In a dramatic speech in Prague less than 100 days after his 2009 inauguration, President Barack Obama warned that “the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up. More nations have acquired these weapons. Testing has continued. The technology to build a bomb has spread.”
A U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee report reviewing technical issues related to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has concluded that the U.S. nuclear weapons Stockpile Stewardship Program “has been more successful than was anticipated in 1999,” when the Senate last considered and voted on the CTBT.
Barry H. Steiner is a professor of political science at California State University, Long Beach, where he has taught since 1968. Specializing in war and peace studies, he has worked on nuclear strategy, preventive diplomacy, arms races, and arms control. He gratefully acknowledges the comments of Lawrence D. Weiler on an earlier version of this article.
Volume 2, Issue 14, November 3, 2011
A front-page story in today’s Washington Post (“Supercomputers Offer Tools for Nuclear Testing--and Solving Nuclear Mysteries”) illustrates how far the U.S. Stockpile Stewardship Program has come since nuclear explosive tests ended in 1992. Scientists at the three U.S. national laboratories now have a deeper understanding of nuclear weapons than ever before.
Fifteen years after the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature, more than 160 senior government officials met at a Sept. 23 conference at the United Nations to urge its signature and ratification by nine key remaining states to trigger entry into force.