The Joint Chiefs of Staff call for
prompt CTBT ratification

General Henry H. Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, underscored JCS support for prompt U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty in appearances before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on February 2 and 3. In doing so, Shelton reinforced endorsements that the Treaty had received previously from Generals John Shalikashvili, Colin Powell, and David Jones, and from Admiral William Crowe, all former JCS chairmen under Presidents Clinton, Bush, Reagan, and Carter respectively.

The JCS posture statement declares that:

In a very real sense, one of the best ways to protect our troops and our interests is to promote arms control in its many different forms. In both the conventional and nuclear realms, arms control can reduce the chances of conflict, lower tensions, generate cost savings, and encourage peaceful solutions to international and intrastate disputes.

.....Our efforts to lower the numbers of strategic nuclear weapons coincide with efforts to control testing of nuclear weapons. In the 1999 State of the Union Address, the President asked the Senate to approve the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, now, to make it harder for other nations to develop nuclear arms. To date, 152 nations have signed the Treaty and 27 have ratified it. The Joint Chiefs of Staff support the ratification of this Treaty, with the safeguards package that establishes the conditions under which the United States would adhere to the Treaty.

These safeguards were announced by President Clinton in August 1995, when he decided to pursue a true zero-yield Treaty. They will strengthen our commitment in the areas of intelligence, monitoring and verification, stockpile stewardship, maintenance of our nuclear laboratories, and test readiness. They also specify the circumstances under which the President, in consultation with Congress, would be prepared to withdraw from the CTBT under the standard “supreme national interest” provision in the unlikely event that further testing might be required.


In December 1998, Defense Secretary Cohen and Energy Secretary Richardson signed the third annual certification to the President that the stockpile is safe and reliable and that nuclear testing is not required at this time. The certification process consists of a rigorous review by the Defense Department and DOE, the Nuclear Weapons Council (NWC),
our nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories, and U.S. strategic commands. As Secretary Richardson said on January 12, it “allows us to revalidate our confidence in the stockpile and our continued adherence to the Treaty on an annual basis.”

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