Treaty in our national security interests

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty marks an historic milestone in the efforts to reduce the nuclear threat by prohibiting all nuclear weapon test explosions, or any other nuclear explosion, anywhere, anytime. By committing nations to end all nuclear testing, the CTBT will deny potential proliferators the ability to develop new, more dangerous weapons. Through a law enacted in 1992, the United States has already stopped nuclear testing. By 1996, the remaining declared nuclear weapon states -- China, Russia, France and the United Kingdom -- were also abiding by a moratorium on testing. The CTBT requires all other signatories to refrain from testing.
The CTBT is strongly in the national security interests of the United States because:

The CTBT will allow America to maintain a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent. The United States will enter into a CTBT with a proven, well-tested nuclear stockpile. Past nuclear explosive testing has provided a rich database characterizing the operation of our weapons, and this database will serve as a benchmark for comparing, without nuclear
explosive testing, the operation of our weapons in the future. We have instituted a rigorous and technically sophisticated program of stockpile stewardship, and we are confident that with this program we can maintain a safe and reliable nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing. The Treaty was carefully negotiated to ensure it would not prohibit activities we will carry out to maintain our deterrent. Moreover, the President has established concrete, specific Safeguards that define the conditions under which the United States can enter into a CTBT.
The CTBT will constrain the development of more advanced nuclear weapons by the declared nuclear powers. The CTBT’s prohibition on nuclear explosive testing will have the practical effect of constraining the declared nuclear weapon states from developing with high confidence more advanced and more dangerous weapons.
The CTBT will constrain ‘rogue’ states nuclear weapons development and other states nuclear capabilities. Even if rogue states were able to assemble sufficient nuclear material to produce a simple fission weapon without nuclear testing, the CTBT would force them to place confidence in an


untested design (which military leaders might find unacceptable), as well as constrain any further improvements in nuclear weapon design. Other potential adherents with nuclear capabilities would, without direct foreign assistance, be constrained from developing with confidence sophisticated nuclear weapons beyond simple fission designs.
The CTBT will improve America’s ability to detect and deter nuclear explosive testing. Detecting, identifying and attributing nuclear explosive testing is a high national security priority. The CTBT’s global network of seismic, hydroacoustic, radionuclide and infrasound sensors will aid America’s national capabilities to monitor nuclear explosive testing across the globe, as well as deter any nation from believing it can conduct a nuclear explosive test undetected by the international community. With the CTBT in force, the United States will gain a new tool to assess compliance with a ban on nuclear testing: the ability to request a short-notice, on-site inspection of a suspicious event.
CTBT ratification by the United States will encourage further ratifications. U.S. ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention facilitated ratification by Russia,
Pakistan and Iran. In the same way, U.S. ratification of the CTBT will encourage ratification by other states.
CTBT ratification by the United States and others will constrain non-signatories from conducting nuclear tests. Ratification of the CTBT by the United States and the vast majority of the international community will strengthen the international norm against nuclear testing, and thus help to deter nuclear tests by nonsignatories and support the efforts of the international community to gain universal adherence to the Treaty.
The CTBT will strengthen the NPT regime and the United States ability to lead the global nonproliferation effort. The nuclear weapon states commitment at the 1995 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference to conclude a CTBT in 1996 was instrumental in achieving the indefinite and unconditional extension of the NPT. U.S. ratification of the CTBT will make good on this commitment, thereby bolstering American leadership in the global diplomatic campaign to preserve and strengthen the NPT regime. U.S. ratification will also strengthen our efforts to promote additional steps to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Produced by the White House Working Group on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
For more information on the CTBT: Phone: 202-647-8677 Fax: 202-647-6928