Senate hearings: CTBT strengthens
efforts against would-be proliferators

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty overwhelmingly serves our national interests, members of a Senate subcommittee were told in hearings Wednesday.

Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Security, Proliferation, and Federal Services of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, held a hearing entitled, “The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Nuclear Nonproliferation.” Testifying on behalf of the Administration was John Holum, Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs and Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Excerpts from his testimony:

The CTBT is effectively verifiable
“The U.S. successfully fought for tough verification provisions in the negotiations and would not have signed the Treaty if it were not effectively verifiable. ... Our judgement that the Treaty is effectively verifiable reflects the belief that U.S. nuclear deterrence would not be
undermined by nuclear testing that the United States might fail to detect. It further reflects our belief that the Treaty will effectively deter violations in light of the significant possibility of detection in combination with the high political costs if a violation is detected. Moreover, the Treaty’s verification regime, along with our national intelligence means and diplomatic efforts, will limit an evader’s options and provide us with the means to take prompt and effective counter action should we suspect a violation has occurred. In sum, we believe that the benefits of the Treaty to U.S. national security clearly outweigh the potential costs and likelihood of undetected violations.”

The CTBT improves monitoring capabilities
“With or without a CTBT, monitoring the nuclear-related activities of the nuclear powers and potential proliferators will continue to be a high priority job of the intelligence community. ... The CTBT augments the current national technical means for monitoring worldwide nuclear testing with additional tools and


data not previously available to the United States. It is a net plus. The CTBT establishes global networks of four different types of sensors ... that can detect explosions in different physical environments. Data will be coming in continuously.... Some of this data will be recorded at stations in sensitive parts of the world to which we would not otherwise have access. ... The Treaty further provides for consultation and clarification of ambiguous situations and confidence building measures that will enhance our confidence in our monitoring capabilities. The Treaty also provides the legal basis and an international forum with which to promote and enforce a global end to nuclear testing.”

The CTBT enhances nonproliferation efforts
“The CTBT ... will erect a further barrier to the development of nuclear weapons by states hostile to our interests and others. Even if a non-nuclear weapon state were able to assemble sufficient
nuclear material to produce a simple fission weapon, the CTBT would force it to place confidence in an untested design (which military leaders might find unacceptable), and it would constrain the development of nuclear weapons beyond simple fission designs. Without access to testing data, a would-be proliferator cannot develop with any degree of confidence a compact boosted weapon. ... It would be a challenging task for an emerging nuclear weapon state, likely requiring nuclear explosive tests, to design nuclear weapons in the sizes, shapes and weights most dangerous to us -- compact weapons deliverable in long-range airplanes and missiles, or very small, low-yield, nuclear weapons to be used as terrorist devices or in regional conflicts. ...Quite apart from the sheer technical obstacles to nuclear weapon development posed by a CTBT, the existence of the Treaty will strengthen international nonproliferation standards and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime, and give the U.S. a stronger hand to lead the global nonproliferation effort.”

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