Assistant Secretary of State for Verification, Compliance and Implementation Rose Gottemoeller spoke at the U.S. Strategic Command Deterrence Symposium yesterday, enumerating the finer points of the administration's final push for New START ratification and reaffirming its commitment to pursuing CTBT ratification in the future.
"Ratification of the CTBT is central to leading other nuclear weapons states toward a world of diminished reliance on nuclear weapons, reduced nuclear competition, and eventual nuclear disarmament," Secretary Gottemoeller said.
Though ratifying the CTBT "will not be an easy task," Gottemoeller said, she was optimistic that "we have a good story to tell." She posited that during the 1999 drive to win CTBT ratification, the two key objections from Senators were the verifiability of the treaty, and the ability of the United States to certify and maintain its stockpile under a test ban.
Ten years later, she said, the International Monitoring System (IMS), is no longer "merely a plan on paper," and is over 80% complete. The success of the Stockpile Stewardship Program is such that "our nuclear experts say they know more about how these weapons work than we did when we actively tested them." This sentiment was recently echoed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory director, who told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "we now know more about nuclear weapons than we ever have."
Gottemoeller looked toward the fall when a National Academy of Sciences study on the test ban should be completed. The NAS study and the classified National Intelligence Estimate were both commissioned by the administration for a technical perspective on the CTBT. "These documents, and others, will inform the Administration's assessment of the verifiability of the CTBT and our ability to maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear arsenal as we prepare to work with the Senate for favorable consideration of this important Treaty," she said.