New CEIP Proliferation Analysis on the CTBT

According to a recent Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Proliferation Analysis by Daryl Kimball, President Obama should use the International Day against Nuclear Tests to reiterate his pledge to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

America Does Not Need to Test Its Nuclear Arsenal

[T]here is simply no technical or military rationale for resuming testing. Contrary to myth, the United States has never relied on nuclear testing to ensure that proven warhead designs still work, but rather to perfect new types of nuclear bombs, which the U.S. military no longer needs nor wants.

U.S. Nuclear Labs Are Well-Funded

The Obama administration’s strong support for higher nuclear weapons laboratories’ budgets—$80 billion over the next 10 years—should also help change attitudes. Key House and Senate appropriations committees have approved the administration’s $7 billion request for fiscal 2011 nuclear weapons complex activities, a 13 percent increase from the year before. Senators of both parties should recognize that further delay of CTBT ratification would create greater uncertainty about U.S. nuclear policy that could jeopardize the emerging political consensus for higher funding to maintain the shrinking U.S. nuclear stockpile in years ahead.

We Can Accurately Detect Nuclear Tests

The United States’ capability to detect and deter possible cheating by other countries will also be significantly greater with the CTBT than without it. The CTBT and its global monitoring network, international data center, and option for on-site inspections would augment existing U.S. national test monitoring assets.

The Time for the CTBT Is Now

Nuclear testing is a dangerous and unnecessary vestige of the past. U.S. inaction on the CTBT is self-defeating and counterproductive. The United States has neither the intention nor need to renew testing, yet its failure to ratify the CTBT undermines both U.S. leadership credibility and the United States’ ability to improve the detection and deterrence of testing by others.

Following the approval of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), President Obama should undertake the major high-level campaign that will be needed to push the CTBT through the Senate in 2011. And it is the Senate’s responsibility to the nation to reconsider the CTBT on the basis of an honest and up-to-date analysis of the facts and issues at stake.