and 1991 for DOE nuclear weapons programs was $6.1 billion, with a maximum yearly cost of over $9 billion. These costs include research, design, testing, production, and maintenance of the stockpile. In contrast, the projected costs for stockpile stewardship will total $4.5 billion per year.
With respect to nuclear test monitoring, the costs projected for enhancing our capabilities to monitor the CTBT are a prudent national security investment with or without a CTBT.
The "Wait for others" Fiction:
All participating member states of the Conference on Disarmament with nuclear research or power reactors - a total of 44 countries - must sign and ratify the CTBT in order for the agreement to enter into force. To date, 41 of these 44 states have signed the Treaty and more than half have ratified, a vivid demonstration of the international community's support for this Treaty.
U.S. ratification would strengthen our diplomatic efforts to influence states (e.g. India, Pakistan, North Korea, Russia, China) that have not signed and/or ratified the CTBT to do so, just as U.S. ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention facilitated ratification by Russia, China, Pakistan, and Iran.
Moreover, CTBT ratification by the United States and others will strengthen the international norm against nuclear testing, and thus help to support the efforts of the international community to gain universal adherence to the Treaty.
The "another UN bureaucracy" Fiction:
The Organization is important for ensuring data collection and distribution from the International Monitoring System, for the approval and conduct of on-site inspections, and for implementing the Treaty's provisions on confidence building.
The United States is confident that the resources and facilities of the CTBT's global regime are being managed effectively. In the international staff, the Director for Administration of the provisional CTBT organization is a former U.S. Air Force Major General (retired), William B. Davitte, who was the Deputy Inspector General for the Air Force, as well as Chief of Personnel.
The "scope" Fiction:
We are confident it is clear what activities are covered by this prohibition, and those activities that are not prohibited by the Treaty. A long list of these activities is elaborated in the article-by-article analysis that accompanied the Treaty when it was forwarded to the Senate, and they are grounded in the negotiating record.
The "no agreement on scope" Fiction: Neither Russia nor China agreed to the U.S. definition of what is banned by the Treaty.
The boundary between experiments that are not prohibited by the CTBT and explosions that are prohibited was carefully negotiated.
There is a clear and agreed boundary between permitted and prohibited activities, and that boundary permits experiments the United States conducts to ensure the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons are not prohibited.
This issue was addressed in detailed technical discussions that included Russia and China.
In the negotiations a shared understanding was achieved, including Russia and China, that all nuclear explosions, however small (including hydronuclear tests), are prohibited, and sub-critical experiments are not prohibited.
The "Chinese" Fiction:
Securing Chinese adherence to the CTBT and bringing the CTBT into force as soon as possible will strengthen U.S. security.
The intelligence community's Damage Assessment concluded: "To date, the aggressive Chinese collection effort has not resulted in any apparent modernization of their deployed forces or any new nuclear weapons deployment."
Whatever information the Chinese may have attained through espionage, the CTBT is an effective means to constrain further Chinese nuclear modernization beyond the systems we now see.
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