Treaty Preparatory Commission meets, reaffirms commitment to verification

Work to prepare detailed procedures for effective verification continues

The fifth plenary session of the Preparatory Commission (Prepcom) of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization met in Vienna April 6 - 9, and reaffirmed the Prepcom’s work to establish the Treaty’s verification regime.
The Prepcom was established to prepare detailed procedures for the effective implementation of the CTBT, and to lay the foundations for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization that will come into being when the Treaty enters into force. The Preparatory Commission convened its first meeting Nov. 20, 1996, and began the process of developing Rules of Procedure, Financial Regulations, and other necessary measures for the future operation of the Organization.
The principal tasks of the Prepcom are to establish:
1. The International Monitoring System: four global networks of sensors to detect nuclear explosions;
2. The International Data Centre: the collection and dissemination point of data from the sensors, including a global communications infrastructure for transmitting data from the sensors and analytical reports to the Parties; and
3. The on-site inspection infrastructure.
The Treaty establishes a far reaching verification regime, based on 321 seismic, hydro-acoustic, radionuclide, and infrasound sensors that comprise the International Monitoring System (IMS). Data provided by the IMS will be analyzed and disseminated by the International Data Centre (IDC). The Prepcom must develop and approve the technical and operational details to ensure the effective operation of the IMS and the IDC, and install the stations, computers and communications hardware and software.
Under the direction of the Prepcom, work is being carried out by the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS), which is co-located with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, where it can draw on a large talent pool and save money by sharing administrative services with other organizations.


The PTS has rapidly developed into an efficiently functioning organization that supports site surveys, station upgrades, and establishment of new stations to ensure the IMS global networks will be capable of providing data to meet the verification requirements of the CTBT.
Several Americans are serving in
senior positions with the PTS, including Burton Davitte, a retired Air Force general as the Head of Administration. Officials on leave from the Department of Defense and from a laboratory supported by the Department of Energy have senior responsibilities in the International Data Centre and On-Site Inspection divisions.

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