Sponsored by the Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America
Monday, November 28, 2011
2:00 to 3:30
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Mass. Ave., NW
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature in September 1996, and the United States was the first nation to sign. As a direct result of the CTBT and the end of nuclear explosive tests, the United States instituted the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program to maintain U.S. weapons, and the international community created the International Monitoring System to verify compliance with the treaty.
Fifteen years after the Treaty's conclusion, the Stewardship Program has matured into an effective enterprise to maintain U.S. nuclear weapons without explosive tests. The U.S. nuclear stockpile is annually certified as safe and reliable, and the National Nuclear Security Administration states that it knows more about nuclear weapons today than it did in the days of explosions under the Nevada desert.
Similarly, the International Monitoring System is now 85 percent complete, with almost 300 seismic and other detection facilities operating across the globe. This system is now up and running and was able to identify the North Korean nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 and track radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan earlier this year.
Linton F. Brooks served in the George W. Bush administration from 2002 to 2007 as administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, where he was responsible for the U.S. Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program. He is currently an advisor to the Department of Energy's national laboratories.
Marvin L. Adams is the HTRI Professor of nuclear engineering at Texas A&M University, where he directs the Institute for National Security Education and Research. He chairs the Weapons Science Review Committee at Los Alamos National Laboratory, chairs the Predictive Science Panel at both Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, and serves as consultant and advisor in several areas related to the nuclear weapons stockpile.
Jenifer Mackby is a fellow in the International Security Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She served as a senior political affairs officer for the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, where she worked on the CTBT negotiations, and then worked on verification for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission in Vienna.
Daryl G. Kimball is executive director at the Arms Control Association and coordinator for the Project on the CTBT. He previously worked for the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Tom Z. Collina, ACA Research Director, will serve as moderator.
Federal News Service
SEBASTIAN GRÄFE: Welcome, everyone here this afternoon to this joint event by the Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America. My name is Sebastian Gräfe. I’m with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, one of the German political foundations headquartered in Berlin, but we have an office here in Washington, D.C.
This event today – today’s event concludes a series of activities, joint activities by the Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Böll Foundation this year on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and I’m happy that we can welcome you here today to today’s discussion.
We want to take a look at two instruments, which are part of the framework of test ban regimes: the Stockpile Steward Program on the national level and the International Monitoring System of the CTBT.
I want to thank Daryl and Tom and this whole team for having organized this event. I think at times when the CFE is about to collapse, maybe to collapse at times when – just last Friday an attempt to undermine the cluster munition agreement could have prevented, at times when Russia threatens to withdraw from New START and also threatens or – actually threat to stop the negotiations about missile defense, I think there is a lot of food for our both organizations also in 2012. And I’m really looking forward for that cooperation.
Last – I mean, before I hand over to Daryl, let me also point to a study we recently released. Today’s discussion is – takes also place in a political environment of tight budgets. And you might have heard that also Europe is in a similar situation as the U.S., and therefore we commissioned a study to three European think tanks, a consortium of three European think tanks, to take a look at how Europe can pool and share its defense capabilities. It’s done by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and a Polish and a French think tank. So go on our website, or the cooperating think tanks’ in Europe.
With that, I hand it over to Daryl.
DARYL KIMBALL: And I’m going to turn it over to Tom Collina, our research director.
TOM COLLINA: Sebastian, thank you very much. Welcome, everyone. I’m Tom Collina. I’m the research director at the Arms Control Association. Welcome back from what I hope was a very nice, restful Thanksgiving break. We will not be serving turkey at this event, so you won’t have to worry about any more of that.
And again, many thanks to the Böll Foundation for helping support these events and our work this year on the test ban treaty.
We’re now about 15 years after the test ban treaty was opened for signature in 1996, and of course the United States was the first nation to sign that treaty. And as a direct result of the end of U.S. nuclear testing in 1992 and the signature of the test ban treaty, two separate but related programs were established, one here in the U.S., the Stockpile Stewardship Program; and then internationally, the International Monitoring System. And so we figured 15 years after that, it’s a good time to take a status check of where we are with these programs, and that’s what we’re here to do.
So as we’re here today, the Stockpile Stewardship Program has over the last 15 years matured into an effective enterprise to maintain U.S. nuclear weapons without testing. And as you probably know, the stockpile is annually certified to be safe and reliable. And the National Nuclear Security Administration states that we know more about nuclear weapons today than we did in the days of blowing them up under the Nevada desert.
Similarly, the International Monitoring System is now about 85 percent complete, has come a long way, with almost 300 seismic and other facilities operating across the globe. And the system is really up and running, having been able to identify the North Korean tests in 2006 and 2009 and to track radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident earlier this year.
So to more fully explore these issues and give you a deeper sense of the progress that’s been made on these two programs, we have four excellent speakers. Four more excellent speakers I don’t think we could possibly assemble for such a panel. I’m going to introduce them all in a row, and then I’ll let them make their presentations, and then we’ll do Q-and-A altogether after they’re done.
First up is Marvin Adams. He is the HTRI professor of nuclear engineering at Texas A&M University, and he directs the Institute for National Security Education and Research. Now, he also chairs the Weapons Science Review Committee at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Predictive Science Panel at both Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore; and serves as a consultant and adviser in several areas related to nuclear weapons. And we’re very happy to have him here.
Second will be Linton Brooks, who from 2002 to 2007 was the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, where he was responsible for the entire U.S. Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program, and he’s currently an adviser to the Department of Energy national laboratories.
And then we’re going to shift to the verification side with Jenifer Mackby. She is an adjunct fellow and consultant in the International Security Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She has some viewgraphs that she’s going to show us. She serves as a senior political affairs officer for the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, where she worked on CTBT negotiations, and then worked on verification for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission in Vienna.
And wrapping it up will be Daryl Kimball, who is the executive director of the Arms Control Association, and he also serves as coordinator for the Project on the CTBT. And he previously worked for the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers and for Physicians for Social Responsibility.
And with that, thank you again for being here. Professor Adams, the floor is yours.
MARVIN ADAMS: Thank you very much. I’ll start with some preliminaries. There is a write-up of some remarks and details behind the remarks that’s, I think, floating around somewhere, right?
STAFF: It’s on the front table.
MR. ADAMS: Out there on the front table – I’ll point out that that has my email address on it. If anybody wants to follow up with questions or wants to get into a discussion, I’d be happy to entertain that.
More preliminaries: I’m representing myself. I’m talking about my own views, not representing any organization here. In the document there is a list of the experiences that have informed my views, some of which were mentioned in the introduction.
I am assuming some things in my remarks. One is that the U.S. will continue to require a safe, secure and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile for the foreseeable future. Second is that we will continue to avoid nuclear explosion testing into the indefinite future. Third is that requirements placed on our nuclear weapons may change with time; I’ll talk a little bit about that. And finally, that both for our own stockpile and to be able to assess and counter threats, we will in this country require nuclear weapons expertise for the indefinite future. All of this that I’m going to say applies with or without a CTBT.
If I were to summarize what the aim of Stockpile Stewardship is succinctly, it is to maintain a safe, secure and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile while at the same time, importantly, developing and maintaining the capability to meet all the challenges that we’re going to have in the future. So that develop-and-maintain part is very important.
Summary point number one: To date, stockpile stewardship has been quite successful in maintaining a safe, secure and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile without testing. It’s been almost 20 years. It’s been more than 19 years since we tested. There’s a lot of evidence for that, and I can go into that in Q-and-A if anybody wants to.
Second, in spite of the outstanding success to date, a lot of people have raised concerns about the ability of Stockpile Stewardship to continue to be successful into the future. These concerns have been raised both by officials within the chain of command, including secretaries, commander of STRATCOM and lab directors, and also by outside groups, and I share those concerns.
The difficulty of the issues that Stockpile Stewardship has to address is not going to get – it’s not going to lessen and will likely increase. We’re going to need to deepen our scientific understanding to be able to address some of these things. We’re going to need to continue to develop technologies to address some of these things. And most importantly, we’re going to need to maintain expert personnel into the indefinite future, and that’s not necessarily an easy thing to do.
As I look to the challenges, I can break down the components of a successful Stockpile Stewardship Program into the following four: Number one, we need an outstanding workforce. Number two, we need a robust experimental program that helps to advance our scientific understanding. Number three, a surveillance program that provides data of adequate quality and quantity to meet the needs of stockpile stewardship. And finally, a production complex that simultaneously meets the needs of dismantlement programs and life extension programs. And I’ll just remark that there are legitimate causes for concern in each of those components and in their quality, going into the future.
If the causes of concern are not addressed, then I may lose confidence in the ability of the Stewardship Program to meet the challenges ahead. And I’ll give you one thing that I worry about a lot, and that is, suppose that the expertise of our people in the program erodes over time. How will we know? OK? If the people in the program just become mediocre instead of outstanding, how will we know? So that’s an interesting question – and again, if – in Q-and-A I can go into that in more detail if anybody’s interested.
OK, so those are summary remarks, and now I want to go into a little bit of detail about some of the challenges that Stockpile Stewardship faces. And I’ll start with talking about changes. You hear a lot of talk about the weapons changing, and often you’ll hear talk about the fact that the weapons are aging. You’ll also hear that we are tinkering with them, and I want to separate some things out.
There are really four distinct kinds of changes that we have to worry about, and they are different in the way you address them. Each of them is different. So let’s talk about aging first.
And of course the weapons are aging. There are chemical and nuclear reactions going on in them all the time, things like corrosion and gas buildup from alpha decay. These are gradual changes and they do happen over time. They’re long-term kinds of things. It can be difficult to assess the impact of age-induced changes to weapons, but that’s part of the job of Stockpile Stewardship.
Second is what I’ll call manufacturing error. So this is a change between the specifications for the way the thing was supposed to be built and the way it was actually built. Occasionally during surveillance we’ll find such things. Those are rare.
Changes in understanding: As Stockpile Stewardship has progressed, our understanding of the way these weapons work has deepened. It has gotten better, and now we look back and assess some of the weapons that we put into the stockpile many years ago and we have assessed now that some of them don’t work the way we thought they did, or thought they would, at least under certain circumstances.
And sometimes a change in understanding like that will cause us to reevaluate the way something is deployed, and we may have to change military requirements and that sort of thing to maintain certification of a weapon. That has happened in the past. Again, that’s rare. It’s rare that a change in understanding about some aspect of weapon science and analysis will actually make a significant change in the way we think something would perform.
And then finally there are deliberate physical changes that we make to the weapons, and those also are rare. For a given weapon system, that sort of thing happens once every several decades. That’s where the life extension programs or significant alterations come into play. Those usually are to address something like aging. When age-related changes get to the point where we assess that they’re impacting reliability, then we go in and make these life-extension changes. So those are deliberate physical changes. Again, those happen on decadal-type time scales for a given weapon system.
So one challenge of Stockpile Stewardship is to manage and deal with those kinds of changes. There are other kinds of challenges as well. I’ve already mentioned a time or two the expert personnel that are needed. I want to make a strong point that yes, our understanding has gotten better; yes, our computational capability is amazing. It’s really quite remarkable what the computers and computer codes can do these days.
Nevertheless, it still requires a deep nuclear weapons expertise to put the pieces together and make an assessment of any weapon. For any particular question that is posed to the Stockpile Stewardship Program, deep nuclear weapons expertise will be required for the foreseeable future. We’re not going to have any magic predictive capability. Predictive capability’s increasing, but we won’t achieve some magic thing so that you can show a blueprint to a computer and it will give you the right answer. That’s not going to happen. We’re going to need these experts.
You don’t learn nuclear weapons expertise in graduate school. You learn it on the job from other nuclear weapons experts. There’s a chain of custody of knowledge, and if that chain is broken, it’s very difficult to get it back. And that worries me a bit.
Changing requirements: That’s another challenge for Stockpile Stewardship. You might think, well, why don’t we just keep building them according to their original – rebuilding them according to their original specifications. Well, there are a few reasons for that, but one is that requirements may change, and we may be seeing that now.
There’s a desire that you’ve probably heard about for increased safety and security of nuclear weapons and in some cases a desire to put features into the weapon that enhance safety and security. Another possible change in requirement is that as our delivery systems have evolved and gotten more accurate, we – there may be a requirement to reduce the yield on some weapons as we go to life-extension programs. So those are examples of changing requirements.
The final point I’d like to make is that – I’ve mentioned a time or two that one of the challenges of the stewardship program is to assess how a weapon will perform, a given weapon under a given circumstances. For example, say, an aged weapon in a – in what is known as a hostile environment, in which another nuclear weapon has gone off nearby. So that’s the kind of question that the Stockpile Stewardship Program has to answer. How is that done?
Assessments are always founded on the following: number one, scientific understanding; number two, linkage to our past test history – absolutely important; and number three, results from ongoing experiments that inform us on the way certain things evolve under certain circumstances.
So to put those three pillars together and assimilate what comes out of those three pillars into an answer to a specific question requires this deep nuclear weapons expertise that I was talking about.
So that’s my opening remarks, and we can move on from there.
LINTON BROOKS: I’m going to cover the same broad area that Marv did but from the perspective of a policy official, or a government official.
Now, on a CTBT panel, Marv and I have an advantage over our colleagues. Because everything we say is completely the same, whether you’re for or against the CTBT. And that is because as a practical matter, it is almost certain that the United States will not test again. The political bar against testing is extremely high. I have been in and out of government for a long time. And in recent years I never met anybody who advocated that we seek authorization to return to testing.
Some of it was because of the success of Stockpile Stewardship, which makes it unnecessary; and much of it was because of a belief that it was just not a good use of our time, because there was very little chance. The Congress of the United States, for example, in the early ‘90s, passed an amendment called Hatfield-Exon-Mitchell which precipitated the decision of the administration to impose what has turned out to be a permanent moratorium on nuclear testing. The Congress, in the time that I was the NSA administrator, consistently declined to fund a very small line to maintain readiness in case we had to test in the future. So we just aren’t going to test.
And therefore the question is not, should you support Stockpile Stewardship because you like the CTBT. The question is, should you support Stockpile Stewardship because think that it’s important that nuclear weapons remain safe, secure, reliable and effective.
If you look at the Cold War, the way we did testing – and I apologize. There are many of you in the room who understand this very well, but it’s important to start from the fundamentals occasionally. Do not think of nuclear testing during the Cold War as somehow validating deployed systems. This was not like you pull every 18th device off an assembly line and test it to make sure it works.
We did do some stockpile competence tests, but they were never large enough to be statistically significant, and they provided at the absolute most a psychological confidence for the nonexpert.
What nuclear weapons testing during the Cold War did was it gathered data. It was a tool of scientific exploration, and the question therefore for the Stockpile Stewardship is, can we replace that tool with another.
In the Cold War, we had what I think it is fair to call an empirical science. We ultimately devised computer codes, but they had what were inelegantly called knobs, which is to say constants inserted to make the answer come out comparable to observation, for reasons we didn’t always fully understand.
So what Stockpile Stewardship has done is it’s taken a series of tools, first some very high-tech, expensive, investigative tools like the National Ignition Facility, like the Dual-Axis Hydrographic and Radio – DAHRT – (laughter) – that takes a picture of an imploding weapon from two axes so you can study implosions. And we’ve coupled those tools with a deep look at the test base, as Marv said, and with, as Marv also said, phenomenal improvements in computational capability. And so we are much closer to understanding nuclear weapons functioning from first principles.
At the same time, what we did was we established a more formalized process for looking at the stockpile. That process is called the Annual Assessment Process, and it works like this: The three weapons labs directors – Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia – Los Alamos and Livermore are each responsible for a certain number of weapons, certain number of weapon systems. Sandia, which is the engineering lab, is responsible for both.
The directors of those labs provide a very detailed, classified, science-based assessment of how well their weapons are functioning and what problems exist. They subject that to internal peer review, and then there are a variety of mechanisms for external peer review. For example, there is a panel that works for the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command that reviews and provides independent advice to the commander of the Strategic Command.
These reports are then reviewed by the Department of Defense and Energy through the mechanism of the Nuclear Weapons Council, ultimately sent to the president by the two secretaries, and importantly, sent to the Congress by law without any change so that whatever the lab director writes, I, as an NSA administrator, can’t change. And what that does is it gives the Congress the confidence that they are getting a true, intellectually valid report of the health of the stockpile each year.
Now, that process is important because those reports have consistently said that the stockpile is safe, secure and reliable and that there’s no need – they are explicitly charged with saying, is there a need to return to underground nuclear testing. And each of those reports from each of those three lab directors in each of the last however many years it’s been since we formalized this process – 18, I think – has made that statement.
We talk to the laboratory leadership here privately. They don’t call for a return to nuclear testing. They don’t wring their hands about, when are you going to be able to find a way – (inaudible). And a single personal anecdote: We had a major stockpile confidence conference at Omaha in the early part of the first term of the Bush administration. And the press characterized this as, were we going to return to nuclear testing. And they kept calling me and asking me to – what the results were. We spent, I’m pretty sure, four minutes on that subject, in a day-long conference, because you only have a discussion if there are two sides. And for the nuclear weapons community, there aren’t two sides. They are comfortable, generally.
Now, if you say will we go back to the days of 12 tests a year for the rest of the century, I think there’d be some people who’d say, boy, that would let you do some very interesting exploration. But that’s not what’s on. What’s on, at the very most, even from enthusiasts for testing outside the government, is two or three tests. And nobody is prepared to divert the funds from Stockpile Stewardship into the two or three tests.
So what that suggests to me is that the fear that a lot of us had – full disclosure, including me – in 1992 when it looked like this moratorium was going to be indefinite, haven’t come to pass. Now, is past prologue? Can we continue to depend on this to obviate the need for testing?
Marv listed a series of things. I would add one more, and that is surveillance. Surveillance is a process by which we examine in detail different aspects of nuclear weapons, including through complete disassembly of a certain number.
And surveillance is designed to give us a very high probability that if there is a problem, we will have a broad enough sample that we will know about it. Surveillance costs money and it has, from time to time, been underfunded. So one thing, if you want to continue this, you have to make sure that things like surveillance are funded.
The second thing you have to do is what Marv suggested, and that is people. In the military we used to have a saying that if you wanted a good battalion commander or a good destroyer commanding officer, step one was to start 15 years ago. And if you want a good, broad scientist with judgment to make technical, competent evaluations of nuclear weapons, you don’t just go take some random even very smart person from a university; you take someone who has a lot of time and experience.
That means it’s important that the labs continue to attract the very best people. There are a large number of dimensions to that, and all I want to do is stress the absolute importance of pulling in the best people, because great weapons science grows out of great science, and great understanding of nuclear weapons grows out of great weapons science.
Now, suppose I’m wrong. Suppose Marv’s wrong. Suppose there are insurmountable problems. There are people who will tell you there will be. I’ll give you three names: Paul Robinson, former director of Sandia National Lab; Steve Younger, who is now running the National Security Site, used to run the Defense Threat Reduction Agency; and I won’t give you the third name, but a former head of the Strategic Command Stockpile Assessment Group. They all think sooner or later we’re going to have to test.
Well, what do people like that have in mind? What are the scenarios that might cause the conclusions that Marv and I have suggested to change? I think there are three. One is that the United States decides that it is going to need to develop a fundamentally new type of weapon. Second is the United States decides that it’s going to need to improve safety and security, as Marv suggested, including changes within the weapons, even if the only way to do it is through testing. And third is the fear that we’re going to find a problem with a weapon and the only way to verify the problem or certify that we fixed it is through testing.
Now, let’s just talk about that. Let’s start with new weaponry. First of all, a new weapon is against the announced policy of this administration and the practical policy of the last administration and the consistent view of the Congress, which has to fund it. Further, I have been in and out of discussions at both unclassified and classified levels, and over the last 25 years – last 20 years, I’m sorry – I cannot recall anything in which anybody suggested a new weapon that might actually be useful to the United States.
The one exception is an earth penetrator. An earth penetrator – for which I will show you my scars for a small fee – whatever else its merits, does not require nuclear testing. So it’s not just that it’s against our current policy; it’s that it is solving a problem that we don’t appear to have.
What about intrinsic safety and security? There are things we probably know how to do that would fundamentally change a weapon, and you would have to decide, do you understand that weapon well enough to make those changes without testing? The answer is probably yes for the ones that are likely to happen, but you would have to decide.
But the real question is, can you conceive of a security problem – these weapons are extraordinarily safe, even in abnormal environments – can you think of a safety or security problem that is so great that if the only way you could fix it was to involve nuclear testing? And I have challenged technical experts who oppose the CTBT to give me an example of what it is that they are preserving, and they can’t. It doesn’t mean there isn’t one; I’m just saying they can’t.
Third, there is a group of people, including me when I was in government – full disclosure – who say we need to preserve the ability to test in case we have to diagnose a problem or certify a fix. It is extremely difficult to come up with such a problem. I mean, think through a problem and say, if I had this kind of problem, the only thing I could do is test – but probably not a bad idea that we maintain the Nevada National Security Site capable of resuming a test if we ever needed to.
But it’s important to remember this is one of the reasons why we have multiple weapons systems. We have two warheads for our ICBMs. If there’s a serious question about one of them, the issue is not, gee, should we go do a test series? The issue is, let’s put more of the other one on the ICBMs. We’ve got two bombs so we’ve got the same sort of situation. Only the W-76 warhead for the Trident II missile has no numerical backup. So now it’s not just that you have to have an unusual and difficult-to-conceive problem, but you have to have it for a very specific weapons system.
So what this suggests to me is that there is no plausible situation in which current stockpile stewardship and the deep scientific understanding that Marv emphasized will not be enough to insure the safety, security and reliability of our nuclear weapons for the indefinite future. Thank you.
MR. KIMBALL: Jenifer?
MS. MACKBY: Well, thank you very much. I’m going to get you to look at something other than me. But thank you to the Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung for having me. It’s an honor to be on a panel with such eminent personalities.
I’ll briefly go through the basics of a verification regime of the CTBT and then point out some of the developments since the treaty was signed in 1996. This will based in part on the book that I have just coauthored with past and present chairmen of the CTBT verification work. They direct the work of the state’s parties – states members in Vienna. And I worked with them in Geneva on the negotiations as well as in Vienna.
This is the room where the treaty was negotiated from ’94 to ’96 in Geneva. I should mention, some copies of this book are available if anybody wants. I’ll start by noting how much more far-reaching the verification provisions of the CTBT are than those of other treaties such as the PTBT, Biological Weapons Convention, SORT or Moscow Treaty, the five nuclear-weapon-free zones, and the NPT. The treaty was negotiated in the CD, as I just showed you, and that’s where the League of Nations has also met.
The verification provisions include three basic components: the International Monitoring System, the International Data Center and onsite inspections.
The International Monitoring System is comprised of 321 stations and 16 laboratories. There are 170 seismic stations to cover the underground; 80 radionuclide stations to cover radioactive particles and gases from atmospheric explosions, or vented by underground or underwater explosions.
And 40 of these will detect noble gases, 16 laboratories to detect particles from the radionuclide stations, and 11 hydroacoustic stations to detect explosions in the oceans. There’s also a network of 60 infrasound, which detect explosions in the atmosphere by low frequency.
I think a number of the people in this room know all of this already, but I’ll go through it briefly just for those who don’t.
So here you see a map of the 337 stations and labs. They’re located in 89 countries and meant to cover the globe evenly. More than 85 percent of them have been installed, as Daryl and Tom noted. The global networks of radionuclide infrasound and hydroacoustic stations are unique, and few such stations exist outside of the IMS.
The seismological component provides detection capabilities beyond what was foreseen by the negotiators. The array stations in particular are among the world’s most capable, and they hardly exist outside of the IMS.
So the International Monitoring System was designed to provide a good and equal coverage for all states parties. It is an important tool for all countries, including those that have extensive monitoring assets, because these stations provide data from areas of the world where it is difficult for them to obtain it.
The stations send their data via satellite and other means of communication in real time to an international data center in Vienna. It’s located in the same building as the IAEA. And the data from the individual stations is authenticated to ensure that they are not manipulated. The IDC processes and analyzes the data to produce bulletins that contain information about the origin time, location and strength of detected events. The bulletins are sent to the member states for their evaluation and judgment.
And here I should emphasize an important point that many people don’t realize: The task of verifying compliance with the CTBT rests with the states parties to the treaty, not with the technical secretariat. So, contrary to the IAEA, under the CTBT the technical secretariat is not permitted to make a judgment about possible noncompliance. This is a key difference.
The key verification issue is monitoring and identification of underground explosions. And here we focus on seismological and xenon observations as well as the synergy between the two. This is because there is a high monitoring capability in the atmosphere and in the oceans, so the possibility of a clandestine test occurring there is unlikely.
The hydroacoustic monitoring is so efficient that the oceans can be monitored with only 11 stations of the IMS. So, as an example, hydroacoustic signals from 20 kilograms of TNT off the coast of Japan sent signals that were detected by the IMS hydrophone sensors off of Chile, which is 16,000 kilometers away. And just to show you what it looks like briefly, here is a picture of a hydroacoustic station.
Radionuclides are harder to decipher as much depends on meteorological conditions – so that’s wind – as well as the containment of an explosion. The CTBTO uses information from the World Meteorological Organization to backtrack or forward-model in order to decipher where the wind patterns might carry radioactive material. This can be useful, for example, in the case of the North Korean test of 2006 when xenon was discovered at the Chalk River facility in Canada.
So here is a photo of a radionuclide station that went to Argentina. And here is a photo of some of the stations that detected the North Korean test in 2009.
Onsite inspections are an essential part of the verification regime in both political and technical aspects. The CTBT contains the most far-reaching inspection regime of any international arms control treaty. This is still being developed in the CTBT prep com, and it’s taking longer than expected, for various reasons we can go into in the Q&A session.
A state can request an OSI based on IMS information or from national technical means. Again, it is important to note that the technical secretariat may not call for an OSI. Only states may do so. So a request for an OSI must be approved by 30 out of 50 members of the executive council. This means that it’s important that countries send experts with sufficient technological expertise to the executive council in order to be able to assess the information presented so that consideration of an OSI will not become purely political.
Opponents of the treaty believe that it will not be possible to gain enough votes to conduct an OSI, but this remains to be seen as the five nuclear weapons states are virtually assured of seats on the council, and of course they have allies.
Inspectors may use a wide range of technologies, from visual observation to geophysical means to drilling over an area of up to a thousand square kilometers. And so far a number of OSI field tests and workshops have been carried out by the Provisional Technical Secretariat, in particular one in Kazakhstan in 2008, and another one will be taking place in 2013.
This involves sending, you know, tons of equipment and inspection teams and everything from portable toilets to tents to equipment of all kinds to the site. It’s a major operational procedure. And there have been a lot of lessons that were learned from the experiment in 2008.
So what are the significant developments? The International Monitoring System has gone basically from 0 to 85 percent complete. There is an improved capability in readiness. As an example, 22 seismic stations registered the DPRK nuclear explosion in 2006, where 61 stations detected the explosion there three years later. The stations are operating better than expected by the designers of the system, and particularly in synergy with each other. There is increased preparation to conduct an OSI.
Dramatic developments have taken place in science and technology in the verification field. For example, satellite monitoring was not included in the treaty because it was considered too expensive at the time of the negotiations. Since then there’s been an enormous development in overhead satellite observations with several observations per day of a particular location.
Optical satellite photos can provide resolution as high as 1 meter and radar which can see through clouds and all weather down to 10 meters. Synthetic aperture radar satellites, or InSAR, can detect small changes in the ground level that could occur as a result of tests. Some report that it can locate events within a hundred meters.
Satellite monitoring provides information on the logistics of the explosion and can observe preparations for nuclear testing. This can be seen with satellite photos readily available at low costs, contrary to 1996 when the treaty was negotiated. And these can be presented to the executive council for an OSI request, among other things.
In addition, the U.S. – and possibly other countries – has national satellite-based systems to monitor atmospheric explosions. The U.S. systems include instruments to detect features such as optical flash, electromagnetic pulse, initial nuclear radiation, and distinguish between lightning and nuclear explosions, et cetera.
The U.S. has – and other countries are likely to have – aircraft that collect radioactive debris and gasses in the air. The planes can fly into the plume and observe the highest concentrations available with the least amount of decay. When one analyzes detection and deterrence from a state perspective, it is clear that states can build on what the IMS provides and go further. And I should stress this for a bit.
You must understand that the CTBTO is limited to the use of IMS data only, whereas states can use things outside of that. A country is likely to be interested only in specific areas of concern and not the whole globe, as the CTBTO is obliged to focus on. So a state can use additional available information and analyze it the way it sees fit, and a state can make political priorities and focus efforts on specific areas of concern, which the CTBTO cannot do.
There are now different kinds of additional information that states can use. There’s data from an additional 16,000 seismological stations that are outside of the IMS, and for mobile radio nuclide monitors.
In most parts of the world there are many seismological stations operating from which a country can select a specific set optimal for the monitoring task at hand. Many are likely to be at a site close to the area of interest. The many non-IMS seismological stations, taken together, can provide detection and location capabilities significantly beyond those of the IMS in many parts of the world. As noted, the possibility to use satellite observations to monitor the CTBT has increased significantly since the treaty was negotiated. States can use whatever additional national technical means they may possess if they decide to request an OSI as well.
Further, while the CTBTO International Data Center is constrained in the way it analyzes data, countries are not. They can make use of the data in any way they feel like and focus it on the areas they select. They can fully utilize the new developments in data analysis and data mining and draw on, for example, IMS auxiliary and non-IMS data for event detection and tune them to give the best possible capability for events in selected areas. Thus, a state can choose an area of concern and choose the stations both from within the IMS and outside the IMS to use for an event and apply the data analysis methods it wants.
Using all of these advanced technological developments together can provide what we call in the book “precision monitoring.” Such precision monitoring would greatly improve the capabilities to detect, locate and interpret events. It is likely that the seismological detection capability can be improved by an order of magnitude, depending on available stations and on efforts made.
Further, precise location of event of concern is of critical importance for a successful OSI, and precision monitoring would reduce the present uncertainty using carefully located reference events in the area. Under the treaty, states may present such information as mentioned, including the national technical means, in such a request.
Using primary seismological data from 80 percent of the stations, the detection capability is significantly better than 1 kiloton globally and is below .1 kiloton in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere. These numbers refer to explosions conducted in hard rock. With precision monitoring, this number could be improved substantially.
An evader who would like to test clandestinely is not likely to test if the probability of detection is so high. Thus, the system provides deterrence down to a very low magnitude. So, I mean, we’ve gone into quite a bit of more technical detail in the book, and I’m sure you can find it elsewhere as well, on how low the system can go in terms of detection.
To conduct precision monitoring would require considerable resources that many individual states might not be able or willing to commit, so we suggest in the book that regional cooperation among states would be possible. Those who have the same political priorities might share the burden and they could cooperate within different frames, such as the EU or the nuclear-weapon-free zones on a regional basis.
Countries having similar political priorities regarding CTBT might create joint verification centers. And this is because most states don’t have the means or the ability to do this on their own. To engage states globally in the technical monitoring is one way to increase the understanding of technical material presented to the executive council in connection with a request for an OSI. So, as noted, this is important to keep an eventual vote in the executive council tied to technical evidence rather than becoming a purely political procedure.
As of November 2011, 182 countries have signed and 155 have ratified the treaty. Nevertheless, in order to enter into force, the treaty requires 44 specified countries that negotiated the treaty and possess nuclear power or research reactors at the time of the negotiations in 1996. The withholders that still need to ratify for the treaty to enter into force are shown in this slide.
And I think that this is a good place for me to end because I think Daryl will take it from this moment.
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Jenifer. And thank you, everyone, for your presentations.
My task on this panel is to address the challenging question of the future prospects for the test ban treaty, and I’d like to begin with just remarking on some observations about where we are today 15 years after the test ban treaty negotiations were concluded, and actually to go back a bit further and to note that, you know, this fall marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the end of U.S. and Soviet nuclear testing, with the Soviet nuclear test moratorium that was announced on October 5th and the legislation introduced by a bipartisan group of members of Congress in the fall of 1991 that eventually led to the nine-month moratorium that was extended by Bill Clinton that began the test ban treaty negotiations in 1993.
That was the beginning of the end of the U.S. nuclear testing era. And now the question is whether we can close the door permanently on nuclear testing by other countries, and that requires, once again, U.S. leadership on moving forward with ratification of the treaty itself and encouraging the other holdout states to sign and to ratify the treaty.
As we’ve heard already this afternoon, a lot has changed in the 15 years since the treaty was negotiated and in the 10 years since the Senate last looked at this issue in a very serious way. One thing that hasn’t changed is that – and these are the words of former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili from his 2001 report on the test ban treaty – that, “It would be unforgivable to neglect any reasonable action that can help prevent nuclear proliferation as the test ban treaty would.”
So, in other words, the testing era of the United States is over but the challenge of preventing others from using nuclear test explosions to improve their arsenals still remains. For these reasons I think many of us here on this podium see this as one of the central reasons why the United States owes it to itself – the Senate owes it to the nation, the president owes it to the nation to revisit and reconsider and ratify the test ban treaty.
And you know, as we heard this morning, another look at the treaty is going to show that more is known today than ever before about the nuclear weapons arsenal. There will continue to be challenges, as Professor Adams said, in maintaining an effective stockpile, but overcoming those challenges does not depend on a regular program of nuclear test explosions. It depends upon executing the stockpile stewardship program in the most effective and efficient way possible.
National and international test ban monitoring capabilities have greatly improved. And if you take what Jenifer just said, altogether, I mean, it is really remarkable what has been accomplished over the last 15 years in terms of setting up the international monitoring system. It’s quite impressive.
And what does that mean? It means that the combined capabilities of the national and technical systems and the civilian seismic networks mean that no potential CTB violator can be confident that a nuclear test explosion, or especially a series of explosions, of any military utility would escape detection.
So, another thing I think is worth observing – and Linton Brooks mentioned this at the very beginning, and I think he’s right – the United States is simply not every likely going to conduct a nuclear test explosion, and we need to think about, going forward, how the United States makes it more difficult for other countries that could benefit from nuclear test explosions to do so. How do we better detect and deter them from doing that?
So that’s going to require that the United States – as it did 20 years ago with the nuclear test moratorium, as it did with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty negotiations, the United States is going to have to take the lead. What are the prospects going forward and what needs to be done to secure Senate ratification of – Senate approval of ratification of the CTB?
President Obama started off very well in April 2009 when he pledged to “immediately and aggressively” pursue efforts to win Senate support for the treaty. You recall that shortly thereafter, in May 2009, Vice President Biden was tapped to play a lead role in that effort, and the Obama administration put into motion technical studies by the National Academies of Science and the intelligence community to help build the technical case for the treaty to update the information that was originally transmitted to the Senate in the fall of 1997 by President Clinton on the subject.
Shortly thereafter, in September 2009, the United States returns to the meeting of CTB states parties that takes place every two years, the Article XIV conference, on facilitating and training the force. And the United States has restored its full financial support for the completion of the international monitoring system, for the preparation of the on-site inspection system.
However, through 2010, the administration's focus was on the negotiation and ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and quite understandably. The administration was also – and the team that deals with nuclear policy was occupied with the completion of the nuclear posture review, the nuclear security summit, the NPT review conference in May of 2010, and the weekly, daily, challenges of dealing with the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.
So for understandable but unfortunate reasons, the administration's CTB effort since the president's April 2009 call to action has not been immediate or aggressive. The administration has not launched what could be called a systematic, high-level political effort, the one that will be necessary to eventually win the support of key senators for the test ban treaty.
Thankfully, in March, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon once again reiterated the president's commitment to securing CTB approval. And two months later, in May, Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, from this particular podium, said that the administration will take the time necessary to brief senators on the key technical and scientific issues that gave some senators reason for pause during the debate on the treaty in 1999 through a quiet process of briefings in the coming months.
And I think she had it right then in that speech, and the administration has begun to quietly engage with the Senate.
But obviously with the presidential election less than a year away and given that a successful treaty approval process requires months of hearings, thousands of questions and answers to those questions, the time necessary for a serious debate and a vote on the treaty is not available befor November 2012. And so it's clear that the next opportunity for the Senate to look at the CTBT will be in 2013 or after.
That's the obvious part. The question is what can be done and should be done in order to set up the right climate, the right understanding among senators and staff about the issues surrounding the test ban treaty, some of which we've been talking about here today.
I think it is important for the administration to use the time in the next 12 months or so to step up its CTB outreach work and to pursue a fact-based, quiet discussion with Senate offices and staff about the issues that are at the center of the CTB discussion.
We have to remember that, since 1999, 59 senators have left the Senate, so only 41 senators who were there in 1999 and voted on the treaty still remain. The Senate has not looked at this. Staff have not seriously looked at this, though there was some discussion about the stockpile stewardship issues and the requirements for the program in the context of the New START debate.
So what kinds of things can be done? Just as it did with New START, I think the administration needs to consider appointing a senior high-level White House coordinator to ensure that the CTBT does not get lost in the shuffle of the many nuclear nonproliferation issues that they have to deal with on a regular basis. This has been a recommendation that many of us in the nongovernmental community have been making since the beginning of the Obama administration.
Why is that necessary? Because key committees and senators will need to be briefed in detail on the results of the new National Academies of Science report. It will – there will need to be briefings on the results of the National Intelligence Estimate on test ban monitoring and verification that was completed back in August of 2010. And one of the other things that will need to be done, I should mention, is that that National Academies of Science report, which is still in declassification review, needs to get out of declassification review if the Senate is going to utilize it to help improve its understanding of the technical issues relating to the treaty.
And there's others here on the panel who are more familiar with that situation than I am.
The Obama administration also needs to regularly and systematically continue to address known questions that have been raised about the treaty that, if left unaddressed, could lead to misconceptions and misinformation taking hold.
For instance, some critics have erroneously claimed, in my view, that the CTBT does not define what a nuclear test explosion is, though it's a legitimate question to ask. And some charge that states such as Russia believe that low-yield nuclear test explosions are permitted.
The negotiating record in the view of those who have looked at it is quite clear. And Article I of the treaty clearly bans any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion. But this issue does need to be addressed, and senators and their staff who have questions about this need good information about this from the administration.
The administration has put together a fact sheet on this issue, which is very helpful that recounts some of the public statements about this particular question. But fact sheets alone, I don't think, are going to do the job. And I think a much more proactive effort is required.
Now, no matter who is in the White House after January 2013, it is clear that building sufficient support for reconsideration and ratification is going to require a full-tilt campaign that involves a growing number of Republicans and Democrats in the national security community who believe the U.S. should reconsider the CTBT for many of the reasons that we've discussed here today.
Now, is this even possible in the current climate? I think we do have to be careful – and Linton will remind me of this – that we draw too many conclusions from the New START debate and try to extrapolate those for what might happen on the CTBT. But I think one thing that's clear about the New START debate in 2010 is that even a controversial nuclear arms control agreement can be approved in a tough political climate if the executive branch exerts sufficient energy, time; and pays high-level attention on a consistent basis and when key senators, particularly Republicans, take the time to ask good questions and seriously consider the issues.
The New START process, to some, seemed like a very difficult ratification process. If you look at the history of treaty debates, it was rather par for the course in many ways. I mean, this is how treaty debates and discussions need to take place. It takes time.
In addition, what New START tells us is that, when the national security establishment weighs in – and on New START, it did weigh in almost universally in favor of the treaty – Republicans and Democrats can overcome their political differences and come together and decide to ratify a treaty.
Until the process – a process like that on the CTBT is completed, it would, of course, be imprudent and, I think, irresponsible for senators, their staff, candidates to rush to judgment about the CTBT. We're in a very precarious time over the next year ahead of the election. It's important that everyone, no matter where they stand on this, no matter what their questions are, take the time necessary to review the facts and the latest information on the subject.
And I think it's also important to consider a few other things about the test ban treaty 15 years after it was concluded, the negotiations were concluded. It's important to remember that the United States currently bears all the responsibilities of a CTBT signatory state, but because we haven't ratified, we do not enjoy the considerable benefits of the legally binding global ban.
It's also important to recognize that rejection of the CTBT or further indecision about the CTBT does not make it any easier to maintain the U.S. nuclear arsenal. As Linton said, the challenges facing the stockpile stewardship program will exist regardless of whether the Senate rejects or supports or doesn't act on a comprehensive test ban treaty.
And the other thing that's clear is that, by ignoring the CTBT, it is harder – we can debate about how much harder – to detect, deter and respond to nuclear testing by other states. And it's also clear that 19 years after the last U.S. nuclear test, our friends and foes have little doubt the United States arsenal is effective and reliable. And it's also clear that all of our allies strongly support U.S. ratification of the CTBT.
So these are other things I would offer for consideration regarding the status of the treaty, the prospects in the future and issues that decision-makers in the Senate have to consider as the next opportunity to seriously debate the treaty approaches.
With that, I will stop. And I think we've got plenty of time for some questions and discussion. Thank you.
MR. COLLINA: Thank you all very much. We're right on schedule. And we now have about 20 or 25 minutes to take your questions. Please raise your hand, wait for the mic to come around and tell us who you are, and of course please ask questions rather than make statements.
Yes, sir? The mic is coming around.
Q: Yeah, thank you. Todd Jacobson with Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor.
I'm curious, the current debate over modernization funding, obviously that's a big part of this that wasn't really touched on. What impact do you think that has on the prospects for CTBT ratification, specifically the bargain that was made during New START, whether you know, enough is being done to push for the modernization funding by the administration to kind of convince senators, specifically Republicans, that that funding will, I guess, exist out into the future for stockpile stewardship, you know, when it's needed for CTBT as well?
And I guess that could be addressed by anyone on the panel, I guess.
MR. BROOKS: All right. I don't think we know yet. In principle, it shouldn't matter at all. I mean, the CTBT, as we suggest, and the maintenance of the stockpile, are important questions, but they really are separate questions.
You know, if CTBT vanishes, what would you change in the modernization funding we sought? And the answer is nothing.
It is widely assumed, however, that politically there will be a link; that the – those who are skeptical of arms control generally will want to be assured that there is a commitment on behalf of the administration to move forward with their modernization.
You know, it just depends. I think the administration has been pretty clear in both its actions and its rhetoric that it is committed. The problems that we have had since the so-called grand bargain of last year have been between authorizers and appropriators. They have not been between executive branch and legislative branch.
The budget is going to go down. It will depend on how – on how we manage it. I think this reinforces Daryl's point that you have to reach out. But I would point out that it also reinforces what I would say is a generalizable lesson from New START, and that is you work very hard between Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and the administration. But whenever you make a promise that involves money, you've left out the House.
And in the weapons business, the wildcard has disproportionately been the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee in the House which has, regardless of which party is running it, a view of nuclear weapons programs and their funding needs that is somewhat different than my own.
And so I mean, I don't know, Todd. I don't think that the connection is logical, but the political connection may be there. It'll depend. On the other hand, as far as I can tell, the administration really is committed. I mean, I don't purport to be an intimate of the president's because I'm not, but I know most of the subcabinet level people who are working on this, and they all seem genuinely committed, quite apart from the kind of need to be supportive in the context of ratifying New START or what have you.
So I think that this – there are issues – Daryl's more upbeat than I. But I think this should be overcomable, if that were a word. (Laughter.)
MR. KIMBALL: Let me just quickly say I think Linton – I would agree with everything that Linton said. I would just turn the question around. As I said in my remarks, you know, those who are concerned about the adequacy of funding for the stockpile stewardship program have to ask the question: What good does it do to reject the CTBT in order to address whatever their question is, whatever their concern is about the program? It has absolutely no bearing on that.
So you know, I think, you know, going forward, we need to think about how, in principle, these are separate issues. And we need to think about, you know, how we best deal with the proliferation dangers of today and tomorrow and whether we want to continue to deny ourselves the benefits of a legally binding global test ban treaty that gives us the option for on-site inspections and puts all this into force and puts pressure on the other hold-out states to finally sign and ratify.
And if we do, I think several of them will. And that has an important nonproliferation value, particularly in South Asia and in Asia as a whole.
MR. COLLINA: Anyone else?
Another question. Greg?
Q: Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.
Daryl just mentioned the proliferation dangers of today, and I wondered if I could encourage the panelists to address one of the most acute dangers, which is Iran in two respects. First, if Iran decided to develop and deploy nuclear weapons, would they have to actually test? And then secondly, if they did want to pursue a clandestine test, what would the prospects be for the IMS to detect it or if the treaty were in force to actually have an on-site inspection?
MR. COLLINA: Who would like that one?
MR. BROOKS: I can take part of it, and Jenifer should take part of it.
First of all, the public position of Iran is that they are not seeking nuclear weapons. A package deal in which Israel and Egypt said they would ratify the CTBT if Iran did, too, would put the government of Iran in a very interesting position.
Now, I believe that they have not yet made the decision as to whether they are seeking nuclear weapons, and I also believe they're sufficiently cynical that, whether they are seeking and whether they ratify is a separate question.
But what we know is that everybody's first test of the uranium-based weapon has worked. So the CTBT doesn't prevent people from developing nuclear weapons.
What we know is that at least one state, South Africa, developed a modest arsenal without testing depending on your view of an event called the South Atlantic Clash in 1979.
What we know is – as a former government official I want to phrase this very carefully – if Israel has nuclear weapons, which many believe it does, that that arsenal, which many of those who believe it does believe it's fairly good, was developed without testing, once again, assuming what you believe about the South Atlantic Clash in 1979.
So there is a possibility that Iran could develop something without testing it. Now, you have to say to yourself, you know, is that an argument – my flu shot doesn't cure cancer; that doesn't mean my flu shot isn't a good idea – is that an argument against banning testing – because truth is we don't care nearly as much about Iran developing a nuclear weapon militarily as we do about them developing a deliverable nuclear weapon.
And the delivery vehicle of choice for most people is ballistic missiles. And to get a nuclear weapon that fits on the – on the top of a ballistic missile, that is – that requires greater sophistication. Whether Iran can do that without nuclear testing I don't know.
And so I think that preventing Iranian testing clearly has some benefits even if there is a clandestine – the question of whether we could detect nuclear testing – a test by Iran if they tried to hide it will be answered by a verification expert.
Ms. Mackby? (Laughter.)
MS. MACKBY: Most of this – I cannot pretend to be a nuclear physicist. On the other hand, I think that we've seen that the system is extremely effective. And anybody who wanted to clandestinely test, as I mentioned, would have a hard time doing so. Even though no radio nuclides were caught from the North Korean test of 2009, the seismic stations still picked up quite a bit of information.
I think quite a number of radio nuclide portable devices would have been deployed, and more could be deployed to find the gases and so forth.
Your second part – I think Linton answered most of your question, but the second part is whether or not an OSI would be – what will be the prospects for an OSI assuming the treaty had entered into force.
Well, I don't know that Iran has enough friends to keep an OSI from taking place because, as I said, you need 30 members to vote for such an inspection. So I think, as we've seen in many other international bodies, you could probably gather enough in the international community to vote for an OSI.
I hope that answers the question. I mean, you know Iran has signed the treaty. It has also put up quite a few stations, but they're not sending all their data to the international data center in Vienna.
MR. BROOKS: The 2002 national academy of science report, which unlike the one Marvin and I are working on that's actually published, says that the countries that have the sophistication to use some of the more elaborate means of concealing nuclear tests are the countries – it doesn't say Russia and China, but it describes them in a way that it means Russia, China and the United States.
And so it is not clear to me that Iran would be willing to gamble on having that kind of sophisticated ability to do something when, you know, the ability of Russia to do it is disputed in the community, as you know, somewhat surely.
So I think the Iranian government has a different value system than we appear to have but I cannot believe that they would assume that they could pull off an undetected test sort of with or without the treaty entering into force because, remember, the international monitoring system is functioning now, and the U.S. national capabilities, which are quite good, is functioning now.
MR. ADAMS: I'm going throw in my 2 cents on the question of whether or not they could develop a weapon and, in particular, a deliverable weapon without testing.
I think they would have less confidence, but I believe they would have sufficient confidence to go forward and would have to be taken seriously if they claimed they had done it.
MR. COLLINA: Any other questions before we wrap it up? Yes?
Q: Viola Gienger from Bloomberg News.
I want to sort of go back – Viola Gienger from Bloomberg News.
I want to go back just a few more steps, and that is: What were the ramifications for North Korea in conducting its nuclear test? And regardless of whether the CTBT goes into force, what are realistically the ramifications for conducting a nuclear test today?
MR. KIMBALL: North Korea you're talking about specifically? North Korea, I think, faced greater international criticism and isolation after their two tests as a result of the fact that there is a de facto global taboo on nuclear test explosions.
North Korea is the only country in the 21st century that's conducted a nuclear test explosion. Does that mean that North Korea cares what the rest of the world thinks? I can't say they do. They are a unique case in that – in that sense.
But you know, so North Korea – you know, it, I think, it would be one of the last countries that ever signs and ratifies the CTBT. But does that mean that there isn't value in China and the United States, India, Pakistan formally legalizing their de facto moratorium? No.
And one of the other things that I think that the leadership on the CTBT by the Chinese, the United States, the Russians and others can do is over the very long term. And I'm talking 10, 15, 20 years that can help check the North Korean policy with respect to how many nuclear test explosions it might conduct in the future.
So, you know, I think I like – your analogy, Linton, just because a flu shot doesn't cure cancer doesn't mean you shouldn't go get your flu shot, I think, applies in this – in this case. I think, you know, North Korea is a country that requires a much more robust nonproliferation strategy than the pursuit of ratification of the test ban treaty by the leading testing countries.
I don't – yes?
Q: I mean, isn't the more specific analogy is whether the flu shot actually prevents the flu? I mean, if, you know, the major countries have committed unilaterally not to test, so what's the point?
MR. BROOKS: I think this is an example of the general problem of arms control. If you look back at Senator Dick Lugar's statement when he voted against the CTBT in the '90s, one of his objections, which has gotten very little attention, is enforcement.
But in fact we don't have in the Security Council a mechanism for enforcing international treaties. We just don't. We have decided in other areas that they're still worth having because they regularize things. But we don't have an enforcement mechanism.
And frankly, I would be leading the charge against a binding enforcement mechanism that didn't give a U.S. veto. And there are guys like me in most other countries.
So you have to look at North Korea and you say, what do we do about that. My view – an administration that I was very proud to serve in – was that our strategy was to draw a redline, say there would be consequences if they crossed it; and when they crossed it, to draw another redline. I don't think that was a helpful strategy.
I think states look, for example, at the fact that we were going to isolate Pakistan forever after their test. We were going to isolate India. And you may have noticed the latest unpleasantness; those policies have not proven hugely enduring.
I think there's an inherent problem with arms control. The question is not, does a CTBT solve the North Korean problem. The question is, are we better off overall with or without a CTBT.
Some will argue – and I think this is an argument that assumes facts that are not yet in evidence but may be true. Some will argue that U.S. ratification of CTBT will make it easier to assemble coalitions to provide things like economic sanctions because we will be seen as upholding our end of the so-called Article XI bargain of the nonproliferation treaty.
That is an eloquent argument, and it is held by many immensely smart and knowledgeable people. I don't think there's any evidence one way or the other about whether it's true. But once again, you have to say North Korea is a problem. Does it get worse if there's a CTBT ratified so that they are now both in custom and in fact a pariah state? Or does it get better if we reject the CTBT?
And I think, you know, you can argue both sides of that question, but I think that's the right question. What we do about North Korea right now we don't know. The truth is we don't know. We don't have any good options. Our option, as far as I can tell right now, is to wait for the dear leader to die and see if we get a better deal next time. And that may work.
But I don't think that you should reject the notion of international norms being turned into binding regimes just because there will always be some states that will defy them.
I mean, does the BW convention do us any good when we're pretty sure there are a couple of countries that still have BW programs? Well, I don't know. But I think most people believe that it helps.
Now, CTBT is vastly more – vastly more verifiable than the biological weapons convention. I don't want to draw the analogy too closely. But I think that you want to be a little careful about assuming that, if it doesn't solve all of the difficult problems, it's not worth having.
Not a very satisfactory answer, but I think that's a hard question.
MR. COLLINA: Well, I just – Jenifer, I wanted to add one more thing. Why don't you go ahead?
MS. MACKBY: Sure. I just wanted to add one quick thing. The North Koreans were part of the negotiations in the conference on disarmament, which is kind of interesting. They participated and they did not vote against the treaty at the U.N.
Since then, of course, there's been a lot of water under the bridge, and the sanctions regarding IAEA and so forth, I think, have certainly taken their toll in North Korea.
I mean, presumably, one could link CTBT ratification to some kind of six-party talks somewhere down the road if those were to resume. But that's just a thought.
MR. KIMBALL: I mean, one thing I wanted to mention, Viola, is that, you know, those of – those of us who argue that the CTBT is on balance in the interest of the United States and our national security do not argue that the CTBT solves every proliferation problem.
Some people suggest that that's what many of us are saying. That's not – that's not the case.
But one other area that is important to look at in Asia where the CTBT, I think, has had a demonstrable effect is with respect to India and Pakistan. And as everybody knows, India and Pakistan conducted nuclear test explosions – tit-for-tat nuclear test explosions in May of 1998 after the CTBT entered into force.
But it was the fact that the international community had concluded the CTBT that helped force both of those countries to declare a parallel moratoria on nuclear testing. That's held up to this day.
Now, both countries remain outside the CTBT for now, but I think that would change if the United States and China ratified the treaty. It would lead the Indians to reconsider. And if the Indians reconsider, the Pakistanis will reconsider.
So I mean, there is, I think, a strong case and there is evidence that can be identified that suggests that the CTBT has had a moderating effect on the policies of these two South Asian nations, which are the two countries in the world that are producing more fissile material and, you could say, pose a greater danger of a nuclear conflict than even North Korea.
MR. COLLINA: Thank you. We are at our allotted end time. Were there other questions? One last question and then we'll wrap it up.
Yes, sir? Microphone, please.
Q: I'm – (inaudible). I'm a technical person. So I just ask a technical question probably for Jenifer.
InSAR has been cited many times by many people as the technology – some technical improvement over the past decade. I'd like to know if there is any documented success with respect to the two North Korean nuclear tests using InSAR. One nightmare I would have is that maybe I'm missing some wonderful paper in this – in this field.
MS. MACKBY: I have to confess I'm not sure if that – if that happened or not. I know we have something about InSAR in there.
Q: I guarantee you there is no paper published today about the success of InSAR with respect to the North Korean test.
MS. MACKBY: OK.
Q: I guarantee you no. So very often, I see people cite InSAR. Well, I feel, well, very often people –
MR. : (Inaudible) – InSAR?
MS. MACKBY: Interformetric Satellite Aperture Radar.
MS. MACKBY: Synthetic, sorry. What did I say?
MR. : Satellite.
MS. MACKBY: OK. Sorry.
MR. : All right.
MR. : But there is satellite imagery of the North Korean test.
MR. : I would just note in – I mean, one reason why it is mentioned very often is that it is a new technology that people are offering as a potential new tool to increase the existing robust capabilities to monitor.
All right. What do we know? I would acknowledge that I'm not aware of a professionally peer-reviewed paper on the subject. That doesn't mean that this is not something that can and should be pursued as a potential new tool.
MS. MACKBY: Yes. You can get in touch with Mr. David Hafemeister out in California.
Q: I know. He's the one.
MS. MACKBY: OK. So he and others are developing it, but I agree it's a relatively new field.
MR. COLLINA: All right. Well, we'll take that one home and try to get back to you.
Just a couple of words in wrap-up as we try to land this airplane – 18 years now of experience with the stockpile stewardship program, and I think we've heard today pretty strong evidence that it works. It should likely continue to work if it gets the right care and feeding, and we hope that it will.
Fifteen years since the international monitoring system was set up – it's now 85 percent complete. It, too, works and will continue on to work even better.
And broad agreement across the board that the United States is not likely to test ever again, and therefore the United States Senate should move on and ratify the test ban treaty.
I'll just leave you with one factoid. There were over 2,000 nuclear explosive tests conducted before the test ban treaty was concluded in 1996, and there have only been 10 since – or less than 10, depending on how you count them. So I think that's a pretty impressive statistic in terms of thinking about the world before the test ban and the world after.
So in conclusion, I want to thank again the Böll Foundation for helping support these events. I want to thank all of our speakers for doing a fabulous job, particularly Professor Adams for coming all the way from Texas. We really appreciate his travel and miles logged.
And, finally, thank you all for coming. And please join me in thanking our speakers. (Applause.)