Statements of Support for the CTBT

Support for the CTBT is growing across the political spectrum. Senior statesmen, including former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Henry Kissinger, former Secretaries of Defense William Perry, Harold Brown, and William Cohen, as well as President George H. W. Bush's National Security Advisor Gen. Brent Scowcroft have called on the Senate to reconsider and approve the CTBT

An overwhelming majority of Americans also support a global, verifiable treaty banning all nuclear weapons test explosions. A 2004 public opinion poll found that 87 percent of respondents support U.S. ratification of the CTBT. Public support for the nuclear test ban has remained strong since the early days of the Cold War

Since the CTBT was completed in 1996, the United States and more than 180 nations have signed, including the other major nuclear-armed states (China, France, Russia, and the United Kingdom). All NATO members—except for the United States—have ratified the treaty

The following is a sample of the many statements of support for the CTBT from former senior officials, technical and scientific experts, military officials, and faith leaders

Former Senior Officials

Former Secretary of State George Shultz: “Yes clearly I think we should ratify the treaty [the CTBT]...Because things have changed. It's now not just an idea that we can detect tests. There is a network that has built out now and has been demonstrated that we can detect all, even small tests...I find it hard to see how we would justify going and producing a new nuclear weapon, we have quite an arsenal right now."

—Washington DC
March 8, 2013

Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr. and Former Senator Jake Garn: "A sensible first step for protecting America from global nuclear dangers is ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The treaty's national security benefits are significant...The CTBT has now been ratified by over 159 nations, including every one of our NATO allies. It is time for America to follow suit."

—The Salt Lake Tribune
Feb. 16, 2013

Former Undersecretary of Energy for Nuclear Security and chief negotiator of the 1991 START I treaty, Ambassador Linton Brooks: " a practical matter, it is almost certain that the United States will not test again. The political bar against testing is extremely high... in recent years I never met anybody who advocated that we seek authorization to return to testing."

—Arms Control Association Briefing, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Nov. 28, 2011

“…states whose cooperation is necessary for an effective nonproliferation regime are reluctant to cooperate while the five recognized nuclear powers are not, in their view, meeting their Article VI obligations. And the touchstone of that, at least with regard to the United States, has become CTBT… I think, we probably ought to go ahead and ratify the CTBT in the United States…”

—Carnegie Nonproliferation Conference
April 6, 2009

Former Secretaries of Defense Harold Brown, Melvin R. Laird and William J. Perry: “This treaty is too important for the vote of the last Congress [in 1999] to be the final word…The fact is that the suspension of nuclear tests instituted by President George Bush and Congress in 1992 will remain in place for many years to come. There are advantages to the United States in our international relations in ratifying the test ban treaty. The treaty is an important element of the global nonproliferation regime and crucial to American leadership of those efforts.”

—“Ratify, But Review,” The New York Times
Jan. 7, 2001

Former co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission Thomas H. Kean (R) and Lee H. Hamilton (D): “More nuclear armed states means more risks to peace and stability…We can help by making deeper nuclear arms reductions, ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and fulfilling the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty – steps that would have a powerful and positive effect.”

—The Washington Post
Nov. 9, 2008

Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for international security affairs Joseph Nye, former Undersecretary of State for political affairs Nicholas Burns and former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott: “Ratifying [the CTBT] will be to the international advantage of the United States. The CTBT is especially important to the goal of reducing nuclear weapons… By actively seeking ratification, the U.S. will be more able to persuade Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty member states to erect stronger barriers against the acquisition of nuclear weapons… It will also impede the ability of countries with nuclear weapons to develop and deploy more advanced nuclear systems, including taking steps to miniaturize and otherwise make more usable their offensive nuclear capabilities.”

—“U.S., Russia Must Lead on Arms Control,” Politico
Oct. 13, 2009

Former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft and former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry: "… U.S. ratification [of the CTBT] has become, in the eyes of many states, a litmus test for U.S. leadership on the overall global efforts to prevent the use and spread of nuclear weapons. Although it would not ensure entry into force, U.S. ratification would put Washington in a position to pressure holdout states to ratify the treaty. Furthermore, U.S. ratification would promote international norm building that would stigmatize states that conduct nuclear testing; it would increase the likelihood that states that violate this norm would be punished."

—U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy, Independent Task Force Report No. 62, Council on Foreign Relations

(The CFR panel also included: Ambassador Linton F. Brooks, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Ashton B. Carter, former Department of Energy official John Deutch, former administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration John A. Gordon, former commander in chief of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) Eugene E. Habiger, former Undersecretary of State Arnold Kanter, former director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Ronald F. Lehman II, former National Security Council official Franklin C. Miller, and others.)

Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn: “Near-term steps that the U.S. and Russia could take, beginning in 2008, can in and of themselves dramatically reduce nuclear dangers. They include… Adopt[ing] a process for bringing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) into effect, which would strengthen the NPT and aid international monitoring of nuclear activities.”

—“Toward a Nuclear-Free World,” The Wall Street Journal
Jan. 15, 2008

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates: “Q: Do you think the United States should ratify the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty? SEC. GATES: I think that if there are adequate verification measures, [the United States] probably should.”

—Address at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Oct. 28, 2008

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton: "The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty is an integral part of our non-proliferation and arms control agenda, and we will work in the months ahead both to seek the advice and consent of the United States Senate to ratify the treaty, and to secure ratification by others so that the treaty can enter into force

We believe that the CTBT contributes to our global nonproliferation and disarmament strategy as well as the President’s long-range vision. It does so without jeopardizing the safety, security, or credibility of our nuclear arsenal. By pursuing these goals and supporting the CTBT, we are working in the interest of all nations committed to non-proliferation and to reducing the threat of nuclear attack."

—CTBT Article XIV Conference
Sept. 24, 2009

Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense Ellen Tauscher, Former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security: "...successful U.S. ratification of the CTBT will help facilitate greater international cooperation on other elements of the president’s Prague agenda. It will strengthen our leverage with the international community to pressure defiant regimes like those in Iran and North Korea as they engage in illicit nuclear activities."

—Arms Control Association Annual Meeting
May 10, 2011

Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor: "We are committed to working with members of both parties in the Senate to ratify the CTBT, just as we did for New START... we intend to stress three essential points as we make our case to the Senate and the American people. First, CTBT ratification serves America’s national security interests because it will help lead others to ratify the treaty and thus strengthen the legal and political barriers to a resumption of nuclear testing, which would fuel the nuclear build up in Asia. Second, more than a decade since the Senate last considered – and rejected – the CTBT, we are in a stronger position to effectively verify the Treaty through the global monitoring system set up under the Treaty and our own strengthened national capabilities. Third, our experience with the stockpile stewardship program has demonstrated that the U.S. can maintain an effective and reliable nuclear arsenal without nuclear testing. "

—Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference
March 29, 2011

Technical and Scientific Experts

Dr. Siegfried Hecker, Former Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory: “… I definitely come out in favor that it's in our nation's and the world's interest to actually ratify the comprehensive test ban treaty.”

—Testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Energy and Water Subcommittee
April 30, 2008

“The single most important reason to ratify the CTBT is to stop other countries from improving their arsenals – China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran if it ever progresses that far…We gain substantially more from limiting other countries than we lose by giving up testing…The U.S. has carried out more than 1,000 nuclear tests, and the Chinese have done about 45. You can see the difference in the sophistication of our arsenals.”

—“Nuclear Disarmament,” CQ Researcher, Volume 19, Number 34
Oct. 2, 2009

Thomas D'agostino, Undersecretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA): "I'm pleased to report that the stockpile stewardship is working. This program has proven its ability to successfully sustain the safety, security and reliability of the stockpile without the need to conduct an underground test for well over a decade."

—Testimony to the Energy and Water Development subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee
March 29, 2007

Military Officials

Lt. General Frank Klotz (retired): "But in my own personal view, speaking personally, the logic for moving forward and ahead on ratification of the CTBT is inescapable."

"While the United States probably garners some credit for exercising a self-imposed moratorium, it is likely to be in a far better position to rally international pressure against would-be proliferators and to constrain regional arms races if it ratifies CTBT. And it is clearly in the national security interest of the United States and of our friends and allies to do just that"

—The Prague Nuclear Risk Reduction Agenda, National Press Club
April 11, 2013

Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney (retired): "Keeping in mind the success of New START, the next logical step would be to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), as Russia did in 2000. The establishment of such a ban on nuclear testing would further strengthen American security."

—Time to Ratify Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, CNN
Jan. 5, 2012

Former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Generals Colin Powell, John Shalikashvili and David Jones: “On September 22, 1997, President Clinton submitted the Comprehensive Nuclear test Ban (CTB) Treaty to the United States Senate for its advice and consent, together with six Safeguards that define the conditions under which the United States will enter into this Treaty. The Safeguards will strengthen our commitments in the area of intelligence, monitoring and verification, stockpile stewardship, maintenance of our nuclear laboratories, and test readiness… With these Safeguards, we support Senate approval of the CTB Treaty.”

—Statement of former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with Admiral William Crowe
Jan. 28, 1999

Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Retired), former National Security Advisor: “… we've learned a lot since [the CTBT] was before the Senate before and circumstances have changed. And I am cautiously optimistic that if the administration makes a good, clear case, then it has a chance.”

—Conference call hosted by Council on Foreign Relations
May 1, 2009

Gen. John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "Every U.S. ally strongly supports our ratification of the CTBT. All of them have signed the CTBT. Most have ratified it already…. Neither they, our allies, nor anyone else outside of our borders has any doubt about the credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. Instead, what our allies fear is that if we walk away from the Test Ban Treaty, U.S. leadership on arms control and nonproliferation will be seriously, seriously weakened.”

—Address to the Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference
March 16, 2000

Faith Leaders

Most Reverend Edwin O’Brien, Archbishop of Baltimore and member of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “The Holy See argues that entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would demonstrate that nations are serious about their commitment to a nuclear-weapons-free-world. For us in the United States, this means that public opinion makers, including religious leaders, should help build public dialogue and support for ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. And leaders of both political parties should build a strong bipartisan consensus to support the Treaty as an important step on the road to zero.”

—Statement to the STRATCOM Deterrence Symposium
July 29, 2009