"I want to thank the Arms Control Association … for being such effective advocates for sensible policies to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war."

– Joseph Biden, Jr.
January 28, 2004

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty at 15: A Status Update



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
Choate Room

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.



Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

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.


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.

Q:  Synthetic.

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.)



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.

Article XIV Conference on Facilitating CTBT Entry Into Force



Time to Translate Words Into Action
Statement of Nongovernmental Organization Representatives
September 23, 2011

Distinguished delegates, on behalf of nongovernmental organizations the world over, it is an honor to address you at this important meeting with our views on the path forward on the CTBT.

Nongovernmental organizations have been and will continue to be a driving force in the long journey to end nuclear testing.

Recall that some twenty years ago, a popular movement in Soviet-controlled Kazakhstan forced the government in Moscow to halt nuclear weapons testing at proving grounds in their homeland where more than 456 explosions had contaminated the land and damaged the health of its people.

As a result of their efforts and those of other nongovernmental and elected leaders, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev declared a test moratorium on October 5, 1991, prompting U.S. legislators to introduce legislation mandating a 9-month U.S. test moratorium. With strong nongovernmental support, the legislation was approved and a year later was extended. The last U.S. nuclear test explosion was conducted on September 23, 1992.

Just four years later, the world’s nations concluded the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to prevent nuclear proliferation and help end the nuclear arms race.

Since the opening for signature of the CTBT fifteen years ago, the vast majority of the world’s nations have signed and ratified the Treaty. They recognize that nuclear testing is a dangerous and unnecessary vestige of the past and understand that the CTBT is a cornerstone of the international security architecture of the 21st century.

By banning all nuclear weapon test explosions, the CTBT can help accomplish the indisputable obligation under the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons to cease the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament. The established nuclear-weapon states would be barred from proof-testing new, more sophisticated nuclear warhead designs. Without the option of nuclear explosive testing, newer testing nations cannot perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads.

The CTBT also serves to reinforce the nonproliferation system by serving as a confidence-building measure about a state’s nuclear intentions and, in this regard, it can help head off and de-escalate regional tensions.

And with the CTBT in force, global and national capabilities to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will be significantly greater.

Accelerating Entry Into Force

Although 182 states have signed the CTBT, the long journey to end testing is not over. The CTBT must still be ratified by the remaining nine “holdout” states before it can formally enter into force.

We are grateful for the strong statements delivered at this conference on the value of the treaty and the need for prompt entry into force. But actions speak louder than words. We call upon every state at this conference, collectively and individually, to act. This conference must help produce a serious diplomatic action plan for getting the remaining holdout states on board.

The United States and China

Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Washington and Beijing have already taken on most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of the Treaty.

In April 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to “immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification. To date, however, the Obama administration has not done enough to mobilize the scientific and technical expertise necessary to debunk spurious assertions against the Treaty and to mobilize support for its reconsideration by the U.S. Senate.

We call upon President Obama to translate his lofty CTBT words into concrete action by pursuing the steps necessary to win the support of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate for ratification of the treaty without conditions. Such efforts take time and may not show results in the next several months. But to continue to move forward, the Obama administration can and must begin to make the case for the Treaty now.

To indicate the seriousness of his intention to do so, we call on President Obama to promptly name a senior, high-level White House coordinator for the CTBT effort.

While U.S. action on the treaty is essential, other Annex II states must provide leadership rather than simply remain on the sidelines on the CTBT.

In particular, it is time for China’s leaders to finally act on the CTBT. We note the January 19, 2011 Joint Statement by President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama in which they declared that “… both sides support early entry into force of the CTBT.”  Such statements are welcome but insufficient.

Concrete action toward CTBT ratification by China would increase its credibility as a nonproliferation leader and improve the chances that other states will follow suit. We invite China’s representatives to explain in detail what President Hu is doing to take China off the list of CTBT holdout states and to provide a timeline for Chinese action on CTBT ratification.

We also encourage China to constructively engage with other key Annex II states on the importance for international security and stability of universal accession to the Treaty.

India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan could advance the cause of nuclear disarmament and substantially ease regional tensions by converting their unilateral test moratoria into legally binding commitments to end nuclear testing through the CTBT.

It is past time for India’s current leaders to pursue the recommendations of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s eloquent and visionary 1988 action plan for disarmament, which calls for “a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons … to set the stage for negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty.”

The states to which Prime Minister Gandhi appealed have done what he called for by implementing nuclear testing moratoria and negotiating and signing the CTBT.

India has pledged in various domestic and international contexts to maintain its nuclear test moratorium, which makes it all the more logical for New Delhi’s leaders to reinforce global efforts to detect and deter nuclear testing by others through the CTBT. Indian movement on the CTBT would direct more pressure toward China and the United States to ratify the Treaty.

Pakistan should welcome a legally binding test ban with India and entry into force of the CTBT.

UN member states that are serious about their commitment to the CTBT and nuclear risk reduction should insist that India and Pakistan sign and ratify the CTBT before they are considered for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and that India should sign and ratify before its possible membership on the Security Council is considered.

The Middle East

With no shortage of conflict and hostility in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a Middle East Zone free of Nuclear and other Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Likewise, Israel’s ratification of the CTBT would bring that nation closer to the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and lend encouragement to other states in the region to follow suit.

Iran was at one time an active participant in the CTBT negotiations and on September 24, 1996 it signed the treaty. Today, Iranian ratification would help reduce concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads. Continued failure by Iran to ratify the CTBT raises further questions about the nature of its sensitive nuclear activities, which remain under investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

We strongly urge the states involved in the Non-Aligned Movement to play leadership role in pressing Iran, the incoming chair of the NAM, to ratify the CTBT.

North Korea

The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear tests undermine Asian security. We call on the DPRK to declare a halt to further nuclear testing and urge the participants in the Six-Party talks to make North Korea’s approval of the CTBT one of the key steps in the action-for-action process for denuclearization and normalization.  We note that the Russian Federation, the Republic of South Korea, and Japan—which have signed and ratified the Treaty—can play an especially important role in this regard.

Addressing the Damage Caused by Nuclear Testing

We must all also rededicate ourselves to addressing the harm caused by the 2,051 nuclear test explosions conducted worldwide. The deadly effects linger at dozens of sites from Lop Nor, to the atolls of the Pacific, to Nevada, to Algeria, to Australia, to Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan, across Russia, and beyond.

Exposure to ionizing radiation is harmful to humans. The leaders of the nuclear testing nations have exposed their people – within and outside their territories – to radiation without their informed consent.

While underground nuclear blasts pose a smaller radioactive hazard than atmospheric tests, there has been widespread venting from underground explosions. In addition, underground nuclear blasts leave a legacy of radioactive contamination, which can be transported by groundwater into the surrounding environment.

Our knowledge of the extent of the harm caused by five decades of nuclear test explosions underground, in the atmosphere, and underwater is still incomplete. The governments responsible for the damage have not adequately provided assistance to survivors nor the resources necessary to mitigate the environmental contamination. In fact, the major testing states have been reluctant to recognize the harm inflicted by testing and the rights of those people who have been most affected.

We encourage the states gathered here to support the proposal, advanced by Kazakhstan last year, to establish an international fund—to be managed by the United Nations—to support those seriously affected by nuclear testing.

To move this from concept to reality, we call on the UN Secretary-General to organize a conference under the auspices of the United Nations to help mobilize resources for the remediation of contamination at nuclear test sites, and health monitoring and rehabilitation of populations most seriously affected by nuclear testing.

States responsible for the testing at major test sites should report to the conference—and on an annual basis thereafter—on their current and future efforts and resource allocations to address the health and environmental impacts of nuclear testing and to rehabilitate populations that have been particularly impacted.

Independent nongovernmental experts, and especially members of affected communities should be invited to help develop a multi-year program of action.

Reinforcing the Test Ban

There are other actions that should be pursued that would reinforce the de facto test moratorium and accelerate CTBT entry into force. Specifically:

  1. Responsible states should provide in full and without delay their assessed financial contributions to the CTBTO, fully assist with the completion of the IMS networks, and continuously and without interruption transmit data from the monitoring stations to provide the most robust capability to detect and deter clandestine nuclear test explosions. Every state should recognize that the Provisional Technical Secretariat to the CTBTO Preparatory Commission is–for all practical purposes–no longer “provisional.” The CTBTO and the International Monitoring System and International Data Center are now an essential part of today’s 21st century international security architecture that enables all states to detect and deter nuclear test explosions;
  2. In order to further reinforce the de facto global taboo against nuclear testing and deter any state from considering nuclear test explosions in the future, we call upon the UN Security Council to discuss and outline the penalties that could be imposed in the event that any state breaks this taboo;
  3. We urge states armed with nuclear weapons to refrain from pursuing new types of nuclear weapons or modifying weapons in ways that create new military capabilities. Such activities may not violate the letter of the CTBT, but they are contrary to one key purpose, which is to halt the qualitative improvement of nuclear arsenals. We urge all of the states armed with nuclear weapons to adopt clear, “no-new-nuclear-weapons” policies;
  4. We urge nuclear armed states to halt activities at the former sites of nuclear test explosions that might raise concerns about compliance with the CTBT or could undermine the purpose of the treaty by facilitating qualitative improvements in nuclear weapons;
  5. Finally, with only nine holdout states on the Annex II list remaining, it is time for CTBT member states to begin consideration of options for provisional entry into force once all five permanent members of the UNSC have ratified. After the decades-long journey to achieve a permanent, verifiable global ban on all nuclear weapon test explosions, the international community cannot allow one or two states to thwart the will of the vast majority of the world’s nations to bring the CTBT into force.

For decades, nongovernmental organizations and ordinary people the world over have prompted action to achieve a permanent, verifiable prohibition on all nuclear test explosions.

We respectfully urge each of the states present here to consider these recommendations and we look forward to working with you on our common goal of prompt CTBT entry into force.

Thank you.


Dr. Rebecca Johnson,
Author of Unfinished Business: The Negotiation of the CTBT the End of Nuclear Testing (United Nations: 2009), and Executive Director, Acronym
Institute for Disarmament and Diplomacy

Daryl G. Kimball,
Executive Director,
Arms Control Association (United States)*

Paul Ingram,
Executive Director,
British American Security Information Council

Katie Heald,
National Coordinator,
Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World (United States)

Trevor Findlay,
Director, Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance,
Carleton University (Canada)

Togzhan Kassenova,
Nuclear Policy Program,
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (United States)**

John D. Isaacs,
Executive Director,
Council for a Livable World (United States)

Harry C. Blaney III,
Senior Fellow,
National Security Program,
Center for International Policy (United States)

Mary Dickson,
Downwinders United (United States)

Charles D. Ferguson,
Federation of American Scientists

Katherine Prizeman,
International Coordinator,
Disarmament Program,
Global Action to Prevent War (United States)

Paul F. Walker,
Security and Sustainability Program,
Global Green USA (U.S. affiliate of Green Cross International)

Christopher Thomas,
Executive Director,
Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (United States)

Dr. Kathleen Sullivan,
Program Director,
Hibakusha Stories

John Loretz,
Program Director,
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War(Recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize)

Xanthe Hall,
Expert on Nuclear Disarmament,
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, Germany

John Burroughs,
Executive Director,
Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy (United States)

Aaron Tovish,
International Director,
2020 Vision Campaign,
Mayors for Peace

Ambassador Richard Butler,
Middle Powers Initiative

Irma Arguello,
Chair and CEO,
Nonproliferation for Global Security Foundation (Argentina)

David Krieger,
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Jay Coghlan,
Executive Director,
Nuclear Watch New Mexico (United States)

Susi Snyder,
Nuclear Disarmament Programme Leader,
IKV Pax Christi (The Netherlands)

Kevin Martin,
Executive Director,
Peace Action (United States)

Jon Rainwater,
Executive Director,
Peace Action West (United States)

Ichiro Yuasa,
Peace Depot (Japan)

Peter Wilk, M.D.,
Executive Director,
Physicians for Social Responsibility (United States)

Frank von Hippel,
Professor of Public and International Affairs,
Princeton University (United States)

Marylia Kelley,
Executive Director,
Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) (United States)

Rev. Tyler Wigg-Stevenson,
Two Futures Project (United States)

Lisbeth Gronlund,
Co-Director and Senior Scientist,
Global Security Program,Union of Concerned Scientists (United States)

Moeed Yusuf,
South Asia Advisor,
United States Institute for Peace** (Pakistan)

Susan Shaer,
Executive Director,
Women’s Action for New Directions (United States)

Ambassador Kenneth Brill,
President of The Fund for Peace, and
former U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA**

Morton H. Halperin,
former Director of Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State, and
Member of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States**

Ambassador Carlo Trezza,
former President of the Conference on Disarmament** (Italy)

*Statement Coordinator

**Institution listed for identification purposes only.


Statement of Nongovernmental Organization Representatives to the UN (AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY), on September 23, 2011.

Briefing - Iran's Nuclear Program: Status and Prospects



An Arms Control Association Press Briefing

Monday, September 19, 2011
National Press Club, Holeman Lounge
2:30 to 4:00


Former Congressman and Admiral Joe Sestak

Mark Fitzpatrick, Director of the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London)

Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association Senior Fellow

Moderated by Daryl Kimball, Arms Control Association Executive Director

As the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) considers its quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear program and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares to address the UN General Assembly, the Arms Control Association invites you to join an expert panel discussion addressing important questions including:

  • How far has Iran's nuclear program progressed and what steps would it still need to take to produce a weapon?
  • What can we tell about Iranian nuclear decision-making and the factors that influence it?
  • What are the risks of pursuing the “military option” and what do they mean for U.S. policy to address Iran?

Video of the event can be found on LinkTV as part of their "Bridge to Iran" series.

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Welcome to the National Press Club and today’s briefing on Iran’s nuclear program, status and prospects.  I’m Daryl Kimball, an executive director of the Arms Control Association, which is an independent nonpartisan research and education organization focused on reducing the threats posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons.

We meet today at a very critical juncture in the long-running effort to ensure that Iran meets its international nonproliferation and safeguards obligation and to ensure that its nuclear activities are not used for weapons purposes.  Since the IAEA referred the Iranian nuclear file to the U.N. Security Council, Iran has slowly but steadily increased its uranium enrichment capability.

The latest agency report on the Iranian program suggests that Iran still faces problems developing new and more efficient centrifuges and is having difficulty getting sufficient materials to build them in large numbers.

As you’ll hear today, the conclusion of many independent experts and the U.S. intelligence community is that an Iranian nuclear arsenal is neither imminent nor inevitable.  Targeted multilateral sanctions put in place in the last couple of years have clearly had an effect in slowing Iran’s nuclear program.

But sanctions alone will not lead Iran to completely halt its nuclear program or become more cooperative with the IAEA.  The IAEA’s Director General Amano recently stated that he is increasingly concerned about Iran’s past and current undisclosed nuclear-related activities with possible military dimensions.  And all of us here speaking today share that concern.

The Arms Control Association sees a comprehensive diplomatic strategy as the best and perhaps the only way to resolve the problem.  Unfortunately, Iran has been unwilling to discuss the nuclear issue in a serious way.  Washington and the other P5-plus-one states in our view need to redouble efforts to get a real dialogue going and explore every opportunity that appears on the horizon.

And the goal of the United States needs to be – and the international community – needs to be to persuade Iran to limit the ultimate size and scope of its program, to provide the additional transparency and cooperation with the IAEA that’s necessary to verify that Iran is not engaged in nuclear weapons work.  But as we go forward, we all know that good policy requires a sober examination of good information.

And that’s why we’re here today.  We’ve brought forward three authoritative experts on the various aspects of the issue. We’re going to be examining the status of the Iranian nuclear program.

We’re going to review the intelligence community’s assessments and the factors that can influence Iran’s decisions on its nuclear program.  And then we’re also going to consider whether the so-called military option is a serious option for stopping Iran’s program or not.

We have three experts here, as I said.  First, to address the status of Iran’s nuclear efforts is Mark Fitzpatrick.  He’s with us today all the way from London.  We’re very glad to have him.  He’s the director of the Nonproliferation and Disarmament Program at IISS which is the International Institute for Strategic Studies.  He served for 26 years in the U.S. State Department and last served as deputy assistant secretary for nonproliferation.

He’ll be followed by Greg Thielmann, who is a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association.  Greg served for more than three decades in government, including as director of the strategic proliferation and military affairs office at the Department of State, its bureau of intelligence and research and most recently was a senior professional staff member on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence before joining the Arms Control Association.

And we’re also very honored to have with us today, batting cleanup, former congressman and Admiral Joe Sestak.  He served in the Navy for 31 years and was the highest ranking military officer ever elected to Congress.

He represented the 7th district of Pennsylvania, not too far up the road from here, from 2007 to 2010.  He commanded – we must keep in mind – an aircraft carrier battle group that conducted operations in Afghanistan and Iraq with 30 U.S. and allied ships and more than 15,000 sailors and a hundred aircraft.

He is going to provide his authoritative perspective on the risks and realities of the so-called military option.  So with that brief introduction, I’m going to invite Mark up to the podium to start us off.  And after each of the speakers are done, we’re going to take your questions.  So thanks for coming, Mark.

MARK FITZPATRICK:  Thank you, Daryl, for the invitation.  I want to make three key points.  Number one, I have high confidence that Iran does not today have a nuclear weapon, that they won’t have one tomorrow or next week or next month or a year from now.  And that to claim otherwise by stringing together a list of worst-case assumptions borders on the irresponsible.

Number two, it’s also irresponsible to be complacent about Iran’s nuclear program because in all the key aspects of what it takes to be able to have a nuclear weapon, Iran has been making recent progress.  So I have no confidence that Iran won’t have a nuclear weapon two years from now.  I think if they wanted to go for it and if everything went right, they maybe could.

The third point is that we need to be clear what we mean when we talk about a nuclear Iran.  It’s not at all inevitable, as Daryl said, that Iran will possess a nuclear weapon, that Iran will be nuclear armed.  But I think it is inevitable that Iran will have a nuclear weapons capability because they already do.

So to elaborate on the first point that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon within the next year, some assessments have been published recently in this town by two media outlets that I highly respect otherwise that based their analysis on a string of worst-case assumptions.  And I went through the original analysis and five leapt out at me.

Number one, it is the assumption that Iran would use an unproven method to produce highly enriched uranium that could get you a bomb’s worth in as short a time as possible.

The analysis that my institute in London has made in a report that we published earlier this year based our mathematics on the way that most countries have gone about producing highly enriched uranium, the way that Pakistan also used and that the Pakistani nuclear engineer A.Q. Khan sold to Libya and that the South African courts made public in their prosecution of two of the assistants to Khan.

It’s a four-stage process and it requires some configuration of piping and so forth.  But the people who think that Iran could take a different process, one that has been explored in the literature by some very intelligent people, it’s called batch processing.  It assumes that you don’t have to reconfigure any piping.  You just put the low enriched uranium back through the same centrifuges and out would come bomb-usable highly enriched uranium. And it’s all theoretical.  You know, I looked at the calculations.

They make sense but why would Iran use a process that nobody has ever been known to use before in practice?  I think if they’re going to go for a bomb they’d use something that was tried and true and that they have the blueprints for.

The second worst-case assumption that some of these analyses make is – and it’s related to the first one – is that Iran would be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium before the IAEA inspectors would catch onto it because they think Iran would have to reconfigure any piping and that the Iranians would get started as soon as the one group of IAEA inspectors left and they’d be able to predict when the next group would come and they’d be able to within that window of time get there.

Now, that window of time on average is about one month between IAEA inspections.  But it’s not exactly one month.  Iran wouldn’t know when the next inspection would come because it’s a bit random.  So there’s a built-in assumption that somehow Iran would be able to game the IAEA.  It would be a big gamble.

The third worst-case assumption is that the amount of low enriched uranium that is necessary in order to produce a bomb’s worth of highly enriched uranium is static.  And you can – you know, physicists can tell you how much it is.

But when I’ve talked to people who have actually produced weapons using highly enriched uranium, they say, you know, it’s a great difference between how much is necessary the first time for the first bomb and then for the subsequent bombs.  So doing analysis you have to take into account what is sometimes called a wastage factor.

There’s a certain amount of the gasified form that gets caught up in the cold traps.  And you can recapture it later but if you’re trying to produce as much highly enriched uranium as quickly as possible, you’ve got to take into account this wastage factor.  And then when you process the gasified uranium to uranium metal, then form it, there’s another wastage factor there.  Most analyses leave that out.

A fourth worst-case assumption is that once Iran produces enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon, they would quickly be able to form it into a bomb, that Iran would be able to carry out all of the steps for weaponization concurrently with producing the highly enriched uranium and then it would only be a matter of a couple of days before they’d have a bomb.  In theory, I guess that’s right.

But in practice, for a country that’s never done it before, to be able to go through the conversion, the shaping, the assembly, all the steps needed to produce a nuclear weapon with the limited number of experts, some of whom are not here today because they’ve been decapitated – and I say that just as a matter of fact, not advocating one way or another.  I don’t think Iran would be able to do it so quickly.  Based on the unclassified literature, we estimate six months to weaponize.  And that has to be added to the timeframe.

The fifth assumption in this worst-case analysis is that Iran would be so foolish as to go for broke to produce just one weapon.  So all the assessments are made of how long do they get one weapon.  But what country in their right mind would just go for one weapon, take all of the risks of being bombed and breaking out of the NPT to get just one.  Maybe it wouldn’t work.  Maybe they’d want to test it.  Maybe they’d want one for second strike capability.  So you know, pretty soon you’re up to four weapons.  They’d need a handful, I think the way North Korea did.

So that’s why I say it’s irresponsible to say that Iran should be considered a nuclear armed state today because maybe they could within some short period of time.  They couldn’t in that short a period of time.

Now, I don’t want to be complacent because as I say, it’s also irresponsible to think, well, we’ve got all the time in the world.  Iran in many ways is moving ahead in all of the ways that you’d need to in order if you wanted a nuclear weapon.

If you look at the three things that you need for a nuclear weapon, you need enough fissile material, either highly enriched uranium or plutonium, you need to weaponize it and you need a delivery vehicle.  So the IAEA reporting that just came out two weeks ago has given us a pretty good idea about the fissile material.

The latest report says that Iran has produced over 4,500 kilograms of 3.5 percent low enriched uranium, some portion of which has been enriched to 20 percent.  Four thousand five hundred kilograms of 3.5 percent is enough fissile material for at least two weapons.  Some say four weapons.  I say two weapons because I take into account the additional amount needed for that first bomb.

The report also showed that Iran is moving ahead with putting centrifuges into its protected facility at Fordow inside a mountain where it’s hard to bomb and that it’s continuing 20 percent enrichment well beyond any justifiable civilian purpose.

I don’t think Iran has any justifiable purpose to produce any 20 percent enriched uranium because it can’t actually produce the fuel today that it says it would need to do it for the Tehran Research Reactor.  But even if they could, they’ve got more than enough 20 percent for several years for that reactor.  They’re still producing more.

So that’s worrisome.  And they’re introducing larger numbers of second generation centrifuges that can produce enriched uranium two to three times quicker.  So if you take all these factors into account, you have to reduce that timeline.  And each one of these is worrisome.  Together, they move the problem to a different level of a challenge.

The second thing you need is weaponization.  That’s the hardest for people like me in the private sector to assess because it’s so highly classified.  Iran keeps as much of it secret as it can and the IAEA is off limits to any of the weaponization work in Iran.

But the IAEA has got a lot of information from friendly governments.  And if you’re reading the IAEA reports you see that in the latest one they said they have increasing concern about the evidence of possible military dimensions behind Iran’s nuclear activity.

Now, Secretary General Amano of the IAEA didn’t say what these additional – what the additional information he has that gives – that makes him more concerned.  But he said he’d be telling us soon.  Maybe it would be what sometimes we read about in the press.

There was a story in the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung last month saying that North Korea had been assisting Iran with some dual-use nuclear data that is highly controlled because it can help scientists learn how to control a chain reaction.  I’ve been somewhat skeptical about reports of North Korean nuclear cooperation with Iran because most of it just didn’t have the credibility.  It didn’t have the confirmation.

This latest one has – is still not confirmed.  It’s one report but I think there may be something there that I hadn’t seen so clearly before.  OK, so then the last point you need to build a weapon, you need a delivery vehicle.  Iran has a fleet of ballistic missiles under development, the most capable of which, the Sejil-2 is a solid fuel propelled and has a reach of at least 2,200 kilometers.

That means if it’s solid fuel, you can fuel it very quickly.  It’s hard to preempt it.  You don’t have much time.  And because it’s got a 2,200-kilometer reach, they could launch it well within their inner hinterlands away from preemption, so – and it could still hit targets in American bases in the region or in Israel.  That’s a worrisome missile.

When the IAEA produced a report about a year ago, we said they were still two to three years away of testing to be able to put that missile into operation.  And until recently, it had been a mystery to me why Iran hadn’t conducted more test launches of the Sejil-2.  The last one that Iran publicized at the time it was launched was in December 2009.

But recently they said actually they did one in February. They didn’t report it for six months later and then the British government confirmed that yes, there had been such a launch.  And the interesting thing about that report is that Iran said it launched it 1,900 kilometers into the Indian Ocean.  So that must mean they had to have some ships in the Indian Ocean to be able to observe that and that’s a new capability, that observation platform.

I don’t want to be alarmist, though, about Iran’s nuclear program, as I said in the beginning.  For example, Iran has produced 70 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium, very close to being weapons usable.  Seventy kilograms some say is, you know, getting pretty close to what you would need for a nuclear weapon.

Again, I would say if you take the amount needed for that first weapon, it’s not so close.  It’s only about one-sixth the amount that would be needed for the first weapon.  And then these advanced centrifuges Iran is producing, OK, they’ve got now 300 of them, the second generation in place.

I’m not sure how many more they can produce because sanctions are limiting Iran’s ability to acquire things like maraging steel that they would need to produce more.  In short, as I said in the beginning, suggestions Iran could produce a nuclear weapon in a very short amount of time are irresponsible.

So a nuclear armed Iran is not inevitable.  That’s my third key point.  But they are nuclear capable.  And to persuade Iran to give up enrichment entirely is probably – although a desirable goal, we’re probably not going to get there because there is so much support for enrichment across the political spectrum.  Everybody in Iran thinks that enrichment is a national right.  It’s become part of their sense of national sovereignty.

But there are four ways – for elements of a policy response that I think can keep Iran from crossing the line from capability to production.  One is a containment policy, things like sanctions and other means of restricting Iran’s ability to expand their program exponentially.  Second is deterrence policies to dissuade Iran from crossing the line if they knew – and I think they probably do know – that if they cross the line it would be an invitation to an air strike.

Third is more intensive inspections, more instructive inspections because Iran may have some other facilities out there.  Nobody’s quite sure.  They don’t have very good operational security.

The facilities they’ve tried to keep secret have been discovered by good Western intelligence and some insider leaking in Iran.  But if there were more intensive IAEA inspections, it would make it even harder for Iran to be able to be sure that they could produce nuclear weapons in secret.  So more inspections obviously would be a good thing.

And finally, I think engagement will be absolutely crucial to any peaceful solution.  Sanctions alone are not going to dissuade Iran because of the sense of national will.  You don’t want to bow to pressure but if you are engaged in something where there’s a positive outcome, it’s more possible.

The whole point of sanctions is to persuade Iran to come back to the negotiating table.  But how would we know when they’re ready to come back to the negotiating table if we’re not talking with them, if we’re not having some kind of a private, very quiet discussions?

I think we need that to be able to probe Iranian intention. So when the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency said they’d be willing to put their facilities under IAEA control for five years, what’s he mean by that?  He said it didn’t mean adopting additional protocol.  But what does it mean?  You know, we need to – we need to probe to find out.

In short, if there is less than two years before Iran theoretically could go for broke and get a nuclear weapon, let’s use that two years wisely.  Let’s probe, and maybe Iran’s not ready for any negotiations but we need to at least I think pull every diplomatic string to try to find out.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Mark.  Now, we’ll turn to Greg Thielmann, senior fellow with Arms Control Association.  Greg?

GREG THIELMANN:  Thank you, Daryl.  The conclusions I draw from Mark’s remarks and from the previous assessments of the U.S. intelligence community is that a nuclear armed Iran is neither imminent nor inevitable.

Iran’s current approach in the medium term is more likely aimed at developing an eventual nuclear breakout potential than actually deploying nuclear weapons.  If this is the case, then it is extremely important that we use this time well to influence Tehran’s eventual decision on the nuclear weapons issue.

So I’d like to take a few minutes to do two things.  First, to review the key conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community and then secondly to try to identify factors that could influence Tehran’s choice of whether to develop and deploy nuclear weapons or to seek a virtual weapons capability or to abandon entirely the nuclear program’s military dimension.

Let me start with a review of some important judgments in the 2007 national intelligence estimate on Iran’s nuclear program.  First dimension, the big surprise in the publically released summary of this estimate, Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003 probably in response to international pressure, a halt lasting at least for several years.

And I would mention in passing that this would be the second time Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program.  The first halt was ordered by Ayatollah Khomeini when he replaced the shah.  The NIE reported that it only had moderate confidence the weapons program had not resumed by mid-2007 and that it did not know whether or not Iran eventually intended to develop nuclear weapons.

The NIE judged that convincing Iranian leaders to forego the development of nuclear weapons would be difficult but not impossible.  More importantly, the NIE assessed that if Iran decided to produce nuclear weapons, it had the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to do so.

After nearly three years, the intelligence community updated its findings in a so-called memorandum to holders.  Unfortunately, this time the key judgments were not explicitly shared with the public.  We’re therefore dependent on official unclassified testimony and leaked descriptions of the classified documents in the press to divine what changes the U.S. intelligence community thinks have taken place.

If we are to believe press accounts, the classified update completed earlier this year found that Iran has probably restarted nuclear weapons studies but it is not necessarily undertaken a comprehensive bomb development effort.

Indeed, the public testimony of the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, to congressional committees in February 2011 showed very little change in the earlier estimate’s key judgments.

According to Clapper, and I’m quoting, “We continue to assess Iran as keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons.  We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.”

He continued, “We continue to judge Iran’s nuclear decision-making as guided by a cost-benefit approach which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran and that Iran’s technical advancement, particularly in nuclear – in uranium enrichment, rather, strengthens our assessment that Iran has the capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so.”

This judgment by the intelligence community is reinforced by the assessments of U.S. officials that even U.S. airstrikes would only delay, not prevent, an Iranian nuclear weapons capacity.  So if we cannot force Iran to give up the nuclear weapons track, how can we dissuade it?  I see two principal drivers in Tehran’s nuclear weapons aspirations.

The first is survival, both regime survival and national survival.  And the second is the enhancement of Iran’s power and prestige.  The international community has been much more successful in diffusing the second of these drivers than the first.

The longer and more blatantly Iran’s nuclear program has defied IAEA obligations and U.N. Security Council mandates, the more Iran’s power and prestige have suffered.  Iran’s slow but steady movement to a nuclear weapons breakout capability has come at an increasing cost, economically, politically and militarily.

The economic costs of sanctions, while still tolerable, are becoming more onerous over time.  Inhibitions on foreign investments and technology inputs, particularly in the natural gas production, will lead to stagnation in the most important sector of Iran’s economy.  The diplomatic situation has worsened for Iran.  It has not been able to divide the P5-plus-one despite the predictions of many including in the West.

Bilateral relations with Turkey and Iran’s Gulf neighbors have deteriorated.  And close Syrian-Iranian ties are threatened by the turbulence in Syria.  The military balance will also continue to slowly deteriorate, aggravated by the U.N. Security Council ban on Iranian heavy weapons imports and the robust military buildup by Iran’s Persian Gulf neighbors.

To sum things up, survival trumps pain.  Tehran is feeling the heat from sanctions imposed in response to its a la carte attitude towards its IAEA obligations and its flaunting of U.N. Security Council resolutions.  But it still apparently interprets steady progress towards a nuclear weapons option as serving its existential security objective of deterring attack.

The more the U.S. and Israel talk about regime change and preventive attack, the greater the perceived need will be for a nuclear deterrent.  So what is to be done?  My first advice is do no harm.  Don’t overreach with U.S. unilateral sanctions, causing a backlash of others of Iran’s trading partners – particularly Russia and China.

This could jeopardize the overall effectiveness of the sanctions regime and destroy the solidarity among the P5-plus-one that has been successful so far at achieving the slowing down of Iran’s program and the raising of costs.  Don’t launch a U.S. unilateral preventive attack on Iran or encourage one from Israel.

Either would not only undercut the efforts of Iranian reformers but also probably persuade the government that actual possession of nuclear weapons is the only way to protect the country from external assault.  And second, get ready to exploit diplomatic opportunities.  Keep the diplomatic option on the table by doing several things.

And one was alluded to I noticed by Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He was expressing alarm over how many years we have had no military contacts between the U.S. and the Iranian military.  And I noticed today’s press had a report that the U.S. government is actually considering some sort of emergency communications between the U.S. military and the Iranian navy.

This is a very serious danger, an unintended clash of naval forces in the Persian Gulf that could lead to consequences that neither side had planned. And it’s not just military contacts that would be useful.  It’s diplomatic contacts.

We’re under an environment here where the formidable diplomatic resources of the United States are basically banned from having any contact with Iranian diplomats except on very limited special occasions.  This is cutting us off from a source of information about diplomatic opportunities about what is going on in Iran.

I would also say that we need to demonstrate a willingness to talk with the Iranians without preconditions.  If the Iranians erect preconditions to discussions, that’s one thing.

But it seems to me counterproductive for us to say we’re only going to talk to Iran under these narrow circumstances.  Also I would propose consideration of nonnuclear confidence building measures.  There are a number of things like an incident-at-sea agreement or environmental scientific initiatives, drug trafficking cooperation.

There are other areas where we obviously have a mutual interest that can be pursued.  I would say we should encourage greater diplomatic involvement by other governments, particularly those who themselves have abandoned WMD aspirations.

Brazil comes to mind, South Africa, Libya, Kazakhstan.  All of these countries have a particular credibility as having chosen a path that we would wish that Iran would choose and some of these countries have some degree of respect in Tehran.

We should not ignore the opportunities that this presents to us.  Focus on the essential that can be won, persuading Iran’s leaders to honor Iran’s IAEA safeguards obligations and to accept robust international transparency measures.  This is doable.  This is what we should focus on.

Give up the unrealistic objective of forcing a permanent halt to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. It’s already been mentioned that this has virtually no support inside Iran including among Iranian reformers.  This doesn’t mean that we should abandon all efforts to negotiate constraints on the growth of Iranian enrichment.  And it does seem to me reasonable to have some sort of relationship between the amount of uranium enriched and the possible use inside Iran of that enriched uranium.

Finally, and not coincidentally since I work for the Arms Control Association, we should demonstrate that nuclear weapons states can also make progress on nuclear arms control consistent with our NPT Article VI obligations.  And that means we should move toward ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

We should consider accelerating New START reductions.  We’re going to get there anyway.  Why not get there faster?  And we should consider linking the phased adaptive approach to missile defenses in Europe with the actual threats against which those missile defenses are allegedly designed.

So why get so far ahead of an Iranian ICBM threat that does not exist?  That’s some of my thoughts.  Thank you for your attention.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Greg.  We’ve heard the military option alluded to.  We’re going to hear more about that and other issues and questions on this important topic from former congressman and admiral, Joe Sestak.  Thanks for being with us.

JOSEPH SESTAK:  Good afternoon.  I was taken and had a smile when Daryl said that he had three experts up here.

He reminded me when I got to Congress four-and-a-half years ago and I got elected to be vice chairman of a small business committee.  And for a freshman, that’s extremely rare.  And I can remember telling somebody at home about that and they just looked at me and said, I think Congress just wanted to demonstrate it had a sense of humor.

So I appreciate being adorned with the term expert with regard to Iran up here.  But I’m glad to give my thoughts upon this, having operated out there and thought a bit about it while I was working at the National Security Council for President Clinton as director of defense policy at the White House.  And today I want to make three points.

First, much like the diplomatic option should never be off the table, I also believe the military option should not be off the table as it provides potential to our negotiations that are ongoing.  But second, that option is not a responsible one, either with regard to offering a solution that has any permanence to it or in its cost being commensurate with the benefits that might accrue.

And therefore, third, I believe we have to broaden the pursuit of our diplomatic efforts with a wider sphere and inclusion of greater Iranian self-interests that they have, as you said, Greg, with no necessary preconditions on the table.  And trying to buy time with what at the end I’ll address as nonkinetic means because time is extremely important, not just in what we have now but in extending it.

My experience during my 31 years as a Naval officer, including, as I mentioned, at the White House, is that one should never take an option off the table when you have strategic negotiations ongoing.

In fact, Ambassador Pickering at the ACA gathering last June said the same thing when he commented that there is great value, as he spoke about Iran, in having a military potential in the minds of people you have to deal with in the diplomatic sphere.  That for good or ill reinforces your negotiating potential.

But a military strike whether it’s by land or air against Iran would make the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion look like a cakewalk with regard to the impact on the United States’ national security.

I believe the cost of Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon mated to a missile would be quite significant, first in terms of regional security for our interests, that of our friends, that of our allies, for our own freedom of movement, of the security of our troops in that region.  I believe it would foment a destabilizing regional arms – nuclear arms race.

And I believe that there would be a loss of our influence and therefore of our ability to move regional issues steadily towards our interest.  I came to respect the Iranian pride when I worked with its navy just prior to the fall of the shah.

I came to appreciate the professionalism of its military, its navy over the decades that followed as I operated at sea and saw a remarkable courtesy given at times when our operations took our respective forces close to one another.

But I also saw calculated risk taking, dangerous moments at sea when Iran – separate, independent Revolutionary Guard sea forces would make sudden runs at us in small swift boats, testing us and our responses or tried to seize some small boarding craft which they thought might not be guarded.

Over these decades, I came truly to appreciate however the pride of this country.  I mean, after all, even we call it the Persian Gulf.  But also I came to think through the less than calculated at times incident that could spark an unwanted violent collision of our two nations.

It’s why, Greg, I recommended as a young commander of a ship in the early ’90s that we should have an incident-at-sea agreement with this country.  I recommended it as an admiral in command of an aircraft carrier battle group in the Persian Gulf.  We had it with the Soviet Union and following that with the People’s Republic of China.  It might have been the beginning of something more or at least the prevention of something worse.

But I also understand the cost of a military strike for our nation.  Can it be done?  Sure.  But I agree with Secretary of Defense Gates who said anyone who would recommend a land invasion – and I saw planning beyond planning for it – should have his head examined.  The cost is not worth any benefit of a land invasion, a conflict that might never end, at least not on our terms.

Nor would it ever cease expanding.  It would take up to 1.5 million men and women if you use any type of equivalency to the metric that we used in Baghdad, in Iraq to control that insurgency.  You would have a rallied population that is three times the size of Iraq’s, girded potentially by millions not just of the Revolutionary Guards but a sebaceous militia that can melt into the citizenry and a land mass that is four times larger than Iraq’s.

The price of invasion would be astronomical.  I think it would be incalculable, particularly at this moment in our history as China continues its economic march uncontested the strategic depravity for us for this century.  On the other hand, while an airstrike would be problematic, extremely challenging, requiring many multiple runs of assets and not be of any permanent consequence for stopping the pursuit of nuclear weaponry.

In fact, I believe it would do the opposite, igniting determination in pursuit of a political goal of Iran’s for a nuclear capability, it could be – it would be at least in the short-term successful in destroying or impairing for a while an infrastructure intended to help the pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

But with imperfect intelligence of dispersed and buried nuclear facilities and its infrastructure and a credible air defense system in opposition, it would require constant reassessment of strikes that would make the attack be very long in the number of days it would take and the assets would be quite heavy to bear that load.

There are of course the unintended consequences – Iranian strikes from coastal batteries and platforms at sea, our platforms at sea or by mobile missions on other nations where our forces are today.

But it would also release terror by networks that are supported by Iran – Hamas, Hezbollah.  So as a result, avoiding mission creep is unlikely.  It is simply hard to know.  In fact, I would argue one can’t know how such a conflict ends nor the final dimensions of the consequences of such an attack by us.

But frankly, yes, sufficient damage to close those facilities for some time is also probable but at even greater unknown costs.  So that’s why I agree with Senator Chuck Hagel, who said that a military strike is not a responsible option in terms of offering a solution to the problem, certainly not without opening up even more challenges for our national security.

I think it’s wise to think why and how we use our military.  We use it for our national interests. First, our vital interests, which have to do with our survivability or humanitarian interests which have to do with our ideals or in between those two, our important interests that can change the character and the wellbeing of the world to degrade our interests significantly over time.  And that is where this sits.

We have to keep in mind what it often takes, that we tended not to do well in recent history to determine whether to use our force.  And it can range from understanding whether we have a clear achievable mission, whether we know what the timeline and the specific milestones are, if we know what our exit strategy is in terms of success or having to change the objective for the proper exit.

In sum, the costs and risk of U.S. military option needs to be judged commensurate with the takes that are involved and if there will be a lasting improvement because of our action, having adequately pursued before you take men and women I served with into harm’s way, have you adequately pursued all nonmilitary means that offer a reasonable chance of success.

It’s why I believe – although I don’t tell my wife this – what Napoleon said – if I were to be in love, I would analyze it bit by bit because you can’t ask how or why enough, particularly when you take the youth of a nation to war.

So I also agree with another senator, in addition to Senator Hagel; Senator Sam Nunn who told his staff about the horse that could talk, where back in medieval days a thief was sentenced to hang.  But he turned to the king as he took his punishment sentencing and said, please, give me 30 days and I’ll teach your horse to talk.  The judge said, what the heck, 30 days he’ll hang anyway.  I can wait.

And as he’s walking away with this thief, the bailiff says, why the heck you asked for 30 days?  You can’t teach a horse to talk.  But the thief replied, maybe, but in 30 days I might die anyway.  In 30 days, the king could die and the next, his heir, could give me amnesty or in 30 days who knows, I might teach that horse to talk.

My point is time, which is mentioned often as a stiff milestone, is something that in the art of diplomacy is absolutely priceless at times if you can give more time for something to occur.  So as was mentioned by Ambassador Thomas Pickering at your association, we did take a military option although he didn’t use that term.

He called it euphemistically sabotage, Stuxnet, which our military prides itself on having domination of the common of the seas by our Navy and having domination of the commons of the air by our Air Force.  But increasingly and not enough we need domination of that commons of cyberspace which gave us, because of its significant impact, gave us more needed time.

Because I think what you’ve seen in the past decade is the placement of our military whether Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya where we haven’t been able to achieve in the timeframes that we set the objectives that have been given and that when objectives are finally achieved, they’re lower objectives in terms of being less and messier.

So the concern the ambassador had when you think of using our military to where he said they are significant to be on the table because they help our negotiating potential.

His concern he stated was also one where he said, you know, we’ve begun a self-initiated undermining of our long-term capacity to take advantage of our military and I would argue even our financial, economic backing because it has been ineffective to have met the modern-day problems in these conflicts on the timelines, the scales that our political leaders have seemed to set, which weakens our negotiation.

So I believe as I summarize here at the end that, yeah, the military option should not, as the ambassador spoke, be off the table because it does give great potential to our political negotiations.  But the option is not a responsible one with regard to offering a solution to our problem of any permanence nor in the cost of – nor in it being commensurate, the benefits with the costs.

But finally, and I argue this is primarily the military’s fault, we need not only to broaden our pursuit of the diplomatic efforts to a wider sphere of Iranian interests, as you said, Greg, without preconditions necessarily set but also this nonkinetic military means, something to where we will purchase a ship before dominating that domain above invisible to us has to be thought carefully through because there was no retaliation for what was an attack – nonkinetic as it was.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.  Now, it is your turn to pose questions.  I ask that you ask a brief question, tell us who you’re directing your question to and we’ll do our best to answer.  I see a couple of hands.  Why don’t we start here and go around?  And wait for the microphone so we can hear your question.  Thank you.

Q:  I’d like to ask Admiral Sestak if his views are widely shared among the military leadership in this country or is yours a maverick view.

ADM. SESTAK:  Good term.  I’d hesitate to speak for others expect for what – a little of what I know but mostly of what I’ve read.  I have found, first off if I could, my time in the military to have shown me how conservative in wanting to use the military our leaders tend to be rightly of our services.  They truly understand the cost attendant to doing it, that they and their men and women will bear.

So when I read comments such as General Cartwright’s, that in testimony before the Senate candidly laid out the unknown or potential lack of upside of using the military option or when you read the article written by the director of J5 – joint staff – joint J5 strategy division – just recently published where this colonel lays out that can it be done, sure, but here are the costs.

I would say that once what was very prevalent in the military – proffering candid advice – but has been less prevalent I would argue in the past decade is beginning to be heard rightly on this, in correctly a more public way prior to internal probably deep deliberations.

So I can’t tell you it’s shared but just based on those two – you know, the J5 position is a prime up-and-coming star and Hoss Cartwright which there is no better officer.  I think that there are those that I wish their voices might have been heard a decade ago.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, sir, over here?  If you could identify yourself also?

Q:  Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service.  I guess this question is initially to Admiral Sestak but I would actually like the other panelists to comment as well if they would be willing to do so.  You’ve very, very well laid out the argument against the military option but at the same time have insisted more than once in your remarks that it should not be taken off the table.

Now, this obviously represents basic national security thinking in this country going back decades, that you never remove a threat to use military force because it gives you negotiating leverage.

But in the case of Iran, I’d like to ask whether there isn’t another history here that contradicts that very hoary conventional wisdom which is that the Iranians have been responding to the explicit or implicit threat of attack by Israel and the United States now for years.

They have had to take that into account in their policy and arguably the result has been to make them less willing to make concessions to the IAEA specifically as well as to negotiate with the United States and its allies in P5-plus-two.

MR. KIMBALL:  So your question is?

Q:  So my question is, is it not the case that there is a heavy negotiating and policy price to be paid for keeping a threat on the table which as you’ve argued and many people have pointed out cannot be a responsible policy.

ADM. SESTAK:  It’s a good question.  The reason I feel, though, with due consideration to what you laid out, why I would keep it on is when I pulled into a port, whether it was Egypt, Saudi Arabia, you name it, man, I mean, particularly when I was in command of an aircraft carrier battle group, parliamentary leaders would come to see me.

I don’t think the captain, with all due respect to Greece, which for the first time sailed one ship to the Persian Gulf, got that type of reception.  And my point is that without the military as one of the elements of our power – not that you like Teddy Roosevelt, walk quietly, carry a big stick – I think that helps us, as the ambassador points out, to having it there.

Now, do I believe that that is the one we should be brandishing in terms of preventive strike?  No.  I think that strategy is completely wrong – or preventive war.  However, as the CIA said in its assessment of 2007, and this is why I believe it needs to be there but not the leader, that the reason that the report came out that Iran had ceased a few years earlier for a period of time the pursuit of a nuclear capability in the early 2000s was because of the cohesive emphasis by European nations and others, diplomatically and otherwise, and they did not feel it was worth the cost as it was the benefit.

So I buy your point that the leader needs to be diplomacy.  I think it has the greatest impact.  But I don’t find nations with no militaries being the leader out there in a tough world.  And so –

Q:  (Off mic.)

ADM. SESTAK:  I didn’t say threaten.

Q:  (Off mic.)

ADM. SESTAK:  Right.  I didn’t say threaten.  I said –

Q:  (Off mic.)

ADM. SESTAK:  No, I said on the table.  Off the table means, for example, as President Clinton said, I won’t use ground troops in Bosnia.  It’s off the table.  And to say I won’t use a military strike against Iran means off the table.  I don’t think it should be off the table.  But I think it’s an irresponsible as a citizen, you know, out here, use of that tool to use it.  I think it helps our negotiations tremendously in a way.

MR. KIMBALL:  Mark, did you want to contribute on this?

MR. FITZPATRICK:  Yeah, I just want to add a small point.  In posing the question, Mr. Porter suggested that Iran has been less willing to enter into talks because of U.S. and Israel putting or leaving military options on the table.  I think it’s an interesting evaluation that one could equally draw a different conclusion.

The time that Iran was more in a negotiating phase was actually during a time when a more, shall we say, aggressive leadership was in the White House in terms of using military options.  I’m talking about during the George W. Bush years, Iran was engaging in negotiations with the Europeans.

Now, was that because Bush was more hardline than Obama?  No, you can’t draw that kind of a cause-and-effect.  It’s because of internal developments in Iran that have led Iran to be less willing to enter into negotiations.

MR. KIMBALL:  And I just – one other point on this.  I think – I mean, one of the things that I think is important to draw from the discussion that Admiral Sestak introduced here is the tremendously high cost of any such action.  And when American policymakers talk about the military option, they need to consider the many issues that he laid out and they need to consider those ramifications.

And when they do, I think they would come to the similar conclusion you came to which is that this is not the responsible option.  It’s not the first option.  We need to use the time that we have in order to pursue a diplomatic option.  I think we had a question here in the middle.  Sir, if you could ask your question, identify yourself?  Thank you.

Q:  Faison Ilyich (ph), WPI.  I just wanted to pick up on what Greg alluded to and some others and take it a little farther, because it seems to me the bottom line is that for 30 years or more these two countries haven’t been able to reach a modus vivendi.  And it’s because of psychological barriers and it’s because of the gridlocks in each country, the conflicts that exist.

Shouldn’t we just come to the conclusion that these guys can’t negotiate and we should go to some people outside this small circle of, you know, usual suspects and bring in some kind of a (yenta ?) to do the job?  I mean, this conversation has been repeated so many times and I don’t think it’s going to get us anywhere.

The conversation, the approach to the problem has to change and policy people usually call it, you know, this is too touchy-feely or, you know – but there is really a completely different framework I think needed to solve this problem.

MR. KIMBALL:  Mark or Greg, if you could expand upon some of the points you made about how to pursue this diplomatic approach in a way that is more successful than we’ve seen in the past?

MR. THIELMANN:  Well, I gave some general ideas toward approach.  But I would be a little less pessimistic.  I mean, it hasn’t escaped my notice anyway that in December of 2001 we not only were able to come to an agreement – a multilateral agreement with Iran – on a vital issue to Iran and us, that is the future of Afghanistan.

But we went through a process in which Jim Dobbins, the U.S. negotiator, said that Iran was the key – the key agent in making that happen.  Well, it’s not that far removed in time.  This was post-9/11 after all.  It was Supreme Leader Khamenei who was in charge of Iran.  And yet it happened.

I mean, and the abrupt end of that fairly promising agreement was the U.S. declaring Iran part of the axis of evil because three things go better together than two I guess.  It can happen.  I think it can happen again.

But I suggested that we need a lot of help now because the level of trust is so low on the part of the U.S. and the Iranians in each other that we may be able to get useful help from other countries in making something happen again.


MR. FITZPATRICK:  Yeah, when the questioner posed the question, I heard him – I thought I heard him say that Iran and the United States were having such a difficultly in coming – reaching any conclusions.  Can’t we find some other people to negotiate?  So I wondered did that mean regime change in Iran, the different?  No, I knew you didn’t mean that.  But – I’m sorry, I’m being facetious.

But you know, the United States is a central part of Iran’s national interest.  They negotiated with the Europeans but the Europeans couldn’t deliver one of the key elements of interest.  They could not deliver a lifting of U.S. sanctions and they couldn’t deliver the kind of security guarantees that only the United States can offer.

And I agree with Admiral Sestak that if countries engaged in these kinds of negotiations don’t bring the kind of security leverage that the United States has, they won’t be able to reach something.

When Brazil and Turkey entered into a negotiation with Iran a year ago and they concluded the Tehran Declaration, you know, and kind of gave the appearance that they had negotiated some deal, Turkey and Brazil can’t negotiate a deal on fuel swap because they can’t deliver any fuel.

Only France or Russia possibly or Argentina could deliver the fuel.  So somebody who can deliver what Iran needs has to be involved in the negotiations to be successful.

ADM. SESTAK:  I had a comment, please?


ADM. SESTAK:  You know, sir, I was struck.  General Eikenberry, who later became Ambassador Eikenberry in Afghanistan, when he was general there, I asked him once just after I got to Congress in testimony he was giving whether Iran had the same interest we had, similar interest we had in Iraq – in Afghanistan.

And his answer was yes.  They wanted stability.  They wanted it on their terms but they wanted stability.  They didn’t like al-Qaida.  And he went on with a list of things.  And to the argument that’s been made to broaden our engagement diplomatically, no preconditions, more of their interest, there is some commonality of interest I would argue.

You know, if at sometimes people, like I think you are in the Bush administration, just seemed to say no talking.  I think that’s harmful because then you end up having to use the military where you might not have to.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, sir?

Q:  Yeah, hi.  Good afternoon.  I’m Bob Dreyfuss with Tehran Bureau and The Nation.

I want to ask the flipside of Gareth’s question about the negotiations, which is if the military option is irresponsible and it’s the equivalent of saying stop enrichment or we’re going to shoot ourselves in the head, then why don’t we do – I mean, Hillary Clinton sort of opened the door toward this a few months ago – early this year I guess – when she said that Iran does have the right to enrich uranium.

Why doesn’t the president simply say that Iran has the right to enrich uranium?  We’ll put that on the table and you can enrich uranium all you want as long as you accede to the more intrusive inspections and oversight that we’re asking for, and then we have a win-win.

I mean, it mystifies me to this day why we haven’t gotten off that dime.  And I was in Tehran a couple of years ago and I talked to a lot of people there about it and they’re all willing to bite on that – I mean, at all kinds of levels inside and outside of government.

So and by the way, you know, John Kerry has said that too and then he kind of backed down.  I don’t know if it’s they’re afraid of AIPAC.  I don’t know if they’re afraid of the Israel lobby and its cronies in the neocon – planet neocon or what it is.

But this seems to me at least a way of testing Iran’s intentions because if we say that and they still don’t negotiate, then I think we have a different problem.  So and no one has even mentioned this on the panel today.  So I mean, I don’t understand what negotiation is if we can’t, you know, get off the dime.  We’re not losing anything by saying that.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, we’ve alluded to it.  But why don’t you expand upon it, Mark, and I can address that point also?

MR. FITZPATRICK:  Yeah.  We’ve been down this road before.  The offer to accept Iranian enrichment has been on the table since at least the last five years when the Europeans and the United States, Russia and China all agreed that if Iran were to persuade the international community that its nuclear intentions were peaceful, that they would not foreclose Iran having an enrichment – resuming enrichment.

That was part of what was tabled with Iran in 2006 and repeated in 2008, and what Hillary Clinton said in December in Bahrain was not real different from what has been U.S. policy in concert with its negotiating partners.

But the idea that this means that allowing Iran to enrich today as much as they want would imply a willingness to suspend credulity on what are Iran’s intentions.

There are so many reasons to have suspicion of Iran’s intentions, all of the ways in which their nuclear program has military connections, the production of 20 percent enriched uranium that has no civilian purpose, the various aspects of evidence of military weapons design work and so forth, that I don’t think it makes much sense to say that Iran should be allowed to have as much enrichment as they want so that they could have – be within a stone’s throw of having a nuclear weapon.

I think it does make sense to accept that in a negotiation process you’re not going to forbid Iran forever and ever to have no enrichment.  That’s part of what I think would be a negotiated settlement, some enrichment, limited so that Iran couldn’t quickly break out to get nuclear weapons.

MR. KIMBALL:  And that, just to be clear and for the record – I mean, what Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said – and I think she said it most recently on March 1st before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs is that it is the U.S. government’s position that, quote, “under very strict conditions and having responded to the international community’s concerns, Iran would have a right to enrich uranium under IAEA inspections.”

So and furthermore, just to be clear, the U.N. Security Council resolutions call for Iran to suspend its enrichment operations as a confidence building measure.  That’s not a demand to permanently suspend, but as a confidence building measure and oftentimes people get these two things confused.

So I mean, from the ACA perspective, I mean, I would agree with Mark that an unlimited Iranian enrichment program without answering the IAEA’s concerns about military activities and without a reasonable constraint upon those capabilities down the road would not be advisable.  Iran cites its Article IV nonproliferation treaty rights.  It argues that that gives it the right to pursue enrichment.

But the nonproliferation treaty also requires of Iran and other non-nuclear weapon states under Articles II and III that it not seek to receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons and not to accept and to comply with – and to accept and comply with safeguards against the diversion of nuclear technology for military purposes.

So with nuclear rights come responsibilities and I think what’s essentially behind the secretary of State’s position is that that right can be exercised if the responsibilities are fulfilled.

So I agree with you that one of the key problems is getting to the point where the two sides are actually discussing in a realistic, quiet manner how we get to that stage.  And that is part of the struggle and that is part of why several of us are arguing that the United States needs to redouble its effort with this aim in mind to try to get past the barriers that have existed for the last several years.

Q:  (Off mic.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, the Iranian – the Iranian view as expressed in a recent letter to Lady Ashton of the EU is that Iran is complaining that the West is not respecting its nuclear rights.  What has not happened is there has not been a clear communication that cuts through a lot of the rhetoric from the Iranian side about what those rights require in terms of the responsibilities.

So I don’t think the U.S. negotiating position has to be changed so much as it needs to be pursued more intelligently and with more vigor in the time ahead.  Do we have other questions from the floor?  Yes, sir?

Q:  This is for Mark.  Last week at a panel of the Atlantic Council, David Albright from the Institute for Science and International Security said he thought that the effects of the last year, the sanctions, the sabotage, the U.N. resolution, that had the joint effect of effectively capping Iran’s centrifuge program.

He didn’t think there were many more IR-1 centrifuges they could make and he thought they were having great difficulty getting the materials for the more advanced IR-2 centrifuges.  I was wondering what you thought and how you were assessing their progress.

MR. FITZPATRICK:  I would reach a similar conclusion but maybe with more tentativeness because I don’t have maybe as many insights as David might have into the intelligence findings.  But it does seem clear that Iran has a limit of how many IR-1s it can introduce.  It’s had 8,000 now for three, four years almost.

It seems to have reached some kind of a limit, although I do note that the new cascade of IR-1s that was introduced into Fordow was apparently a new one, not transferred from Natanz.  So they were able to build a few more.  I also – I believe with some level of confidence, but not high confidence, that Iran has limits on how many of the second generation centrifuges it can produce.

I think it has limits on the amount of maraging steel because of sanctions that prevent it from getting more and if so, that means that application of sanctions, whether they affect Iran’s decision-making process has been very, very beneficial in at least achieving an important objective.

Whether that will continue or not – I mean, Iran still is continuing to enrich uranium.  So it may be capping their ability to expand it rapidly but it hasn’t capped the amount of uranium they keep producing.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, sir?

Q:  Ali Gharib with Think Progress.  If I could just ask two really quick questions that are both kind of political.  One is the balancing the regime survival with people that back the sort of whatever is left of the Green opposition movement, and if those two things – because there’s a  lot of calls, especially with the Arab Spring, for more Western support for these kinds of opposition movements.

And secondly is the sort of geopolitics of it where in Afghanistan at the Bonn Conference we had a lot of allies and regional allies of the world gathered around the same goal of a stable Afghanistan.

And on the other side of Iran and the Middle East we’ve got a different situation where a lot of the Arab kingdoms and little sheikdoms in the Gulf are incredibly hostile, as well as of course Israel. And so how do you balance those alliances with those countries with engaging with Iran on something like the nuclear issue?  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Greg or Admiral Sestak, you want to take a stab at that?

MR. THIELMANN:  Go ahead.

ADM. SESTAK:  I mean, I’m happy to comment but – (inaudible).

MR. THIELMANN:  I may not have captured the first question too well, Ali, but I acknowledge that you have with some of the – some of Iran’s neighbors there’s much less of a community of interest or more difficult to find commonality whether it’s what name you call the Persian Gulf or those of greater issues.

So I acknowledge that that is a problem and something we have to deal with.  But there’s a lot of – there should be a lot of common ground in pursuit of the end that we seek and that is a non-nuclear-armed Iran.

I mean, none of its neighbors want it to be nuclear armed and I would argue that Iran can achieve prosperity and enhance its power without being nuclear armed as well.

So I don’t – I don’t see any deal breakers even taking into consideration some of the complicated politics of the region and in fact some of the intents like Saudi desire not to see a nuclear armed Iran, one would think one could channel into constructive approaches to prevent that.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, why don’t we take a couple more questions?  In the first row, please?

Q:  Thank you.  Benjamin Tua.  On the enrichment issue, it seems that we’ve kind of put ourselves in a corner because people haven’t explicitly mentioned the fact that they’re enriching in part to have fuel for their research reactor.  And when it seemed as if the Turks and the Brazilians had gotten some kind of agreement, we pulled the rug out from under two countries whom we had encouraged to pursue an agreement.

And someone mentioned that, well, they don’t have the fuel France does, but obviously we were communicating with the French and making sure that that didn’t happen.  So it seems to me that we really do need not just to redouble our efforts but to sort of maybe take a new track.  I am encouraged by this idea of a new communications channel and this may just take things in a different direction.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK, Greg and Mark, you want to address the failed effort earlier this year to pursue the fuel swap concept?

MR. FITZPATRICK:  Yeah, first of all, I think it’s a bogus argument that Iran is producing 20 percent enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor for fuel because they can’t actually make the fuel today.  It’s not beyond their intellectual means.  They will be able to at some point.

But it’s some point away.  In the meantime, they have options to buy the medical isotopes as they have been doing.  They could also have approached Argentina or France and asked them to supply the fuel.  They didn’t do that.

So if they had been serious about it – they didn’t go about it by asking the two countries that produce it.  They did it as a gambit to try to give themselves a plausible reason to produce something that was very close to weapons-usable fuel.

The United States caught them on it and offered the deal that Ahmadinejad first tentatively accepted, as you know, in October 2009 but then ran into a political firestorm in Tehran and couldn’t follow through on the deal.

Enter Brazil and Turkey, tried to reconstruct the deal but now under conditions that are highly favorable to Iran and that obviated all of the key confidence building elements that were in the first deal, namely that Iran would have shipped out of the country the bulk of its low enriched uranium so they couldn’t have enough for a weapon.

That was the confidence building aspect and by the time May came around and if they sent out the same amount, they still have enough theoretically for a weapon.  And there was no word about the 20 percent uranium.  In fact, the day the deal was signed, the Iranians said, we’re going to continue the 20 percent enriched uranium.  How do you like those apples?

So you know, there was no political basis that the United States and its European and Russian and Chinese negotiating partners couldn’t follow through with the sanctions in the U.N. that have actually now for the first time applied pressure to Iran.  That doesn’t mean that a deal couldn’t be struck.

I think there were some very important elements of that deal.  The precedent of sending the fuel out of the country was a very good thing.  I wish it could have been built upon.  It was too bad that it, you know, fell apart like that.  I don’t think it was handled so well by various parties.  OK, maybe the United States, you know, sent some mixed signals.

I am told by people in the administration that they told the Brazilians and the Turks very, very clearly what the conditions had to be and they were not just the ones that were spelled out in the letter from President Obama to President Lula.  But OK, I see there is some way that signals were missed.

But also, I don’t think there was very good communication with the French who actually had to be the ones to provide the fuel because if you look at the small points of that Tehran deal of May 2010, the French didn’t like it at all and there were parts of that deal that were just not possible – physically possible, so could have done better on both – on all sides.


MR. THIELMANN:  And I just wanted to express a somewhat more sympathetic point of view about the Brazilian and Turkish effort.  I thought, for example, that the fact that a lot more low enriched uranium had been enriched at that point was not a deal killer.

It would still have been a good agreement as far as I’m concerned, even with the passage of time and even though it wouldn’t have – it would have theoretically allowed enough low enriched uranium that could eventually be changed to a high enriched state and so forth.  But the deal killer for me was the 20 percent and with that I agree with Mark.

The Iranians said in February that they were enriching to 20 percent in order to get – in order to get new reactor fuel.  And the fact that they didn’t really have the capability to make the fuel plates is a very important thing to know.  But it still allowed them to have the talking point.

But once they said that even with this deal that would give them enough and deliver the fuel plates, they were going to keep the 20 percent anyway.  That was just – made patently obvious that they were not serious about getting to a conclusion on the nuclear swap arrangement from my point of view.


ADM. SESTAK:  Could I ask you on your comment, missed signals, you know, missed opportunity, does that show the downside of not being at the table with them directly?


MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  I think we’re going to have probably one or two last questions.  Right up front, please?

Q:  Thank you.  Yeah, Jim Ostroff with Platts Nuclear Publications. If I could, just trying to get an overview, some idea right now about the total amount of fuel – LEU, HEU – that Iran holds and let me ask about the Bushehr reactor.  They say it’s just starting.  Where is it’s at – where is it at and what is its outlook?

MR. KIMBALL:  Mark, you want to tackle that?

MR. FITZPATRICK:  Well, Iran doesn’t have any fuel that they’ve produced themselves – LEU or – I mean, but you didn’t mean fuel.  You meant how much of low enriched uranium have they –

Q:  (Off mic.)

MR. FITZPATRICK:  Yeah, yeah, I know.  My point is I’m trying to drive home the point that they can’t actually produce the fuel.   They can produce the enriched uranium and they have 4,500 kilograms of the 3.5 percent that they have produced, although they used about 400 kilograms of that to produce 70 kilograms of 20 percent which is on the border to HEU.

And by my analysis, that 70 kilograms is about one-sixth what they would need for the first bomb and the 4,500 kilograms is enough for two weapons if they were to further enrich it.  That’s a big if, of course.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, yes, right here, please?  And this will be the final question.

Q:  Dalton Onig (ph).  With Turkey and Egypt now seem to be joining forces or on the verge of an agreement to cooperate and project their influence over the Middle East, how – what kind of influence would this have on Iran and its nuclear program?

ADM. SESTAK:  Could you repeat the question, just –

Q:  On Turkey and Egypt – early on, they went to Egypt and they talked about expanding their cooperation.  Obviously they wanted to project their influence over the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

What kind of impact will this have on the Iranian nuclear program? Both of them obviously aren’t interested in Iran pursuing a nuclear program.  How could they – what kind of influence will that have?

ADM. SESTAK:  I think there’s maybe two possible impacts.  One is if you look at what are Iran’s motivations to pursue these capabilities, it’s been mentioned, you know, it’s prestige and regional power and also for deterrence.

If they see their regional rivals increasing their influence in the region, maybe it would give them all the more reason to seek a nuclear capability in order to balance the now stronger political weight of Egypt and Turkey combined.  You know, on the other hand, if they think that somehow their security situation has been improved by a different line up of forces in the region, maybe that would have a different kind of impact on their motivations.

But you know, it’s very hard to understand what would affect their motivations.  We can see them continuing to move toward this capability regardless of administrations in the United States that are probably the most important factor.  So it’s hard to answer your question.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.   I want to draw this session to a conclusion.  It’s hard to summarize the many issues and points that have been made here today.  Great presentations from our key experts.

But I think there are two or three key points that seem to me that come through that I just want to reiterate here at the end, which is that an Iranian nuclear weapon is neither imminent nor inevitable for Iran might make a strategic decision on whether to build one or not, we have to utilize the time that we have to achieve a diplomatic solution.

Sanctions can be most effective in slowing Iran’s nuclear missiles program if they are targeted, if they have international support.  But sanctions alone cannot dissuade Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and they cannot be a substitute for sustained diplomacy.  Military strikes on Iran would be counterproductive at best, even if this is an option that our policymakers are going to be keeping on the table, so to speak.

And while diplomacy has been incredibly difficult to pursue in the current environment, it does remain the best option.  We see a way forward to build a solution that respects Iran’s so-called nuclear rights but that limits the overall capacity of the program and addresses the continuing questions the IAEA and the international community has about the military aspects.

This will not be the last session that we have on this or that others have on this.  But we hope you found it helpful.  There’s going to be a transcript of the proceedings online at the Arms Control Association website within two or three days.

And I want to thank the Arms Control Association members and donors for making this possible, especially the Ploughshares Fund which has been supporting ACA’s work on the Iranian nuclear puzzle.  Join me in thanking Joe Sestak and Mark Fitzpatrick and Greg Thielmann for their presentations.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)





    As the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) considers its quarterly report on Iran’s nuclear program and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares to address the UN General Assembly, the Arms Control Association invites you to join an expert panel discussion addressing important questions including:

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    Twenty Years After the Closure of Semipalatinsk the Case for the Test Ban Treaty Is Stronger Than Ever



    Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
    Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, D.C.,
    September 8, 2011

    Good afternoon and thank you Paul Walker and Global Green for organizing this event and for inviting me to speak here today to mark the anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, where more than 456 explosions contaminated the land and its inhabitants.

    The courageous efforts of the Kazakh people and their allies forced Moscow’s communist regime to halt nuclear weapons testing. It is one of the truly amazing stories of the late-Soviet era and one of the most important contributions to the end of the Cold War.

    The closure of Semipalatinsk led Mikhail Gorbachev to announce a one-year moratorium on Soviet testing on October 5, 1991. This, in turn, prompted a bipartisan coalition of U.S. legislators—among them the late-great Sen. Mark Hatfield and our friend Rep. Edward Markey who is here with us today—to introduce nuclear test moratorium legislation on October 29.

    Less than a year later, that bill became law. President Bill Clinton extended the moratorium the following year and launched negotiations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Every president since then—Republican and Democratic—has sustained the U.S. nuclear test moratorium.

    So, we all owe the people of Kazakhstan our thanks for their role in helping to set these events in motion.

    It has now been fifteen years since the CTBT was opened for signature. The United States and 182 nations have signed the treaty. Since 1998, only one state—North Korea—has conducted nuclear test explosions.

    But to finally ensure that the age of nuclear testing is truly over and to improve our ability to detect and deter testing in the future, we need—once again—enlightened, bipartisan leadership from United States to help bring the CTBT into force.

    The CTBT won’t by itself stop proliferation, but we can’t improve our chances of stopping proliferation and reducing the nuclear threat without the CTBT.

    By banning all nuclear tests, the CTBT prevents the established nuclear-weapon states from proof-testing new, more sophisticated warhead designs. And without nuclear test explosions, newer nuclear-armed states would have a far more difficult time developing and fielding smaller, more easily deliverable warheads.

    With the CTBT in force, our ability to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will clearly be significantly greater. Entry-into-force is essential to making short-notice, on-site inspections possible.

    While the CTBT has near universal support, the Treaty must still be ratified by nine hold-out states before it can formally enter into force.

    Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Given their existing nuclear test moratoria and treaty signatures, Washington and Beijing already bear most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of the treaty.

    U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to “immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of” the CTBT. He said, “After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned." Indeed.

    The Obama administration can and must continue to make the case that the Treaty enhances international security, is effectively verifiable, and is essential to curb the spread of nuclear weapons in the decades to come. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller has done an excellent job in this regard.

    The technical and political case for the CTBT is much stronger today than it was in 1999 when the Senate briefly considered the treaty. The Senate must honestly review the new evidence for the treaty rather than rush to judgment on the basis of outdated information.

    As Senators and their staff do so, it is important to keep in mind how the CTBT can help our efforts to curb proliferation in the years ahead.

    China, which has repeatedly stated that its supports early entry into force, would likely ratify the CTBT if the United States does. Without further nuclear testing, China’s would not be able to proof test new, more sophisticated warhead designs.

    India and Pakistan could advance the cause of nuclear disarmament and substantially ease regional tensions by converting their unilateral test moratoria into a legally binding commitment to end nuclear testing through the CTBT.

    With no shortage of conflict in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear-weapons-related security concerns in the region.

    Iran, which has signed the CTBT, said on Sept. 2 at the United Nations that it “considers this treaty as a step towards disarmament.” In my address the General Assembly on behalf of NGOs, I responded to that statement by noting that Article VI of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty obliges all states—the nuclear weapon states and the non-nuclear weapon states—to contribute to disarmament and Iran must do its part.

    I noted that if Iran ratified the CTBT, it could help reduce concerns that its nuclear program would be used to develop smaller, deliverable nuclear warheads. If Iran refuses to ratify the CTBT, it would raise further questions about the nature of its nuclear activities and increase U.S. and international support for targeted sanctions on its nuclear and missile programs.

    Further North Korean nuclear tests would undermine Asian security. While Pyongyang has shown little regard for its treaty commitments, the DPRK should be pressed to declare a halt to further testing and sign the CTBT.

    U.S. reconsideration and approval of the CTBT, however, is essential. And it is undoubtedly in our national security interests.

    After 1,054 nuclear test explosions, the United States simply doesn’t need or want nuclear test explosions to maintain our arsenal or to develop new kinds of warheads. No serious military or technical expert believes we should, and if that changes at some point in the distant future, the CTBT contains a supreme national interest withdrawal provision.

    Other states, however, could improve their nuclear capabilities through further testing. It is time we recognize that reality and act upon it.

    As Gen. John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concluded in his 2001 report on the CTBT: "For the sake of future generations, it would be unforgivable to neglect any reasonable action that can help prevent nuclear proliferation, as the Test Ban Treaty clearly would."


    Prepared Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball,Executive Director, Arms Control Association at the Cannon House Office Bldg, Washington, D.C., on September 8, 2011.

    International Day Against Nuclear Tests: Translating Words Into Action



    Prepared Statement of Nongovernmental Organization Representative
    Coordinated and Delivered by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
    September 2, 2011

    On behalf of the many nongovernmental organizations with an interest in ending nuclear testing and achieving a nuclear weapons free world, I would like to thank the organizers of this year’s meeting—including the office of the United Nations Secretary General and the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan—for granting NGOs a seat at this table.

    It is important to recognize the pivotal role of nongovernmental organizations—and ordinary people the world over—in the long struggle to end nuclear testing.

    For example, beginning in the 1950s, American pediatricians and civil society activists documented the presence of strontium-90 in the deciduous teeth of young children, prompting a large and effective public outcry against atmospheric nuclear testing. These protests had a direct impact on the negotiation and adoption of the Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963.

    In fact, civil society organizations have played a vital role in ensuring that the evidence compiled by physicians and scientists about the health and environmental consequences of nuclear test explosions—regardless of whether they are conducted in the atmosphere or aboveground—has consistently been put forward as an essential reason to ban testing permanently.

    Nongovernmental organizations played a catalyzing role in more recent efforts to halt nuclear testing. Some twenty years ago, a popular movement in Soviet-controlled Kazakhstan forced Moscow’s communist regime to halt nuclear weapons testing at proving grounds in their homeland where more than 456 explosions had contaminated the land and its people.

    In February 1989, the renowned poet Olzhas Suleimenov called upon his fellow citizens to meet in Alma Ata to discuss how to respond to fresh reports of radioactive contamination at the Soviet’s Semipalatinsk Test Site. Five-thousand people responded and collectively issued a call for closing the test site, ending nuclear weapons production, and a universal ban on testing. The movement, which became known as Nevada-Semipalatinsk, grew and held demonstrations throughout Kazakhstan and later in Russia.

    On August 6, 1989, 50,000 people attended one of its rallies, which was the largest independent event of its type in the former Soviet Union. Eventually over a million people signed its antinuclear weapons testing petition.

    In August 1989, Suleimenov pushed the Supreme Soviet to adopt a resolution calling for a U.S.-Soviet test moratorium. The movement also worked to prevent Moscow from simply shifting all Soviet nuclear testing to the Novaya Zemlya site in northern Russia. To appease the growing protests, Moscow would later acknowledge it had cancelled 11 out of 18 planned nuclear tests.

    In May 1990, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) and the Nevada-Semipalatinsk movement teamed up for an International Citizens Congress that brought together 300 delegates, including downwinders and disarmament leaders, from 25 countries to Alma Ata. A crowd of 20,000 gathered in support. Before the conference convened, Dr. Bernard Lown of IPPNW and Suleimenov met with Soviet Foreign Minister Shevardnadze to reinstitute an earlier Soviet test moratorium.

    Under pressure from President Nazarbayev, the people of Kazakhstan, and the international disarmament community, then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev would authorize only one more test (in Russia) and then declare a moratorium on October 5, 1991, prompting U.S. legislators to introduce nuclear test moratorium legislation in Congress.

    With strong grassroots support in the United States, the legislation, which mandated a 9-month U.S. testing halt and negotiations on a CTBT, gathered strong support and was approved in September 1992. The last U.S. nuclear test explosion was conducted on September 23, 1992.

    The following year, U.S. nongovernmental organizations and legislators successfully pressed President Clinton to indefinitely extend the U.S. test moratorium in July 1993 and launch multilateral negotiations on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. With the help of international protests over French and Chinese nuclear testing in 1995 and 1996, NGOs exerted strong pressure on governments negotiating the treaty at the Conference on Disarmament to pursue a zero-yield test ban and to complete talks by the end of 1996.

    The actions of the people of Kazakhstan and other test ban opponents are but one dramatic example of how leaders from civil society have raised awareness about the dangers of nuclear weapons and demanded that their governments act decisively to permanently halt nuclear weapons testing.

    As we mark the second official International Day Against Nuclear Tests, we should recognize the courageous efforts of the Nevada-Semipalatinsk movement and generations of other citizen activists and leaders, which have been the driving force behind governmental effort to permanently and verifiably bring an end to all nuclear test explosions.

    The Tasks Ahead

    Although the CTBT was opened for signature fifteen years ago this month, our work is far from complete.

    We representatives of civil society call upon leading governments to:

    1)    redouble their stalled efforts to push for a permanent and verifiable end to nuclear testing;

    2)    improve national and international programs to better understand and responsibly address the health and environmental damage caused by past nuclear testing; and

    3)    take further steps to reinforce the purposes of the CTBT and move with greater speed to realize a world without nuclear weapons.

    The International Security Value of the CTBT

    It is time to finally recognize that nuclear testing is a dangerous and unnecessary vestige of the past and, fifteen years after its completion, finally bring the CTBT into force.

    As General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded in 2001: “For the sake of future generations, it would be unforgivable to neglect any reasonable action that can help prevent nuclear proliferation, as the Test Ban Treaty clearly would.”

    By banning all nuclear weapon test explosions, the CTBT prevents the established nuclear-weapon states from proof-testing new, more sophisticated warhead designs. Without the option of nuclear explosive testing, newer members of the club cannot perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads.

    Unfortunately, the CTBT does not also expressly forbid other activities that can lead to qualitative improvements to nuclear weapons, the pursuit of which undermines the stated objectives of the treaty.

    The CTBT also serves to reinforce the nonproliferation system by serving as a confidence-building measure about a state’s nuclear intentions and, in this regard, it can help head-off and de-escalate regional tensions.

    For these and other reasons, CTBT entry into force has long been considered a key part of the fulfillment of Article VI of the NPT and the goal of “effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”

    With the CTBT in force, global and national capabilities to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will be significantly greater. Entry-into-force is essential to making short-notice, on-site inspections possible and maintaining long-term political and financial support from other nations for the operation of the International Monitoring System and International Data Center.

    Accelerating Entry Into Force

    Although 182 states have signed the CTBT, the treaty must still be ratified by the remaining hold out states—the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, and North Korea—before it can formally enter into force.

    In three weeks, CTBT states parties will gather here at the UN to speak about the value of the treaty and the need for prompt entry into force. We appreciate those statements, but actions speak louder than words. That conference must help produce a serious diplomatic action plan for getting the remaining hold out states on board.

    Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Given their existing nuclear test moratoria and 1996 signature of the CTBT, Washington and Beijing already bear most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of CTBT entry into force.

    In April 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama’s pledged to “immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” He said, “After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned." We agree.

    But now, President Obama must translate those lofty words into action and mount a serious public campaign to win the support of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate for ratification of the treaty without conditions.

    To date, the Obama administration has done too little. With the support of a wide array of NGOs in the United States and around the globe the Obama administration can and must make the case that the Treaty enhances international security, is effectively verifiable, and is essential to curb the spread of nuclear weapons in the decades to come.

    To indicate the seriousness of his intention to do so, we call on President Obama to promptly name a senior, high-level White House coordinator for the CTBT effort.

    The technical and political case for the CTBT is even stronger than it was in 1999 when the Senate failed to provide its advice and consent for ratification. What is necessary is the political will to pursue ratification and willingness by all Senators to review the new evidence in support of the treaty rather than arrive at judgments based on old information or misinformation.

    It is also time for China’s leaders to finally act on the CTBT. For years, Chinese government representatives have reported that the CTBT is before the National People’s Congress for consideration but has apparently taken no action to win legislative approval needed for ratification. We note the January 19, 2011 Joint Statement by President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama stating that “… both sides support early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.”

    Washington’s renewed pursuit of CTBT ratification opens up opportunities for China and other Annex 2 states—such as Indonesia—to lead the way toward entry into force by ratifying before the United States does. Action by Beijing would increase its credibility as a nonproliferation leader and improve the chances that other states in Asia, as well as the United States, would follow suit.

    India and Pakistan could advance the cause of nuclear disarmament and substantially ease regional tensions by converting their unilateral test moratoria into a legally binding commitment to end nuclear testing through the CTBT.

    Unfortunately, since their tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998 that were condemned by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1172, neither India nor Pakistan have transformed their de facto nuclear test moratorium into a legally binding commitment not to conduct nuclear test explosions.

    It is past time for India’s current leaders to pursue the recommendations of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s eloquent and visionary 1988 action plan for disarmament, which calls for “a moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons … to set the stage for negotiations on a comprehensive test-ban treaty.” India’s security and that of Asia would be enhanced if New Delhi were to seek adoption of the CTBT along with its nuclear-armed Asian neighbors. Pakistan, which can ill-afford the expensive and senseless continuation of its fissile and missile race with India, should welcome a legally binding test ban with India.

    With no shortage of conflict and hostility in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear-weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

    Likewise, if Israel were to ratify the CTBT, it would bring that nation closer to the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and help encourage other states in the region to follow suit.

    Iranian ratification would help reduce concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads. Continued failure by Iran to ratify the CTBT raises further questions about the nature of its sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities.

    The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests and rumors of further detonations undermine Asian security. We call on the DPRK to declare a halt to further nuclear testing pending the resumption of the Six-Party talks and for the participants in those talks to make North Korea’s approval of the CTBT one of the key steps in the action-for-action process for denuclearization and normalization.

    Addressing the Damage Caused by Nuclear Testing

    Radioactive isotopes have long half-lives. The damage caused by the 2,051 nuclear test explosions conducted worldwide lingers on at dozens of test sites from Lop Nor, to the atolls of the Pacific, to Nevada, to Algeria, to Australia, to Semipalatinsk, across Russia, in Kazakhstan and beyond.

    Exposure to ionizing radiation is harmful to humans. The leaders of the nuclear testing nations have exposed their people – both within their territories and outside their territories – to radiation without their informed consent.

    Most of the test sites are in the lands of indigenous peoples and far from the capitals of the testing governments. The 528 atmospheric tests delivered radioactive materials that produced approximately 430,000 additional cancer fatalities by the year 2000, according to a 1990 report by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. The U.S. National Cancer Institute estimated in a 1997 report that the 90 dirtiest U.S. tests could cause 7,500-75,000 additional cases of thyroid cancer.

    While underground nuclear blasts pose a smaller radioactive hazard than atmospheric tests, there has been widespread venting from underground explosions, especially at the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan. The United States has acknowledged that 433 of its 824 underground tests released radioactive material into the atmosphere. In addition, underground nuclear blasts leave a legacy of radioactive contamination, which eventually might leak into the surrounding environment.

    Our knowledge of the extent of the harm caused by five decades of nuclear test explosions underground, in the atmosphere, and underwater is still incomplete. The governments responsible for the damage have not adequately provided the assistance to survivors and resources necessary to mitigate the environmental contamination. In fact, the major testing states have been reluctant to recognize the harm inflicted by testing and the rights of those people who have been most affected.

    For example, for more than thirty years, France conducted 46 atmospheric and 147 underground nuclear tests in the South Pacific at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls in French Polynesia. It is estimated that nearly half of France’s underground nuclear tests released radioactive material into the atmosphere.

    Today, there are lingering concerns over hazards to the environment and the health of local populations. Beyond the presence of plutonium and cesium on land and in the lagoon, as reported by the IAEA in 1998, ongoing monitoring of the geology of Moruroa Atoll has revealed major hazards on the north-east flank of the atoll. There were 28 underground tests in this north-east sector, with six tests releasing radioactivity into the ocean environment through cracks in the basalt base of the atoll.

    A January 2011 report by the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) outlines scenarios where a landslide of the side of the atoll – amounting to 670 million cubic meters of rock – could create a 15 to 20 meter high wave and swamp the east of the atoll. The collapse would also send out waves forming a 10 to 13 meter tsunami, which could threaten the neighboring inhabited island of Tureia.

    Maohi (Polynesian) workers who staffed the Moruroa and Fangataufa test sites from 1966 to 1996 have formed "Moruroa e Tatou" (Moruroa and Us), an association to campaign for compensation from the Government of France for the health effects of their work. They have joined with former French military personnel who are members of the Association des Veterans des Essais Nucleaires in France (Association of Nuclear Test Veterans), to campaign for compensation for the health effects of exposure to ionizing radiation.

    Although the French government established a compensation scheme known as the Morin law in 2010, veterans groups have criticized the way the law is being implemented. (Of the first 12 cases by French military veterans put before the committee which runs the compensation scheme, only one was granted compensation). Living many thousands of miles away from France, Maohi workers often lack the necessary documentation and resources to mount their case for compensation, with many of the archives remaining closed under national security regulations.

    On the occasion of the first International Day against Nuclear Tests the government of Kazakhstan made an important proposal: the establishment of an international fund—to be managed by the United Nations—to support the survivors of nuclear testing.

    We endorse this idea and call upon the UN Secretary-General to organize a conference under the auspices of the United Nations to help mobilize resources for the remediation of contamination and health monitoring and rehabilitation of downwinders near nuclear test sites around the world.

    States responsible for the testing at major test sites should report to the conference—and on an annual basis every year thereafter—on their current and future efforts and resource allocations to address the health and environmental impacts of nuclear testing and to rehabilitate populations that have been particularly impacted.

    Independent nongovernmental experts, and especially members of affected communities should be invited to participate help develop a multi-year program of action.  Many nuclear testing survivors are minorities on the own land whose views have too often been overlooked. That must no longer be the case.

    Reinforcing the Test Ban

    We must also guard against actions by the nuclear weapon states and would-be nuclear weapon states that could undermine the de facto test moratorium and slow entry into force of the CTBT. Specifically:

    a)     We urge states armed with nuclear weapons to refrain from pursuing new types of nuclear weapons or modifying weapons to create new military capabilities through testing or in the laboratory.

    The Obama administration declared in its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report that “The United States will not develop new nuclear warheads. Life Extension Programs [LEPs] will use only nuclear components based on previously tested designs, and will not support new military missions or provide for new military capabilities.” However, there is a potential loophole. As noted by Thomas D’Agostino, the head of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration at an April 14, 2010 Congressional hearing, the NPR will allow the national nuclear weapons laboratories to “study all options for ensuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of our nuclear warheads, and we’ll do so on a case-by-case basis.”

    In addition, the multibillion dollar U.S. warhead Life Extension Programs will, in some cases, result in warheads with greater accuracy on target. In addition, the LEPs may introduce new complexities that diminish confidence and increase the risk that some future president will be pressured to proof-test the modified design.

    Other nuclear-armed nations have not even made “no new nuclear weapons pledges” and some are believed to be working on new warhead designs.

    We urge responsible governments to seek clarification regarding their plans and to call upon them to halt the development of new nuclear warheads or modernization of existing warheads, delivery systems, or related infrastructure, for any reason. Such activities may not violate the letter of the CTBT, but they are contrary to one key purpose, which is to halt the qualitative improvement of nuclear arsenals;

    b)    We urge nuclear armed states to halt activities at the test sites, including so-called subcritical experiments, which might raise concerns about compliance with the CTBT or could undermine the purpose of the treaty by facilitating qualitative improvements in nuclear weapons;

    c)     The five original nuclear weapon states should reiterate that the CTBT bars all nuclear explosions of any yield, anywhere, and adopt transparency measures prior to entry into force that would increase confidence that they are in full compliance with the CTBT prohibition on all nuclear test explosions; and

    d)    We call upon all states to fully pay their assessments to the CTBTO, fully assist with work to complete the IMS systems, and continuously and without interruption transmit data from the monitoring stations to provide the most robust capability to detect and deter future nuclear testing; and

    e)     In order to further reinforce the de facto global taboo against nuclear testing and deter any state from considering nuclear test explosions in the future, we call upon the UN Security Council to outline appropriate actions that would be considered in response to the resumption of nuclear testing by any state.

    We sincerely urge you to take these ideas forward and to explore them at the seventh Article XIV Conference on Facilitating CTBT Entry Into Force on September 23.

    Nongovernmental supporters of the CTBT the world over stand ready to contribute to the effort to bring the CTBT into force and address the deadly legacy of nuclear testing.

    Thank you.



    Dr. Rebecca Johnson,
    Author of Unfinished Business: The Negotiation of the CTBT the End of Nuclear Testing (United Nations: 2009), andExecutive Director, Acronym
    Institute for Disarmament and Diplomacy

    Dominique Lalanne,
    Armes Nucléaires STOP (France)

    Daryl G. Kimball,
    Executive Director,
    Arms Control Association

    Mary Dickson,
    a founder of
    Downwinders United (United States)

    Yasunari Fujimoto,
    Secretary General,
    Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs (GENSUIKIN)

    Paul F. Walker,
    Security and Sustainability,
    Global Green USA
    (U.S. affilliate of Green Cross Intl., Mikhail Gorbachev, Founding Chairman)

    Jonathan Granoff,
    Global Security Institute

    Christopher Thomas,
    Executive Director,
    Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (United States)

    Dr. Kathleen Sullivan,
    Program Director,
    Hibakusha Stories

    John Loretz,
    Program Director,
    International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War(Recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize)

    John Burroughs,
    Executive Director,
    Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy

    Aaron Tovish,
    International Director,
    2020 Vision Campaign,
    Mayors for Peace

    Roland Pouira Oldham,
    Moruroa e tatou (French Polynesia)

    Irma Arguello
    Chair and CEO,
    Nonproliferation for Global Security Foundation (Argentina)

    David Krieger,
    Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

    Patrice Bouveret,
    Observatoire des Armements/CDRPC (France)

    Susi Snyder,
    Nuclear Disarmament Program Leader,
    IKV Pax Christi (Netherlands)

    Akira Kawasaki,
    Executive Committee Member,
    Peace Boat (Japan)

    Ichiro Yuasa,
    Peace Depot (Japan)

    Peter Wilk, M.D.,
    Executive Director,
    Physicians for Social Responsibility (USA)

    Jean-Pierre Dacheux,
    Pour la Maison de Vigilance (France)

    Amb. Jayantha Dhanapala,
    Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs(Recipient of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize)

    Susan Shaer,
    Executive Director,
    Women’s Action for New Directions

    Women's International League for Peace and Freedom



    Prepared Statement of Nongovernmental Organization Representative coordinated and delivered by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association  on September 2, 2011 to the UN General Assembly in New York.

    ACA Research Director Speaks on International Day Against Nuclear Tests Meeting in Geneva



    International Day Against Nuclear Tests:
    Translating Words Into Action

    Prepared Remarks by Tom Z. Collina, Research Director, Arms Control Association
    Geneva, Switzerland
    August 29, 2011

    On behalf of ACA, I would like to thank the organizers of this meeting—the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the Mission of Kazakhstan to the International Organizations in Geneva—for inviting me here today to speak.

    It is particularly fitting for Kazakhstan to be represented here, as it was twenty years ago—in 1991-- that the people of Kazakhstan succeeded in closing the former Soviet test site at Semipalatinsk. This was followed by Soviet President Gorbachev’s declaration of a moratorium on nuclear testing, and then the United States announced its moratorium in 1992. The CTBT was then negotiated and signed in 1996.

    So in many ways it all began with Kazakhstan, and we owe them many thanks.

    But of course, 15 years later our work is not done, and I am glad we have such things as “international days against nuclear tests” to remind us that we must still bring the CTBT into force.

    Some might ask, why is the CTBT still important? Because the test ban is a crucial barrier to the spread of nuclear weapons to additional nations AND to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorist groups.

    Indeed, the treaty is more important today than ever.

    By banning all nuclear tests, the CTBT prevents the established nuclear-weapon states from proof-testing new, more sophisticated warhead designs. And newer members of the nuclear club would not be able to perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads without testing.

    The treaty also serves to reinforce the nonproliferation system by serving as a confidence-building measure about a state’s nuclear intentions, and it can help head-off and de-escalate regional tensions.

    For these and other reasons, CTBT entry into force has long been considered a key part of fulfilling Article VI of the NPT.

    With the CTBT in force, capabilities to detect and deter possible clandestine nuclear testing by other states will be significantly greater. Entry-into-force is essential to making short-notice, on-site inspections possible and for maintaining long-term political and financial support for the monitoring system.

    How can we Accelerate Entry Into Force?

    Now, 182 states have signed the CTBT, an impressive number, but the treaty must still be ratified by nine states before it can formally enter into force —the United States, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, Indonesia, Egypt, and North Korea.

    In three weeks, states parties will gather in New York to speak about the value of the treaty and the need for prompt entry into force. We appreciate this effort, but actions speak louder than words. That conference must help produce a serious diplomatic action plan for getting the remaining hold out states on board.

    Ratification by the United States and China is particularly important. Given their existing nuclear test moratoria and treaty signatures, Washington and Beijing already bear most CTBT-related responsibilities, yet their failure to ratify has denied them—and others—the full security benefits of the treaty.

    In April 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to “immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of” the CTBT. He said, “After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned." We agree.

    But now, President Obama must translate those words into action and mount a serious public campaign to win the support of two-thirds of the U.S. Senate for ratification of the treaty.

    With the support of a wide array of NGOs in the United States and around the globe, the Obama administration can and must make the case that the Treaty enhances international security, is effectively verifiable, and is essential to curb the spread of nuclear weapons in the decades to come.

    The technical and political case for the CTBT is much stronger today than it was in 1999 when the Senate briefly considered the treaty. The Senate must honestly review the new evidence for the treaty rather than arrive at judgments based on old information.

    It is also time for China’s leaders to act. For years, Beijing has reported that the CTBT is before the National People’s Congress but has apparently taken no action on ratification. We note the January 19, 2011 Joint Statement by Presidents Hu Jintao and Obama stating that “… both sides support early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.”

    Washington’s renewed pursuit of CTBT ratification opens up opportunities for China and other Annex 2 states—such as Indonesia—to lead the way toward entry into force by ratifying before the United States. Action by Beijing would increase its credibility as a nonproliferation leader and improve the chances that other states would follow suit.

    India and Pakistan could advance the cause of nuclear disarmament and substantially ease regional tensions by converting their unilateral test moratoria into a legally binding commitment to end nuclear testing through the CTBT.

    With no shortage of conflict in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear-weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for a regional zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

    Likewise, if Israel were to ratify, it would get closer to the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and help encourage other states in the region to follow suit.

    Iranian ratification could help reduce concerns that its nuclear program would be used to develop smaller, deliverable nuclear warheads. Iran’s failure to ratify the CTBT raises further questions about the nature of its nuclear activities.

    North Korea’s nuclear tests undermine Asian security. The DPRK should declare a halt to further testing pending the resumption of the Six-Party talks. The participants in those talks should make North Korea’s approval of the CTBT one of the key steps in the process.

    In closing, we sincerely urge all states that have not done so to ratify the CTBT. To those that have ratified, we thank you and ask you to contribute to the Article XIV Conference on Entry Into Force in September.

    ACA and supporters of the CTBT the world over stand ready to help bring the treaty into force.

    Thank you.




    Prepared Remarks by Tom Z. Collina, Research Director, Arms Control Association delivered August 29, 2011 at the Palais de Nacions in Geneva at a meeting organized by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and the Mission of Kazakhstan to the International Organizations in Geneva.

    Remarks by ACA's Peter Crail on The NPT Review Process



    The NPT Review Process: Renewing Momentum for 2015

    Remarks by Peter Crail, Research Analyst, Arms Control Association, at the ASAN Institute for Policy Studies ASAN PLENUM 2011: Our Nuclear Future Conference
    Panel: Evaluating the 2010 NPT Review Conference (Summary)
    June 13-15, Seoul, South Korea

    The 2010 NPT Review Conference was a major accomplishment. Overcoming multiple obstacles, the Conference reaffirmed the value of the NPT to international security by reiterating prior commitments to strengthen the treaty in 1995 and 2000, and by agreeing to a modest but forward-looking plan of action on the treaty’s three pillars.

    Although the final document could have been stronger in many areas, the States Parties left the treaty in a better place than before the conference.

    To a large extent the success of the conference was due to the positive momentum going into the meeting, allowing states parties to build upon recent successes in spite of challenges that have remained, or increased, since the collapse of the 2005 Review Conference. Much of this momentum came from a reinvigorated commitment by the United States to work toward a world free of nuclear weapons, a development many Review Conference participants recognized. Also important was the willingness of states to tackle new proliferation challenges, including issues related to nuclear security.

    But the true measure of success of an NPT Review Conference is not just a matter of arriving at agreement on a final document. What matters is whether states can individually and collectively meet their commitments by meaningfully reducing the number and salience of nuclear weapons and by preventing their further spread.

    Looking Forward

    So one of the critical questions now is: what should be done looking forward to 2015 that will provide similar momentum to help the next conference strengthen the NPT? In this regard, the 64-point action plan of the 2010 Review Conference final document is important. The extent to which states will remain confident in the regime will depend largely on the extent to which NPT members follow-through on the steps they committed to pursue last year.

    In my view, there are three sets of actions that will likely prove most important to the health of the NPT and to ensuring success in 2015:

    1. Advancing progress on nuclear disarmament by all nuclear-armed states;
    2. Improving the our ability to detect and deter proliferation; and
    3. Implementing the Resolution on the Middle East.

    Nuclear Disarmament

    The NWS have a key role to play in generating momentum towards a successful 2015 conference by following through on the commitments made in 2010.

    Action 5 of the 2010 Review Conference final document presents both an important opportunity and measuring stick for progress on disarmament due to its wide-ranging nature and its call for a progress report at the 2014 PrepCom.

    Many of the specific items called for in Action 5 will require steps to be taken by the United States and Russia.

    Both still need to lead on deeper nuclear reductions, which does not require agreement on a new treaty in the near term to do so. The continued deployment of 1,550 strategic warheads far exceeds the requirements of nuclear deterrence in the post-Cold War era. Russia is already below New START warhead levels and should continue the ongoing process of retiring old strategic systems. Washington should incentivize and reciprocate this process by furthering its own reductions, recognizing that its existing nuclear missions can still be met with numbers below New START.

    In order to address nuclear weapons stockpiles “of all types” and “regardless of their location,” NATO should acknowledge, as part of its Defense and Deterrence Posture Review due to be completed next year, that the 180 or so forward-deployed U.S. tactical nuclear weapons are not necessary for deterrence purposes and indicate its readiness to withdraw those weapons if Russia takes reciprocal measures.

    Other NWS have important roles to play too.  The five countries should regularize the discussions held last September and to be held later this month with a view to increasing transparency regarding their nuclear weapon stockpiles, and reducing the role of nuclear weapons in their security policies.

    Another key measure of the progress made on disarmament heading into 2015 will be the CTBT. NPT parties agreed last year that the NWS should ratify the CTBT “with all expediency.” On March 29, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon reiterated the Obama administration’s support for prompt U.S. ratification and entry into force, and Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher said last month that the administration has begun to explain the administration’s case to the Senate. It will take some time to lay the groundwork for ratification, but a sustained effort can achieve Senate approval before the 2015 conference.

    Meanwhile, the United States is not alone. Beijing has said for many years that it had begun the ratification process and it should also seek to conclude that process with the expediency agreed in 2010.

    Strengthening Proliferation Barriers

    Just as greater progress needs to be made on disarmament, the safeguards regime needs to be strengthened, and all states need to take proliferation risks seriously.

    The most important step NNWS can take in this regard is to ratify the additional protocol and support the principle that the protocol is the new safeguards standard with a view to reaching agreement on that principle at the 2015 conference.

    The position held by some NNWS that they will not adopt or promote additional nonproliferation measures unless there is further progress on disarmament is a counter-productive approach that only increases reluctance on the disarmament front and abandons the principle that preventing proliferation is an important goal in its own right.

    Perhaps more importantly, NNWS have every reason to be concerned about states that disregard their safeguards responsibilities. After all, the vast majority of NNWS are in compliance with their own safeguards agreements, and the few countries that violate those commitments only serve as spoilers for those following the rules.

    The best way for NNWS to defend the inalienable rights enshrined in Article IV is to vigilantly protect against those seeking to abuse it.

    The IAEA has highlighted for years the refusal of both Iran and Syria to cooperate with its investigations, and both have been found in noncompliance with their safeguards obligations. The agency should be given both the legal tools and the political backing to uncover the extent of any illicit nuclear activities.

    More broadly, the understanding reached in 1995 that the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be pursued “in conformity with articles I, II, as well as III of the Treaty,” should be reaffirmed during the next review process. It is through the confidence built by safeguards that countries show that they are in compliance with their article II obligations.

    NPT parties should also reaffirm the safeguards requirement to provide early design information regarding the construction of any new nuclear facilities, rejecting any unilateral reinterpretation of that responsibility.

    The Middle East Resolution

    The agreement to hold a conference on a Middle East WMD-Free zone was critical to the success of the 2010 Review Conference. Building on that decision will no doubt be vital to maintaining confidence in the regime in 2015.

    In that light, merely holding the conference is not enough to show that progress has been made; nor should we expect the conference to chart a path to the zone’s establishment in one meeting. There is, however, plenty of room in between.

    The most important contribution such a conference can make is the initiation of a process, with identified follow-on steps, to further discuss both definitional issues regarding elements of the zone and potential early confidence-building measures. For instance, all states should recognize that interim steps such as ratification of the CTBT, would contribute to regional stability and reduce nuclear dangers.

    Naturally, the challenges to merely hold a conference will need to be surmounted before then. The attendance of all relevant countries will be crucial to any positive outcome, and the participants will need to ensure that there is an atmosphere conducive to constructive discussion, rather than an attempt to isolate Israel. Indeed, the 1995 Resolution creates obligations for all countries in the region to take “practical steps towards” a zone free of WMD and the means to deliver them, as well as refraining from actions that would preclude that objective. Unless such comprehensive responsibilities are recognized, the conference will be a wasted effort.

    Building on Success

    Last year NPT members reinvigorated the treaty that lies at the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime. But strengthening that regime is not simply a matter of agreements made every five years. What matters is what states do to carry out those agreements. Over the next four years, states will need to build on their latest success, and generate the momentum that can carry forward the disarmament and nonproliferation agenda once again in 2015.


    Remarks by Peter Crail, Research Analyst, Arms Control Association, at the ASAN Institute for Policy Studies ASAN PLENUM 2011: Our Nuclear Future conference, 2011 Panel: Evaluating the 2010 NPT Review Conference, Seoul, South Korea June 13-15,

    The “Military Option" for Countering Iran’s Nuclear Program



    ACA Briefing Series:
    "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle"

    DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 9:00 am-10:30 am

    LOCATION: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room, 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

    • Thomas R. Pickering, Career Ambassador, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and U.S. Representative to the United Nations
    • Jeffrey White, Defense Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and former career analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency
    • Alireza Nader, International Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation, lead author of: The Next Supreme Leader: Succession in the Islamic Republic of Iran (2011)
    • Greg Thielmann (Moderator), ACA Senior Fellow

    It is commonly said by U.S. officials and Members of Congress that it is “unacceptable” for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and that the “military option” for preventing acquisition “should not be removed from the table.”  Given Iran’s continued progress in developing the nuclear infrastructure and material that could be used in developing and producing nuclear weapons, it is appropriate to consider carefully what exercising the military option would involve and what would be the full range of possible consequences.

    This panel discussion (on the 30th anniversary of Israel’s 1981 attack on Iraq’s Osirak reactor) will provide informed perspectives on the consequences of any U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran designed to destroy Iran’s actual or potential nuclear weapons capabilities.

      This ACA policy briefing is the last in a four-part series: "Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle." (Transcripts of the three previous briefings are available online at http://www.armscontrol.org/events )



      Transcript by Federal News Service
      Washington, D.C.

      GREG THIELMANN:  Good morning, everyone.  Thank you for attending the Arms Control Association’s fourth panel discussion on “Solving the Iranian Nuclear Puzzle.”  My name is Greg Thielmann.  I’m a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association and will be the panel’s moderator.  ACA is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting public understanding and support for effective arms control policies.

      Today’s session will be on the record and transcribed.  We ask that you silence your electronic devices as a courtesy.  And I’m doing that myself.  We began this series last November with an elaboration on the status of Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.  We then took a look at diplomatic pathways to a solution which was fortuitously or not just one day before the Istanbul round.

      The next section included an in-depth discussion on the impact and limitations of sanctions.  And today we examine the option of using or threatening to use force to physically prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.  

      Let me clarify at the outset that when we talk about using the military option, we are not discussing the use of force in response to aggression or following authorization of the use by the U.N. Security Council, nor are we talking about preemptive or preemption in response to an imminent threat of attack.  

      We are talking about a preventive attack by Israel and/or the United States to deprive Iran of the ability to develop and deploy nuclear weapons.  U.S. military leaders and senior defense officials have been warning for some time about the downside of such an action, very conspicuously in the case of former CENTCOM commander, Admiral Fallon, but also quite clearly in the public remarks of Vice Admiral Cosgriff, former 5th Fleet commander in the Persian Gulf.  

      It is no secret that outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, and outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have also expressed strong reservations about resort to the military option.  

      And in recent weeks, we’ve learned that Meir Dagan, former head of Mossad – Israel’s foreign intelligence service – believes that an Israel air force attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would be, in his words, “the stupidest thing I have ever heard,” a view which is reportedly shared by Israel’s last military Chief of Staff and the just retired Director of Internal Security.  

      So while leaving all options on the table has become standard political trope in the United States with regard to Iran’s nuclear program, I would argue that military strikes are already effectively off the table, reduced now to a threat which is both empty and counterproductive.  Nonetheless, Iran continues to produce and stockpile low enriched uranium in spite of U.N. Security Council resolutions and sanctions.  

      Diplomatic efforts have so far been ineffectual and U.S. officials and politicians continue to proclaim that an Iran with nuclear weapons is, quote, “unacceptable,” unquote.  Many thus conclude that sooner or later, military force will be our only recourse.  

      As GW University Professor Marc Lynch recently wrote, “the debate over whether to use military force remains a crucial undercurrent in all strategy discussions about Iran’s nuclear program”; hence, the timeliness of today’s effort to probe more deeply into the consequences of a military attack.  

      In 2007, David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security wrote an article on Iran’s nuclear program for Arms Control Today, which included an excursion on the military attack option.  He noted then that such a scenario was built on a false promise because it offers no assurance that an Iranian nuclear weapons program would be substantially or irreversibly set back.  

      Nearly four years later, Iran has made further progress enriching uranium and expanding its nuclear infrastructure and the military option’s promise is even more false.  Experts differ on how long an aerial assault would set Iran back from a couple of years to as much as five years.  There is little doubt, however, that Iran would retain its human capital and production base following an aerial attack and it would be able to reconstitute its nuclear program.  

      So today’s consideration of consequences will start with the realistic assumption that the benefit would be temporary, not long-lasting.  In this context, it is worth noting – worth reflecting on Iraq’s reaction to Israel’s successful raid on the Osirak reactor 30 years ago to this day.  

      Saddam’s nuclear bomb program was indeed delayed but Iraq’s determination to succeed was strengthened, its commitment of personnel and resources skyrocketed and its success at hiding the activities from the IAEA and Western intelligence collections increased.  

      Of course, 2011 is a far cry from 1981 and Iran is not Iraq.  Our experts will be able to elaborate fully on these differences.  Now, you will notice short versions of our speaker biographies in the back of the program handout.  So I will not take time for elaborate introductions.  

      Ambassador Thomas Pickering will lead off this morning by sharing his views on how other countries feel about the military option and how they might react to it being exercised.  Because the Ambassador will have to leave early for another commitment, we’ll break for questions after his presentation.  

      Then we will turn to Jeff White, defense fellow at the Washington Institute and former career analyst at DIA, to acquaint us with some of the military aspects which must be considered in planning an attack on Iran.  

      Our third speaker, RAND policy analyst and author, Alireza Nader, will help us understand how Iran might react to an attack.  And then finally we will open the floor to a second round of questions.  So, Ambassador Pickering, the floor is yours.

      THOMAS PICKERING:  Thank you very much.  Perhaps I could address you all from the high table here and do so informally.  I think that I come, as many of you know, as a cantankerous opponent of the idea that military force at present and perhaps for the longer term has much to offer us with respect to a solution to the problem.  And so I give my prejudice out on the table as a matter of opening the conversation.  

      Secondly, I think that while there are a number of options, none of them seem to be particularly good.  The one that looks like it might have the chance of having the most success is the one which has the highest risk for that return, which is a land invasion.  I can’t imagine even at St. Elizabeth’s there is anybody around advocating – (laughter) – this at the moment and that’s St. Elizabeth before it becomes Coast Guard headquarters.  

      I think it is also very important to know that the liabilities in an attack run beyond purely an in-and-out strike against a known target, as we’ve seen.  I won’t go into that in detail – others will – other than to say that I agree with the presenters’ and our chairman’s very effective and I think well-informed presentation of the problem initially, that it is difficult to foresee what the target set might actually be because of the problem of less than totally perfect intelligence.

      On the other hand, it does seem to me that as we look at this particular option, it has to be taken in the context of the fact that other actions including one that has been politely issued the label sabotage have had some significant effect for the moment and bought us some additional time.  

      By way of continued introduction but before I get to the question at hand, it seems to me something of a tragedy that we are not using this time effectively to open the diplomatic door but rather depending upon sanctions and containment but without even using what effect they may have created to do that.  

      And I see three obstacles in the way of opening the diplomatic door.  One, they are all summed up on the basis of, at least in one case, no preconditions for discussions.  

      One of them has to do with what I hope would be the future willingness of the United States to have a very broad dialogue with Iran, including Afghanistan and Iraq, but other issues on the agenda of both sides, something that now seems to be semi-preconditioned by the notion that we have to concentrate on, focus on or have exclusive conversations depending upon the time of day and the person who says it on the nuclear question, not that I have anything wrong with the nuclear question.  

      I think we have to be smart about this and open the door to the wider Iranian interest here. I think the second is much more dicey and more difficult because in a sense it runs up against the issue that I think I characterized politely as sabotage and that’s the question of can we persuade the Iranians that our objective with respect to them and their future is not regime change.  

      In effect, my own view is that regime change is the personal and private preserve of the people of Iran and it should not be something that foreigners intervene, interfere or try to manage or engineer.  And things that look like regime change are things that appear to Iran to be regime change and I think we have to find a way, as difficult as that is, to put regime change on the side if we’re going to get to conversations of any meaning on the nuclear question.

      I think the third question has to do with an article that I joined with others in writing three years ago which basically said that our principle objective in any conversation has to be to get the widest access for verification and monitoring of the Iran program, which is where the difficulty lies, and that we should be willing to trade enrichment for civil purposes under multinational authority or ownership or at least under intensive IAEA inspection in return for getting that particular benefit.

      And if we were to put that on the table as an opening position rather than as everybody in this says, the best fallback anybody has thought about, we would likely get further in diplomatic negotiations.

      Now, having gone through all of that, let me just say that I think there are two sets of problems that other countries see with the attack option on Iran, if I can put it that way.  One of those has been outlined already and is will we, in effect, achieve any measure of effectiveness consistent with the high degree of risk that we undertake.  

      And the question there is a very difficult one to answer but most of the opinion lies on the side that we will not, that there are uncertainties about the target list, there are uncertainties about what will be required actually to achieve an objective over a long period of time, which should be in my view more than a setback in the space of years.  We’ve already demonstrated we can do that at least at this time for the moment by other methods.

      I think the second set of questions, which is more important and more significant in the eyes of most people around the world – most countries who look at it – is sort of a calibration of Iranian reactions.  And the Iranian reactions can run a wide gamut and many have written about them.  Let me just focus for a minute on those that I think are the highlights which are widely shared.  

      By the way, I think that while no one has taken a poll, aside from Israel, I don’t believe there are any countries waiting in line to join us in this kind of exercise.  So I think we have to proceed in the conversation about other countries and their reaction and the reaction to the potential Iranian reactions on the basis of a significant note of skepticism that this will be universally applauded.  

      In addition, I believe that it will be uncertain as to whether we could get either an interpretation of such action as fitting under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter of Self-Defense or that we could, in fact, achieve UN Security Council support.  

      And increasingly but not perfectly, if you examine carefully the question of the use of force, we’re increasingly moving into an international state where the only two legitimate methods of using force fall into the purview of those two options – Article 51 or Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.  

      And I think that we need to keep that in mind.  I think the gamut of Iranian reactions and therefore the gamut of the reactions of other people to the idea is a very broad one.  

      I begin with the one that is among the least appetizing which is that from the Iranian perspective and the perspective of many in the Muslim world and many around the world, an unprovoked attack on a state which is heretofore at least in principle seeming to comply with its NPT obligations, if not in particular details, is something which could well drive them to make the final decision on creating a nuclear weapon and proceed to do so.  

      And that obviously is something that we are seeking to avoid by an attack and we wouldn’t want to have the results of an attack reinforce the notion that that’s the direction in which they’re prepared to go.  I think that secondly we have what I would call the active reactions in terms of reaching out to try to punish or castigate or indeed deal with the effects of the attack on Iran.  

      At the most latent end of that would be a strong sense, I think, in the Muslim world even though Iran is not held in universal esteem and certainly not by the Sunni population of the world.  Nevertheless, there would be a strong tendency, even if we were to find an effective way to cast the context for such an attack as one of extreme danger to the world.  

      There would be a strong, I think, and significant Islamic response against an attack, something that would not obviously suit either the United States or Israel or in fact our Western allies and friends or indeed most of the rest of the world.  And one could anticipate certainly but not necessarily have a certainty of this that there would be some violence against U.S. installations and activities and certainly U.S. people.  

      So it would raise really serious consequences for us in that regard.  Secondly, Iran has a highly developed and very well-organized capacity to create trouble.  It has relations with terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas.  

      It has a well-known capacity as long as Syria remains in place the way it is and we see some uncertainty about that but no definitive, I think, indication that Syria will disappear from the horizon – that working with and through Syria it could directly attack certainly Israel, perhaps other areas in the Middle East in a way of a large buildup of apparently reserves and rocket forces, particularly in Hezbollah, with the capacity to attack Israel.  

      I think that while many distinguish between an American attack and an Israeli attack, I think the bulk of the world will assume that an Israeli attack is American-sponsored and supported.  

      And the bulk of the rest of the world would retaliate or try to retaliate against Israel for a purely American attack – some of the same thinking that has been going on with respect to this part of the world and with respect to Iraq – perhaps maybe another false analogy – but I don’t think so – since the 1990s, the early 1990s and that’s important.  

      So I think those kinds of questions are there – the broader capacity of Iran and others to use unconventional methods of attack in places as far afield as Germany or Southeast Asia is certainly not absent from the scene.  Whether this would drive Iran and al-Qaida or Iran and the Taliban closer together is an open question.  

      But it is well-known that Iran at least has enjoyed the opportunity to try to manipulate its – put it this way – non-relationships with al-Qaida and with the Taliban in the direction of building its own strength, and even under conditions of relatively benign non-relations between the U.S. and Iran, it could in my view likely move ahead and try to do that further.  

      I think that the other question that might well come up in this particular issue obviously could involve many other aspects of putting pressure back.  Some of the issue for the United States will be how to avoid mission creep in an attack.  

      If it is unsuccessful to begin with, and likely that to be the case, and if it requires a full-scale operation against Iran including the necessary prerequisite of taking out wide areas of defense arrangements inside Iran, how will the rest of the would respond to what is essentially a third or a fourth air war in the region.

      One that, as we look at the Libyan question is now producing significant frustration, that in fact the objective for the Libyan operation, which I take it to be whether it is couched in terms of protection of people in Libya is clearly going to be decided by the rest of the world on the basis of whether Gaddafi is there or not at the end of the day.  

      That particular set of activities, if translated to Iran, in my view is designed to produce many of the same frustrating reactions.  Why did you enter into a set of military activities that is producing no results, that requires that it be more broadly expanded and at the same time holds less promise?  

      So while this is a kind of secondary or tertiary reaction to the question, it’s important.  The effect of that is likely to be, as I think Iraq, to some extent Afghanistan and maybe in a growing way Libya will be – is that we have magnificent military forces but they’re engaged in ways that they don’t seem to be able to achieve in the timeframes that we set the objectives we would like to see on the scene.   

      That means in effect that we are beginning to run down, what I think is still very significant as a former American diplomat, the value of having great military potential in the minds of people you have to deal with in the diplomatic sphere, as is the value of having great economic potential, is that for good or ill it reinforces your negotiating potential.

      And having a situation in which the use of force proves itself increasingly ineffective to meet modern-day problems is in itself therefore a kind of undermining – a self-initiated undermining of the long-term capacity to benefit from these kinds of advantages, whether the financial crisis at its height or now and whether after Iraq and Afghanistan and potentially our semi-involvement in Libya produces the same result or not, I cannot say.  

      But Iran and a military activity by the United States might well move us in that direction.  So these are all there.  One is only limited by its imagination, the ramifications of each of these.  I’ve tried to hit the highlights in a condensed way rather than necessarily bore you with excruciating detail.  

      But I think that with a little imagination – and I suspect this room is full of it – one could see how various of these particular pieces of the puzzle could play out.  Let me end here, if I can, because others have important things to say.  And thank you for your time and attention.  (Applause.)

      MR. THIELMANN:  We should have about 20 minutes for questions.  Let me ask one to start off and then we’ll turn to the floor.  And let me ask us to give priority to members of the press, if they have questions at the outset.  

      One question that occurs to me, Ambassador Pickering, is related to Afghanistan.  We now have over 100,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan, an enormously long and elaborate logistics tale going through a northern route, through Russia and mostly through Pakistan.  So that raises the issue of if an attack on Iran occurred, how would Moscow react, how would Islamabad react.

      MR. PICKERING:  Well, I think that the first question, of course, is how would Iran react, and Afghanistan.  I didn’t go into it in detail but I think it’s self-evidently obvious that they have some capacity to be difficult there.  

      I also think that Moscow would react in general, not necessarily specifically with respect to Afghanistan.  Even though, as we all know, Moscow continues to have an interest in Afghanistan and one reads in the paper only in the last few days that we are setting up jointly a repair base for Russian helicopters in Afghanistan, something that quite a move forward since the early 1990s.  

      It seems to me, however, that they would not be pleased or happy with that.   I don’t know what they could do once the activity takes place and in the long run I think that their interest is not to make Afghanistan worse than it is.  They, like everyone else, have deep concerns about an Afghan problem that I think they believe is not being well-handled at the moment and it is only one of the many problems of Afghanistan and that’s drug trade.  

      But beyond that, obviously they’re deeply concerned about the penetration of Islamic fundamentalism into Central Asia, which they still see as if not their backyard, perhaps close to being their front garden and in many ways don’t want that infested by further Islamic radicalism or Islamic radicalism that might displace their friends who are in power there, whether it is like the Arab Spring or whether it is a more violent movement to replace those people.  

      They’ve been very concerned.  Certainly the Islamic movement of Uzbekistan is but one of a number of organizations which from time to time takes refuge in Afghanistan.  And if it were supported by an Iran in response to an attack on Iran, could prove to be difficult for Russia.  

      China has been very concerned over a long period of time about the Uighur problem, whether in fact anybody would train more Uighurs and unleash them against China purely as a result of an American attack on Iran is much more conjectural.  

      But I think that they might dislike the notion that there was further Islamic solidarity, that the U.S. was losing perhaps strength in its ability to deal with these difficult problems in places like Iran and Iraq and Libya and so on.  So I think all of that mounts up.  

      A lot of it is highly conjectural.  I don’t think it’s necessarily all straightforward.  And you have to pile some assumptions on other assumptions in order to get the bleakest of all possible views.  And I don’t want to do that.

      MR. THIELMANN:  (Chuckles.)  Okay, thank you.  Questions from the floor?  Avner?

      Q:  Ambassador Pickering, I’m Avner Cohen from the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.  Your thought about – your thought about the use of the options of attack as a primarily, but obviously not explicitly, a bluffing strategy – that is to say, keeping it on the table even though if you know that probably under almost any certainty you’re not going to use it as opposed to saying ahead of we’re not going to use it under any circumstances.  

      I believe that Israel today is using it primarily just to keep it on the table, to push not so much to deter Iran but rather to make some pressure on others in terms of pressuring Iran.  What do you think of that kind of strategy?

      MR. PICKERING:  Well, I think that if you believe that diplomacy ought to be tried – I don’t know that diplomacy has the sovereign answer to this and if in my earlier remarks I tended to imply that, I’ll resile from that very quickly.  I think you have to try diplomacy and therefore diplomacy needs all the friends it can get.  

      And those friends including the potential of military force and given the level of paranoia in Tehran, not all of which we are alone capable of dismissing, one could assume that even if in fact people all over the United States said that military force wasn’t a very good option, I’m not sure they would necessarily believe it is totally off the table.

      So it has some – may be difficult to calculate, certainly not a preponderant of influence but it has some influence.  So I don’t necessarily think it’s wise to take it off the table and even if we were to try, I’m not sure we would succeed, given the uncertainties of the relationships we have with Tehran and their degree of suspicion and concern.  And so my view is, okay, you play cards with the hands that you’ve got and there’s no use running around tearing up even deuces if you have them.

      MR. THIELMANN:  Anne Penketh?

      Q:  Thank you.  Anne Penketh from BASIC – British American Security Information Council.  Ambassador, among the three obstacles, you didn’t mention a fourth towards opening the diplomatic door which is the domestic situation in Iran.  I’m wondering how you think the power struggle in Iran plays into that.  It seems to me the administration is just waiting until this is resolved one way or the other.

      MR. PICKERING:  Well, it’s like waiting for Godot.  We’ve been waiting for 40 years and maybe there is hope.  (Laughter.)  But I guess it was Albert Einstein said that continuing to do the same thing and expecting a definite result is the definition of insanity.  (Laughter.)  

      So my hope is that, as I said earlier, regime change is the province of the people of Iran. And if that can happen, that’s nothing that we can do to stop it.  But we ought to be very careful having the kind of sublime notion that we can manipulate it or operate it or make it go or somehow make it succeed.  I think we need to be very careful about that.  

      I think in part because regime change may be an inevitable long-term possibility in Iran but the dealing with the nuclear question is not necessarily in my view susceptible to total long-term thinking.  And so it has to come a little bit ahead of it and that’s the way in which I would order or juggle my priorities.  It’s an interesting point.  

      We’ve seen signs that the Green Movement, which came after June 12th two years ago was making progress.  But we’ve also seen the fact that very repressive measures in Tehran pushed it back.  It seems to be contained at the moment.  The Arab Spring doesn’t seem to have ignited in hearts of the people of Iran the notion that they can follow the same procedures and achieve something like the same results that were achieved in Cairo.  

      I don’t exclude it but I don’t see necessarily it part of the ongoing wave of change in the Arab world at the moment.  One could only hope.  But I think it’s in the nature of hope at the moment rather than something that one could count upon to change the process.  

      The second question is then who takes over. We have not seen, although we may like to believe, that Mr. Moussavi and Mr. Karroubi or others like them have abandoned the notion at least that the minimal requirement for Iranian aspirations in the nuclear area is to be able to enrich and that seems to be one of the problems at the present time in terms of the objectives of our policy.  

      I, as I said earlier, would be prepared to see enrichment under tight control provided we had the opportunity to have assurance and build the strongest possible firewall that other elements of a nuclear program leading toward a military result were not present in Iran and we should have hopefully as our negotiating objective the greatest – make the greatest possible effort to achieve that outcome.

      MR. THIELMANN:  On this side, go ahead, Andrew.

      Q:  Andrew Pierre, United States Institute of Peace.  You put a lot of emphasis, let’s say, on diplomacy and trying diplomacy a bit more than we have.  I think the history, briefly stated, is that the Europeans took the lead maybe five, six years ago now.  We were out of it for a long time.  We got into it.  We’ve tried various measures including a reactor – reprocessing arrangements and so on.

      You mentioned the – I think you sort of put a pitch in for direct U.S. contacts with Iran.  The Iranians seem to be saying we want to discuss everything on the table, not just the nuclear issue.  As the experienced diplomat that you are, do you see some real possibility if we can get our act together, along with the Europeans and the Russians, of making any headway with Iran or are we just – we just have to wait and wait this out and wait for regime change or some type of change in Tehran itself?

      MR. PICKERING:  Andrew, it’s a very good question and a fundamentally important one.  I think at the moment, for me, until we have exhausted the diplomatic route – and I don’t feel we have- it is not possible to say it won’t work.  Some Iranians – not all Iranians – have said in fact that some of the formulas that I have put forward would be useful in creating an engagement.  

      I think that that has to be tested.  Until it’s tested, we’re caught up in the position that we are in a sense increasing the pressure in the pressure cooker but we haven’t opened the valve we want to see the process go through, if I can put it that way.  (Chuckles.)  

      And so I would argue that.  I think that in the end, if that fails, at least we will know where we stand and we then have to face the prospects that we haven’t discussed yet which are on the table is the use of force then the only option left, do we have, in a sense, a live-with-deterrent option – not that I favor it, and everybody that I know who is deeply concerned about nonproliferation hates the idea of talking about it because it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and that’s the last thing in the world we want to encourage people to do.

      Q:  Could I follow-up on that?

      MR. THIELMANN:  Let’s try to get other people.  The second row?

      Q:  My name is Carl Osgood.  I’m with Executive Intelligence Review.  Ambassador, last week there was an article in Haaretz warning that with Secretary Gates retiring at the end of this month and Admiral Mullen retiring at the end of September that during this period of transition at the Department of Defense is a greater risk of an Israeli strike against Iran, which of course would drag – the view being that that would of course drag the U.S. into it as well.  I wonder what your view of that risk during this period is.

      MR. PICKERING:  Having spent four years as ambassador to Israel, I know the capacity of the Israeli press to explore every – (laughter) – possible fault and crack, particularly because it sells papers.  I don’t think the thesis that we are changing leadership in the U.S. military establishment, both civil and military, suddenly means that we have opened this huge possibility for Israeli adventurism or whatever else you want to call it.  

      My own sense is that the Israeli attitude two, three, four years ago was, we have to go in the next six months.  The Israeli attitude now has calmed down a little bit and it sees time.  I also see many in Israel who comment on this particular issue and Israel is a wonderful place because you can have every conceivable comment on every problem.  

      But responsible people are commenting that the military option may not be as good.  We ought to see whether we in fact can through other methods achieve the same results, certainty if we have bought ourselves time and I think we have bought ourselves a little time.

      MR. THIELMANN:   Let’s try the back.  Very back row?

      Q:  Thanks.  Hi, Ambassador.  Tad Daley is my name from IPPNW.  You know, the topic of this event is the military option.  I would like to know if you would say a few words about the nuclear option and while that may seem far-fetched, I’d like to just remind you of two factoids.  

      One is Seymour Hersh in the spring of 2006 had this piece in The New Yorker that said, in the bowels of the Pentagon they are contemplating the possibility of a nuclear strike on Iran to take out their nascent nuclear capabilities.  

      And both President Bush and Secretary Rice were asked very directly about it by the media on more than one occasion and each time they said, all options are on the table.  Four years later is the release of the nuclear posture review and it had this new element in it which said, we promise never to attack any non-nuclear weapon state with nuclear weapons as long as they’re in compliance with the NPT.  

      And in the press conference announcing the NPR, Secretary Gates made it very explicit and said, we have consciously left Iran and North Korea out of that pledge.  I’m not so much asking you to tell me the likelihood that you think we’re going to attack them with nuclear weapons but – although welcome your views on that.  

      But I’m more interested in what do you think is the wisdom of explicitly stating that one of our options for dealing with states like Iran and North Korea is to attack them with nuclear weapons.

      MR. PICKERING:  Well you know, my own view is that nuclear threats in this day and age are perilous things that they may well drive people to believe that, as many seem to do, the only insurance policy you have against somebody else’s nuclear threats is your own nuclear arsenal.  That’s one thing.  

      The second is I’m not an expert in the utility aspects of various approaches to military attack.  But my feeling is that if you’re not sure of the target set a bigger hole in the ground in the wrong place doesn’t really make a lot of difference.  So you have to be careful about that.  

      I think that we all know Natanz is deep but I’m not sure yet, given Israeli interest in conventional methods of attacking or conventional weapons but the capability I guess of winkling out the centrifuge halls at places like Natanz if we necessarily are drawn into the question of the need to use the nuclear because it has utilitarian aspects.  

      Then we go back to my earlier discussion on threats and keeping threats on the table and I take it that at least some of this may well be we don’t want to deny ourselves the capacity to have the biggest threat on the block play a role, even if it doesn’t seem utilitarian and it seems to be counterproductive with respect to nonproliferation interests, at least at one level.  

      And I think that’s just my description of where we are and I think we’re there in a confused way.  And I’m not sure that taking what appears to be at least the latent we won’t take it off the table is necessarily going to resolve the problem either.  

      I think we’re stuck with where we are.  I think the change in that particular issue, unless it can buy us something pretty directly, is not something that I would spend a lot of time talking further about.  It’s been quiet for a long time.  I think probably that’s where it ought to stay.

      MR. THIELMANN:  I might add that digging nuclear holes in the ground tends to create a lot of fallout which doesn’t seem to respect national boundaries but maybe Jeff can comment on that later.  Barbara?

      Q:  Thanks.  Barbara Slavin from The Atlantic Council.  Ambassador Pickering, give us your best sense of how likely any kind of attack against Iran within the next two years, within the rest of the Obama presidency is.  I mean, given what Greg said, to my mind given what’s going on in the rest of the Middle East, I would rate it at zero.  But I just wondered where you would put it.  Thanks.

      MR. PICKERING:  It seems to me as close to zero as one can get it, for which I’m deeply happy at the moment.  I don’t know that there’s, you know, any way to go around that.  One could envisage things that happen that might increase the probability or the possibility.  At the moment I think those are in the realm of glorious imagination.

      MR. THIELMANN:  I think we have time for just one quick question.  Sir?

      Q:  Allen Keiswetter from Middle East Institute.  Mr. Ambassador, if I understood correctly, you see an attack on the Iranians as possibly encouraging proliferation when the other people who are more militant seem to see it as a deterrent.  Could you explain the logic, please?

      MR. PICKERING:  When I think that with respect to Iran, the logic that an attack might unleash those folks in Iran who are reported to be in favor of building nuclear weapons and give them the argument that they have been seeking that nuclear weapons are really the only guarantee that we have, that even big bad people like the United States in their view won’t attack us, is a palpable argument.  

      I also see unfortunately – and Allen, you know this area much better than most people in this room – that once Iran goes in that direction, we’re going to have a lot of trouble holding horses in a number of countries in the region, only in that view limited by your imagination, who would then move in the same direction.  

      And we will, as matter of fact, then have to do some things which I think Secretary Clinton has wisely begun to do, is to reinforce our support for our friends and allies to make clear that we are prepared to come to their assistance in the light of any new emerging threats in the region to do what we can to assure that we have a deterrent capacity.  

      There is always the loophole in deterrence that the weapon would be passed – or a weapon would be passed to some organization against which, because it has not territory and no population and no infrastructure, deterrence is less effective or maybe not effective.  

      My own view is that quite frankly people don’t hand out nuclear weapons once they achieve them like cotton candy and certainly not to – not among the loyal Shia – to Sunni organizations.  And so we need to be careful about believing that that would happen as a kind of absolute premise of the problem.  

      I wish I could say that I thought it would never happen but I think the value of making sure that we have the capacity to understand were God-forbid we or anybody ever attacked to do the forensics and know where it came from and hold those people responsible would be a very important part of creating the deterrent that I think is necessary, particularly in handing out weapons or facilitating other people to make weapons.  But we know in fact that that’s not necessarily an iron-bound, iron-clad prohibition.

      MR. THIELMANN:  Okay.  I think we better let Ambassadors Pickering go now.  But let’s thank him for his participation.  (Applause.)  And our next speaker will be Jeff White.  You can either come to the podium, Jeff, or stay where you are.  Whatever your choice.

      JEFFREY WHITE:  I think I’ll sit here.  I apologize if my voice sounds a little funny.  I’m fighting a sinus infection with drugs and lack of sleep. So I’m going to do my best here to address this pretty interesting topic.  You know, Greg asked me to look at a number of military-related issues.  So I’m going to kind of work through them in my discussion.  

      And the first issue in my mind is, you know, what kind of attack are we actually talking about in military terms.  The word attack is thrown out a lot.  Without getting into specifics about what an attack on Iran’s nuclear program would mean in terms of the actual military operations that would have to be conducted.  

      Greg asked me to assume that included in the attack would be air defense sites, the Iranian strategic missiles, the command and control system, naval and air facilities and of course the nuclear facilities.  If you make that assumption and we’re talking about an air campaign of days, maybe weeks, potentially at the upper end of necessity to achieve the goals, you know, may be longer than just a few weeks.  

      So this would be under these assumptions a very big event.  You could make an argument that maybe we would go for a very limited surgical attack on just nuclear facilities employing self-aircraft, employing cruise missiles and just try and take out that capability.  But I think that’s less likely than if we make the decision to do it then it’s going to be a big attack.  

      If in this kind of operation or air campaign you’re going to see a strike and supporting aircraft and cruise missiles would have to be allocated to each of the target systems.  That means you couldn’t employ all – all the weapons couldn’t go against just the nuclear facilities.  All these places would have to be struck.  The operations would have to be phased.  You could not hit all the targets all at the same time and that adds to the dimension of time.  

      And also it adds a complication in the sense that if you phase the attack, you can allow the Iranians to react to the attack and take measures to mitigate the consequences.  You’d have to plan for personal recovery, downed pilots and these could be large operations in their own right with their own – you know, in and of themselves with their own risks and potential for complicating the situation.  

      You would have to provide for air defense for the ships that were involved and the carrier strike groups and any airfields that we were using that were within range of Iranian capabilities.  And we’d have to collect intelligence to assess what was going on to figure out whether we were being effective and look at the Iranian reaction.

      So all these pieces of the attack require lots of assets, careful phasing and each one of them has their own complications or potential complication.  I think also that the start conditions would be very important and it’s hard to know what they would actually be.   You know, would this be an out-of-the-blue attack, sort of the classic bolt-from-the-blue scenario in which we achieved, you know, some substantial measure of surprise against the Iranians?

      Or would it be, you know, occurring after a period of tension when the Iranians were able to observe our movement of ships for preparations and therefore the Iranians would have a chance to begin again to set their own measures in place to mitigate the attach or to retaliate in the event of an attack?

      Also important – and the Ambassador mentioned this – would be what allies if any would we have.  You know, who’s going to war with us?  You know, the Brits, you know, they go with us everywhere, right?  You know, would they go with us, you know, in this situation?  You know, it’s an open question.  You know, my guess is we would probably want them to and they would be useful definitely to have involved.  But that would be a political think that would have to be, you know, taken care of.

      And how about the Gulf states?  You know, are they going to be unwilling, you know, participants?  Are we going to fly out of Gulf state airfields?  Are we going to mount, you know, personal recovery missions from them and so on?  

      So they would become de facto allies even if they didn’t fly a single, you know, mission.  You know, the other issues as well – the political and diplomatic legitimacy of a perceived attack both at home and, you know, abroad, you know, what the economic situation was in the U.S. and around the world.

      And all these factors I think could influence the shape and, you know, the size of the attack and the duration of the attack, make it shorter or longer or whatever.  So the attack itself is a complicated thing.  It’s not just simply, you know – it’s not something you can easily gloss over the complexities of.

      For Israel, you know, we’re talking I think about is quite a different attack, right?  Israel is not capable of waging an air campaign over Iran.  Israel is capable of a limited air operation over Iran, okay?  

      And that has - you know, that has a number of consequences in and of itself.  While I think we could strike – the U.S. could strike all of the targets in the Iranian nuclear structure 20, 25 – whatever it is, wherever we figure out – I know as well as the other targets if we go for the big option – Israel is going to have to be substantially, I think, more selective in what they strike.  

      So they are going to have to go for the highest value pieces, the key nodes in the Iranian nuclear infrastructure and go for those.  They would probably not attack other components of the Iranian military system.  Maybe some air defenses and so on just to expedite the missions but probably would have to not go after that.  

      The bigger the operation the Israelis mount, the more targets that could be hit and probably more importantly the more assured destruction they could achieve in any one place.  But the Israelis also have to be concerned about, you know, making sure their force is not discovered on the way in or eliminating the risk of that.  

      So a large force makes it easier or makes the likelihood of its being discovered greater and also they have to be concerned with the recovery of that force and getting it back to Israel, rearming, being prepared for any kind of retaliation or dealing with the threats from Hamas, Hezbollah or Syria, whatever.  

      So the Israelis are in a much more constrained operational environment than we would be.  The Israelis would also have to provide all the support forces that I’ve talked about for the U.S.  There would have to be some kind of intelligence collection.  Maybe they’d do that by satellites but they’d also have to be concerned about personal recovery and so on.  

      So I’m thinking the Israelis would go for this selective set of targets, not the whole system.  I don’t think the Israelis would lose any sleep over casualties at the facilities that were struck.  I don’t think we would lose any sleep over that either.  I’m not sure either we or the Israelis would make casualties, you know, killing scientists or whatever – people at the facilities – you know, per se an objective.  I don’t think they would be too concerned about it.  

      In terms of the levels of destruction, I think it’s unfair to ask the military – any military – to achieve complete destruction of the Iranian nuclear program or to permanently set it back.  It’s just not possible.  You can’t destroy knowledge and you can’t destroy the basic technology.  

      So I think in any case, U.S., Israeli attack, we’re talking about a situation where the setback to the program would be measured in, you know, years hopefully – maybe two years, maybe three years, maybe one year in the case of the Israeli attack, whatever.  So I think it’s not – it just isn’t a fair, you know, argument to make that we can achieve complete destruction of the program.  

      I don’t think that’s one the – you know, on the table in any reasonable way.  I think we especially – we can take – the targets we hit can be damaged to a very high degree.  I think we can achieve high levels of destruction even against buried facilities.  When they put them in a mountain, that’s the challenge, right?  

      You know, I think we’re working on that challenge with the massive ordinance penetrator and things like that.  But buying a facility in a mountain does raise some issues and it also raises the issues of nuclear – you know, using a nuclear weapon –a small tactical nuclear weapon against a deeply buried facility would be a military operation, right?  It would be a way to get at the mountain – (inaudible).  

      You can also go after air shafts.  You can go after the entrances and so on.  I think basically we have the – you know, we have the capability to do a lot of damage to these facilities and how much damage we did would be substantially dependent upon the decisions we made about sustaining the attacks, about restriking, you know, our willingness to persevere and carry the attacks through with some degree of determination and to go back in if we needed to.  

      So it’s not just a matter of, you know, one time in and out and whether we achieve destruction or not, it’s over.  We have the ability to go back.  We can restrike – much harder for the Israelis to do that.  I think it also depends upon, you know, how fast Iran could get back in the business.  It also depends on the Iranian decisions.  

      You know, a very broad attack by the United States on the types of target sets that we’re talking about here – the Iranians would have to factor that into their decision making about how and when and, you know, whether or not in fact they would rebuild the program.  I’m presuming they would not like to be struck like that again or they would see that as, you know, a potentially negative consequence.  

      So it could influence them.  They could in fact work on rebuilding it but they would have to think about the fact that they’d just been hit very hard.  The mobile missile problem issue – okay, the Iranians have the strategic mobile missiles and mobile missiles are very difficult target set to work.  

      This has been true since World War II and the German V weapons programs.  But in our experience in Iraq, for example, it took us a long time and we didn’t have a lot of effectiveness against mobile missiles in the first Gulf war.  

      But, you know, that may have changed over time and we may be a lot better at it.  We have broad-area surveillance, lots of reconnaissance systems that we didn’t have then – drones and so on.  So we might be able to deal with the mobile missile program, you know, more effectively and therefore limit Iranian ability to retaliate.  

      But it also depends on a number of factors, you know, how many – you know, how much of our strike effort, our assets, go into the mobile missile problem.  This was an issue in the Iraq war – the first Iraq war – because it detracts from other target sets that you want to hit, right?  It also depends very substantially on the state of your intelligence collection.  

      Before the battle begins or before the attacks occur, you have to know where they are, you know, where the garrisons are, where they’ve deployed to, you know, where the launch sites are.  Okay, you need good intelligence on that and once the battle is on then you need to be able to follow those around.  But all that requires quite a measure of effort.  

      And if you phase an attack – and mobile missiles aren’t in the first phase of the attack – the first bomb falls in Iran, they’re going to flush the mobile missile out of their normal garrison areas and deploy them to field or to launch sites.  

      So then you’ve got the issue of finding them.  So we have a lot of capability on against the mobile missile issue but we don’t have total capability against it.  We could not be 100 percent certain that we could get all those things in the event of a major attack.  Also when you’re talking about mobile missiles, you also have to consider the mobile coastal defense batteries that Iran has, okay?  

      These things would likely flush right away in the event of an attack and would be capable of really doing a lot of damage to shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and that would be an issue for the U.S. Navy to gout and find these things and since they’re truck-mounted, you can hide them in a house, do all kinds of things.  Again, that would be a challenge that we could simply not wish away, something that we would have to be prepared to deal with.  

      Another issue is the effectiveness of the antiballistic missile systems.  You know, could we stop – could the Israeli’s stop Iran from retaliating effectively with its Shahab-3 or whatever other system it has at the time of the attack.  Basically, you know, my judgment is that we would be – we would have a high degree of effectiveness against the Iranian strategic-type missiles – Shahab-3 and so on.  

      We would shoot down a lot of them.  If the Israelis were attacked, they would shoot down a lot of them and we would probably help do that.  But again, you could not guarantee that all the Iranian missiles would be shot down.  And it’s something that would have to be coped with by our forces or by the Israeli forces.  There would be no guarantee.  

      Another question here is what kind of attrition would occur relative for our forces during a battle.  I think in the first Gulf War in 40-some days of combat we lost like 20 aircraft.  I think roughly the same, you know, during a similar period or a longer period in Iraqi Freedom.  That’s not high rates of attrition.  I think attrition for our forces would be small.  

      You know, on the order of 1 to 2 percent and over a campaign of 30 to 45 days, that’s not very much, certainly not going to, you know, inhibit our ability to carry out the missions.  Attrition for the Israelis would probably be somewhat higher.  They might lose more because their attacks would be focused on few areas.  The Iranians could concentrate their response, you know, on those areas.  

      But Israel would also be engaging probably in a one-time operation, right, and if they could accept the high rate of attrition in a one-time operation, if the stakes are high enough, if the goals are high enough and I think in this case they would be.  So I think you could see the Israelis taking substantially more attrition than we would and still feeling, you know, comfortable with the outcome as long as they struck the targets, of course.  

      Okay, I’m getting the hook here, so – (laughter).  I think Ali is going to talk more about how the Iranians would respond.  So I’ll skip that, although I have views on that.  And I’ll just, you know, close out here on the mining threat, right?  One of the primary means that Iran would have to respond and cause trouble would be by mining in the Strait of Hormuz and in the Persian Gulf.  And this would be a major problem I think.  

      We have, I think, four mine countermeasures ships in the Gulf now.  We have 14 total.  Presumably we could move more.  A lot of our potential allies or people who would be interested in demining, like the Japanese, have I think 30 mine countermeasures ships.  They might help.  

      But I think what you would see – we would strike Iran mine forces, both the storage areas and the major combatants that would be mine layers, the submarines and so on.  But in the Iranian doctrine, this ability to use small boats to mine, right, and they could dump floating mines into the Persian Gulf and let them drift down into the area.  

      And they have a lot of small boats and they have, you know, well over 2,000 mines of all types – modern technology, old technology and all that.  And I think recently we have the experience with the Libyan government effort to mine the harbor in Misrata which even in a pretty half-assed operation, right, it stopped ships going in and out of there for like three days.  They were swept and destroyed and all that.  

      So the mining threat I think is a real one and would have real consequences.  I think the mining threat could also be part of an Iranian anti-access and area denial strategy.  They would be capable, I think, of putting up a long protracted fight in the Strait of Hormuz and in that area and, you know, basically closing it off to oil transport with fairly significant economic, you know, consequences.  

      So I’ll just close out.  I think there are a lot of issues – important issues – related to an “attack,” in quotes, on Iran and so it would be very complicated, problematic in some ways.  I think the desired levels of destruction could be achieved, especially by us.  But it would not be an easy operation and it is, I think, in my mind kind of in a last resort category.  And with that, I’ll close.

      MR. THIELMANN:  Thank you very much, Jeff.  And Alireza?

      ALIREZA NADER:  Good morning.  I want to just briefly talk about Iran’s potential reaction to a strike on its nuclear facilities.  And to do so I think we have to consider the domestic situation in Iran today.  The Islamic Republic right now faces more division than it has in the last 30 years of its existence.  And the 2009 presidential election, if you remember, laid bare a lot of these divisions where we saw millions of Iranians go out into the streets.  

      We saw the regime push out certain factions and personalities out of the political system which later coalesced into the Green Movement.  Of course, the Green Movement was largely crushed but it still exists.  There’s still the angst and frustration that facilitated the Green Movement’s creation.  

      Today, the biggest struggle in Iran, the biggest political struggle, is between the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  And I won’t go into too many details on that, although I think it’s a very interesting topic.  But suffice it to say is that these internal divisions in Iran really blunt Iran’s ability to project power in the Middle East and it keeps the Iranian regime very preoccupied.  It can’t focus its efforts outward.  

      And this potentially provides U.S. leverage in following more successful strategy toward Iran and pressuring Iran through sanctions, for example.  But a military strike on Iran could reverse all of that.  

      What a military strike could do is unite all Iran’s various factions and personalities around the supreme leader.  If you listen to the supreme leader’s speech yesterday on the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, he mentioned the word – (inaudible) – repeatedly.  

      And this is something he likes because an external enemy helps unite the system.  And when we look at the various personalities and factions in Iran, there actually – there’s a lot of disagreement on the nuclear program.

      Leaders like former Prime Minister Moussavi, the head of the Green Movement – or one of the ostensible leaders of the Green Movement – and former President Rafsanjani have really criticized Ahmadinejad’s handling of the nuclear program.  So the state in Iran is not necessarily unified on the nuclear issue itself.  

      But a nuclear strike can help to greater unification.  And a strike could also allow the supreme leader and the Revolutionary Guard to go ahead and crush the Green Movement.  They haven’t been able to do so.  There have been problems in silencing the leadership.  They are under house arrest but there are limits in terms of how repressive the Iranian government can be.  

      And military attacks could facilitate Iran’s strategy of repression.  Indeed, I think a military strike on Iran could accelerate the political system toward a militarized system where you have the Revolutionary Guard making all important decisions.  We also have to consider the population’s reaction to a military strike.  There is a perception that Iranians are very pro-American and in some cases or in some sense they are.  

      I think they respect U.S. progress, technological knowhow but they don’t necessarily welcome a U.S. or Israeli or Western attack on their homeland.  Iranians are a very nationalistic people and like most people in the world they resent outside interference in their country.  

      RAND actually did a survey on Iranian public opinion which I authored and 87 percent of Iranians said that Iran is entitled to a civilian nuclear program.  Forty-three percent actually supported nuclear weaponization.  And I realize that doing a survey in Iran is problematic and I discuss that in the survey.  

      But this – the results from this survey basically match what we know about the Iranian population, that they’re highly nationalistic.  If you look at the Iran-Iraq War after the revolution, the Iran-Iraq War helped the revolution, helped preserve the revolution because there was a lot of discord after the revolution and Iraq’s attack on Iran helped unify the country.  

      And the Iranian government facing a military attack has to respond somehow.  It can’t remain quiet because, again, it has to show that it is powerful, that it can maintain its legitimacy.  So an attack would lead to some sort of retaliation.  

      Now, we have to look at what kind of retaliatory options Iran has and I would categorize those into two strategies – overt or major military action or covert and asymmetric action.  Overt military action can take different forms.  Iran can – (inaudible, cough) – the hundreds of missiles it has created into GCC and U.S. bases – U.S. bases throughout the region and it has threatened to do so in the past.  

      Now, these missiles are not necessarily very accurate but they are accurate enough to do a lot of damage in the Persian Gulf region.  Iran can also interfere with shipping.  For the past several years, the Revolutionary Guard have formed this strategy of asymmetric attacks against U.S. and Western forces in the Persian Gulf.  

      And the idea is not to defeat the U.S. Navy.  Iran knows it can’t do that because of U.S. superiority, but to harass the U.S. Navy, to interfere with shipping in the Persian Gulf, to make sure that oil prices go high enough to apply enough pressure on the international community and the United States to stop an attack or even deter an attack.  Iran could also activate proxy forces in the region.  

      I put proxy in quotes because they’re groups are not always proxies.  They don’t always follow Iranian instructions to the letter. But they have very solid ties with the Iranian intelligence and the Iranian military.  And these groups include Hezbollah in Lebanon which is a very capable military and terrorist force, as we’ve seen.  It includes Hamas, Iraqi insurgents and especially Iraqi Shia insurgents, groups like Jaish al-Mahdi and if we look at Iraq today, there’s an increased instability in Iraq.  There are signs that Jaish al-Mahdi under Muqtada al-Sadr is reconsidering its freeze.  Recently tens of thousands of Jaish al-Mahdi members marched throughout Iraq.  

      So I think it’s a mistake to assume that Iraq is at this level of stability where we can conduct operations against Iran.  Iran has also provided measured support to the Taliban and I say measured because that support has not matched its support to Iraqi insurgents.  

      Iran has been providing small arms according to reports, has been providing some IEDs for the Taliban.  But if there’s an attack against Iran, Iran can step up its support of the Taliban.  It won’t be measured any longer.  Iran can provide very sophisticated explosively formed projectiles to the Taliban which were used effectively against U.S. troops in Iraq.  It can provide advanced surface-to-air missiles.  

      So Iran has really the capability to broaden the scope of the Afghan conflict and conduct a lot of attacks against U.S. forces.  And Iran can also conduct a global terrorist operations by using its own resources – the ministry of intelligence and the Revolutionary Guard.  And the list goes on and on.  I think covert or asymmetric actions make a lot of sense given Iran’s military doctrine.  

      Iran likes to keep the fight to its periphery.  It doesn’t want the homeland involved in a future conflict.  Iran in effect likes others to do its fighting for it.  But given the precarious internal situation in Iran, the Iranian government has to show that it’s taking some sort of action.  It has to demonstrate to the public that it is retaliating.  So it will be interesting to see how Iran would retaliate in the future.  It’s hard to tell but those are some of the options that it has.  

      And lastly, Iran may actually accelerate its nuclear program.  If we look at the rationale for Iran in pursuing a nuclear program, you can argue that there isn’t much of an economic rationale at this point for it to do so.  I think that the major reason that Iran is pursuing a nuclear program is the preservation of the regime.  

      This is a regime that has felt threatened and has been in a state of crisis since its birth in 1979.  And the Iranian regime, although the danger of a military attack I think has gone down as some of the previous speakers mentioned, it’s still worried about a potential U.S. invasion and a regime change.  

      And this is one major reason that it is pursuing a nuclear program and wants to have the options of creating nuclear weapons if need be.  And of course it’s pursuing a nuclear program also to enhance its regional image, to project power.  I don’t think these goals are necessarily mutually exclusive.

      RAND is actually putting out a study today looking at these issues.  It’s called “Iran’s Nuclear Future.”  It will be on our website but in the report we look at three distinct Iranian nuclear postures – a virtual posture, an ambiguous posture and a declared posture.  

      And each posture has its own uses for the Iranian regime.  And this is a regime that makes decisions on a cost-benefit calculation.  There is this assumption that Iran is going forward toward a nuclear bomb, that it wants to create one or two nuclear weapons as soon as possible.  

      And this is not true.  Iran makes decisions based on internal factors and external factors.  And one of the internal factors I mentioned is this internal debate in Iran between the various factions, this weighing of Iran’s interests when it comes to the international community.  Iran maintains very important ties with countries like China.  

      So although it is isolated from the United States and from Europe to a certain extent, it can’t risk completely isolating itself from countries like China and Russia.  If you look at China today, it’s investing a lot of money in Iran.  And the Chinese are doing this under the cover of Iran pursuing a peaceful nuclear program.  So if Iran does weaponize, the weaponization, having nuclear weapons basically poses risks to its overall interest.

      The Iranian foreign minister actually made a statement the other day saying the creation of nuclear weapons would be a strategic mistake.  And I think he really means it.  At this point Iran can’t believe that this is a strategic mistake to create nuclear weapons now and not in the future.  Again, Iran wants to have this nuclear option.  And finally, if there is an attack on Iran, on its nuclear facilities, it will make dealing with Iran in the future much harder.  

      If Iran accelerates its program, reaches the point where it develops nuclear weapons, we have to ask how will the U.S. deal with Iran then.  We have pursued a policy of engagement coupled with sanctions and we are considering containing a potentially nuclear Iran.  

      But I think that strategy could be imperiled if we strike Iran or if any other country like Israel strikes Iran.  And this I think could actually justify the Iranian government’s rationale for pursuing a nuclear capability.  If we attack them, they could argue, well, we were right in the first place.  Thank you.

      MR. THIELMANN:  Thank you.  I might just follow up with one question concerning the overplay of religious issues on the question Ali raised and I’m recalling Ayatollah Khomeini’s views about WMD at the outset of the war with Iraq.  And as I recall, those views evolved partly as a result of the fighting.  But is there any kind of parallel there to how the current official position, which is that it’s haram to pursue nuclear weapons could be altered by an attack?

      MR. NADER:  Right.  Well, the theory is that Ayatollah Khomeini opposed nuclear weapons, that he shelved the shah’s nuclear program.  That was one of the reasons but also Iran didn’t have the resources or the energy to pursue a nuclear program.  

      And toward the end of the war, the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guard, General Rezaee, who is now the head of the expediency – or the secretary of the expediency counsel, wrote a letter to Khamenei saying, look, we can’t win this war.  We’ll need however many tanks, planes and we’ll also need nuclear weapons.  

      So Iran was at a point where it basically gave up and didn’t pursue nuclear weapons at that time but it accelerated its program after the Iran-Iraq War. Supposedly the current supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa on nuclear weapons saying it’s un-Islamic, I believe, to use nuclear weapons.  I haven’t seen any evidence of this fatwa.  

      People discus it but there isn’t much evidence as far as I know.  But he hasn’t issued a fatwa saying we can’t have a virtual nuclear capability.  So again, I don’t think religious issues really factor as much into Iranian thinking.  I think it looks at – Iran looks at its national interests like a lot of other states.  It makes decisions based on those interests rather than being focused on religious issues per se.

      MR. THIELMANN:  Good.  Okay, we’ve got 10 minutes or so for questions from the floor.  Yes, sir?

      Q:  Milton Hoenig.  Alireza, could you expand just a little bit on the tensions currently in Iran between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei?  I mean, it seems that Ahmadinejad’s position is rather precarious from what you read and also he seems to represent a more liberal viewpoint in the sense of wanting perhaps to open up talks with the P5+1.  This goes back to his support of the fuel swap back in October 2009.  Is that when it was?  And that was vetoed after he had already agreed to it.

      MR. NADER:  Well, there’s a lot of tension right now between Ahmadinejad and his supporters on one hand and Khamenei and his supporters.  And the reason for this is Ahmadinejad has directly challenged a supreme leader.  He’s done a lot of things in the last, what, five or six years to challenge Khamenei.  

      But I think the straw that broke the camel’s back was Ahmadinejad firing the minister of intelligence over Khamenei’s objections and he’s done other things to challenge the supreme leader.  He has advocated – he hasn’t advocated this directly but Mashaei, his chief of staff and in-law, has advocated Iranian Islam challenging the clergy in Iran.  And the clergy feels very threatened by Ahmadinejad and Mashaei and their brand if Islamic ideology.

      So I think matters have come to a head.  And Ahmadinejad has tried to groom Mashaei as his successor as president and a lot of figures in the system are not happy with this.  So you basically have not just Khamenei but the top echelon of the Revolutionary Guard challenging Ahmadinejad in a very serious way.  

      And I think Ahmadinejad is a very overconfident in his base of support. I think he’s losing his support within the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij and I don’t think he has as much popular support as he likes to assume he has.

      On the nuclear issue, yes, there have been reports that Ahmadinejad advocates engagement with P5+1 and there was this effort to swap Iran’s nuclear material.  But we have to look at this in the context of Iranian politics.  I think if Iran had found some sort of compromise, it might have looked good for Ahmadinejad at that point.  

      And if you look at the deal, it was rather a good deal for Iran as a political system because it gave it time.  It slowed down the sanctions regime against Iran.  But the system wasn’t able to function cohesively.  A lot of Ahmadinejad’s allies attacked him for this deal.  But again, the nuclear issue and Iran’s negotiations with the P5+1 have become a political football in Iran.  

      So we have to watch out from rhetoric that’s coming from one side or another.  If we look at that deal, actually the leaders of the Green Movement were opposed to it.  Moussavi criticized it.  Rafsanjani criticized it.  And they’re supposed to be more amenable to potential compromise with the P5+1.  And I think they could be but, again, politics got in the way.

      MR. THIELMANN:  Yes, sir?

      Q:  Gerald Epstein at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  I’m interested in Iran’s choice of retaliatory options if it were to be attacked.  Presumably today Iran could close down the Strait of Hormuz.  It could unleash terrorism.  It could attack all the states.  It has no reason to do so.  It would not look very good in world opinion if it did.  

      If the U.S. were to attack it and it’s trying to decide what to do in return, to some extent it’s probably driven by domestic politics – (inaudible) – something.  But to some extent, it would, I think, have to decide this is a retaliatory action, we’re going to do it but at some point we’ll cross the line and the rest of the world will say, that’s not retaliation, that’s just like you attacked out of the blue.  

      Closing the Strait of Hormuz will massively disrupt the world system.  People will be upset at the U.S. but the world might not see that as retaliation to the U.S.  So how would Iranians think about the types of things they could justify as retaliation or would that enter their mind?

      MR. NADER:  I think with that option, Iran would lose more than any other player because if you shut down the Strait of Hormuz, that shuts off Iran’s energy exports and that’s very damaging to the Iranian economy.  I think that the Iranian government uses that option as a deterrent vis-à-vis the United States.  

      So it tells us that if you take military action against us, we’ll shut down this strait. This will increase oil prices, et cetera.  We can debate how serious Iran is regarding actually taking that option, if it views that only in terms of a deterrent option or in terms of deterrence or if it’s serious about going forth.  I think I can make an argument for both cases.  

      If you look at Iranian military exercises, there’s a huge focus on interfering with shipping in the Persian Gulf.  So I think they’re taking it very seriously and they’ve purchased a lot of small boats, sophisticated anti-ship cruise missiles, mines.  So I think this is a serious threat.  Again, who knows how the international community will look at it.  

      If the U.S. or Israel takes action against Iran – preemptive action – and Iran retaliates.  There is justification from the perspective of the international community in Iran taking those sort of actions and shutting down the Strait of Hormuz.  But again, everybody suffers.  Countries like China suffer.  So I can’t imagine if they’d be too happy about any sort of conflict in the Persian Gulf.

      MR. WHITE:  I think – just to add one comment – I think the – you know, an issue here is how the Iranians read the attack.  And if it’s a very large-scale U.S. attack, they may have trouble distinguishing, you know, just an attack on – basically on their nuclear program to an attack on the regime.  

      And if they think it’s, you know, the attack on the regime, that this is a prelude to all-out U.S. war on the regime, then they’re quite likely or could well, let’s say, implement lots of contingency plans, one of which is to close the – you know, close the strait, which as Ali said, they’re completely prepared to do from a military standpoint.  They have a lot of retaliatory options, you know, so.

      MR. THIELMANN:  And I’d only add to that that even now, there are some who argue that we should be doing something to cut off Iran’s oil commerce.  So it’s easy for me to imagine if we were engaged in a massive air campaign about Iran, there would be pressure to combine with that some way to cut off Iranian oil.  

      So from the Iranian perspective, would they tolerate U.S. military action to cut off all of their maritime oil commerce and they would leave the other commerce past the Strait of Hormuz unmolested?  That’s hard for me to believe, but Daryl?

      Q:  Hi.  Daryl Kimball with the Arms Control Association.  Thanks to both of you for your presentations.  Alireza, one question for you if you could clarify, you know, some commentators here in the United States have argued that sanctions are not being effective enough, diplomacy is not being effective enough.  They may not even get behind a military option.  But then they argue as a last resort.  

      So therefore we should, in order to solve the nuclear problem, help support the Green Movement and internal regime change.  Now, as Ambassador Pickering said earlier, regime change, he argued, should be the purview of the Iranian people.  

      But just to clarify, I mean, what are the views of those in the opposition, so to speak, regarding the nuclear program as a whole, not about pursuing nuclear weapons per se but the nuclear program and is that a realistic solution either.   

      And for Mr. White also, you know, you mentioned that theoretically the nuclear weapon strike option is theoretically on the table.  But, you know, in all your years of experience, I mean, given how the United States government looks at collateral damage as a political and diplomatic issue, I mean, could you just elaborate a little bit more on this issue?

      Because it seems to me that if the conventional military option is for all intents and purposes off the table, given all that you have said, the nuclear option is certainly not a realistic option for the President of the United States looking at this situation.  Thanks.

      MR. WHITE:  Just on the nuclear option, you know, we have pretty low yield nuclear weapons, right, and if the facility’s located out in the, you know, boondocks far enough, collateral damage, you know, could be pretty minimal, right?  

      My own view is we wouldn’t do it.  You know, I certainly can’t imagine the current administration doing it.  It’s hard for me to imagine, you know, any set of senior military commanders, you know, wanting to use a nuclear weapon, you know, short of the big one – you know, the big war kind of situation.  So I think as a military technical standpoint, the option is there.  But I don’t think – I just don’t think we would do it.

      MR. NADER:  I don’t think it’s too late to dissuade Iran from weaponizing.  I wouldn’t argue that sanctions and engagement have been completely ineffective.  I mean, Iran is progressing toward some sort of capability by enriching uranium.  

      But we don’t really know if the leadership in Iran has made up its mind as to develop nuclear weapons.  And this is the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community, that Iran is developing the knowhow and infrastructure and technology but they haven’t necessarily made a decision to weaponize.  

      So I think there is still time to dissuade Iran from moving into this other nuclear posture from virtual, if it’s even at virtual now, into an ambiguous or a declared nuclear posture.  There is still – I think there is internal debate in Iran.  It’s hard to see evidence of it because the Iranian weapons program is not discussed publicly in Iran.  But if you look at the various groups and constituents in Iran, they each have their own interest in the political system.  

      So the Green Movement wants to reform the Iranian political system.  The pragmatic conservatives under Rafsanjani want to integrate Iran into the global economy and the nuclear program as pursued by Ahmadinejad and Khamenei has hurt their interests.  

      When we look at President Khatami’s administration, you can argue that Iran handled the nuclear program very differently, that it developed its capabilities but it also engaged the international community.  

      Iran’s former national security advisor under Khatami, a cleric by the name of Rohani, even stated in public that engagement is good because it buys us time so we can focus on other aspects of the nuclear program.  

      Of course, Ahmadinejad has called the nuclear program a train without brakes.  And this is dangerous for his political opponents like the Green Movement and Rafsanjani.  So I think that is potentially an avenue of exploitation by the United States.  

      But when I say exploitation I don’t mean regime change necessarily.  I think our understanding of Iran is very limited right now – what’s going on in Iran, how the regime is functioning or not functioning, how the people – the Iranian people feel about the regime, whether they support the Green Movement, whether they are ready for an entirely new system.  

      So I think given the lack of full U.S. understanding and the lack of our capabilities to affect change in Iran and the wider Middle East, frankly, I wouldn’t advocate regime change because, again, that hurts our chances with the Iranian government.  Having regime change as an option, having military attacks on the table basically constrains our diplomatic and economic policy toward Iran right now and in the future.

      MR. THIELMANN:  We probably can take one more question.  Miss?

      Q:  Hi, for Alireza, it’s Laura Rosen.  I’m curious what the Iranian reaction has been to Stuxnet, whatever the reality of it is and whoever was behind it.

      MR. NADER:  Well, they blamed it on the U.S. and Israel and otherwise I think they’re trying to repair the damage and contain it and protect their program from future attacks.  But in terms of their willingness, their intent, I don’t think it has slowed down Iran.  It may have caused technical problems for them.  

      But for the Iranian government, I think even a portion of the population, the nuclear program is a point of national pride.  The argument that Iran can have the uranium enrichment cycle really resonates in Iran, even among people who oppose the Islamic Republic.  I think I would argue that a majority of Iranians view Iran as having the right to developing a nuclear program where it pursues enrichment.  

      And so I think the Iranian government has been successful in convincing the people through its control of media and the information environment in Iran.  So an attack on Natanz is not seen as an attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.  That’s what we think in the United States and the West.  It is seen as an attack on Iran’s civilian nuclear program.

      MR. WHITE:  And to add one thing, I think the Stuxnet business probably increased their sense of vulnerability.  And my understanding is they were, you know, shocked, taken aback and had, you know, some difficulty coping with it.  

      And given their dependence on outside, you know, foreign technology and so on, they see that kind of vulnerability and, you know, this might be able to happen to them again.  So it did physical damage I think to their program but it also I think increased that sense of vulnerability.

      MR. THIELMANN:  Thank you very much.  I have a couple of wrap-up comments but let’s thank our speakers for their contributions.  (Applause.)  I’m sure you’re waiting with bated breath for the solution to Iran’s nuclear puzzle at the end of our four discussion panels.  I may be disappointing you slightly to say that we don’t have a simple answer to this.  

      There are a few tentative conclusions that I would offer based on what we’ve heard from experts in these four sessions.  First is the somewhat encouraging news that Iran is not an imminent nuclear weapons threat.  We would assess that they are years, not months, away from actually acquiring nuclear weapons.  

      Also it’s not clear that Iran has decided to go beyond building a nuclear infrastructure with a breakout capability or an actual nuclear arsenal and I think that reflects what Alireza was saying.  Iran can eventually have nuclear weapons if it wants them badly enough.  Only an invasion and occupation could physically prevent it.  

      A preventive aerial assault by Israel or the U.S. is not a viable option.  It would delay but then incentivize Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and it would be an economic and diplomatic disaster of the first order for the United States.  

      The only realistic solution to the Iran nuclear puzzle is to persuade Tehran to forego nuclear weapons and to accept transparency measures which demonstrate the absence of a weapons program.  Sanctions may be necessary to raise the cost of Iran defying the IAEA but they have to be accompanied by a willingness to give Iran something of value in return.  

      So that kind of sums up where we’re at having gone through in some depth some of the discussions.  I would remind you the transcripts from today’s session will be available by the end of this week on the Arms Control Association’s website.  And we will be releasing additional analyses based on the insights gained from these sessions and elsewhere in coming weeks.  So thank you very much for participating today.  (Applause.)



      Transcript Available: This panel discussion (on the 30th anniversary of Israel’s 1981 attack on Iraq’s Osirak reactor) will provide informed perspectives on the consequences of any U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran designed to destroy Iran’s actual or potential nuclear weapons capabilities.

      Country Resources:

      ACA Annual Meeting



      "Reducing the Nuclear Danger: Next Steps on the Test Ban Treaty and Nuclear Arms Reductions"

      Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
      at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
      1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.



      Daryl G. Kimball
      ACA Executive Director

      Keynote 1

      Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pennsylvania)
      Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee


      Panel 1

      The Test Ban and National Security
      State Rep. Ryan D. Wilcox (R-Utah)
      Richard Garwin, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center (slides)
      Lynn R. Sykes, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia (slides)



      Keynote 2
      Ellen Tauscher
      Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security

      Panel 2

      Prospects for U.S.-NATO-Russian Nuclear Reductions
      Steven Pifer, Brookings Institution
      Catherine Kelleher, Center for International and Security Studies,
      Unversity of Maryland

      Keynote 3
      Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire)
      Member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Arms Services Committee
      3:15-3:30 Close

      This year's annual meeting is in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Thanks to the Foundation and other ACA supporters, ACA is pleased to announce we are able to waive the registration fee for our 2011 Annual Meeting.

      Please keep in mind that our continued work, including the publication of Arms Control Today, still depends on the contributions of individuals like you. Please consider making a contribution online.





      KEYNOTE 1



      TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011

      Transcript by
      Federal News Service
      Washington, D.C.

      DARYL KIMBALL: I’m Daryl Kimball. I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association, and I want to welcome everyone to the 2011 annual meeting. We’re going to have a full day this year of speakers and discussion. And I hope everyone is comfortable. There will be a few breaks through the course of the day.

      I want to also welcome those of you watching online. We’re webcasting the event today. So for those of you in the audience, be on guard to look your best. We’ll have thousands watching on the Web.

      This year marks the Arms Control Association’s 40th year as an independent, nongovernmental organization, and my 10th year as its director. And while we may be reaching middle age, we’re not slowing down, thanks to the members of the Arms Control Association, the many private foundations that support ACA, from the Ploughshares Fund to the Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and many others.

      And also thanks to the dedicated, hardworking staff of the Arms Control Association. We’ve got a small team but they work very hard and have done a great job pulling together today’s events.

      With nuclear arms control and nonproliferation back in the national and international spotlight, this past year has been one of the most productive and incredible and tiring in the organization’s entire history. We believe we’ve made a significant difference on multiple fronts, and I just want to recount some of these things that have taken place in the last year.

      ACA, along with many other organizations, were, I think, a pivotal force in the successful approval of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. When a treaty is approved by 71 votes, a relatively narrow margin, every bit of work makes a difference.

      ACA also worked with colleague organizations to push the Obama administration to adopt I think a more progressive nuclear posture review that reduces the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. military strategy.

      We provided analysis and recommendations on measures to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty before the review conference last May, which, for the first time in a decade, produced a consensus action plan.

      Under the leadership of our senior fellow, Greg Thielmann and Peter Crail, we launched a series of briefings on solving the Iranian nuclear puzzle in the past year that we intend to expand in the coming year.

      With our international representative, Oliver Meier in Berlin, and the British American Security Information Council, and a grant from the Hewlett Foundation and the Böll Foundation, we sponsored a series of policy briefings in Europe in faraway places, including Tallinn, Brussels, Ankara, Warsaw and also here in Washington.

      And later this week – you might have noticed on the table we have a new publication on reducing the role of tactical nuclear weapons, the papers from several of those seminars that we’re going to be publishing on Thursday.

      Our deputy director, Jeff Abramson, has provided leadership on conventional arms control. We’re not just nuclear, chemical and biological but also conventional arms control, working on encouraging the United States to join the mine ban treaty and to support negotiation of the arms trade treaty.

      And through our Project for the CTBT that we’re working with – we’re working with many different organizations in Washington and across the country. I think we’ve brought together a diverse and strong network of organizations to encourage the Obama administration to take a more proactive role in reengaging the Senate on the treaty, and to encourage the Senate to take a look at the facts that speak for its ratification.

      And we do all this with, as I said, a very small staff of nine people, two fellows and our one part-time representative in Berlin. So, while a lot has been accomplished, we think there’s a lot more to do, and that’s what today’s event is about. We’re trying to look forward to the next steps on reducing the nuclear danger, on a test ban treaty, and on deeper nuclear arms reductions involving all types of nuclear arms.

      And we’re very thankful to the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their support for this particular event. We’ve worked with them in the past on the U.S.-India nuclear deal, on the conference that we held in this room last November on strategic nuclear reductions involving – I should say nuclear reductions involving strategic and tactical nuclear weapons.

      And we appreciate their support, which has helped us waive the registration fee that we usually have for our meetings and make more effective use of your contributions. And if you don’t know, the Böll Foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes democracy and civil society, human rights, international understanding, and a health environment. And they’re based in Berlin and has more than 25 offices worldwide, including in Washington, D.C.

      So, I would ask you to give the Böll Foundation a quick round of applause. (Applause.) And, as I said, we have tucked away in your program a contribution form, if you feel so moved, if you haven’t already contributed as of late to the organization, because our work really does depend on our members.

      And I have been informed that Senator Casey is on his way but is about five minutes behind schedule, so my timing is a little bit off now. So what I would just like to invite you to do is to go back to your conversations very briefly. When Senator Casey comes, I’ll begin the introduction and we’ll get started. Thanks. (Applause.)


      MR. KIMBALL: Excuse me for breaking into your conversations. If I could ask everyone to take a seat. We’re going to begin the program in just a moment. If I could just remind you to turn off your cellphones to mute or silence, that would be very helpful.

      We’re going to get back on track this morning with the first part of our program. Senator Casey has just arrived and is on a tight schedule. So we’re going to start on a high note with Senator Casey. Come on in. Here we go. (Applause.)

      Thank you very much for coming.

      Senator Casey, as you may know – as many of you know, serves on the Foreign Relations Committee. And he played a key role in the ratification of the New START agreement last year, and has been a leader in promoting nuclear security and combating the threat of nuclear weapons posed by terrorists and the spread of nuclear weapons.

      Since joining the Senate in 2007, he created and became the co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Caucus on Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism. He also introduced the Nuclear Trafficking Prevention Act to curb nuclear proliferation by establishing that the transfer of nuclear material or technology to terrorists is a crime against humanity.

      He has been a leader in the Senate on U.S. policy responses to the Iranian nuclear program, in introducing the bipartisan Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, and he co-sponsored the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, which have both become law.

      On the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he’s the chair of the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, where he has jurisdiction over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Israel and the Middle East.

      So, Senator Casey is going to be a busy person over the next few weeks and months, I believe, and he is not afraid to take on tough issues, which is perhaps why he’s agreed to come to speak to us today and offer his perspectives on the longest-sought, hardest-fought arms control endeavor, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and the next steps on nuclear arms reduction and nonproliferation.

      And if we still have time after your remarks, if you could – if the senator has time for a couple of questions, we’ll do that.

      So please join me in welcoming Senator Casey once again. (Applause.)

      SENATOR BOB CASEY (D-PA): Well, thank you very much, and good morning. I’m aware of the fact that I’m the first speaker, which isn’t a bad position to be in. It’s the speaker right before lunch that has trouble and sometimes the speaker right after lunch. (Laughter.) And I’m grateful and I send my sympathy to those who are in that position.

      But I’m truly not only grateful but really honored to have this chance to be in a room with folks who have worked so long and so hard on these issues, but also that come together and work year in and year out to see us make some progress. And we’re able to report on some significant progress just in the last couple of months.

      But I do appreciate the opportunity to be with you this morning. I was noting about the history that since 1971 the Arms Control Association has played an indispensable role in informing policymakers in the public debate itself.

      And I especially want to thank Daryl for his introduction, and your staff for making this possible. Damien Murphy from my staff is right here. I wanted to make sure that folks knew where Damien was.

      And I have to say, in a broader sense, the impact of nongovernmental organizations on so many of these issues is critically important. Because of your work, senators who were voting on the New START Treaty were, in fact, better informed and I think more engaged than some may have expected.

      In the end, 71 United States senators made the right decision to support ratification of the treaty. And it was interesting – just parenthetically I’ll say interesting to see how it played out in the weeks leading up to the actual vote. For a while there it seemed like there wouldn’t be much of a debate, and then the debate became more engaged.

      And in some ways I was heartened by that. Even though you don’t – you don’t always want to have a tough fight, I think the fact that there was more engagement gave the American people a greater sense of the significance and importance, and really the gravity of not – of not ratifying New START.

      So that debate that we had – and it actually was at times a real debate, which is rare in the U.S. Senate these days because you tend to have speeches by one side or the other, kind of talking past each other. But there were actual debates and counterpoints and rebuttal speeches over the life – or I should say over the course of the weeks leading up to ratification.

      So today we stand at an important point in the debate over nonproliferation and arms control. President Obama set out a clear agenda to make America safer when he spoke in Prague. And in just two short years, the U.S. has made remarkable progress toward that vision.

      In April of 2009, the president hosted the largest gathering of heads of state since the establishment of the U.N. to discuss securing nuclear material which could fall into the hands of terrorists. Leaders from around the globe made tangible commitments to secure fissile material, and have agreed to continue dialogue next year in Seoul.

      And in December, as I mentioned, the Senate ratified New START, which will enhance the security of the United States by diminishing the number of nuclear weapons pointed at the United States.

      But this progress, in my judgment, is just the beginning, and just the beginning if we’re serious about making America and the world more safe and more secure. This came into sharp focus recently in Pakistan in light of the developments just in the last nine days or so.

      Based on the evidence gathered at his compound, we now understand that Osama bin Laden was actually more actively engaged in al-Qaida and its strategic planning than maybe we thought previously. We already know that – we already knew, I should say, that bin Laden had a declared interest in obtaining a nuclear weapon for use against Western targets.

      While the threat posed by al-Qaida or some shadowy terrorist network or their desire to acquire a nuclear device – while all that may be unimaginable and frightening, what we can do to address this significant threat is actually not remote or imaginary; it’s actually quite real and concrete.

      I believe we can and we must do more to secure fissile material. We can and we must do more to strengthen the international arms control framework and build political support for diminishing the threat posed by nuclear weapons. Let me start with the nuclear security summit.

      For years, countries around the world viewed the threat of nuclear terrorism as an American or simply a Western problem. As a result, political pressure within countries across the globe was not brought to bear to ensure that fissile material was secure, did not cross borders, and could not end up in the hands of terrorists.

      Recognizing the importance of political commitment to this issue, President Obama convened the nuclear security summit in 2010. The summit was a landmark achievement because countries, for the first time, have begun to acknowledge the gravity and the importance of securing fissile material.

      This is not, as we know, just a Western problem. A nuclear attack anywhere would have devastating consequences and impact on people everywhere. By placing the issue so high on the agenda, President Obama sent a clear message to the international community that the U.S. was willing to lead but that others need to participate.

      In preparation for the conference, government bureaucracies around the world committed resources and people to defining the threat within their borders and creating policies to share at the summit.

      Some brought what might be termed housewarming gifts to demonstrate their commitment to the issue, but over time, these policies have been refined, and we look forward to measuring progress when these leaders gather next year in Seoul.

      Nuclear security has historically been a bipartisan issue here in the United States and in the Congress. But recent concerns have arisen with respect to funding of these programs.

      As we completed the fiscal 2011 appropriations process – don’t remind us how long that took, you’re saying as I’m reminding you of this – I was very concerned, as many in this room and others were, that H.R. 1, the House bill, included severe cuts in funding for the Department of Energy’s programming on nuclear security – programming which was not defined as within the national security realm by the House leadership. They are wrong and they shouldn’t have come to that conclusion.

      This proposal and the cut that was entailed here was a step in the wrong direction, which I hope will not be repeated in the fiscal 2012 appropriations process since we’ve made serious commitments to international nuclear security, following the summit.

      NNSA administrator Tom D’Agostino has said that the 2012 request will provide, quote, “the resources required to meet commitments secured during the nuclear security summit, including removing all remaining highly enriched uranium from Belarus, Ukraine, Mexico, and working with the Defense Department to implement a nuclear security Center for Excellence in China and India,” unquote.

      As we move towards the next summit in Seoul in 2012, the U.S. needs to show its commitment through tangible action as we ask for more of that from our partners abroad. The only way we can make true progress on nuclear security is if our partners understand, acknowledge and have the resources and the political will to act.

      The bottom line is this: When it comes to preventing nuclear terrorism, we are truly in this together. As we encourage our friends abroad to take this issue more seriously, we must do the same here in the United States and ensure that the necessary funding is made available to do that.

      Let me talk for a moment about a piece of legislation that I have introduced previously and will be reintroducing this week, the Nuclear Prevention Trafficking Act. I think there are important legislative steps that can be taken to ensure that nuclear security remains a front-burner issue. I introduced this act in 2009 and a companion bill was introduced in the House by Congressman Adam Schiff.

      The bill will establish nuclear trafficking as a crime against humanity and make it easier to prosecute international nuclear traffickers in the United States federal courts. And it will strengthen penalties for trafficking in nuclear material.

      Just as the international community has agreed that such acts as slavery and genocide are crimes against humanity, so too should it come together to brand nuclear smuggling a crime against humanity. I’ll reintroduce the legislation this week and seek to bolster the consensus in the Senate that nuclear terrorism is the most serious threat to United States national security.

      The Senate has also – I should say also has an important legislative role in a more immediate sense. Last month, the Justice Department sent Congress implementation legislation for the 2005 amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the so-called CPPNM Amendment, and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism – yet another – an acronym. ICSANT I guess we can call it – I-C-S-A-N-T.

      The Senate ratified these treaties in 2008, and this legislation would update the criminal code to fully investigate and prosecute acts of nuclear terrorism. This legislation provides an important opportunity for the Senate to help prevent nuclear terrorism and show our allies around the world that we’re committed to the principles outlined in the nuclear security summit.

      We need to adopt this legislation expeditiously. And I think it would convey a sense of urgency if we did this. We can’t just simply keep pointing back and saying that the New START Treaty is a great achievement. It is, but this is a new year and there are many challenges ahead of us. So this would be one way of demonstrating to the American people that the Senate is serious about moving forward on ways to prevent nuclear terrorism.

      Let me move to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. As we face proliferation threats around the world, in Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, as well as other places, we need to – we need, in my judgment, multiple tools to build international pressure for behavioral change.

      The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is one such tool that the United States needs in order to make ourselves safer and more secure. I look forward to debating this treaty in the Senate, but before that we have a lot of work to do. The administration recognizes this hard work that has to be done, and the administration will take steps to educate senators on the merits of the treaty and its importance to our national security.

      One of the biggest obstacles to support for CTBT is the lack of public awareness of the issue. Government officials have an obligation to talk to the American people about this treaty and about its significance and importance, and about how CTBT will enhance U.S. national security.

      I’m grateful that Undersecretary Tauscher will address CTBT in her speech to you today, and trust that this is the beginning of a sustained effort to discuss the merits of this important treaty. And let me say as well how much we appreciate her work in the State Department. We’re grateful for her leadership.

      On a positive note, senators are engaged in nonproliferation and arms control issues today in ways that were not apparent in the recent past. I enjoyed learning more about these important issues during the New START debate. And, believe it or not, once in a while senators learn something on the floor from each other sometimes. I know that’s maybe a well-kept secret but it’s true.

      And some of the leading voices on this, starting of course with Chairman Kerry and his team and others, but even some of the newer senators who were elected in 2006 or 2008 were taking in leadership roles on the debate.

      Senator Jeanne Shaheen – and I know you’ll hear from her later – was one of those voices. Jeanne emerged, I think, throughout this debate as a leader in this field, and one of a core group of members committed to raising the profile of arms control and nonproliferation. And she of course spoke with the authority and the clarity of a governor, which helps in a – which helps in a legislative body.

      But she’s someone I’ve gotten to know. We traveled to the Middle East this summer, and I’ve been so impressed by not just her knowledge but by her commitment on a whole range of foreign policy and security issues.

      As with respect to the treaty itself, there’s ample room for discussion. By the time we debate CTBT, the Senate membership will have changed significantly since 1999. Just consider this for just one example – I can say this personally. I’ve been in the Senate – I’m in my fifth year. In those roughly four years, I moved from 94 to 63 in seniority – 30 places in four years. And just by way of retirements, I know that I’ll be in the mid-50s after that.

      I don’t say that to brag about seniority because of course you get seniority only because others move on. You don’t get it based upon merit. But I mention that just to indicate how much the Senate has changed in just four years and then over five or six years you can just imagine the substantial turnaround – or turnover, I should say, in the course of more than a decade.

      So, moreover, I should say, in the same vein, international consensus in support of the treaty has grown. In 1999 when the Senate voted down ratification, only 51 countries had ratified CTBT. Today, 148 countries have done so.

      And I think we don’t have to look far and wide for analysis to indicate how important this treaty is. Sometimes you just have to mention a couple of places in the world – Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and China, just for – just by way of example.

      The White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, Gary Samore, recently said – and I’m quoting, that, “The risk of a conflict escalating to nuclear war is probably higher in South Asia than anywhere in the world,” unquote.

      CTBT serves as a – serves U.S. national security interests by providing a tool to constrain nuclear buildup in Asia. International approaches such as CTBT are likely to be more effective than a regional approach, particularly due to the rising tensions in South Asia. That’s an understatement of course.

      Some experts believe that U.S. ratification of CTBT would encourage – encourage China, India and Pakistan to ratify as well. The U.S. has not conducted – as many of you know, has not conducted a test for 19 years, yet we have been unable to benefit from the restrictions and verification that CTBT would place on others.

      As long as we’re confronted with the prospect of nuclear testing by other countries, the U.S. will face a potential of newer, more powerful and more sophisticated weapons that cause and could cause unimaginable damage.

      For example, testing would provide the Chinese an opportunity to miniaturize nuclear weapons to be placed on missiles. The same could be said of Iran. Without the ability to test, Iran would be under more pressure not to develop – not to develop a nuclear weapon. We need to erect as many barriers as possible to an Iranian nuclear bomb and to continue developments – and to continue developments in North Korea. CTBT can help in this regard as well.

      Despite its critics, CTBT will not jeopardize the safety, security and reliability of our nuclear arsenal. Significantly, advances in both stockpile stewardship and our ability to monitor explosions bolster the case for CTBT.

      After 1030 nuclear test explosions, it has become abundantly clear that the United States nuclear deterrent does not require testing to remain an effective tool for U.S. national security. Nuclear weapons laboratory directors have a deep understanding of the arsenal and a deeper understanding now than ever before.

      And President Obama’s unprecedented $85 billion commitment over 19 years for upgrading the nuclear weapons complex provides a long-term strategy and more than enough funding to continue to maintain the U.S. arsenal safety and effectively.

      Last year I had the opportunity to travel to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna, where I met with the executive secretary and his team. I toured the command center, which oversees the International Monitoring System, the so-called IMS, of stations placed all around the world, a really impressive demonstration of technology and the comprehensive nature of that technology for monitoring all over the world.

      And we know that when the Senate voted on verification in 1999, verification was a central topic of debate. At the time, the monitoring system did not exist and so there were zero monitoring stations in place.

      To date, 264 of the system’s total 337 monitoring stations have been built and are certified. This includes monitoring sites in Russia and China, places where the U.S. simply cannot gain access to on its own.

      So, for those reasons and others I’ve mentioned, a lot has changed since 1999. A strong case can be made that a senator voting in 1999 against the treaty based upon concerns over verification could indeed vote yes today.

      So, I think that’s one of the challenges we have, not just educating senators generally and not simply engaging in a debate with the American people, but also making the case about how verification makes us safer and more secure. And we had to do that in New START as well. And that might – that wasn’t as easy as some may have thought, heading into the debate.

      In closing, I would like to underscore my ongoing concerns about Pakistan. Pakistan’s government claims that it did not know about the presence of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. In the Senate we continue to examine this claim.

      If true, this apparent incompetence does not inspire confidence in the ability of Pakistan’s governing or security institutions to oversee the nuclear weapons program. I look forward to holding the administration and Pakistani authorities accountable as we examine our assistance package to Pakistan and the overall nature of our relationship.

      But I do want to thank you again for your work, your very important work here in this city and throughout the debate, but also the impact that you have on the debate throughout the country. This is an important role that you play in promoting better arms control and nonproliferation policies, and I personally – personally relied upon your expertise and appreciated your nationwide advocacy on behalf of New START.

      Your efforts are valuable, and in the end necessary to ensure that we have the support required for ratification. I know this work is not easy, and many of you have been laboring in this vineyard for not just years but in some cases decades.

      In the ’50 and ’60s, nuclear fallout drills sensitized children and the population at large to the dangers of nuclear war. In the ’80s, a broad grassroots movement called for a nuclear freeze in the face of a U.S. nuclear arms buildup. Now, more than 20 years after the Cold War, I think that it is a – I think that it is tougher to engage the broader public in a discussion about these issues.

      We need to do so with more public officials, and we need to sensitize a new generation of Americans and actively engage them in this public debate. The organization and expertise represented in this room will help to facilitate this engagement, and for that I’m both grateful and inspired. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

      I know we’re somewhat limited on time, but I did want to take a few questions if we can.

      MR. KIMBALL: So, just please identify yourself. A microphone will come to you.

      Q: Yeah, hi. I’m Susan Cornwell with Reuters. I was wondering, in what timeframe do you think the Senate should act on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty? Do you think it should take this vote before the 2012 elections?

      And can you give us a little bit of your assessment of how – of where the votes are? You must have thought about counting the votes now – you know, how likely that is, assuming you’d be dealing with this particular Senate for that vote. Thank you.

      SEN. CASEY: Thank you for the question. I’ll do should, will, and votes. (Laughter.)

      In my judgment, we should act before the 2012 elections. I don’t have a high degree of confidence that we will. I think that would obviously be preferable, but I don’t have great confidence that will happen.

      In terms of the vote count, I’m not paid to do that. There are others who do that as part of their job. So, even if I were – even if I wanted to hazard a guess, it would be – the margin of error would have to be substantial.

      So it’s hard to – it’s hard to predict. Obviously I don’t think you can – that any of us can overlay the votes on New START on this vote. It’s going to be a different debate in some ways, and frankly a more difficult debate, from my side of the debate.

      It’s going to be, I think, a longer and more difficult challenge to get the treaty passed. But what’s why I think it’s important to start now, as best we can, to keep the treaty in the news, so to speak, to begin the outreach and engagement and education process.

      But, you know, a lot of things have happened in the last 18 months about legislation that we didn’t think would happen. I think if you’d asked me about some things that were passed in 2009 and ’10, I would have said, well, that topic might be addressed but it might be a lot smaller than was ultimately passed.

      So, you never know, but – I don’t want to hazard a guess on votes but I think we’ve got some work to do. And when I say “we,” I mean the administration does. But I think the Senate does as well. And public officials and advocates and experts across the country I think will help us do that.

      MR. KIMBALL: All right, a couple more questions. In the middle, please.

      Q: Senator Casey, first as a Pennsylvanian in particular, I want to thank you for your leadership role in the Foreign Relations Committee and particularly in this area.

      SEN. CASEY: Thanks. What is your name, sir?

      Q: Ed Aguilar with the Project for Nuclear Awareness.

      SEN. CASEY: Thanks, Ed.

      Q: And the question I have is regarding – you mentioned that China, India and Pakistan, among others, have not yet ratified the treaty. What are the chances of negotiating with them, you know, perhaps quietly on the side, to perhaps agree to submit for ratification contemporaneously? Would that help domestically?

      SEN. CASEY: I don’t think there’s any question it could, and I would hope that we address this challenge like we do whenever we’re confronted with both the domestic – I should say either a domestic or international challenge. You can’t have one track and you can’t – for example, in the Senate, all the time you’ve got to try to have both a legislative track as well as other tracks.

      And I don’t think the time lag between now and when we actually have a fully engaged Senate debate, and hopefully when we’re on a path to ratification, I don’t think we should wait to take steps to convince other countries that it’s in not only their interest but the world that they should ratify.

      And that’s why I think it’s so important how – it’s so important to highlight how significant engagement is. You know, there are a lot of folks in this town with much more of a – sometimes a cowboy mentality that says, you know, on various security issues, we just have to be tough and act tough and everything will work out.

      And it’s important to be tough, but it’s also important to engage constantly. And if we continue to have kind of a multi-track approach, I think one of the ways that we can influence positively the debate will be taking steps as you’ve outlined.

      MR. KIMBALL: All right, I think there’s another person who has a question here in the middle. Please, Xiaodon. Thank you.

      Q: David Culp with Friends Committee on National Legislation. There’s lots of Quakers in Pennsylvania and they’re very proud of your leadership.

      SEN. CASEY: Our state was founded by Quakers.

      Q: That’s right.

      SEN. CASEY: Yeah.

      Q: You’ve got a roomful of test ban advocates. What are the three or four things that you think that they should be doing that would be the most effective to influence undecided senators? What are the things that influence you on issues where you’re undecided?

      SEN. CASEY: It’s a good question. And part of it is a simple answer. It’s just keep doing what you have been doing. And I don’t say that just to be – you know, just to tell you what you want to hear, because if this were a year ago, maybe I’d have more reason to give you advice, but in light of the work that was done prior to New START, you’ve demonstrated, collectively and individually, that you know how to get this message out.

      I think the main thing, though, that we have to do is always tie it to our security, and repeat that message as much as we can. It’s very hard to get any message out in Washington, even a very important message about something as profound as ratifying CTBT or any other security issue.

      Things that appear to us self-evident or that we think everyone should be concerned about, they’re not, and sometimes they’re not because they just don’t hear enough about it and the gravity of it is not brought to their front door, so to speak, or to their attention.

      So I’d say repetition helps in linking it to security. I thought that was very helpful in the debate on New START. I know in my floor statements I tried to go back to that as much as we could because too often the debate on this falls into the usual patterns of American politics, which is black and white, one side or the other, and it’s the – you know, the so-called tough guys over here and the folks over here seem something else, less tough or not as interested in security.

      And we can’t let them do that. We can’t allow them to frame the debate that way. I think that the more we can make the case that this is – this will make us more secure, this is better for our national security, that will help. But I know it helped enormously in the New START debate.

      MR. KIMBALL: All right, maybe one last question, towards the rear. Anyone? No takers. My goodness. Yes, sir?

      Q: Stephen Young with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Thank you, sir, for all your work. I really appreciate it.

      My question for you is on the big picture things of a budget. Budget is a big issue in D.C. right now, and thus far lot of money has been committed to the budget for new weapons programs. And this community essentially held its breath on the issue of budget. We didn’t support a general – the president’s large commitments for new funding for weapons complex. And in New START, he committed to modernizing the entire triad.

      Also, we think that it shouldn’t have been done, but – essentially it had been done but we think it was a mistake. How do we move forward on this? Is there a way to, I think strategically, reduce the costs of our nuclear complex by making sensible cuts in our stockpile without going down a treaty road – things the president could do with Russia, perhaps, to reduce our costs and make it safer at the same time?

      SEN. CASEY: Yeah, that’s a real tough one, the answer, in light of what we’re confronting overall. This challenge we have on the budget coming up, and the broader challenge, frankly, well beyond 2012 with regard to deficit and debt, makes the question you posed even harder because we’re going to be having – in other words, if we had that debate in isolation, we’d be in a better position.

      But because there are going to be so many – so many individual debates about various parts of the budget and where we should cut, where we should reduce, that it’s going to be – I think it’s just going to be real difficult to make the case that you’re making.

      But maybe as we get further into it and it comes down to a discussion about defense spending, maybe that can be – maybe that can be more of a robust part of the debate. But I think it’s going to be very hard because of the – because of all the other cutting and reforming and conversations that people have to get to some kind of a grand bargain on deficit and debt.

      But I’d be willing to sit down and listen to ideas about it because we’re not only at the beginning of the debate you raise, but we’re really in the early stages of the overall debate. We have kind of a framework about what the challenge is and what the shortfall will be if we don’t act with regard to deficit and debt. But we have a long way to go. So I think that this – it may be something that we could sit down and talk about.

      MR. KIMBALL: Well, Senator Casey, I want to thank you once again for speaking to us today. Please join me again in thanking Senator Robert Casey. (Applause.)

      We’ll be shifting to the next panel in just a couple minutes, so don’t go too far away.

      (END)Back to top






      RYAN D. WILCOX (R),


      LYNN R. SYKES,

      TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011

      Transcript by
      Federal News Service
      Washington, D.C.

      DARYL KIMBALL: All right, if I could ask everyone to wind up their conversations, find their seats again, we’re going to begin panel number one. (Pause.) All right, thank you, everyone. If you could get your coffee refill, have a seat, we’ll get started with the next phase of today’s program, which will now focus on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

      As Senator Casey said, many of you here in this room have been working for years to end nuclear test explosions. I know I certainly have. And it is, as I said before, the longest-fought, hardest-fought prize in arms control history. And the length of the campaign reminds me of something that was written 10 years ago by General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who was asked to write a report on the test ban treaty in the aftermath of the 1999 vote.

      And I’m reminded of this, in part, because Ambassador Jim Goodby, who advised General Shalikashvili, is here in the room, in the front. And as you’ll recall, Jim, Shalikashvili concluded in that report that the advantages of the test ban treaty outweigh any disadvantages and ratification would increase national security. And for the sake of future generations, it would be unforgiveable to neglect any reasonable action that can help prevent nuclear proliferation, as the test ban treaty clearly would.

      And I think we heard that thought echoed in Senator Casey’s remarks about the necessity of putting together a bulwark of initiatives and barriers against proliferations and arms racing. And you know, because the test ban treaty is an oldie but a goodie, I think there is a growing bipartisan list of national security leaders supporting the treaty.

      And the Arms Control Association agrees with Senator Casey’s sentiments that there needs to be a serious, fact-based, high-level dialogue with the Senate on the value of the treaty. And that requires added energy on the part of the Obama administration. It requires that senators on both sides of the aisle thoroughly review the evidence that has accumulated since 1999 and since the Shalikashvili report of 2001.

      And when they do, I mean, I have faith – I think many of you have faith – that the outcome this time around will be different. And that’s because George Shultz – former secretary George Shultz captured this thought in remarks a couple of years ago: “Republicans may have been right in voting against the test ban treaty some years ago but they would be right voting for it now based upon new facts. There are new pieces of information that are very important and that should be made available to the Senate.”

      So that’s what we hope to begin to do with today’s conference, with today’s panel. We have, I think, a great set of speakers here today. First of all, we’re very pleased to have with us State Representative Ryan Wilcox who, I think it is safe to say, will be providing us with an outside-the-beltway perspective.

      He hails from Ogden, Utah. He is a Republican in the state legislature. And among his many accomplishments, he was the cosponsor of H.R. 4, which some of us noticed here in Washington, which was a resolution passed in 2010 unanimously by the Utah state legislature urging the Senate to approve the treaty.

      And because a lot of the debate about the test ban treaty is technical in nature – at least, you’ve got to dispense with the technical issues before you get to some of the political issues – we’ve also brought to the podium, or to the panel today, two of the world’s foremost experts on those technical issues. Dick Garwin is well-known to all of us. He’s been a guiding force in U.S. nuclear weapons policy for decades.

      I’ve looked at Dick’s resume a number of times over the years but I was just astounded to see that he received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago in 1949. So he has been a pillar on these issues for many, many decades. He’s been a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee under three presidents, the Defense Science Board. He’s a recipient of the Enrico Fermi Award, just to name a few of his many accomplishments.

      And he and our other panelist, Lynn Sykes, are active with the National Academy of Sciences and are members of the committee that has, for the past two years, been reviewing the technical issues related to the test ban treaty, a study that I understand is complete and is going through declassification review.

      Lynn Sykes, on stage right – I think that’s right – is with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia. He’s going to be our third panelist. He’s one of the world’s leading experts in the field of geophysics and the verification of nuclear testing. As I said, he’s also on the National Academy committee reviewing the test ban treaty. So we’re going to begin with Ryan Wilcox. And each speaker is going to speak, then we’ll have a chance for your questions and plenty of discussion. Ryan, thanks a lot for coming all this way today. (Applause.)

      RYAN D. WILCOX: You know, before we started here, I’m meeting some new friends and one of them began speaking to me about the Carter administration and some of the issues they worked on with the MX missile. And admittedly – and he could tell – I suppose that I look my age. I am the youngest member of the House of Representatives in the State of Utah.

      I’ve been there for some time working for other representatives and then – I believe I’m the only representative to serve as an intern and run for office in the same year. (Laughter.) And so beat that. No – (laughter). No, this is an interesting issue for Utah. And admittedly, there probably aren’t a lot of my colleagues in Utah that would understand why I would consider speaking at the Arms Control Association meeting.

      One of the things that Senator Casey highlighted this morning – and I wrote down some – I apologize but it’s critical to what I want to talk about today so we’re going to alter my comments somewhat – one of the biggest obstacles is the lack of knowledge by the public and that nuclear security has historically been a bipartisan issue.

      The Utah legislature has passed no less than three specific resolutions over the last decade calling for an end to the use of the Nevada test site. Utah has a long history with nuclear weapons, as you know. The down-winder issue, as it’s termed in our state, has taken over – you know, depending on the estimates that you look at – 250,000 to half-a-million residents from the period of 1945 up to the end of this last century.

      We all know someone that we’ve lost due to this nuclear testing. At least 25 percent of the above-ground tests were larger than Hiroshima. We were told forever by our government that there was nothing to worry about, that nuclear fallout wasn’t a risk, even as Geiger counters were held over children’s heads, their parents concerned about what the readings said and, at the same time, believing.

      I opposed – and I’m a nerd, I admit it; I followed this stuff as a young man – I opposed the original ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty with many of my Republican colleagues for many of the same reasons that I learned as a young man. Admittedly, my first president in my memory was President Ronald Reagan.

      And I followed his career. Honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference between listening to him and listening to a sermon at church. That was my household, okay? I grew up in very conservative Utah. And one of the things that he said that has sort of formed my thinking, and I think a lot of Utahans on this, was that the only value in possessing nuclear weapons is to ensure that they can’t ever be used again.

      I know that I speak for the people everywhere when I say that our dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the earth. There is strength in having – you know, Senator Casey discussed this a little bit – there is at least a perceived strength in having a stockpile.

      Certainly, the threat of using the nuclear weapons has deterred much of the aggression of the Cold War. And I attended elementary school and I remembered seeing – and I’m sure that this was sort of a common experience for many here – the giant nuclear fallout shelter. My school was one of them.

      When I grew up in the mid-’80s, I remember asking my teachers what in the world that was. It wasn’t something that we practiced anymore but it had been something that the community had rallied to, that they’d – you know, the alarms would sound and everybody would run to the basement of the elementary school.

      It’s simply something that much of my generation doesn’t understand. It’s something that we’ve heard about, something that we’ve seen on the news, something that we’ve read about in history books. But for Utahans in general, it’s very different. And I think the key to – a large portion of the key to the successful ratification of the treaty is public education, as Senator Casey talked about. And that has to start – like a lot of other issues when they don’t happen quickly enough in Washington – has to start locally.

      We have to be able to tie the realities of the nuclear threat that we face with the lives of those whom they will affect. It’s not simply that there happens to be this in Utah because we’ve seen the research now. The research shows that the nuclear fallout has spread across every state in the lower 48. You can follow the pattern. Some of the research has been done.

      Ironically, my first Democratic opponent in my first campaign was a friend of mine and he taught at the university I graduated from there in Ogden, Utah, Weber State University. So if you’re seeing this, congratulations, I just called you out at the Arms Control [Association] meeting. (Laughter.) We were friends. He took a sabbatical one year to study this throughout the State of Utah. And so he went around the state meeting with – he’s a sociologist – meeting with the families of those who we’d lost, those who are continually suffering.

      One of our current congressmen right now, Jim Matheson, from Utah – a Democratic colleague there – lost his father. Our current senator who was just elected, Senator Mike Lee, lost his father due to the fallout. And his principal opponent in the primary, Tim Bridgewater, also lost his father, directly caused – and acknowledged that it was caused – by the fallout from this nuclear testing.

      We have to be able to tie the consequences to the citizens so they understand. That’s how they will understand, when they know the consequences. We understand cancer, right? It affects everyone, everywhere. When the rate doubles and triples in a community and it can be tied back to needless suffering, then we’ll get somewhere.

      Now, one of the things that’s been more difficult – and frankly, I didn’t quite expect as big of a challenge in the Utah legislature because of the history, because we’ve passed resolutions essentially – not calling explicitly for ratification of the test ban treaty but calling for the principal parts of it – that we would, ourselves, never again resume testing in Nevada.

      Because we had done that, I expected perhaps more of – naively – an easier ride on that issue. It came down to national security concerns. Utah also has a proud conservative tradition of supporting the military. We have – you know, Hill Air Force Base is an extremely important part not only of our community but our economy.

      Military service is a long, storied tradition in Utah, from the “triple-deuce” (222nd Battalion) in southern Utah and the stories that we learn about them growing up to the current, you know, Camp Williams. And we have so many – just like we have with this nuclear tradition, we also have a strong military tradition. And the last thing that we’d want to see is to put ourselves in a position, in Utah, where we are somehow subjected to the whims of a rogue state, the whims of a madman, as it was discussed dealing with Iran or North Korea.

      And that is principally why I, myself, felt inclined to lobby my own senators against signing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty ratification in the ’90s. Since then, things have changed dramatically, specifically – and I’m glad that we have the experts that we have here tonight – the International Monitoring System. North Korea, as you know, detonated in 2006. I believe we had 20-plus stations register that test.

      In 2009, they did it again; this time, we had over 61 stations that registered that test. We’re at a point now where it’s demonstrably verifiable to identify, to locate, to react to appropriately any further testing. We’re in a position where we’ve detonated over 1,000 nuclear weapons in the Nevada test site alone and we have the data that we need to do that.

      Once Americans – once average citizens across the country understand that we are in fact strengthening our position, militarily; that we are preserving our superiority in this regard; and at the same time, preventing others from developing – rogue states from developing nuclear weapons, or at least testing them, then we’ll understand a world where perhaps we won’t have to worry about it someday.

      There are a lot of things that we could talk about and, frankly, I don’t know that I’m – I’m glad that we have other, you know, scientific experts here. What we did well in the Utah legislature is that we were able to communicate the reality of the consequences of nuclear weapons testing and the reassurance by speaking with – working with, you know, former, now, senator Jake Garn, Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor to President Bush, Ambassador Linton Brooks, who came to Utah and helped us to discuss that with the public – that kind of support that is clearly bipartisan, that clearly communicates this is not a partisan issue, this is not a Republican-Democrat issue.

      I think that is the greatest risk politically for us, is when it falls into, oh, the Democrat administration wants this and so now this is bad for national security and Republicans must oppose. That kind of thinking will lead to a world where we are constantly under the gun, and that can’t be allowed to happen. So I understand this is difficult.

      Honestly, I came back out here in December to work with and try to lobby my own senators in support of New START. And I recognize, you know, Greg Thielmann back there and a few other faces that I can’t remember your names. I appreciate the work that you’ve done. I know it’s hard. Honestly, I didn’t know that it was going to work. (Chuckles.) We were hopeful. You know, we worked on it. We wrote about every op-ed piece and letter and phone call – made every phone call we could.

      But the bottom line is we have to stay on the ball. We can’t stop with New START. We have to see ratification of the nuclear test ban treaty. If that happens, if we continue to work like we have in the past and if we remember that it can’t just be a Washington thing – the pressure has to come from home; we have to start there. So I look forward to working with you in the future and, again, thank you for being here today. (Applause.)

      MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. Dick Garwin, you’re on. Thank you very much for being here with us. When you invite the world’s leading scientists, they bring you the world’s leading PowerPoint presentations. (Laughter.)

      RICHARD GARWIN: Actually, it’s a PDF.

      MR. KIMBALL: A PDF, I’m sorry. (Laughter.) Better than, better than –

      MR. GARWIN: I’m really glad to be here to talk about stockpile stewardship, about nuclear explosion testing. And this talk will be posted at my websites. Here they are.

      (Cross talk.)

      MR. GARWIN: If you don’t remember fas.org/rlg, you can remember www.garwin.us. So this is the mechanism for maintaining the reliability, safety and security of U.S. nuclear weapons without nuclear explosion testing. President Obama has stressed his dedication to this goal – that is, if we’re going to have nuclear weapons, they should be reliable, safe and secure – and also to the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. But he didn’t expect that to be accomplished during his lifetime, or perhaps even the lifetime of his children. So we’ll have nuclear weapons for a long time.

      As this image of the destruction at Hiroshima reminds us, the avoidance of not only nuclear war but of accidental or terrorist nuclear explosions is of critical importance. This was a 20-kiloton nuclear explosion detonated at an altitude to maximize the destruction of buildings. But the devastation in the center of town is not nearly what it would have been, had it been a ground-level explosion. And there was essentially no fallout, which would be very different for a terrorist explosion on the ground.

      In this presentation, I rely heavily upon a paper of January 28th, 2010, posted on my website, “Reliability and Safety of U.S. Nuclear Weapons.” I prepared that for discussion with congressional staffs and posted it immediately after. The points I make in this talk are developed more thoroughly in that paper with references.

      The goals of stockpile stewardship may be summarized by a United Kingdom document of 2002, which, in addition to sketching the program on which the U.K. relies to address nuclear warhead assurance without nuclear test explosions, defines safety and reliability: A safe warhead is benign in all situations other than deliberate detonation. A reliable warhead will act in the prescribed manner when detonated.

      Well, those are absolute goals and we have more quantitative expression of those goals here. Now, all of this is old stuff. I wrote about it and it was on my website in 1995 in a paper with a Russian nuclear weapon developer. But we have to remind ourselves – and even I have to remind myself – of some of the things that go into this paper.

      And the reliability, the security and the safety of U.S. nuclear warheads is astonishing. A modern U.S. nuclear warhead consists of a primary nuclear explosive and a secondary explosive package enclosed in a single radiation case. You know, a nuclear explosive radiation case is smaller than I am, typically – sometimes much smaller.

      The primary obtains its yield from the total fission of a fraction of a kilogram of its plutonium, which energy is used to compress the secondary, which consists of uranium of various enrichments, together with solid thermonuclear fuel, often containing the light isotope of lithium – lithium-6 – and a heavy isotope of hydrogen – deuterium – in the form of lithium deuteride, dubbed “salt.”

      The secondary is in the form of a canned secondary assembly – so you can pick it up, carry it around – for ease of handling and storage and to reduce environmental influences on the materials of the secondary. The secondary provides almost all the yield of the weapon, say 100 kilotons or 350 kilotons or several megatons. The primary nuclear explosive, in turn, consists of a hollow metal shell of steel or other sturdy and heat-resistant material, encasing a shell of plutonium. The whole metal object is known as a pit.

      The pit itself is induced to provide nuclear yield by its implosion by means of high explosion surrounding the pit, which, in turn, is detonated by electrically or optically fired detonators, just like a stick of dynamite. But it costs a lot more – (laughter) – has better quality. At least two simultaneous detonators are required so that accidental detonation of the high-explosive, the HE, at a single point will not provide a nuclear yield.

      The design of the primary must ensure the single-point safety. The plutonium content of U.S. nuclear weapons averages about four kilograms per weapon – about nine pounds. In order to obtain adequate yield and light weight and confined space sufficient to compress and ignite the secondary charge, the primary explosion is boosted by having the hollow pit filled with some grams of deuterium-tritium mixture, which provides neutrons at a rate approximately 100 times that of the D-D – deuterium-deuterium reaction – at the temperatures achieved in a fission bomb.

      So after the plutonium is imploded and begins to make its nuclear yield, then the D-T gas goes off, produces lots of neutrons, which boosts the yield. Since the tritium has a half-life of only about 12 years, tritium gas is stored externally to the physics package in a steel bottle with automatic valves that allow the in-flight injection of deuterium and tritium into the pit, and also the scheduled replacement of the tritium bottles. So that can be done in the field.

      Now to discuss, in sequence, reliability, safety and security. Reliability: It’s entirely reasonable to expect that individual nuclear weapons will gradually or suddenly become less reliable as they age, like a light bulb burning out. Some nuclear weapon parts are routinely reset to zero age, as I’ve implied is the case with the substitution of refilled tritium bottles – screw in another light bulb.

      Other parts outside the physics package, outside the radiation case, can be thoroughly tested without destroying them. Or in some cases, samples are tested to destruction with retrofit to be made if the reliability is questionable. For instance, the arming, firing and fusing system, a responsibility of the Sandia National Laboratories, can be thoroughly tested without nuclear explosion and, in fact, was not ordinarily exercised in the case of underground nuclear explosion tests.

      And there’s also the opportunity, carefully, to install elements of new design if they can be thoroughly demonstrated by independent groups within NNSA and, by actual test not involving a nuclear explosion, to be, in turn, highly reliable. So we could substitute a solid-state radar set for a vacuum-tube radar set or a different power supply for the detonators and, obviously, can only improve the reliability if you haven’t made some foolish mistake.

      The fact that this can be done, of course, does not ensure that it will be done. And there have been and probably are now deficiencies in carrying out this entirely feasible activity. So if it ain’t broke, don’t change it – (chuckles) – is probably a good aphorism. Plutonium metal is highly reactive, chemically, avidly combining with water, air or hydrogen. But in U.S. nuclear weapons, it’s well-protected in the welded-metal-sealed pit.

      The pit, however, does not protect the plutonium against its inherent radioactive decay. Half of it converts, in 24,000 years, to uranium-235, or about .1 percent of the plutonium in 40 years. So if you took away .1 percent of the plutonium from the pit, it wouldn’t be significant loss but the radioactive decay, in itself, is a problem because the energetic helium nucleus – the alpha particle produced – gives substantial recoil to the U-235 product of radioactive decay.

      The recoil moves the uranium-235 many atomic positions in the plutonium metal crystal and, in the process, displaces about 2,000 plutonium atoms from their positions. Furthermore, the alpha particle instantly acquires two electrons from its surroundings, becomes a helium atom and the helium atoms can agglomerate into high-pressure micro-bubbles of helium.

      It was therefore a matter of some surprise and great relief when NNSA announced in 2006 that, so long after the 1999 CTBT debate, overall the weapons laboratory studies assessed that the majority of plutonium pits from most nuclear weapons have minimum lifetimes of at least 85 years. And also they said the JASON study concludes that most plutonium pit types have credible lifetimes of at least 100 years, while other pit types of less than 100 years of projected stability have mitigations either proposed or being implemented.

      And that compared with 45 years, which was the nominal lifetime that people were talking about at that time. So it gave us another 55 years from 40 years ago, which is a long time – long enough to have a CTBT. (Laughter.) The other metals of the pit – steel, perhaps beryllium, et cetera – do not have the special aging problem and are not a concern for aging for the 85 or 100 years for which the plutonium is expected to remain viable.

      But the metal pit is not the primary explosive package, by far. The high-explosive shell, itself, is not a single compound but a mixture, usually include plasticizer, and can, with time, crack, become inhomogeneous, emit vapors and the like. The crucial detonators can, fortunately, be tested and are. Identical detonators to those used in the nuclear weapons are routinely tested as they age – many, many of them each year.

      The ones in the nuclear weapons, within the physics package, are exposed to a somewhat different environment and those can be assessed by the detailed stockpile stewardship – stockpile surveillance in the Stockpile Stewardship Program. The program has long been designed to detect, with 90 percent probability, the potential failure of 10 percent of the nuclear weapons in a time less than two years.

      To do so, 11 samples of each type of nuclear explosive are temporarily removed from the inventory and brought back for inspection by radiography and partial disassembly. One example of each type is totally disassembled and cut up so that the detonators and high explosive and other parts can be assessed and even fired.

      As might be expected, there have been many so-called significant finding investigations – SFIs – most of them not within the physics package. About one-third of these become actionable findings. Some SFIs within the physics package itself, uncorrected, could have prevented proper operation of the nuclear explosive. Most of these have been design flaws, some discovered late in life, which contributed to unreliability from the time the weapons were put into service.

      Specifically, from a very useful 1996 Sandia report – and it’s puzzling that a more recent summary is not available – from 1958 to 1995, some 14,000 weapons were tested, assessed, yielding 1200 SFIs – one for every 12 weapons – from which there came 400 actionable finings – about 3 percent of the weapons tested.

      Of these, 300 related to the non-nuclear components and 110 to the nuclear explosive package – 13 to the secondary, 97 to the primary. Overall, some 118 of these 1200 SFIs resulted in retrofits and major design changes. Finally, from the GAO report of 1996, 1.3 percent of the 14,000 weapons had failures that would have prevented the weapon from operating as intended.

      Since 1996, the scientific basis for stockpile stewardship has been much strengthened with focused experiment, analyses and computer simulation so that it’s clear that the Stockpile Stewardship Program, with which we now have 17 years of experience in pretty much its current form, is doing a good job in maintaining the reliability of the nuclear weapons. We never did use nuclear testing for maintain reliability but for developing new types of nuclear weapons and other purposes.

      How about safety? It’s long been the criterion for U.S. nuclear weapons that, under ordinary operation, the probability of an unintended detonation should be less than one part per billion per weapon lifetime. And in an accident such as a fuel fire, the probability of detonation should be less than one in one million.

      Nuclear weapon design is strongly constrained by such requirements and nuclear weapon concepts have sometimes involved the separation of the plutonium core from the high explosive until the weapon is about to be used, as was the case with the Nagasaki plutonium-implosion bomb. Alternatively, the explosive could be extruded into place after the weapon is launched.

      The scattering of plutonium in an accident, although serious, is a far lesser concern than is the prevention of an unintended nuclear yield. To this end, U.S. nuclear weapons have long been fitted with enhanced nuclear detonation systems – ENDS – designed so that even a lightning strike on a nuclear weapon cannot produce nuclear yield.

      Evidently contributing to safety is a substitution of insensitive high explosive – so-called HIE – for conventional high explosive – CHE – in order to prevent detonation by shrapnel or a bullet if the weapon is fired upon in transit. Since the late 1950s, much effort has been expended in tests and analyses to ensure that U.S. nuclear weapons are one-point safe against detonation of the high explosive at the most unfavorable point. No matter where you shoot it with a bullet, it will not give a nuclear yield.

      It would be desirable, though, to ensure that the weapon is multi-point safe so that even several points of simultaneous detonation – firing all of the detonators in the high explosive – could not produce nuclear yield. In the extreme, it is of course feasible to make a nuclear weapon that will not produce yield, even against precision and simultaneous firing of the detonators, which could be done – and has been done – by filling the pit with enough inert material, such as wire or pellets, to keep the system even from reaching nuclear criticality.

      This is not done universally because of the tradeoff among risk mitigation, reliability and operational constraints. Nuclear weapons safety is a primary responsibility of the weapon laboratories – Los Alamos, Livermore and the Sandia National Laboratories at Albuquerque and at Livermore.

      Nuclear weapon surety is a term used to encompass both safety and security. Although the design and manufacture of nuclear weapons is the responsibility of U.S. DOE – and more specifically, the National Nuclear Security Administration, NNSA – the actual use of nuclear weapons is a responsibility of the U.S. Strategic Command – STRATCOM – under a chain of command from the president through the secretary of defense.

      Indeed, physical control over nuclear weapons is transferred to the Department of Defense and its agencies until weapons are returned to NNSA control for refurbishing or dismantlement. NNSA and DOD have highly capable people involved in the planning and execution of nuclear weapon security tasks, about which there’s even more than the usual tension over public discussion.

      The introduction of the permissive action link – the PAL – to U.S. weapons in the 1960s is an example of a major improvement that could be implemented, evidently, without nuclear testing. But as the threat evolves, nuclear security measures must also change. Evidently, theft of U.S. nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union is no longer a leading concern for U.S. security measures.

      But the demonstrated willingness and goal of terrorist groups to inflict enormous damage on society, including the use of suicide as an enabler, has evidently demanded a response. Over the years, weapon safety has been improved by the substitution of insensitive high explosives for the conventional plastic-bonded explosives that have been the mainstay in nuclear weapon primaries.

      HIE has also enabled improved security, in principle allowing energetic measures to defeat attacks on the nuclear weapon itself. Serious evaluation of the weapon security situation compels a look at not only external but internal threats, including threats to kill or torture family members of those with legitimate access to nuclear weapons. There are examples during the Irish troubles over the years.

      And responses to security analyses must take into account the enormous range of consequences of terrorist access to a U.S. or other nuclear weapon, ranging from full-yield detonation in a city at a time and place of terrorist choice through detonation in place of a weapon in transit, perhaps resulting in a small fraction of the planned explosive yield to damage that might be done by the security measures themselves that successfully prevent terrorist access to an intact weapon.

      So how about the future of U.S. stockpile stewardship? The reliability, safety and security of U.S. nuclear weapons is satisfactory, as evidenced by the annual assessment letters of the heads of the U.S. nuclear weapon laboratories and the commander of STRATCOM. But to carry this forward in the future requires competent and dedicated personnel and facilities. The system can be imperiled in many ways, from being a political football to demands for ever-increasing capabilities that, paradoxically, might lead to less-safe nuclear weapons.

      As has happened in other major government programs, over-promising and over-commitment can imperil the more mundane goals of reliability, safety and security. To argue that enormous investments are required just because we know how to make nuclear weapons safer and more secure than they are now is to ignore not only the enormous marginal costs per unit of improvement in weapons safety and security, but also ignores feasible options for obtaining improved safety and security without significant modification of existing weapons.

      It is just such an analysis that is an essential responsibility of both Department of Defense and of NNSA, to which they seem to be committed. Thus far, I’ve discussed stockpile stewardship in the light of the four goals of reliability, safety, security and preserving the capability into the future.

      It’s also instructive to take a cross-cutting view and to illustrate some of the tools that might contribute to several of these goals. For instance, Livermore has built the National Ignition Facility – NIF. Los Alamos has developed and deployed the Dual-Access Radiographic Hydro Test Facility – DARHT. And Sandia has built, used and upgraded the z-pinch machine – ZR.

      The U.S. nuclear weapon program benefited from the very first by a capability to use short-pulse, high-voltage electron accelerators but you can’t do that for the full-up pit; it will explode. To image sectors of a pit or small-scale plates or shapes driven by high explosive involves no risk of nuclear yield but if done with plutonium, must confidently contain the plutonium so it’s not scattered to produce a radiological hazard.

      The proton radiography facility – PRAD – at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center can provide multiple x-ray-like images during a single implosion, as can DARHT, and is capable of using plutonium. Together with bench-scale experiments, these major facilities give valuable information on the properties of materials at the extreme conditions found only in nuclear weapons and also lead to understanding the difficult but crucial questions of the mixing of adjacent materials in the weapon.

      Many PRAD and DARHT images are of explosively driven implosions that use lead or other heavy metals, such as uranium, as a simulant for plutonium. The most powerful and flexible tool for stockpile stewardship, aside from the human mind, intuition and spirit, is advanced computer simulation, which has developed enormously over the past 15 years by a factor of a million, almost.
      However, experiment, peer review and images, in particular, help to keep both simulation and humans honest and contribute to the store of both information and humility in the program. So that’s the story – a considerable update since 1999. And more on my website and in other papers there. Thank you.

      MR. KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Dick. (Applause.) When I said that were we were going to pursue a fact-based analysis of the technical issues of the test ban treaty, I wasn’t kidding. Thank you very much for that thorough overview. And I’ll just take a moment to get Dr. Sykes set up here. Great. All right. Lynn Sykes, take it away.

      LYNN SYKES: Okay, thank you very much. Need to get this to move.

      MR. KIMBALL: We can maintain the nuclear arsenal, but I don’t know about this. (Laughter.)

      (Off-side conversation.)

      MR. KIMBALL: Shall we take a two-minute break, Jeff?

      MR. ABRAMSON(?) : Nope, it’s good now.

      MR. KIMBALL: Okay. Okay. Thank you.

      MR. SYKES: Okay, I would like to give you a sense that monitoring has gone on for 60 years. I’ve been part of that for about 55 years. I remind you that earthquake studies, seismology, is the main technology for detecting, locating and identifying underground tests. And it’s those that were not banned by the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963.

      I’d like to give you just a quick overview that much progress has been made in seismic detection and identification in the last decade and, for example, since the time the Senate last considered this in 1999. I’d also like to then show, or tell you, that no country that has signed the treaty is known to have tested since the treaty was signed in September, 1996.

      Of course, tests by other countries that did not sign the treaty – India, Pakistan and North Korea – have been easily identified. And I will show you some examples. First, I’d like to discuss two common misconceptions in the United States. And they’ve particularly been portrayed by those that are against the test ban treaty.

      And one is that the comprehensive test ban organization in Vienna and its International Monitoring System is responsible for identifying seismic events – and of course, there are many that are earthquakes – but identifying those that are nuclear explosions, earthquakes or chemical explosions. And a second misconception is that the international organization should deal with evasive testing, such as testing in a large underground cavity, called decoupling.

      And neither of these is correct. The treaty specifies that seismic event identification is the responsibility of national CTBT authorities. And of course, we have an active one in the United States. The United States does not rely upon the Vienna organization to decide if a particular event was a nuclear explosion or earthquake. However, of course, within an hour or so in Vienna, with the first North Korean explosion in 2006, there was no doubt that, that’s what it was to many people there.

      But nevertheless, this decision was, under the treaty, left to individual countries. The U.S., then, can concentrate on countries of particular concern to it, whereas the international organization has to take a world view. And of course, the United States has many other additional resources, satellite imagery being one of them and determinations using certain types of radar images as a new technology that Vienna does not employ for detecting very small changes, particularly in vertical motion.

      Okay. I just want to give you a sense of the huge number of stations that exist of various types. The red ones are seismic. And most of these are now installed and they have also been certified. I might mention that one thing that could be done – that India and Pakistan, not signing the treaty, have not allowed stations to operate by the Vienna group within their country and send data out.

      So at least one small step might be to try to move to get India and Pakistan to do this. And for example, if they did this, they’d be able to get data from the international monitoring station in Oman and many other stations. So I think there are benefits. They could then, of course, have the benefit of getting data from the other country more readily than monitoring it from their own territory.

      But this is not the only thing that exists. There are now hundreds of very sensitive seismic stations, both single stations and arrays of stations, that operate beyond the comprehensive test ban organization in Vienna. And this shows many of them here. These data are now transmitted in a different manner than the comprehensive test ban organization’s but to a central facility in which seismologists all over the world, and others that are interested, can get these data in nearly real time.

      And some of my colleagues, in fact, specialize in working up all of the moderate and larger spikes on a worldwide basis using these data. So it’s important to realize that for both of these types of data that I showed, we now have data not only from Russia and China, as Senator Casey mentioned, but two or three other very important countries – for example, stations in Mongolia, stations in Kazakhstan.

      And Kazakhstan, now of course being an independent country, has been very receptive to stations of various types within their country, and for more than a decade. There are many new stations that have been put in, in the Middle East, as well. Ukraine is another station. So in terms of monitoring, Russia and China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, other countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union have capabilities that are readily available.

      Here, I’d like to give you a sense of one of the things that has been accomplished, in this case with the first North Korean explosion. This was one that was quite small – somewhere a little bit less than one kiloton. There are three wiggly lines here of which the red is the first North Korean test. The two others are small earthquakes.

      And I merely point out to you that the waves over here marked SN and LG are very large for the earthquakes; they’re very small for the nuclear test, whereas the first waves over there are quite large for the nuclear test but not for the earthquakes – ones of about the same size, here. So this is something in which these high-frequency data have allowed us to extend down monitoring to a much smaller level.

      And it’s been particularly important for countries in which these waves are transmitted quite readily; they are not attenuated. And places that are like this include most of the – most of Russia, the Russian Arctic test site, the Chinese test site in western China, the Indian test site. So this is something that is a technology that is now very widely used. It just didn’t come on instantaneously, but it has gradually improved.

      I’d like to give you a snapshot, here, of monitoring of the Russian test site at Novaya Zemlya, the Arctic test site. You can see it’s at very high latitude, farther north, in fact, than the northernmost point in Alaska. But there are several arrays of stations that are part of the international monitoring system, but also, anyone can go online and, from the Norwegian center, you can get these data.

      They also locate many other events in Scandinavia, Finland and the adjacent parts of Russia, the Kola Peninsula – in fact, get data from Russian stations in the Kola Peninsula. But these are arrays of instruments, in which they can form a beam. And in fact, these beams are made something like every five minutes to monitor what the noise is like.

      And we can see – and I will come back to what magnitude two, or a little bit larger, is – that they, even though are at moderate distances from the Russian test site, they can monitor it down to magnitude two or a little bit larger than that. And this is, in fact, a technology that can be used for monitoring other places. You can monitor the Chinese test site using similar procedures. And this group in Norway has been quite instrumental in doing that. And the United States and Norway, as NATO allies, have worked very much on both submarine detection and also nuclear detection.

      Okay, and now this is a little bit a busy slide, but I’d like to give you the sense of where do we stand, particularly with the Soviet Union, of monitoring the area in the general vicinity of their test site, Arctic test site. This figure is from Ketterer, of data when the U.S. was testing in the early to mid-1980s showing the frequency of U.S. tests as a function of yield. I remind you that this is a logarithmic scale so it goes over a factor of 10,000, from the smallest number down there up to the limit of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty over here.

      So, as Ketterer argues, here is a very important peak in U.S. testing that was done. You can see a similar peak when you calibrate Russian testing, with a few other smaller tests that are smaller. And so up at the top represents events that have been shown to be – except for the Ukrainian 1979, all of those are earthquakes that are shown here in blue.

      So if we go back 40 years ago, there were a few events that were deemed difficult to identify out of the many thousands, in fact, that were picked up and recorded. And of course, the problem with monitoring underground explosions is dealing with all of the earthquakes that happen. So it’s making sure that you can identify that occasional explosion that could be buried like a needle in a haystack. And we are doing this very successfully.

      In the late 1960s, we did work on a series of events that were claimed to be difficult to identify and, with some special work, were able to show that all of those were earthquakes. The British group, in working on verification, has been very instrumental, also, in working and publishing. That Kara Sea event in 1986 was something that was leaked to the press as being a difficult-to-identify event.

      And I think there’s no question that the British work convinced, as far as I know, everyone that it was, in fact, an earthquake. And it was out in the Kara Sea. It was not at the Soviet test site. If we come down to the Kara Sea 1997 event, which, in fact, was claimed in the United States to be a Russian explosion at their test site, again, a lot of data and data provided largely by stations in Scandinavia and Finland had a lot to do with being able to positively identify those events as being earthquakes. And in fact, one was an aftershock of the other.

      Also, these high-frequency tests that I showed with the North Korean explosion have also been able to show, in addition, that these were earthquakes and that they were out in the Kara Sea and not the Soviet test site. Over the last 10 years, there have been two small events in Novaya Zemlya, one in the very far north, hundreds of miles north of the Russian test site, and one – a small event – that was in the general vicinity of the Russian test site.

      But these high-frequency techniques showed that, in fact, those were earthquakes and not explosions. This is, as far as I know, then, the first case in which these did not get leaked to the press as being possible or definitive Russian explosions.

      So I think that down to quite a small level – and that magnitude two or a little bit larger is what I’ve shown up there as Novaya Zemlya 2009 tamped, in which no attempt is made at evasion – we are now down at a very small level, using those special arrays, of monitoring that test site. And the others that are shown in green are the two explosions involved in the sinking of the Kursk submarine in the Barents Sea in this general area 11 years ago.

      Okay, I think in the interest of time, I will not say very much about the subject of evasion. The subject of decoupling always comes up. It’s not a new technology. It’s something, in fact, that was first proposed in 1959. And it’s amazing, in fact, of how little data there is of nuclear explosions that have been tested with the decoupling concept in mind.

      And one was the U.S. explosion Sterling in 1996. It was a .38-kiloton explosion, so it was much less than one kiloton. The vertical axis here is by how large a signal amplitude do you degrade the seismic signals by decoupling. That Sterling explosion achieved about a factor of 70.

      Down here at the bottom are two data points for one Russian partially decoupled explosion in an area called Azghir that’s now in Kazakhstan. And you can see that the decoupling factor there was much less. The horizontal axis that I’ve shown here is the yield divided by the yield that Albert Latter proposed 60 years ago for being what is needed to fully decouple an explosion. So we can see here that the data points, few as they are, indicate that there’s a very rapid fall-off so, in fact, you cannot use a fairly small hole and put a fairly large explosion in it.

      And so this is different than the two different code calculations that have been made that indicate that you could achieve a larger decoupling factor or muffling factor going out to numbers, here, that are larger than that number two for the Sterling explosion. And I think the reason for this is that the modelers have not adequately taken into account the material surrounding the cavities of cracks and joints and other things that geologists are well-familiar with.

      Okay. So I will leave it with this, with decoupling. But I think that it’s important to realize that a country that would attempt to do decoupling has to deal with a whole range of factors if they want to do a decoupled test, do it successfully without being detected. And in fact, then, of course, the seismic networks have improved down to the point in which it’s not going to be possible to do something of one kiloton or 10 kilotons and fully decouple it.

      We do not have data, for example, on a nuclear explosion in hard rock. It’s much more difficult to mine a cavity in hard rock and to ensure containment. So a very important factor with monitoring is having radiological monitoring that could detect, for example, xenon isotopes that could escape from a decoupled test. And in fact, many of the Russian tests that were not decoupled at their Arctic test site, in fact, are known to have leaked in the past. So thank you. (Applause.)

      MR. KIMBALL: Thanks to all of you for those presentations. We’ve got a lot of material before us. We have about 20, 25 minutes before we break for lunch for questions from the audience. And as you think of your questions and my staff gets the microphones ready to take your questions, let me just remind everybody that outside on the table, amongst the materials from the Arms Control Association, is a report that Tom Collina, our research director, led the way on that we published in February of 2010.

      That covers a lot of these issues relating to improvements in the Stockpile Stewardship Program and verification and monitoring and the effect of the test ban treaty on limiting the nuclear capabilities of other countries. So that’s out there on the table. There’s also a website that we created last year as part of the Project for the CTBT that I would encourage you all to check out if you didn’t see that the first time.

      It’s just www.projectforthectbt.org. And we use that to provide information about developments and news on the test ban treaty debate. So let me open up the floor to comments and questions from the distinguished audience out there. And we have someone in the middle. Yes, Nick, right there.

      Q: It’s Jim Ranney, the Project for Nuclear Awareness, Philadelphia. I have a question for Congressman Wilcox. I’m wondering if you shared your hero, Ronald Reagan’s, views on nuclear disarmament. And the reason it comes to mind, especially, by the way is that just yesterday I received a correspondence back – I’m writing a book review essay for the New York Review of Books on eliminating nuclear weapons.

      And I had a quotation that’s attributed to George Shultz, to the effect that, what’s so great about a world that can be blown up in 30 minutes, which is what he said when he was challenged by the neoconservatives when Reagan came back from Reykjavik. And so I was calling to find out where I could find the citation to that because I’d seen it numerous times, I’ve memorized it and so on.

      And the staff person responded yesterday and said that he couldn’t remember the book, either, but he knew it was something he had picked up – he knew it was repeating what Ronald Reagan had said numerous times, which was a new item of historical information for me. So I’m curious if you support his views in that respect.

      MR. WILCOX: I don’t know that I can give you the citation for that quote. (Laughter.) I’ve heard that before, as well. You know, I think that was one of his – you know, as he spent so much time negotiating with Gorbachev on this – you mentioned Reykjavik, specifically. The original genesis of the original START treaty, I think, was one of those things in his presidency that was a personal issue for him. It wasn’t just the political victory of the Cold War. He understood that.

      You know, the work that I have been able to do with former senator Jake Garn from Utah who was – I don’t know if you remember or not, but he was one of the – or I guess the first senator, I should say, to orbit earth from a space shuttle. Senator Garn talks about looking down upon the earth, and you don’t see borders, and about how, you know, he’s carried warheads.

      He fought – you know, he was a fighter pilot. And about the things that we do to one another – I think that President Reagan, when I read and listen to his speeches, and Senator Garn and that perspective of, really, the sort of world we’re left with from the nuclear legacy, I guess the short answer is yes.

      MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. Others, yes? Right over here, if you could identify yourself, please.

      Q: Hi, I’m Pete Sprunger. I’m currently unaffiliated but I’ll be starting with the Department of Energy in June. A question for Dr. Sykes regarding your very last slide: Could you give an estimate on the uncertainties on the data you showed relevant to the – of the models? And on top of that, you mentioned that there are – they didn’t take into account certain aspects of the cavity. Do you have an estimate of how small the uncertainties could get, considering some of the inherent unknowns of the cavity state and the cavity shape?

      MR. SYKES: Well, these crucial, partially decoupled Russian explosions – and I think we have good estimates that they’re somewhere – that one explosion between eight and 10 kilotons. Those red symbols represent, the size of those, about the uncertainty of making those measurements at large distance. There were some closer-in measurements that were made, up to 110 kilometers, but have more uncertainty. But those are indicated by those bars.

      So I think the important thing is that, given this very small amount of information we have on decoupled nuclear explosions, that this drops off very rapidly from full decoupling – so if you don’t have a cavity that’s suitable for full decoupling, you’re going to make larger seismic signals.

      And even, in fact, in 1976, there were many open stations that detected that partially decoupled explosion. And certainly today, it would be detected by many, many tens of stations. So this is quite some time ago that we have this data. One of the problems with decoupling is that proponents can argue that many things can be done – and do so – but it’s in fact based on a very small database of explosions.

      MR. KIMBALL: And Lynn, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think everyone should just remember, for context, that the Sterling test from 1966 was conducted near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is that not correct, in the Tatum Salt Dome, I think it was. I think that’s – so not all the nuclear test explosions were taking place in the Nevada test site. In 1966, I was living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, so I didn’t realize at the time, but it’s just a reminder that there have been as many nuclear test explosions in the State of Mississippi as in North Korea.

      MR. SYKES: Well – (laughter) – so it’s important, also, to remember these two explosions were set off in the cavities created by larger nuclear explosions – ones that had to be about 10 times larger to produce a cavity in salt. And we know about these larger explosions, or moderate-size ones, that happened in the Soviet Union that were part of their so-called peaceful explosion program. And many of those, in fact, were in Kazakhstan and no longer are in the Russian republic.

      So people have proposed setting off explosions in cavities that are mined in salt, particularly by solution mining, but we’ve not had the experience so I believe that any country attempting this has to take into account the very many unknowns, as well as the much better capabilities of monitoring today.

      MR. KIMBALL: All right. I think we’ve got a couple questions here. The gentleman – that gentleman will do, yes.

      Q: Nick Roth, Union of Concerned Scientists. My question is for Dr. Garwin. Last week at a Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, deputy administrator for defense programs Don Cook referenced a pit corrosion problem with the W78 warhead. My question for you is, how significant a problem is this and are the options that NNSA is looking at to address them, in your mind, appropriate?

      MR. GARWIN: So the question is pit corrosion in the particular W78 type of warhead. Well, I think that you will find out that it’s not a serious problem. We have, of course, reduced very greatly the number of nuclear weapons in our active stockpile. And the nuclear weapons no longer fly around so, from the point of view of safety and security, we are in much better shape. From the point of view of reliability, we have these assessment techniques. And I know about that problem and I predict that it will come out okay.

      MR. KIMBALL: We have a question here – Mr. Corden – a little further up here, Fredi.

      Q: Pierce Corden with the American Association for Advancement of Science. Two brief comments and then one question. The first comment is that, as far as the general value of the CTBT goes, I don’t think it should be ignored that at least two of the established nuclear weapon states, France and China, are not parties to the Limited Test Ban Treaty. So in particular, were China, at this point, to conclude that it really needed to do something in the atmosphere, it has no legal constraint against doing so.

      The second comment has to do with the decoupling issue and the role of the international – well, not really the International Monitoring System, itself, but the test ban organization. Data collected from any event – let’s say a seismic event in which there was some evidence collected from an otherwise seismically decoupled explosion – that data is, of course, provided to any state that wishes to have it, but there are other technical technologies available.

      And then as far as the treaty goes and pursuing something like that, you have the treaty’s provision that national technical means can be brought to bear in seeking an on-site inspection, as well as the data from the International Monitoring System, and both of those could lead to the resolution of that ambiguity, let’s say from a low-yield, decoupled evasion attempt. And finally, on that point, the treaty provides a mandatory requirement for consultation and clarification in a situation like that.

      The question, then, has to do with the utility of civil seismic data. And here, I’d be interested in Dr. Garwin and Dr. Sykes’ views. My impression is that there is no readily available estimate of the capabilities of the civil seismic stations that we have seen in the illustration from Dr. Sykes. We know there’s many, many stations but so far as I know, there’s no generally published calculation as to how good those stations actually are compared with, say, the understanding that we have of the capabilities of the International Monitoring System. So I’d be interested in your thoughts on that.

      MR. SYKES: Yes, let me address that latter point. For example, the 2009 North Korean explosion, the second one – very quickly, the U.S. Geological Survey got out an estimate of their location; the International Monitoring System did the same. They each had about 100 stations and most of them are not common stations. So you can see that the federation data were very good that got reported openly to the U.S. Geological Survey and were used there.

      Also, the identifications that were made there used data not from the IMS but from these international stations. So those wiggly lines that I showed you for the first North Korean explosion were from either a station in South Korea or the nearest station was in China, of which those data were available right away to the international community.

      MR. KIMBALL: Dick, did you want to comment on that?

      MR. GARWIN: Yeah. You know, it’s a large world and a lot of work to take all of these stations and ask what their capability is for any event of different sizes and various depths against noise. Now, if you would limit that to ask what is the capability of the informal networks against the test sites, that would be an easier question and that’s not something that the International Monitoring System is going to answer because they do not focus on the test sites. They look for explosions – try to characterize explosions anywhere in the world. So I suppose if somebody gave a small amount of money, people could study these for the test sites.

      MR. SYKES: I might say, in fact, that for the Vienna meeting in 2009, a colleague of mine, Meredith Nettles, and I were able to get the data from the International Monitoring System for nine years of recordings and reports from seven different test sites or former test sites, in which we got data on events that the International Monitoring System had located within 100 kilometers of these seven test sites.

      And we worked on these and we were able to identify each one of these as being an earthquake. That’s not the whole world, but very clearly, the United States is more interested in what China, India, Russia are doing than what El Salvador or Paraguay is doing.

      MR. KIMBALL: Really? Okay. (Laughter.)

      MR. GARWIN: In response to the question, China did sign the Limited Test Ban Treaty in September, 1996, although it has not ratified. So it’s in the same position with the LTBT as it is with the CTBT.

      MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. We’ve got a question right here. Yes, sir?

      Q: Dave Hafemeister from California. Just a historical comment: The NPT and the CTBT are inexorably linked. When the NPT was about to crash because it was running out of time in 1995, the P5 all promised that they would go ahead and ratify a treaty without a time limit. And of course, that hasn’t happened and so if you value the NPT then you have to think about how the CTBT couples in. Thank you.

      MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. I think we have someone right in front of you, Freddy. Thank you. And then we’ll move over here.

      Q: I’m Kathy Robinson with Women’s Action for New Directions. And thank you, Representative Wilcox, for being here today and for lobbying hard on the START treaty. And I want to ask you about your very successful and impressive efforts, along with Representative Seelig’s. She’s one of our women state legislator members so I felt obligated to mention her. (Laughter.)

      But do you have any tips for us or ideas about how the debate happened when you had your resolution to encourage the ratification of the test ban treaty? So if we wanted other legislatures in Nevada or maybe Mississippi to do this, what should we do?

      MR. WILCOX: Thank you. Yeah, you know, I think that was probably one of those things I left out when I started quoting Senator Casey. And so it’s good that you mentioned Representative Seelig because she certainly would have punished me later. (Laughter.) No, to answer your question, I think that’s sort of what I was hoping that you would get out of my comments. (Chuckles.)

      You know, we were talking just a moment ago about some tests that – you know, was it Mississippi, you said – there have been as many there as in North Korea. The key to that, I think, is to recognize the political realities in each state. In our case, where we had this history of the down-winders, it was important for us to bring them to the committee hearings, those who are still surviving, who are still fighting their cancer battles, family members, et cetera.

      But again, the key wasn’t so much – and this sort of caught me off guard – it was recognizing that, including some key committee members there in the legislature – that they saw the sacrifices of their own family members – they reconciled it, in their own minds, as part of their sacrifice for the war effort. So my mother died and served her country by dying – by, you know, giving up – this was her part of the contribution.

      And there were things like that, that we just hadn’t considered. And as we addressed and sort of honored the sacrifice that had been laid out, recognizing, at the time, that it’s easy for us to say, well, the government just lied about the – what existed there at the time. Honestly, I think as a nation, we didn’t really understand it, either. We saw this new technology, this new weapon that would allow us to end World War II and virtually guaranteed superiority militarily with the Cold War and it was a hard thing for us to wrap our heads around.

      But the political reality in each state is very different. So those are the things we dealt with in Utah and had to adjust to. The debate has to be framed according to what reality exists in each individual state. So whether that’s a conservative Republican area where we need to talk a lot more about national security interests and how the CTBT strengthens our superiority, militarily, or whether that’s something, you know, in a completely different state – maybe California – where different personalities and different ideology hold sway. It has to be directed at that particular state.

      MR. KIMBALL: All politics is local, as they say. I think we’ve got time for a couple more questions. Why don’t we take these questions and then we’ll have the panelists answer. So I think, Nick, if you could come over here to the right side, over here. The gentleman in the front with the – right here. Raise your hand, Larry. Okay. Yeah, raise your hand so we know where to go. Thank you.

      Q: Larry Weiler. I’m a Utah native so I’d like to ask Representative Wilcox – I’d like to make a suggestion and ask a question. The suggestion is that you get the tombstone speech of Senator Dirksen that he made in the Senate ratification debate on the Limited Test Ban Treaty for all of your Republican colleagues to read. There’s a certain emotionalism in that speech that you don’t normally get in Senate speeches.

      The question to you is that – for two of us here who are negotiating the test ban in London half a century ago, never give up, so my question to you is what you think the chances are, given the particular background of the Utah view of this subject, of getting some votes out of your two senators?

      MR. KIMBALL: All right. You get a second to think about that. We’ve got another question over here, please. Please raise your hand so Nick can find you.

      Q: I’m Steve Kulecki with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Representative Wilcox, I was very taken with the kind of health argument wedded to the national security argument that was very effective. I’m also just wondering, as a religious leader, we also make arguments about the ultimate use of weapons – you know, about the indiscriminate and disproportionate nature of weapons.

      And I’m wondering what sway, sort of, moral arguments might have had in Utah, or that you think might have, or did any religious leaders in the state speak from a moral perspective of, you know, trying to move away from the threat of indiscriminate and disproportionate weapons?

      MR. WILCOX: Okay. Those are good questions, thank you. Larry, thank you for the suggestion. I’ll definitely look that up. But I think the second one is the key. And you know, right now, we have Senator Hatch and Senator Mike Lee who represent the State of Utah with very different political expectations and despite their similar ideology. Senator Lee is at the beginning of a six-year term. Senator Hatch is at the end of his, what, fourth? He was elected the year before I was born.

      So Senator Hatch wants to get re-elected and this is part of what I’m talking about when I answered the question earlier about the political reality in each state. If Senator Hatch feels enough momentum and pressure from his home state from his own constituents urging ratification of the treaty, then there’s a possibility of that happening. But until that happens – until that homegrown pressure, either from the legislature or from, simply, his own constituents – unfortunately, a lot of these decisions, I think, are based on those who want to keep their jobs, a lot of the time.

      Senator Lee is at the very beginning of this. He’s sent some mixed signals regarding, you know, New START and CTBT, et cetera. Publicly, there have been different positions. And that’s where policymakers like myself, who represent large chunks of his own constituency and groups who are interested and understand the intricacies of both the national security and health arguments that we’ve talked about need to come into play.

      We have to make our voices heard. It’s been fun – I’m from the same hometown as General Brent Scowcroft and so it’s been fun to use him – he’s an old friend of Senator Hatch – to put some pressure on with some of these issues. But it’s a difficult thing. Again, it has to be sort of an organic pressure from home, sort of a thing. They want to keep their jobs. And in the end, I think that kind of home pressure is what’s going to win the day.

      There are – to answer the second question, you know, I don’t know that I expected a lot of that, as far as the religious factor coming into play, other than it was effective personally for those – I mean, Utah is obviously predominantly LDS – the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of which I am an active member. Representative Seelig happens to be a Methodist and a Democrat and so it was important for us to stand together to show that it wasn’t a partisan issue.

      And that was specifically designed to show that it wasn’t a – you know, one religion or another religion or a Democrat-Republican. Though there weren’t any specific endorsements, religious groups were certainly active in supporting us and quite vocal in lobbying other legislators. We had a lot of support and I think that there is a significant contribution to be made on this issue by the religious community, so I’m glad that you’re here. But yeah, there wasn’t a specific endorsement, any sort of thing. But definitely behind the scenes, very, very much so.

      MR. KIMBALL: Well, I think that’s a great question and note to end on. We’re at the end of our time here before lunch. I want to really thank each of the panelists for the richness of this discussion. We all, in this room, have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of things to think about, about how we update and refresh and refine the arguments and the answers to the questions about the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

      Representative Wilcox, I think, has brought us a fresh and important perspective and, Dick Garwin and Lynn Sykes, thank you always for your solid analysis, year in and year out. And we’re going to be needing your help in the months ahead as we take the case for this test ban treaty back, again, to the people who need to decide. So join me in thanking everybody.


      Just a couple of quick housekeeping items: We have a buffet lunch set up outside here on the south side. There is set up – there is another on the north side so form two lines, come back in, enjoy your lunch and your conversations. Undersecretary of State Tauscher should be with us a little before 12:30 so we’ll try to get moving again around 12:20, 12:25. So we’re adjourned until then. Thanks.

      (END) Back to top




      KEYNOTE 2



      TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011

      Transcript by
      Federal News Service
      Washington, D.C.

      DARYL KIMBALL: Ladies and gentlemen, if I could just ask you to wind up your conversations.

      Welcome back. Daryl Kimball from the Arms Control Association – I hope you enjoyed your lunch, your conversations with your colleagues.

      And as we heard this morning from State Representative Ryan Wilcox and Dr. Garwin and Dr. Sykes, the national security case for the test ban treaty would appear to be stronger than it ever was. And there’s growing recognition that – by Democrats and Republicans that it’s an essential part of a 21st century U.S. nonproliferation strategy.

      And you know, it’s been many years since the United States stopped nuclear test explosions, approaching 20. It was in 1996 when the treaty was was opened for signature. But the treaty will not enter into force without U.S. leadership. The U.S. was the first to sign the treaty. The remaining states in many cases are waiting for the United States to move forward. We’ve seen the beginnings of that with President Obama’s Prague speech in which he committed the United States once again to reconsider and pursue and try to enforce the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

      And just this past March, on March 29th I believe, President Obama’s national security advisor, Tom Donilon, reiterated that message when he said, and I quote, “We are committed to working with members of both parties in the Senate to ratify the CTBT just as we did with New START. We have no illusions that this will be easy but we intend to make our case to the Senate and to the American people,” unquote. So this meeting, as I said before, is the Arms Control Association’s effort – one of our efforts to begin that conversation.

      And we’re very pleased to have with us today somebody who has long recognized the value of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, who has been making the case for the CTBT for quite some time. As a member of Congress representing two national laboratories and as the chair of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Forces Committee, Ellen Tauscher was – as is often said – one of the handful of members of Congress with the deep knowledge and expertise on these weapons-related security issues that are out there.

      And this is just one of the reasons why she was asked by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to serve as her Undersecretary of State for arms control and international security. So we’re very pleased to have with us Undersecretary Tauscher, who is well-informed and very dedicated and a very resilient person, who, as many of you know, has had to overcome a great deal this year, not just in the arms control field. So it’s with particular pleasure that we have with us Ellen Tauscher. Please join me in welcoming her today. (Applause.)

      ELLEN TAUSCHER: Thank you very, very much, Daryl. Good afternoon, everyone. I want to thank my very good friend Daryl for having me here today. The good news is that not only is the state of arms control in good shape but I am too and so I’m glad to be here.

      Let me just say that Daryl is of course one of the world’s most tireless advocates for arms control, especially banning nuclear testing. And his work over the last 10 years at the Arms Control Association was recognized by the MacArthur Foundation last year and it is tremendously important to our efforts to move forward on so many of these different issues. So thank you, Daryl, for your friendship and your leadership.

      Many of you have heard me speak, probably more than you’d like to recount, about what this administration intended to do and intended to accomplish. And now we know what we have accomplished. In the two years since President Obama’s Prague speech, the administration has taken significant steps and dedicated unprecedented financial, political and technical resources to prevent proliferation, to live up to our commitments and to move toward a world without nuclear weapons.

      Under President Obama’s leadership, we have achieved the entry into force of the New START agreement, adopted a nuclear posture review that promotes nonproliferation and reduces the role of nuclear weapons in our national security policy. And we have helped to achieve a consensus action plan at the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

      And I think I saw Susan Burk here. There she is. Susan, of course, was indefatigable in traveling the world in preparation for the prep con and was absolutely – for the rev con and was absolutely instrumental to our achieving a consensus in May of last year in New York and I want to thank her publicly for all of her efforts. She is just really amazing. Under the president’s – (applause). That’s right. (Applause.) That’s right.

      The Obama administration also convened the successful 2010 Nuclear Security Summit to help secure and relocate vulnerable nuclear materials, led efforts to establish an international nuclear fuel bank and increased effective multilateral sanctions against both Iran and North Korea. And now I know why I’m tired. (Laughter.)

      But let me say that we have so many people that worked very hard, and as you know, at State Department we’re called T, and we have so many people – over 600 people – that work so hard on these issues. And let me tell you that it is wonderful to help lead that organization and to be in a place now where we have delivered over two years I think some very, very significant public policy initiatives with the leadership of both President Obama, Secretary Clinton and, in many cases, Secretary Gates.

      As for what’s next, our goal is to move our relationship with Russia from one based on mutually assured destruction to one that is based on mutually assured stability. We want Russia inside the missile defense tent so that it understands that missile defense is not about undermining Russia’s strategic deterrent. Even though this is a bipartisan goal – both President Reagan and President Bush both supported missile defense cooperation – it will not be easy.

      I know that many of you have opposed missile defenses. I have as well when the plans were not technically sound or the mission was wrong. But this administration is seeking to turn what has been an irritant to the United States and Russia relations into a shared interest.

      Cooperation between our militaries, scientists, diplomats and engineers will be more enduring and build greater confidence than any other type of assurances we can give. We are also preparing for the next steps in nuclear arms reduction, including, as the president has directed, reductions in strategic, nonstrategic and nondeployed weapons. We are fully engaged with our allies in this process.

      But let me turn to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. President Obama vowed to pursue ratification and entry into force of the CTBT in his speech in Prague. In doing so, the United States is once again taking a leading role in supporting a test ban treaty just as it had when discussions first began more than 50 years ago. As you know, in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the United States ratified the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned all nuclear tests except those conducted underground.

      The Cuban Missile Crisis, which was about as close as the world has ever come to a nuclear exchange, highlighted the instability of the arms race. Even though scholars have concluded that the United States acted rationally, that the Soviet Union acted rationally and even Fidel Castro acted rationally, we came perilously close to nuclear war. Luck certainly played a role in helping us avoid nuclear catastrophe.

      In the months after the crisis, President Kennedy used his newfound political capital and his political skill to persuade the military and the Senate to support a test ban treaty in the hopes of curbing a dangerous arms race. He achieved a Limited Test Ban Treaty but aspired to do more. Yet today, with more than 40 years of experience, wisdom and knowledge about global nuclear dangers, a legally binding ban on all nuclear explosive testing still eludes us.

      This being Washington, everything is seen through a political lens. So before discussing the merits of the treaty, let me talk about this in a political sense for a moment. I know that the conventional wisdom is that the ratification of New START has delayed or pushed aside consideration of the CTBT. I take the opposite view. The New START debate in many ways opened the door for the CTBT.

      Months of hearings and debate and nine long days of floor deliberations engaged the Senate – especially its newer members – in an extended seminar on the composition of our nuclear arsenal, the health of our stockpile and the relationship between nuclear weapons and our national security. When the Senate voted for the treaty, it inherently affirmed that our stockpile is safe, secure and effective and can be kept so without nuclear testing.

      More importantly, the New START debate helped cultivate emerging new arms control champions such as my friends, Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Senator Bob Casey, who I know Bob was here earlier today and Jean will be here this afternoon. Before the debate, there was not a lot of muscle memory on treaties, especially nuclear treaties, in the Senate and now there is. So we are in a strong position to make the case for the CTBT on its merits.

      To maintain and enhance that momentum, the Obama administration is preparing to engage the Senate and the public on an education campaign that we expect will lead to ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In our engagement with the Senate, we want to leave aside the politics and explain why the CTBT will enhance our national security. Our case for treaty ratification consists of three primary arguments.

      One, the United States no longer needs to conduct nuclear explosive tests, plain and simple. Two, a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that has entered into force will obligate other states not to test and provide a disincentive for states to conduct such tests. And three, we now have a greater ability to catch those who cheat.

      Let me take these points one by one. From 1945 to 1992, the United States conducted more than 1,000 nuclear explosive tests, more than all other nations combined. The cumulative data gathered from these tests have provided an impressive foundation of knowledge for us to base the continuing effectiveness of our arsenal. But historical data alone is insufficient.

      Well over a decade ago, we launched an extensive and rigorous stockpile stewardship program that has enabled our nuclear weapons laboratories to carry out the essential surveillance and warhead life extension programs to ensure the credibility of our deterrent. Every year for the past 15 years, the secretaries of Defense and Energy, from Democratic and Republican administration and the directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories have certified that our arsenal is safe, secure and effective.

      And each year, we have affirmed that we do not need to conduct explosive nuclear tests. The lab directors tell us that stockpile stewardship has provided deeper understanding of our arsenal than they had ever thought of when testing was commonplace. Think about that for a moment. Our current efforts go a step beyond explosive testing by enabling the labs to anticipate problems in advance and reduce their potential impact on our arsenal, something that nuclear testing could not do.

      I for one would not trade our successful approach based on world-class science and technology for a return to explosive testing. The Obama administration has demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to safe, secure and effective arsenal so long as nuclear weapons exist. Despite the narrative put forward by some, the Obama administration inherited an underfunded and underappreciated nuclear complex.

      We have worked tirelessly to fix that situation and ensure our complex has every asset needed to achieve its mission. President Obama has committed $88 billion in funding over the next decade to maintain a modern nuclear arsenal, retain a modem nuclear weapons production complex and nurture a highly trained workforce. At a time when every part of the budget is under a microscope, this pledge demonstrates our commitment and should not be discounted.

      To those that doubt our commitment, I ask them to put their doubts aside and invest in the hard work to support our budget requests in the United States Congress. When it comes to the CTBT, the United States is in a curious position. We abide by the core prohibition of the treaty because we don’t need to test nuclear weapons.

      And we have contributed to the development of the international monitoring system. But the principal benefit of ratifying the treaty – constraining other states from testing – still eludes us. That doesn’t make sense to me and it shouldn’t make any sense to the members of the Senate. I do not believe that even the most vocal critics of the CTBT want to resume explosive nuclear testing.

      What they have chosen instead is a status quo where the United States refrains from testing without using the fact to lock in a legally binding global ban that would significantly benefit the United States’ national security.

      Secondly, a CTBT that is entered into force will hinder other states from advancing their nuclear weapons capabilities. Were the CTBT to enter into force, states interested in pursuing or advancing a nuclear weapons program would risk either deploying weapons that might not work or incur international condemnation and sanctions for testing.

      While states can build a crude first-generation nuclear weapon without conducting nuclear explosive tests, they would have trouble going further and they probably wouldn’t even know for certain the yield of the weapon they built. More established nuclear weapons states could not with any confidence deploy advanced nuclear weapons capabilities that deviated significantly from previously tested designs without explosive testing.

      Nowhere would these constrains be more relevant than in Asia where you see states building up and modernizing their forces. A legally binding prohibition on all nuclear explosive testing would help reduce the chances of a potential regional arms race in the years and decades to come. Finally, we have become very good at detecting potential cheaters.

      If you test, there is a very high risk of getting caught. Upon the treaty’s entry into force, the United States would use the international monitoring system to complement our own state-of-the-art national technical means to verify the treaty. In 1999, not a single certified IMS station or facility existed. We understand why some senators had some doubts about its future untested capabilities.

      But today, the IMS is more than 75 percent complete. Two hundred and fifty-four of the planned 321 monitoring stations are in place and functioning and 10 of the 16 projected radionuclide laboratories have been completed.

      The IMS detected both of North Korea’s two announced nuclear tests. While the IMS did not detect trace radioactive isotopes confirming that the 2009 event was in fact a nuclear explosive test, there was significant evidence to support an on-site inspection. On-site inspections are only permissible once the treaty enters into force.

      An on-site inspection could have clarified the ambiguity of that 2009 test. While the IMS continues to prove its value, our national technical means remains second to none and we continue to improve on them. Last week, our colleagues at the NNSA conducted the first of a series of source physics experiments at the Nevada nuclear security site. These experiments will allow the United States to validate and improve seismic models and the use of new generation technology to further monitor compliance with the CTBT.

      Senators can judge our overall capabilities for themselves by consulting the national intelligence estimate released last year. Taken together, these verification tools would make it difficult for any state to conduct nuclear tests that escape detection.

      In other words, a robust verification regime carries an important deterrent value in and of itself. Could we imagine a far-fetched scenario where a country might conduct a test so low that it would not be detected? Perhaps. But could a country be certain that it would not be caught? That is very unclear. Would a country be willing to risk being caught cheating? Doubtful because there are significant costs to pay for those countries that test. So we have a strong case for treaty ratification.

      In the coming months, we will build upon and flesh out these core arguments. We look forward to objective voices providing their opinions on this important issue. Soon, the National Academy of Sciences, a trusted and unbiased voice on scientific issues, will release an unclassified report examining the treaty from a technical perspective.

      The report will look at how the United States’ ratification would impact our ability to maintain our nuclear arsenal and our ability to detect and verify explosive nuclear tests. Let me conclude by saying that 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.

      We will have greater credibility while encouraging other states to pursue nonproliferation objectives including universality of the additional protocol. In short, ratification helps us get more of what we want. We give up nothing to ratify the CTBT. We recognize that a Senate debate over ratification will be spirited, vigorous and likely contentious. The debate in 1999 unfortunately was too short and too politicized.

      The treaty was brought to the floor without the benefit of extensive committee hearings or significant input from administration officials and outside experts. We will not repeat those mistakes. But we will make a more forceful case when we are certain the facts have been carefully examined and reviewed in a thoughtful process. We are committed to taking a bipartisan and fact-based approach with the Senate.

      For my Republican friends who voted against the treaty in 1999 and might feel bound by that vote, I have one message: Don’t be. The times have changed. Stockpile stewardship works. We have made significant advances in our ability to detect nuclear testing. As my good friend and fellow Californian, George Shultz, likes to say – those who opposed the treaty in 1999 can say they were right. But they would be more right to vote for the treaty today.

      So we have a lot of work to do to build the political will be need to ratify the CTBT. Nuclear testing is not a front-burner issue in the minds of most Americans, in part because we have not tested in nearly 20 years. To understand the gap in public awareness, just think of the fact that in 1961, some 10,000 women walked off their job as mothers and housewives – just as we celebrated Mother’s Day just the other day – to protest the arms race and nuclear testing.

      Now, that strike did not have the same impact as the nonviolent marches and protests to further the cause of civil rights. But the actions of mothers taking a symbolic and dramatic step to recognize global nuclear dangers show that the issue has resonance beyond the Beltway, beyond the think-tank world and beyond the ivory tower. That level of concern is there today and we need your energy, your organizational skills and your creativity to tap into it.

      If we are to move safely and securely to a world without nuclear weapons, then we need to build the requisite political support that can only be done by people like you. I want to thank you very much for all of your support for many of the different issues that the president and others have espoused. And I would be very happy to entertain an easy question or two. (Laughter.) If it’s a hard question, I’m going to turn it to Daryl. (Laughter.)

      MR. KIMBALL: I think you can handle yourself, Ellen. (Laugher.) Thank you very much. Please join us – (applause). I think we can start out with a few questions from this table over here, which happens to be some interesting people who write for newspapers. So please raise your hand and Xiadon will give you a microphone.

      Q: Hi, I’m Susan Cornwell.

      MS. TAUSCHER: Hi, Susan.

      Q: Hi – with Reuters. What’s your timeline for ratification in the Senate? When would you like – would you like to get it done before 2012 and elections and do you think you can?

      MS. TAUSCHER: Both President Obama and Vice President Biden and Secretary Clinton have made it very clear that there will be no action on the floor until the argument has been made and until we find ourselves in a position to go for ratification. We were greatly aided last December in the most unlikely time to ratify the New START treaty, during the most political time of the year, by the fact that 73 percent of the American people were for ratification of New START.

      There is a level of scrutiny for anybody that takes a vote. I did it for 13 years. You want your constituents with you. And it’s important that we bring the American people to a place where they can actually influence how the Senate votes. And so that will take some time.

      I cannot predict when we will bring – when the president will make the choice to send the treaty to a vote. But I will tell you that we intend to win that vote. And so whatever it takes to make that argument and how long it takes to make that argument, the president is committed to do that.

      MR. KIMBALL: Okay, anybody else on the reporters’ table? All right, then let’s go to the folks in the back. Xiadon, the gentleman right there, thank you.

      Q: Thank you. My name is Andrzej Sitkowski (sp). I’m with ITAR-TASS News Agency of Russia. Madame Secretary, thank you for your remarks. Can you update us on your recent meeting – meetings with your Russian counterpart, Mr. Ryabkov? Is there any progress on nuclear tactical weapons and when do you think you will start formal negotiations on this issue? Thank you.

      MS. TAUSCHER: Well, President Obama has said that within the next year – February of last year until February of next year –we would like to begin conversations with the Russians on a panoply of issues – missile defense cooperation. We’re currently talking to them and obviously strategic, nonstrategic and nondeployed weapons.

      Right now, we are moving forward together in the implementation of the New START treaty. We’ve already had one exchange which is very important to get it off to a good start. And, you know, as the president has said, he is interested in beginning this conversation as soon as possible. My sense of it is that we will continue to work issues as they are coming forward and that we would look to go on to this next steps as we call it in arms control sometime later in the year.

      But what’s important to note here is that we start the New START treaty off on the right foot. I think we have. And what we believe with Russia, as I said earlier, is moving away from a time of mutually assured destruction to a time of mutually assured stability and we believe that cooperation and engagement is the best way for us to do that.

      On missile defense, for example, we no longer target each other. We haven’t targeted each other for a very long time. But there are still lingering doubts about whether our limited missile defenses, which are robust enough to deal with Iranian and North Korean threat, but certainly could not undercut Russia’s strategic deterrent, that that is actually the fact.

      So it’s important that we continue but I will tell you that the reset is not only successful and holding but has been a very important initiative for this administration and it has accrued benefits in national security to the American people and to our allies. But we have much more work to do.

      MR. KIMBALL: All right. Let’s go to the back, please. Take your pick, Fredi. I can’t quite see anyone there. Yes?

      Q: Thank you. Avis Bohlen, retired State Department former assistant secretary for arms control.

      MS. TAUSCHER: Good to see you.

      Q: Madame Secretary, thank you for your remarks. And I wonder if you could say – following up on the last question – a few words about the dynamics with our allies about the potential negotiations on nonstrategic weapons. Thank you.

      MS. TAUSCHER: Well, as you know, following on the strategic concept that was worked very successfully by Madeleine Albright and her team for NATO, we’re now going to what is called the defense and deterrence posture review for NATO.

      And what we have made clear to our allies, especially our NATO allies, is that we will not do anything unilaterally about these weapons – especially the tactical weapons – and that our engagement will be with them at NATO and directly and then with the Russians, but that we’re looking to move this issue forward after the NATO deterrence and defense posture review is completed.

      So we have made clear that we are very interested in engagement in this conversation. We believe that it’s important for our national security. The characterization of these weapons, being much smaller, being much more portable, causes us to be as concerned as we can be about their safety and security. But at the same time, while they are characterized often as political weapons by ourselves and many of our European allies, that has not achieved widespread agreement.

      And so what’s important is that we make clear that we’re not going to make our own decisions on this. This is part of the NATO strategic deterrent. We make those decisions at that very big table of 28 and then we will then engage the Russians.

      But I think you have to see that there are a number of different steps that have to be taken by others in concert with us before we get to the Russians. But this is a number one conversation that we intend to have with the Russians when the time is right and when we’re ready to do it.

      MR. KIMBALL: All right, I think there were a couple of other hands. Yes, right here in the middle, up front, Fredi, my esteemed member of the board of directors – (inaudible).

      Q: Thanks. I’m Chris Wing from the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. Thank you, Madame Secretary. Hello.

      MS. TAUSCHER: Hi, Chris. My pleasure.

      Q: This is actually back to the CTBT and the question about the Senate debate. How important do you think that the decisions of the other nonratifying Annex III countries will be in that debate?

      MS. TAUSCHER: No, I think that that – I didn’t mention that because it’s one of those things we talk about in conversation all the time. But I see people’s eyes glaze over when they say, well, isn’t that nice that all those other countries will go forward after we go and why should I be influenced by what somebody might do.

      And we all know that the math is very important here because having the treaty in force isn’t just about us, although we are the first domino that could cause everybody to go. So I think it is very important. We’ve also made clear to our allies and friends who are deeply interested in our ratification of CTBT because they’ve already been there and done that that this cannot be about international pressure. This cannot be about international influence.

      So we’ve kind of taken that whole issue off the table. This has to be about us. It has to be about our national security. It has to be about the safety and security and reliability of the stockpile. It has to be a science-based conversation. And it needs to be a less politicized, more bipartisan conversation. If we can keep our focus on those elements, I think we’ll be fine.

      We have lots of people that want to help influence us, lots of parliaments and lots of heads of state that want us to go and do it and want to let the American people know that they want us to do it. And I remind them that they don’t vote here, although that may be something we need to think about. (Laughter.) Only kidding.

      But this is about the American people and the Senate and the administration making the case. And I think that those are the grounds under which ratification will be perfected and that is where we need to go. But I take your point that this is – there is something fundamentally more important than just one more person ratifying because we do have tremendous influence and sway on the other states that would ratify and then bring the treaty into force.

      MR. KIMBALL: Okay, yes, again in the rear, towards the window, Fredi. Is that Anne? Yes?

      Q: Thank you. Hi. Thank you very much for your very encouraging remarks. It’s Anne Penketh from BASIC.

      MS. TAUSCHER: Yes, Anne, good to see you again.

      Q: And on the CTBT, would you expect President Obama to get personally involved in the CTBT ratification process as he did in START, and from what you just said about the parliaments, when he goes to Europe in the next week or so, would you expect him to talk about the CTBT and nuclear issues?

      MS. TAUSCHER: I don’t expect him to talk about it when he’s in Deauville, for example, next week or the week after. But you know, I am not in control of his conversations when they’re one-to-one with heads of state. But I will tell you that the president was enormously engaged and personally very, very impactful in the New START debate. And frankly, we couldn’t have done it without the president, the vice president, Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates.

      So it was very, very important that we keep that going. The president, when he makes the case, is so unambiguous and so very, very powerful that I expect that he will be part of this. But once again, the president is so busy. We can’t depend on the fact that he is going to be the guy that’s going to carry us over the finish line.

      So there are many people on this team, people in the White House, people in the State Department and we will – and people in the Energy Department, other places. And we will make this narrative as short and concise and understandable as it needs to be for the general public and for people that are interested in the debate and as opaque and complicated as it has to be for people that are scientists and others that really understand this.

      And so that’s the tension point. The tension point is to get it in the sweet spot where we can take it to the people in an understandable way, knowing that it is something that is enormously complicated. If you took – you know, I represented the 10th congressional district in California. Some of the smartest people in the world, not because they elected me seven times – that’s just a coincidence. (Laughter.)

      But they did work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They did work at Sandia, California, and the largest number of graduates from the University of California at Berkeley who liked the sun but didn’t go to school in the sun came to my district to live. So 65,000 of them – so really smart people and I think if you just took a bunch of them that weren’t necessarily involved in the labs and asked them whether the United States had ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or not, they’d probably say, of course.

      I think most Americans think we did. They take the fact that we have an executive order and we haven’t tested for nearly 20 years to be the law and it’s not. And they don’t understand what the impact of our ratification would mean on entry into force and what it means for bad guys and what it means for our ability to hold people accountable.

      And that’s the case we have to make. We have to do it on many different levels and many different levels of sophistication. But in the end, I’m sure the president will be involved because he is the best messenger we have.

      MR. KIMBALL: Undersecretary Tauscher, if I could just ask you to – let me redirect that question a little bit as a way of having you address what you mean by the process of engaging the Senate.

      And if you could just go back to the New START Treaty and just remind us what are the three, four, five key things that were required to get the Senate to the point where 71 votes are possible because we keep getting questions at the Arms Control Association about when the test ban treaty will come up about, okay, how many votes do you have, when do you think the vote is going to be. And I honestly have to say, well, I don’t know because the work has not begun. So if you could just remind us?

      MS. TAUSCHER: Sure.

      MR. KIMBALL: I mean, what are some of the things from a government perspective that have to be done in order to get a complex treaty through the United States Senate?

      MS. TAUSCHER: Sure. First of all, you have to deal with the fact that New START was harder than we expected. And if anybody was paying attention during December when during the most unlikely and most politicized time of the calendar year in that Congress, what we were actually, you know, able to debate because the president kept making sure that of the basket of issues that had to be completed by the end of that year, that New START was always in the mix. And that’s a key component to where we need to be.

      He did that because he believed in it and because he – we had I think done a very good job of negotiating it, but also because it was good for us for national security reasons, good for follow-up on his Prague speech. But he could also make the case for it. But New START didn’t have the kind of checkered career that CTBT does. And there weren’t a lot of people that already have a voting record saying, I’ve already said no once.

      So I think the key component right now is to get the facts out, and the way to do that is by having, frankly, others speak for us and having the National Academy – their study come out and then have others on the outside come out and talk – certainly people like Henry Kissinger and George Shultz and Sam Nunn, Steve Hadley and others that are out there working on many of these issues on a track two basis.

      It’s important to have folks that are not politically affiliated directly, have been in previous administrations but aren’t now carrying a D or an R, out there speaking for why they think this is important. And so part of this is to make the case on facts, not on politics, and not make the old case or rebut the old case. There’s so much different about what happened in 1999 for so many reasons. But for many people, we have to take that and put it aside.

      So there does have to be perhaps a conversation where you settle what happened in ’99 and push it aside and then bring people forward. And so as we’ve said, it’s the conversation about stockpile stewardship. It’s why science-based stockpile stewardship delivers for us what we need and what it has done to enhance our predictability and being able to certify the reliability and safety of the stockpile every year. The investments the president has made, both in the science and in the human capital and in the infrastructure, and talk about what the benefits of a CTBT ratification are, the fact that we have lived for all these years with the effective CTBT without any of the benefits.

      So we’ve lived under the strictures of CTBT voluntarily but we have none of the benefits. We can’t hold people accountable. We can’t do on-site inspections and our rhetoric doesn’t really provide us with the ability to whack people when we need to if they step out of line because the treaty is in force. So I think we have a good argument. We have to make that case.

      A number of the different things we did for New START was not only the briefings of staff and members. We had many, many briefings. I think that, you know, there were hundreds of briefings that we had both during the time of the negotiations and Senator Kyl and Senator Feinstein and a few others came actually to Geneva to be observers during the negotiations for New START.

      So that’s part of it. It’s the Hill campaign of having senators, both those that have voted on it in the past and those that have not – get them up to speed on what exactly it does and why it does it – keep the staff going.

      Hearings are very, very important, something missing from the 1999 debate. We need public hearings. We need to have a lot of them on the Hill and off. And then it’s engaging what we call influencers – editorial boards and other people that are considered to be influential in these debates but not necessarily partisan and have them speak out and kind of build that list.

      In the New START debate, we had very, very few people that came forward with any substantive problems with the treaty. Now, you know, it was a modest treaty and that I guess is something you can criticize. But it was still better than nothing and so I think in the end we didn’t really have any serious criticism about it and most of the editorials, even in red states with senators that were out there saying they would never vote for it, were positive.

      So I think that that’s part of the debate too. And engaging beyond just the intellectual elite, which I think is important to get because they do drive these debates and certainly people that are very informed by these issues, like all of you, is important. So it’s important for you to reach into your rolodex and write emails to people and tell them why you think it’s important.

      Ask them to write their senators and remember who lives in a red state or who lives in a blue state and really push them to engage because in the end it’s going to be people demanding that there be a vote on something that they want and the president making the political decision that it’s the time to go and then being sure we can win.

      And it’s not until the day of the vote or perhaps minutes before the vote that you actually know if you can actually win. And you know, very often these debates are not done in a vacuum where this is the only thing that’s being talked about. Very often these kind of issues are part of an amalgam of other things that are happening.

      And so you have to weigh whether this is going to be part of the trade space and whether it is, you know, really part of what you want and whether – what you’re willing to trade for it. And those are the kinds of negotiations that the White House is very good at.

      MR. KIMBALL: Well, thank you for that –

      MS. TAUSCHER: My pleasure.

      MR. KIMBALL: – that very important answer, and I want to thank you for coming once again to address us on the test ban treaty and to update us on the Prague agenda. Please join me, everybody, in thanking Ellen Tauscher. (Applause.)

      MS. TAUSCHER: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you.

      MR. KIMBALL: All right, we are going to take about a three- or four-minute break while we reshuffle the deck chairs on our ship and begin the second panel. Thank you.

      (END) Back to top








      TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011

      Transcript by
      Federal News Service
      Washington, D.C.

      SEBASTIAN GRAEFE: Welcome to the second panel discussion this afternoon here at the Carnegie Endowment.

      My name is Sebastian Graefe. I’m the program director for foreign and security policy with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is one of the German political foundations with offices here in D.C. And I think now I understand what Senator Casey this morning meant when he said that either the session before or after lunch is the most difficult one. So thanks for joining us again here.

      Before introducing the panel here, I just want to thank the Arms Control Association team for their cooperation. I want to mirror the warm words from Daryl this morning. It’s a great pleasure, a great experience to work with you on these topics.

      And actually, we have been working on those issues already for quite a long time, and Daryl pointed out the great conference last November here in this very same room on the New START Treaty. And I’m personally looking forward to future activities with you.

      Having mentioned our joint project, I want to mention also one product produced by the Heinrich Böll Foundation itself. I think we ran out of copies outside already, but you can still get electronic copies on our website, boll.org. It’s a publication we just launched called “The Myth of Nuclear Power.”

      Probably not surprising for you, as a German foundation we are – in this publication we are talking about the economics of nuclear power, but we also combine it with security questions. And probably you know, Henry Sokolski. He contributed the security part to this publication. I highly recommend you to take a look at it.

      Welcome to this panel here, where we are going to discuss further – well, progress for further steps on nuclear arms reduction. I think we have great speakers here this afternoon – to my left Steve Pifer, and to my right Catherine Kelleher. And both are great experts.

      Steve directs the Arms Control Initiative just next door at Brookings. And Catherine is College Park Professor at the University of Maryland just outside – well, actually still inside the beltway. Both served for the U.S. – for several U.S. administrations in various positions, including the National Security Council. Steve used to work for the State Department, Catherine for the Pentagon.

      Just yesterday I was happy to also join the launch of a new publication Steve just wrote on the – on his and others’ efforts in the early ’90s to remove the nuclear arsenal in Ukraine. I think there are also copies outside.

      And when I looked at Catherine’s résumé I was, of course, as a German, quite happy to see that you were also director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin for a couple of years at the end of the ’90s.

      But I think now I am about to break an unwritten law here in D.C., because I think you should not assault your audience, but in your résumé I also read that you are the first president of the Women in International Security. And I think also this room is evidence that we can have much more women actually in these security debates. And I think your efforts in this regard are really great, to support more women in those policy debates.

      So, let me know turn to Steve, who should start the discussion. I asked him to talk about the prospects for next steps on strategic and tactical nuclear weapons reduction. And I also would like to know from him how the NATO Deterrence and Defense Review plays into that.

      STEVEN PIFER: Thank you very much. And let me also thank the Arms Control Association for inviting me today. What I’m going to talk about would be next steps on U.S.-Russia and NATO nuclear reductions in the aftermath of the New START Treaty, which entered into force about three months ago.

      And I’ll begin by describing, I think, the American position, which is the United States is ready to proceed to a next step already back in April of 2010 when signing the New START Treaty. The president stated that he would like to move on to another step that would include non-strategic nuclear weapons but also non-deployed strategic warheads.

      And after what was, I think, a more difficult ratification debate than they expected, the administration has – the bureaucracy has turned its attention now to beginning to do its homework for that next round.

      So, for example, the interagency process began working in February. They stood up a non-strategic nuclear weapons group. There is a new working group on verification. So they’re beginning to do their homework.

      And then the White House is also beginning to work out guidance on nuclear employment policy, which will go to the military and lead to a judgment by the military as to, you know, what level of nuclear weapons might be required to support that policy.

      When you look at the Russian side, I think the position is not no, but it seems to be, right now, not yet. The Russians articulate a litany of issues that they would like to see addressed either in conjunction with or, some suggest, even before they move on to further reductions of nuclear forces.

      And those issues include missile defense. They include long-range conventional strike weapons, which some Russian analysts fear could in fact substitute for nuclear weapons. It includes conventional forces in Europe and the issue of weaponization in space.

      I think when you look at Russian commentary, it does seem that missile defense here is the key, and that will be an issue that I know Catherine is going to address in more detail. But the question is, if you could get progress in that area, would that begin to open up the space for a new nuclear negotiation?

      And part of this, I think, is going to be persuading the Russians to move from a sequential approach to the idea that these issues ought to be addressed in parallel. Realistically speaking, the next arms control treaty is not going to be a 10-month affair; it’s probably going to be a two- or three-year negotiation.

      And that does give the Russians time to see how other issues develop. If, at the end of the day, they’re unhappy about some other question, they always have the option to hold up conclusion of the arms reduction agreement, but that shouldn’t be a reason to start or to delay the start of a next negotiation.

      Now, if and when negotiations begin, I think several questions come up. You know, first of all, does the United States go for deeper gradual reductions? And I think it would not be hard, and I think most of the people in this room could probably design a stable U.S.-Russian nuclear balance at either a thousand or even 500 total nuclear warheads.

      But I suspect you’re going to see a much more incremental approach. First of all, if you look at Russian commentary, I think it’s pretty clear the Russians don’t want to go too far too fast in cutting nuclear weapons, in part because there’s a prestige factor here.

      You know, for Russia, being a nuclear superpower has political importance in the sense that it’s one of Moscow’s last claims to superpower status. And I think they don’t want to go too far too fast in terms of reductions without taking account of third country forces, but also with a better idea of what’s going to happen on missile defense.

      I suspect the U.S. military would probably prefer a more gradual approach. And one of the lessons of the debate over New START I think last year is that the Senate is going to look for a more incremental approach rather than a radical reduction. So my expectation is the next step is probably incremental.

      Now, if you do that, you know, what might you do in terms of cutting the strategic forces? If you look at deployed strategic warheads, I would suggest 1,000, not just because that’s a nice round number but I think in conversations I’ve had over the last couple of years with Russians, that seems to be kind of the bottom number that they’re comfortable talking about before they get really concerned about third countries and before they really begin to press hard on the question of missile defense.

      I think a thousand is an easily doable number. It still would allow for an American deterrent that would be survivable, robust and agile, and would still allow the United States to preserve a triad.

      Now, looking at reductions, I think it’s pretty clear the U.S. military plans to use all of the space allowed by New START. The United States will go down to 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers.

      The Russians are in a different situation, in part because they have a lot of aging systems. And over the last eight to 10 years, they have actually made relatively modest investments in procuring new ballistic missiles.

      So most analysts expect the Russians will actually go through 1,550 deployed warheads and keep going down. Some Russian analysts even suggest they may go down to 1,000 to 1,100. And then Moscow is going to have to face the question, does it make a decision then to build back up?

      And I think one of the worrisome discussions taking place in Moscow now is, would a heavy ICBM, or a successor to the SS-18, be a way to quickly build back up to 1,550? I don’t think a new Russian heavy ICBM would be good, in terms of our traditional concerns about the threat to our ICBMs and silos. It’s also not good, I think, in stability terms in terms of the Russians putting so many warheads on a relatively small number of launchers.

      So the question is, are there ways to, you know, help abort that decision in Moscow? Again, I think an American push to take the number down below 1,550 would help.

      A suggestion that was offered by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov about a month ago was that the United States might even consider stating that, as a matter of policy, it would go down below 1,550 down to a level of 1,300, which was supposedly the absolutely bottom line from the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, provided the Russians did not build back up above 1,300. But part of that is looking at ways to discourage Russians from making a decision to revive an SS-18 modernization.

      In terms of deployed strategic delivery vehicles, the Russians are likely to go below 500 under New START, so I think it can be expected that in a follow-on negotiation, the Russians will try to bring the level of 700 down because initially it would apply only to the United States. On the American side, I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of enthusiasm for that, but at the end probably somebody needs to accept it in the context of an overall treaty.

      The next question would be, how do you handle non-strategic nuclear weapons? And, as I said, the administration wants to get into that, and they want to get into that in the next negotiation. And I think it’s going to be a tough issue for several reasons.

      First of all, there’s a significant numerical superiority. When you look at Russian forces and you count the – you don’t count the junk, probably Russia has about 2,000 deliverable non-strategic nuclear weapons to about 500 on the U.S. side. So, dealing with that kind of disparity is not going to be easy.

      Second, the Russians see non-strategic nuclear weapons as an important offset for what they regard as significant conventional force disadvantages vis-à-vis NATO and, I believe more importantly, vis-à-vis China. And that’s simply adopting NATO policy from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s is that nuclear weapons are a way to offset conventional inferiorities.

      Third, I think there is an asymmetry of interests between how NATO looks at nuclear weapons and the Russians do. American nuclear weapons in Europe – you know, when you talk to senior American military officials, they basically say these things have virtually no military utility. Their value is seen almost entirely in symbolic terms, as a symbol of the American link to European security.

      The Russians, on the other hand, I think do attach more military significance to non-strategic weapons, so that a symmetry of interests may complicate the negotiation. And then there’s also – and this will be a complicating factor, although it could also be helpful in the end.

      There is the NATO angle, which is the United States, while it’s beginning to prepare for a possible negotiation with Russia that would address non-strategic nuclear weapons, it has also initiated a new process with its NATO partners that’s a Deterrence and Defense Posture Review that’s looking at an array of questions, including what should NATO’s force posture be? And it’s doing that in a context where if you look at NATO, there really is a spectrum of uses. There really is no NATO position per se but a lot of different country views.

      I think even if one accepted the Russian rationale that Russia probably requires more non-strategic nuclear weapons than the United States does because Russia has a very different geopolitical situation – you know, we have Canada and Mexico, they have China; we have the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean – but I think even if you accept that position, it’s very difficult to understand the current number of weapons the Russians have.

      And I posed this question a couple of times to former Russian generals: How many tactical nuclear weapons would you drop on the Chinese Army invading in the Far East before you would go to the strategic level? And I suspect that number would be significantly below 2,000.

      And I think that’s actually a point that, you know – (laughter) – this is a point where I think actually European allies, I mean, in conversations as this negotiation hopefully gets going, is what people really ought to be hammering – I mean, I think European leaders, when they talk to people like President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, ought to just say, look, this number really is not reasonable. There’s no basis for it.

      In terms of getting into that discussion, I think a couple of principles are likely to emerge, although I’m not sure that the U.S. interagency process has yet come to specifics. One is I think you’re probably going to be talking about limits on weapons – I’m sorry, warheads and bombs, not on delivery systems, because most of the delivery systems have primarily conventional roles. I don’t think either the American or the Russian air forces are prepared to limit tactical fighter aircraft in its negotiation.

      Second, I would think there will probably be a preference for global limits versus a regional limit because these weapons are very transportable. There’s also, I think, for the United States – which needs to take a broader look than NATO on this – there’s a world angle here, which is that the United States needs to manage its negotiation in a way with Russia, and also the discussions in the consultations with the Europeans, in a way that also doesn’t alarm Asian allies. Certainly Asia does not want to see a regional limitation regime in Europe that pushes nuclear weapons to the east of the Urals into Asia. And so, the United States will keep that in mind.

      As National Security Advisor Donilon suggested about a month and a half ago, the process might begin with some transparency and some confidence-building measures. I think there are an array of possibilities in that area. There are also a number of unilateral steps going back to the 1991, 1992 Presidential Nuclear Initiatives, but one complication with those factors is they’re probably going to, in most cases, fall more heavily on the United States. And ultimately I think the preferable way is to get these into a negotiation.

      Another question is what do you do about non-deployed strategic warheads? The Russians certainly are going to push the limit of those because they see those as an area of American advantage. And this is as the sides reduce under New START, the United States will download all of its ICBMs and most, if not all, of its submarine launch ballistic missiles, and store those warheads, which will give the United States the capability, if the Russians were to withdraw from the treaty, to put warheads back on missiles and go beyond the limits in New START.

      The Russians at this point do not appear to have that capability because they seem to be removing missiles, but the missiles that they retain, they’re keeping full warhead sets. So I suspect the Russians are going to push to address that, and the administration has already said that it is prepared, in fact, to get into that.

      Another question would be, is it now time for a single limit that would cover all nuclear weapons – deployed strategic warheads, non-deployed strategic warheads, and non-strategic nuclear weapons, put them all under a single limit. And maybe you could combine that with a sub-limit.

      A concept I’ve suggested in the past would be a total limit on each side of 2,500 total nuclear weapons, with a sub-ceiling of 1,000 deployed strategic warheads. And what that would do is perhaps create the possibility to offset the U.S. advantage in non-deployed strategic warheads against the Russian advantage in non-strategic nuclear weapons. And you might be able to get some negotiating leverage in that mechanism.

      And my sense is the U.S. government, as it looks at these questions, is actually leaning more towards that kind of approach as opposed to a negotiated approach that would have a discrete negotiation just on non-strategic nuclear weapons.

      I think in the interest of time, I’ll skip verification challenges other than to say that if you start talking about limits on non-deployed weapons and on non-strategic weapons, your verification challenge is to become much more difficult because you’re not going to be counting just warheads that are associated with large missiles and large known silos and on submarines. You’re going to have to talk about things like going into storage bunkers. And it’s going to raise questions that are not necessarily insurmountable, but it’s going to be new territory for both sides’ militaries.

      Just talking about what my goal for the next round would be, it would be aimed for a limit of about 2,500 total weapons on each side, a thousand deployed strategic warheads, and perhaps 550 to 600 deployed strategic delivery vehicles.

      You would have an intrusive – a more intrusive inspection regime under this agreement than you would have under New START, but it would not be a perfect regime. There would be significantly less confidence in your ability to monitor limits on non-deployed warheads, non-strategic weapons, the ability to monitor deployed strategic warheads.

      When I tossed these numbers out to a group a few months ago, they kind of said, gosh, it’s kind of hard to get excited over 2,500. That’s not very ambitious. And I guess I can accept that criticism, but I would make a couple of points in its defense.

      First of all, for the first time under this regime you would be talking about all nuclear weapons. Second, this proposal would represent about a 50-percent cut in the U.S. arsenal compared to where it was in September of 2009, and probably about a 65 to 70 percent cut in the Russian arsenal. And I think this is probably, again, as far as you might be able to go in one more round of negotiation that would be just the United States and Russia.

      I would go on to suggest that perhaps if you could get this negotiation done by 2014, complete that treaty, that would then position the United States and Russia, at the 2015 NPT Review Conference to begin to say, OK, it’s now time to expand the nuclear reductions process and bring in some other countries, beginning with Britain, France and China.

      Just a last question. I would hope that negotiations would begin sooner rather than later, but I’m not sure when this is going to happen. And part of this is because it’s hard to see where the impulse comes from.

      The Russians right now are not pushing for the negotiations. There doesn’t seem to be much of a push coming from Congress. And I think while some NATO countries would like to see negotiations sooner rather than later, NATO does not yet have a consensus view. I mean, there’s a spectrum of views in NATO on this question.

      And so, I guess one of the last questions would be is, is the president prepared to push to make this happen? And that probably gets into issues of time and bandwidth in terms of other things that he has to deal with. So this may be one way where outsiders may be helpful in terms of trying to give the process a push and getting this negotiation underway sooner rather than later.

      Thank you. (Applause.)

      MR. GRAEFE: Thank you. Thank you, Steve. I’m not only impressed by your – the content of your presentation but also by your notes, actually. I mean, I advise the audience to take a look at his notes. It looks like a mathematical problem. (Laughter.)

      MR. PIFER: It’s extremely big print so I can read it. (Laughter.)

      MR. GRAEFE: But let me now turn to Catherine. I know Ellen Tauscher and also Steve already mentioned the discussion about missile defense cooperation between NATO and Russia. Could you give us an update on that discussion?

      CATHERINE KELLEHER: I think I’ll start where Steve left off and say that as far as missile defense is concerned, it’s not a topic I ever expected to speak warmly about from this platform.

      But there seems to be a convergence of both opportunity and challenge over the next, I would say, six to seven months where in fact we may find that this is one area in which there is at least the possibility of progress towards an agreement that would lead to a different aspect of the reset than perhaps the president outlined, but one that I think might lead to some very interesting cooperation between Russia, European states and the United States, at levels and with intentions that haven’t been seen before.

      It is all too possible that electoral politics, particularly in Russia and the United States, will in fact mean that the opportunity is really not a real one, that very quickly, as we see both in Moscow and in Washington, the realities of the 2012 campaign season are well under way. And this might then turn out to be a poison chalice that nobody wants to go near.

      But let me at least talk about what seems to be an interesting confluence of opportunity and challenge. This comes really out of the NATO discussions at the end of last year. You may have missed some of it in the shadow thrown by the new Strategic Concept – thin but definitely definable – and really, I think, also out of what I hardly need to explain to this crowd, is not an interruption of the Bush European missile defense plans but a reworking under the European Phased Adaptive Approach, which changes both the character and the deployment footprints to a new Obama scheme.

      We’re just about to enter Phase 2 with an agreement that was concluded last week with Romania about stationing and deployment, and began really last spring and fall with the deployment of an Aegis-class vessel into the Mediterranean, the Monterey.

      What we are basically doing is conducting a very interesting public/private conversation, particularly with the Russians – but not only with the Russians, also with many European states – about how this phased approach, this Phased Adaptive Approach, is really going to work out.

      We’re doing it in terms of the U.S. in three bilateral channels that are being worked simultaneously and, I’m happy to say, as far as I can view from the outside, in very good coordination and in one multilateral venue, which is the NATO-Russia Council, which I’ll talk about a little bit later on.

      But those in the U.S. really have to do with the Jim Miller, Antonov discussions. Ellen Tauscher is meeting with Ryabkov, and Admiral Mullen is meeting less frequently with Makarov. And it will in fact be these sets of discussions about how we go forward with the cooperation that we all promised to one another in and around the NATO summit last fall. Embedded in the final communiqué is a promise of a cooperative solution to the question of missile defense.

      In the NATO-Russia Council we have the self-proclaimed but also occasionally anointed czar, Dmitry Rogozin, who is Mr. Medvedev’s pick to, in fact, run the missile defense side, and Ivo Daalder, ably assisted by Bob Bell.

      So that’s sort of the cast of characters that are talking about this issue. We also are having, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, virtual volleys of press releases and speeches that have been going on particularly as the negotiations season has wound up. We had, I think, four meetings on this topic alone last week in various locations in Europe.

      And all of this is because the two presidents at least have promised to take up this issue, the whole question of cooperation on the sidelines of another meeting that is taking place in Deauville at the end of this month. And this is before someplace that we’ll meet, the NATO-Russia Council, that will have a meeting in early June to, in fact, hear a report on initial progress towards a cooperative solution in this outcome.

      So, what is it that’s being discussed? Part of it – and part of this has to do with more the public campaign than the one that is going on behind the scenes – is a lot of, what shall we say, dreaming aloud in some cases, making domestic political points in others, yet in a third floating balloons that are more or less trial, as to what the nature of the system that will emerge from all of this really is.

      The Russians, and particularly Medvedev, started just after the NATO summit saying this was going to be an integrated system. We were going to all play together nicely. And we were going to have total coordination. The response back was – from the United States and from a number of the NATO allies was essentially, that’s not what we said and that’s not what we’ve agreed to.

      This will be two systems: a NATO system in Europe, which has to do with theater missile defense and short-range missile defense; and a Russian system already embodied in the Galosh system, which is, as you know, equipped with nuclear warheads still, that rings Moscow.

      And these two systems will in fact exist in parallel. So what we are talking about is looking at ways in which we could in fact share different procedures, perhaps share some information that would be helpful in the operation of these two systems, and through that exercise, that we would be able to reach a point where perhaps we would gain sufficient trust and confidence in one another’s system to move forward. And that is, I think, as far as I can tell – again, from the outside – is the view that has prevailed.

      So, although there are still echoes, particularly from the Russian side, of this earlier dream of an integrated system, particularly a system which might in fact take over sectoral responsibilities, which on any given day are defined differently but most often have to do with Russia somehow assuming responsibility for Northern Europe, and to the delight of the Balts, particularly the defense of the Baltic territories as well as Russian territory against the occasional intruding rogue missile.

      You can imagine how delighted the Balts were who immediately caused to come from the secretary general – himself very interested in this issue – the definition that the NATO will take care of the defense of NATO territory and Russia will take care of the defense of Russian territory. So you will occasionally hear sectoral floating in and floating out. Pay no mind. That one is off the table too.

      But what is being discussed is a set of rather interesting and somewhat reminiscence of earlier times, transparency, joint exercises, joint information sharing, and perhaps even early warning cooperation that I think would actually form a fairly interesting basis on which cooperation could go forward.

      On transparency, it would be a question of keeping both sides abreast – here I mean both sides, NATO and Russia, keeping abreast of precisely what’s happening in terms of deployments, and also the production of new systems.

      In addition to the Galosh of course, the Russians have the S-300, not exactly the newest item on the shelf, but certainly the S-400 now beginning to come out, and the dream, the S-500, all of which are important systems to keep track of.

      On the U.S. side, we have Aegis itself, a bit of a problem for the Navy that never expected quite this much success for that system. It’s in demand all over the world, and which is going to exist in both a sea-based and a land-based version, an update of an existing missile and then two versions of yet another missile, not yet deployed, not yet even tested, in some cases.

      But, anyway, a lot to talk about, and what the capabilities are, and why it is that we can in fact say, on the basis of capability analysis, that we are not threatening the Russian strategic force from European bases, on the NATO side at least.

      The major question is, that’s really not what this is about, although that’s what one hears. It’s really, I think, a combination, and it’s summed up in two battles that are also going on in public, or semi-public. One is what I would say the negotiating positions that both sides have taken in these various channels about what will be required even to get to the level of transparency, exercise cooperation, joint early warning, data exchange that’s foreseen.

      The U.S. is, in fact, insisting, as they have insisted at earlier points, that there has to be a cooperation agreement that allows the transmission of scientific and technological data to the Russians.

      The Russians in return, perhaps upping the ante more than slightly, said, and, oh, by the way, we’’d very much like legal guarantees perhaps in the form of a treaty or something else that would say that particularly in Phase 4 of the Phased Adaptive Approach, when in fact we foresee having intercontinental ballistic missiles defense, would in fact not result in any kind of scheme that would lead or endanger – raise the risk to Russian strategic forces – essentially guarantee against targeting but also break out from the existing program that the United States has put on the table.

      We also have what might be called rather amusing, if they weren’t so painful, protocol politics that are taking place both in the Duma and in the Senate and Republican letters about not doing things we’re already doing, and other good things that you’ve seen come out in the last couple of weeks.

      So, there’s a lot to be said about what in fact is happening. I think the major question is, what would be the benefit if we went ahead with, for example, the German invitation to have yet another – this would be the ninth exercise of joint missile defense since 2002.

      They only stopped at the time when we all stopped everything with regard to Georgia in 2008. So we’ve had tabletop exercises. We’ve had simulations. There’s even, believe it or not, a plan for a live fire exercise at some point. We’ll see if we get there. But there are, in other words, a plan of exercises.

      I think here – and now I’d like to cycle back, if I could, to the NATO-Russia Council idea because that is a new wedge in this process. Remember, Phase 3 is supposed to hit around 2015, and Phase 4, depending on whose crystal ball you like better, is 2018 or 2020 in terms of the Phased Adaptive Approach timetable.

      I think that the NATO-Russia discussion is, in some ways, an interesting barometer to watch, but it also represents perhaps the first time that we’ve had such direct involvement by the NATO states in this discussion altogether.

      Most of them are really not prepared for it, not prepared to take up some of the arcana that we all know and love about missile defense and what’s involved and what’s not involved. But there is much more understanding, I think, than certainly existed three years ago or at the time of the Bush third site proposal.

      And so that is turning out to be the excuse to have some discussions about whether missile defense might be the new form of at least something that used to be called deterrence or something like that, which is one discussion that’s going on right now. Maybe in the 21st century we’ve changed the requirements for deterrence, and certainly those of reassurance.

      So we’re really in a state, it seems to me, where, as I said, there’s an opportunity and certainly some enthusiasm to move ahead in this area. There are a number of non-governmental organizations including one that I’m involved in, a Carnegie commission, which is very much involved with pushing the idea that this is a vehicle for engagement of all three – Russia, Europe and the United States – in an issue of some concern where there can be demonstrated benefits from cooperation.

      But we’re not there yet. And as we go forward, certainly to Deauville, where there will be this side discussion on missile defense and the NATO-Russia meeting in June, you can imagine that there will be yet more volleys in the press, meetings semi-public, and a lot of serious head-scratching about what steps we take next. So, stay tuned. (Applause.)

      MR. GRAEFE: Thank you, Catherine.

      Before I’m going to open up for questions from your side, I want to use my position as moderator to ask a question which is related to my job and my background as someone working with a European institution, because I guess you are going to ask questions more related to the role of the U.S. in these discussions.

      Steve and Catherine, I would like to know how actually European allies, especially also Germany, can help in these negotiations. You’re aware of Foreign Minister Westerwelle’s initiative to withdraw the remaining tactical nukes in Germany. I mean, I would like to know, was this helpful at all? And where do you see the European partners in that whole discussion? A question to you both actually.

      MR. PIFER: Well, let me say, no, I think there is a very interesting discussion that started up maybe about a year and a half, two years ago in Europe on the nuclear weapons question, and it’s now reflected – and it’s been channeled into this NATO Deterrence and Defense Posture Review. And right now it’s just premature to say there’s a NATO position. I think you can define a spectrum.

      In the fall – and this is an oversimplification, and I state that at the outset, but, you know, the debate was seen framed by a French position on one side, which was very concerned with regards to considering changes in either NATO declaratory policy or NATO nuclear posture, and on the other side by Germany, which was seen as looking towards, you know, pushing for perhaps a radical reconsideration up to and including removal of American nuclear weapons from Europe.

      And then I think you could take the allies and sprinkle them between those two. I would put the Baltic States and Central Europe a little bit closer to the French position. I think Benelux, Norway, Denmark were probably more sympathetic to the German position and others were somewhere in between.

      The strategic concept was, I think, a success in the sense that it found a solution that everybody could sign up to, but it did it, I think, by then pushing those issues off into the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review. So, over the course of the coming months there may be, I think, a more difficult discussion within NATO on this.

      And what you see when you – I mean, talking to people that are in Washington, I think there’s sympathy for the range of viewpoints. I mean, the Washington interagency has a spectrum of views, just as you have in NATO.

      I think there’s some people who feel that, you know, the American nuclear commitment to Europe probably requires some presence of nuclear weapons in Europe, although in discussions I had in March with a number of people in the administration, I also found a lot of people in the administration saying that they could conceive of a possible negotiation outcome in which there would be no American nuclear weapons in Europe, but they said it was very condition-dependent on that and it depended on, you know, what the rest of the agreement looked like.

      They also made a couple other points. They were very, I think, sympathetic to as this process is managed, it needs to be managed in a way that the Central European states, those states that joined NATO since 1999, a number of whom I think joined in large part because they wanted that nuclear guarantee that you have to leave them reassured that the NATO commitment is there.

      There’s also a second point, which gets to – which I alluded to. When the United States thinks about its nuclear policy in Europe, it also has to think about what are the implications then for nuclear policy in Asia and the Middle East? And so that’s maybe a broader perspective. But, again, I think right now you have a range of views on both sides.

      I guess the one thing I think Europe can, and I hope would do, you know, once this discussion becomes more focused, is, again, there are a lot of European leaders who have direct channels to President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, and those conversations ought to be, I think, beginning to raise this question and say, look, you know, you can’t just say, not now, not now.

      You know, with the numbers of non-strategic weapons, it’s time to be getting a serious dialogue on this and get into a negotiation. I think pushing on that subject would be very helpful.

      MR. GRAEFE: OK, Catherine, would you like to take that?

      MS. KELLEHER: I think there’s – as I said, there’s a European role in this discussion so far that’s very different from what the role has been in the past. And it’s something that I think should be taken seriously. Not every country has. But certainly I think the French alone have moved a number of notches along in their understanding both of what’s expected of them and in fact the refining of their own position as to what they see is required.

      I think the more important question – and this is something that I think really – because it was taken as a test particularly of U.S. intentions – I think the idea of greater transparency for everybody, more information about what’s going to happen and what’s been looked at is really something that has met a welcome ear in populations that aren’t particularly interested in this area at all, and where anybody who comes out for defense expertise tends to lose the next election, or something at least to cause some difficulty.

      So, I think in that sense there has been a mutually beneficial effect. I think the real question will be, if you set up something like a data fusion center, which is what we’re supposed to call it these days, not data exchange, but a data fusion center, we are in fact going to have, participating in those data fusion centers, at least all of the present members of NATO. And the question is, and then what?

      We have a number of oldie, somewhat worn out or at least thought to be old-fashioned schemes that already exist, like the Cooperative Airspace Initiative, or even, may I mention it, the Open Skies program, where we do have data exchanges and we have ways in which we can talk to one another.

      They even either have a treaty basis or there’s an agreement, and it’s a question as to how we perhaps knit together something that might be called a set of reinforcing, confidence-building measures that would also promote the same kind of transparency and trust that we’ve been looking for.

      And there I think one could find a very helpful role on the part, say – the Poles in particular have been pushing the Cooperative Airspace Initiative, as have the Finns, from a different perspective. Just saying what it is that they can contribute or they in fact are willing to pay for. And I think both of those things would make success with the Congress much more probable.

      MR. GRAEFE: Thank you, Catherine. And I guess the European diplomats among you took notice of what both our panelists just said and will send cables. (Laughter.)

      And now I open it up to you. Please identify yourself, as in the morning session. Daryl, if you’ll go first.

      Q: Daryl Kimball. Thank you very much. Thank you, Steve and Catherine, for your great presentations. I learned a lot listening to you.

      There are two questions that I want to put to each of you that I think get to – you touched upon, Steve, one of them – which is, if you could try to summarize the nature of the Russian concern about deeper offensive reductions absent some sort of understanding or framework regarding strategic missile defenses out in the future.

      As we’ve all heard, seeing the statements from the Russians over the years, I mean, sometimes it seems to be motivated, these stated concerns, to send messages to those inside Russia. But at the same time, I can see, if you look at the math, if you look at how many Russian launchers there are versus how many potential interceptors there might be, I can see how the math might make some Russian military planners worried.

      So, if you could each take a stab at just trying to summarize – and I know there’s a range of views – I mean, what the nature of that Russian concern is, and specifically why, Steve, you say reductions on both sides to about a thousand deployed offensive warheads could probably be achieved without this arrangement on missile defense, that would be very helpful. Thank you.

      MR. GRAEFE: OK, I think we’ll take two more questions. I saw hands up somewhere in the back. Yes?

      Q: Robert Gard. The Russian concern over the missile defense issue – I’m a little confused because I’ve read two or three times that some Russian official has said, we now have a directable warhead that can defeat any of these so-called missile defense systems – as if to say, you know, we know how to defeat it.

      And then on the other hand, they want some kind of legal instrument that says our missile defense won’t threaten their nuclear deterrent. Well, I don’t think we have any ambition to threaten their nuclear deterrent. Why don’t we give them one?

      MR. GRAEFE: Very clear question.

      And the last question in the first round. Here.

      Q: Ward Wilson. I have a kind of a – maybe it’s an academic question.

      A friend of mine seems to think that the Chinese essentially don’t believe in deterrence. They have nuclear weapons because everyone else does, but fundamentally they don’t – they’re not really on board with, say, American notions of nuclear deterrence.

      And I wondered if you could review a little bit if you think there’s unanimity in Europe about beliefs about nuclear deterrence. Is everyone essentially talking about the same thing or do some people kind of have one notion and others another? Thank you.

      MR. GRAEFE: Great question. I think the first one – I mean, basically all were addressed to you both, maybe the first one only to you, Steve. Maybe you’ll start.

      MR. PIFER: Well, on the interconnection between offense and defense, I think the first point is, never underestimate how much credibility Russians give to American technology.

      I was posted at the embassy in Moscow from 1986 to 1988, and when I got there, I mean, they were still just totally obsessed with SDI and the fear that this would put them out of the ballistic missile business.

      Now, by ’87, ’88 you actually had people like Sardeis (ph) say, no, this really is rocket science; this is hard to do. But I think when the Russians look at the plans, I think the Russians assume that we are going to be dramatically more successful than may, in fact, be the case.

      So, they look at the system and they look at 30 ground-based interceptors, and as I understand the Phased Adaptive Approach, the total buy is about 550 of the four blocks of missiles. And they say, that’s 530 missiles; that’s a lot – particularly when they worry about Phase 4, where the Aegis is to have some capability against ICBMs. So I think that’s part of it.

      And you saw in the New START Treaty – I believe at the end of the day the Russians fell off the demand for having some mention in the treaty of at least missile defense as a reason for withdrawal from the treaty because they understood where the Phased Adaptive Approach was going to be in 2020.

      And the New START Treaty will expire in 2021. They’re comfortable with that. And then in 2021, if all of a sudden the American missile defense expands in a way that they see as a threat, you know, they’re then no longer limited by the treaty.

      I think it gets harder when you look at a next treaty because if you’re talking about a follow on that may go to 2025, 2030 or 2035, they don’t fully understand what American missile defenses might look like then, and that makes them then more reluctant, I think, to reduce.

      The thousand number is based – just in talking to some Russian analysts who told me that they thought a thousand was about as far as Moscow could go before it would really want to have some very concrete assurances on missile defense in terms of more reductions.

      And then I guess the last point is that the Russians just have a very different assessment, I think, of the ballistic missile threat from Iran, is they don’t see Iran developing a long-range missile that could reach the United States as quickly as the U.S. intelligence community – which I think is still – you know, with help they could achieve it by 2015. They don’t see that happening, you know, for – it’s a much slower assessment.

      And then there’s a certain, I think, Russian paranoia which says, well, if the Americans aren’t building this for Iran, why would they spend all this money to deal with an Iranian threat that we don’t see happening for a number of years. Aha, it must be about us.

      So there’s a certain amount of paranoia there but I think there also is a certain amount of real concern that American missile defenses could, at some point, threaten a portion of their strategic deterrent.

      On the question – it’s interesting because I think the Russians sometimes try to have it both ways, because on the one hand they do express concern about missile defense, but also I think in messages which I believe were targeted primarily at the Russian public, they try to be reassuring.

      So they do say, we have very capable ballistic missiles. We could penetrate any American missile defense. They make allusions, for example, to a maneuverable warhead and things like that. So, to some extent, there’s a certain schizophrenia there in how they talk about this issue that, at the end of the day, you may not be able to fully reconcile.

      Finally, the last question on Europeans and deterrence – and this may be a question for you – I guess the way I look at it – and I think one of the challenges that NATO and the United States have to think through when they’re looking at the question of the appropriate mix between missile defense and conventional and nuclear forces in Europe is a sort of rationale that we argued for back in the 1980s, for example, when I was involved in the debate on medium-range missiles.

      I’m not sure those arguments are going to have much resonance then. I mean, you don’t have a large – you know, first of all, you don’t have the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact anymore. You don’t have a large Russian conventional force in 2007, which is the last year that Russians provided data before they suspended their participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. They had 5,000 main battle tanks in the European part of Russia and at the same time NATO had about 12,000.

      So, you don’t see that conventional imbalance. I think that many European countries, I think Germany in particular, don’t regard Russia as a threat. And that’s not a uniform view. I think countries closer to Russia have a more worried view about Russia but they don’t see the threat.

      So, the sorts of arguments that I think succeeded in persuading people that we had to go through with what was a very controversial decision to deploy an intermediate-range missiles, which ultimately led to a treaty banning all intermediate-range missiles, I’m not sure those arguments would work now.

      I think there’s just a different sense in Europe. And that’s going to be, I think, a struggle for NATO as it thinks through how it comes up with a policy that will be sellable not only to European and American leads but also to the public.

      MS. KELLEHER: Maybe I would take a step to a more general level. I think whomever you speak to in Russia, wherever they are on the political spectrum at home, the major thing that strikes me is pervasive uncertainty about the future.

      They’re not as comfortable as I would have hoped they were by this point about what they’re going to become. And I think this real debate that I think took place when oil prices were down in the comfortable $80 a barrel range, you know, what is Russia going to be, is it just going to be a provider of oil? Don’t we need to diversify the economy? Don’t we need a different set of prospects?

      That debate still lurks around the edges. And whether you’re talking about the economic future or whether you’re talking about the political future, or you’re talking about specific military systems, as you part things away, at the bottom you hit uncertainty. And are we far enough along? Can we trust ourselves?

      It is all of a piece, I think, with the end of the Soviet Union, which mercifully happened without many shots being fired but without really much of a directing genius saying, and this is how we move to the next step. So it’s been bumps along, and maybe we haven’t finished bumping yet, which is what many people feel.

      I think on the question of what they want, I think what you’re hearing in terms of this demand, at least in the missile defense area, for a set of guarantees sounds an awful lot like the ABM Treaty, you know, and it’s not by accident, comrade – namely, they felt very much snookered by the United States over the ABM Treaty, and perhaps they were.

      And the fact that the U.S. seemed without compunction and without really much in the way of a justification, just ready to get up and leave whatever final agreement they had made. And they would like to demonstrate that the agreement is still needed. So there’s certainly a bit of, shall we say, payback nostalgia in that particular demand.

      I think the major question that I have is, I think, General Gard, like yours, namely we have – if you go through the panoply of guarantees and discussions that we’ve had with the Russians – we will not target, we will not do this, we will not do that – the question is, are we really giving up so much to say, and we will not – that no-targeting pledge on our part, renewed by every president, or however you’d like to play it, in fact of course includes also defensive systems as well as offensive systems on our side.

      I don’t think we’re going to really give much up. But this then takes us back to domestic politics, and that particular guarantee is one that I suspect – I don’t know if it would cost the president the election, but it would certainly be a rather heavy stone, and would be presented in a way that would be very damaging, I think, to President Obama by the opposition.

      And toward Wilson’s question, yes indeedy there are different views of deterrence, including a whole bunch of people who aren’t sure that deterrence ever worked, and that we were, in fact, confused, not they. And there are others who – and I quote only the most famous Polish statement of all time is, we want a separate guarantee from the United States, because who wants a NATO guarantee? That’s too slow. (Laughter.)

      It’s just – it’s all over the place. And the interesting thing is probably the closest conception, as Steve said in his alignment, the French and the Balts, the Central Europeans on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays but not the other days – (laughter) – to say, you know, we want nuclear weapons in order to provide us with surety that in the old-fashioned – remember these debates – escalation, trigger, buckets of blood, whatever you want to remember those sets of arguments as – we have the means to blow everything up if it doesn’t go – you know, in order to convince somebody else not to do something bad.

      So, I think we don’t want to have that discussion. I don’t know how we’re going to get to the end of the NATO process without having that discussion because the fig leaves that we’ve gone through in the last 24 months are wearing thin, and we have to make sure that we get that report done by December, and that’s going to take a little bit of fancy penmanship, or wordsmanship to emerge from that.

      But, you know, it’s a hard question, including this new wrinkle that missile defense represents the new face of deterrence or something like deterrence in the 21st century.

      MR. GRAEFE: OK, we have maybe 10 more minutes. I think that’s one more round of questions, so please raise your hands. I see Greg and – yeah, Greg, why don’t you start?

      Q: Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.

      I’m wondering how adaptive you think the European Phased Adaptive Approach is. And by that I mean, how adaptive to the actual threat – the Europeans are reluctant to name Iran, for reasons related to Turkey.

      MS. KELLEHER: Some. Some.

      Q: Some Europeans.

      MS. KELLEHER: Yes.

      Q: One of the surprises to many in the U.S. intelligence community from 10 years ago is that the Iranians do not now – have not now deployed the Taepodong-2. In fact, the North Koreans haven’t deployed the Taepodong-2.

      But at any rate, there is much less of a longer-range Iranian ballistic missile threat than there was thought to be. The Iranians seem much more interested in building or developing solid fuel medium-range missiles than moving to the next step, a liquid fuel missile.

      So, what if, five years from now, the Iranians are still not manifesting a desire to be able to put Berlin, London and Paris under their ballistic missile threats? Does that mean that the U.S. will not move to Phase 3 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach?

      What happens then to the Russians, who already don’t believe the U.S. definition of the threat now – an ICBM possibly by 2015 – what do the Russians then say? Is the Lisbon commitment to territorial missile defense in Europe an automatic machine that will move up the Phased Adaptive Approach ladder sort of independent of an actual threat because it’s a political commitment from the United States?

      I just wondered if you can speculate a little bit about what the connection is between the actual threat and the course that we seem to be on.

      MR. GRAEFE: OK, then there was one question in the back. Yes?

      Q: Dan Arnaudo. I’m interested in the data fusion concept that you mentioned earlier in terms of how it’s structured. You said there are some systems that we already rely upon that do similar things through data exchanges, but just if there are possibilities to create more modern approaches that might actually improve cooperation.

      I’m thinking along the lines of something like cloud computing where you distribute the network so that you don’t have any single space that you have to, you know, make kind of a political football. Do you have a data-sharing center in Russia or in Europe or in America?

      So, if you can distribute the information sharing, then perhaps you can create a system that is, you know, encouraging of cooperation and encouraging of trust building and these other measures. So, if you had heard of any concepts like that actually described.

      MR. GRAEFE: Catherine, do you want this part?

      MS. KELLEHER: Yes, OK.

      I think perhaps to the first question, Greg’s question, the automaticity side, I think this is where this NATO-Russia Council gambit becomes very important. It’s hard to imagine that if President Obama were to be re-elected, that he would feel comfortable going back to something going back to something that said, the U.S. is going to proceed with this despite the fact that that NATO-Russia Council doesn’t approve.

      And there are several countries – I think Germany certainly is one of them, but there are others as well – who would say, unless you prove something is actually threatening, why should we go ahead with, say, to Phase 4? Why don’t we stop at Phase 3, which is still territorial/theater defense?

      I think that brings in a whole different range where the Bush administration was happy to go ahead in the face of non-multilateral support with bilateral agreements and bilateral systems decisions with, say, the Poles and the Czechs and the Romanian, the Bulgarians.

      The question I think now is raised to the alliance level in a way that makes it very much more of a test of how responsive the U.S. is going to be to the ideas of others. So I think that’s one thing that’s really quite different.

      I would argue – and here I’m talking about something I don’t know the content of, but there is supposedly a threat assessment exercise that’s pretty close to conclusion, where everyone has been sitting around with the Russians included, talking about a common definition of the threat.

      I’ve not told you everything I know. But it’s supposed to be happening – that is, maybe at least being distributed internally – fairly soon. And publicly I don’t know if it ever will be, but it’s there. So that kind of exercise is the kind of thing that you can imagine the NATO-Russia Council definitely lapping up and saying, this is what we should be doing.

      I think, to answer the question of the gentleman in the rear, there’s a very interesting discussion that goes on. Under the Cooperative Airspace Initiative, what you have is essentially a system by which you report to one another about unusual aircraft, rogue aircraft, movements in the civilian space.

      It could also – it allows for extension eventually to the military airspace as well. And you essentially report to one another on any movement 150 kilometers on either side of the NATO-Russia border. And you do this by three data collection points and a center in Warsaw and one in Moscow.

      That’s in the process. The end of concept will come in June, at which point the Air Force, the U.S. Air Force, which is very much involved in this, would like to hand it over to the system that’s going to operate it. And that’s kind of a critical point at the moment. But the software that exists is compatible with the software that does general airspace management in Europe under Europol. So that’s one thing.

      There’s been a suggestion that we don’t have physical data fusion centers, that we have a virtual center to which people contribute and have access and take responsibility about its configuration and its control, but that it would not necessarily have to exist physically.

      There are lots of reasons, not the least of which is hacking, that suggest maybe you don’t want to do that, right? But the present suggestion to have a center in Moscow and one in Brussels is a feel-good solution rather than one that I think will get around the estimated six-to-10-year planning permission process in Brussels, right?

      That’s how long it takes. And unless you can figure out a way to put it in an existing something or other – and even then you’re going to have trouble – it’s going to slow the whole system down. And those people who see this as a good thing would like to have, as fast as possible, some kind of result that indeed allows people to fuse data on both historical records of missile launches and all, or some kind of commonly defined data that they can then show to skeptical publics and parliaments.

      MR. GRAEFE: OK, Steve?

      MR. PIFER: Yeah, I’d just like to add, I just – I personally actually like – I think that there are other advantages also to having a physical scenario as opposed to a virtual scenario. One is, it does seem to me that there are advantages in terms of transparency if you have a physical location where NATO military officers and Russian military officers are in the room together 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

      And it seems to me that hopefully the big advantage of missile defense cooperation is that you begin to build this layer of trust, but also that the interactions are a way to convey to the other side a lot of transparency about what U.S. and NATO missile defenses can and cannot do. So I think there’s an advantage to having that physical scenario.

      The other advantage – and this actually came from a retired Russian general. He said the other advantage he thought was that it would be a place where you could actually bring, you know, non-NATO and non-Russian country representatives.

      And he had particularly in mind China, in saying, you know, one of the potential risks that he saw to NATO-Russian missile defense cooperation was it creates suspicion in China that this is somehow directed against China.

      Again, he thought that there might be advantages to having a location where you can bring the Chinese military officers where they could actually observe what was going on and what it was doing, what potential threats were being looked at in a physical location that then might make it useful, a vehicle for greater transparency vis-à-vis China so that you did not provoke sudden concerns to Russia’s east about what NATO-Russian missile cooperation might entail.

      MR. GRAEFE: OK, thank you very much, Steve and Catherine. I think we have to stop here because the Senator Shaheen is about to join us. But please first join me in thanking our both panelists. (Applause.)

      MS. KELLEHER: Thank you. Thank you.

      (END) Back to top




      KEYNOTE 3



      TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011

      Transcript by
      Federal News Service
      Washington, D.C.

      CHRISTINE WING: Friends, we’re going to get started very soon because our next speaker is on a fairly tight schedule, and we want to be sure to have time to hear her. So may I ask you, please, to stop your conversations and sit down so we can get started? And then I get really bossy. Gentlemen? Thank you. Okay.

      (Off-side conversation.)

      MS. WING: Okay, having just been really bossy, I just discovered she’s doing an interview. (Laughter.) Just do not get up. You may talk to the person who’s sitting next to you. I should say, my name’s Chris Wing. I’m a member of the board of directors of the Arms Control Association, something that I really enjoy. Okay, we’re ready? Okay. Thank you – yes, please.

      And I would say that, as a member of the board of the Arms Control Association, it’s my sincere pleasure to introduce someone who has been, and I am sure will continue to be, a true champion for arms control and nonproliferation in the U.S. Senate. As a member of both the Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, Senator Jeanne Shaheen has played a crucial role in support of the New START treaty last year, and she’s a strong supporter of President Obama’s agenda to reduce nuclear dangers to the United States.

      She also has a very impressive background. She’s the first woman in history to be elected a governor and a U.S. senator, and she’s been involved in all levels of New Hampshire life. She taught in a New Hampshire high school, which most of us know would probably prepare you to deal with the U.S. Senate – (laughter) – chaired the Town of Madbury zoning board and served three terms in the state senate.

      She became the first woman elected governor of New Hampshire, serving three terms from 1997 to 2003. In 2008, she became the first woman elected to the United States Senate from New Hampshire. We’re delighted that you can be here, Senator Shaheen. And please help me – (applause).

      SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): Thank you very much, Dr. Wing, for that nice introduction. You know, as a politician, I understand that timing is everything and I’ve been around long enough to know that when you’re the last person on the agenda, that it’s always challenging because you’re never sure that people are awake and everything’s always been said before you get up to speak.

      So I will try and be brief this afternoon and understand that you’ve had a long but very constructive day. And I’m really honored to be part of the same lineup of speakers for you with Ellen Tauscher and Bob Casey, who, as you know, were both critical in passage of the New START treaty.

      I want to begin by thanking Daryl Kimball and the Arms Control Association for hosting the event today and for all of your leadership on such a critically important issue for America’s security. So thank you all very much. I know that today’s theme is focused on the next steps in arms control and nonproliferation, but I think it’s important to begin – and I assume you’ve done some of this already today – by taking a step back and looking at where we’ve been as we’re trying to decide where we go next.

      It’s been a good two years, I think – and I assume that most of you would agree with that – since President Obama’s Prague agenda was first announced in April of 2009. The United States has re-established our global leadership on the nuclear agenda. We had a successful NPT review conference, which led to a consensus document for the first time in 10 years. The nuclear posture review reduced the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.

      We successfully pressed for a fourth round of sanctions on Iran at the U.N. Security Council, something that many of us thought was not going to be possible. And certainly, we had a lot of debate in the Senate about whether that was going to be possible. The United States also convened the first-of-its-kind nuclear security summit, which rallied the international community to press for securing all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years. Now, obviously, at the top of the list of what we want to accomplish was the successful ratification of the New START treaty in the United States Senate.

      And I think most people looking at the treaty once it had been negotiated and thinking about getting it through the Senate really thought that this was going to be not too difficult – that this was low-hanging fruit – and didn’t really realize, at the beginning of the debate, just how difficult it would be because it linked together, ultimately, every possible interest tied to the nuclear agenda, including modernization, tactical nuclear weapons, missile defense, delivery systems and many other issues.

      Eventually, the obvious benefits of New START and the overwhelming support from the past seven presidential administrations won over enough senators to ratify the treaty. But I remember being in some of those hearings and listening to some of the debate on the floor of the Senate, thinking we’ve had every living secretary of state and secretary of defense on both sides of the aisle come in to say this was something we should do, so why is it so hard?

      Well, New START was a big triumph for our national security interests, and I was very pleased, personally, to play a small role in its passage. Being relatively new to these issues, I was especially proud to be one of those senators who went to the White House to watch President Obama sign the treaty.

      And then, also, I happened to be in Munich for the Munich international security conference and got a chance to see the exchange of the instruments of ratification. So that was also very exciting, to be there. And I really, again, want to thank all of you for your support throughout this process. All of the advocacy organizations, the think tanks, the NGO communities really came through in the end in a way that made a huge difference.

      Having witnessed it firsthand, you were absolutely critical for me and for my staff throughout the Senate debate, helping us with op-eds, letters to the editor, phone calls, rapid analysis, interviews – all of the kinds of things that helped win the argument, ultimately, for passage of New START. Because of your efforts, when it’s fully implemented, the United States and Russia will have the fewest warheads deployed – the fewest deployed warheads since the 1950s.

      Now, so that’s where we’ve been. As we look forward to future efforts in the Senate, I think it’s important to recognize some of the advantages we had during New START. We had strong bipartisan support, as I said, from nearly every living former national security official. We had the full support of the president and his entire administration, including 100 percent backing from the military, as well as the national labs. And that military backing was huge as we tried to convince our colleagues on the other side of the aisle that this was important to do.

      We were arguing, also, for the resumption of something that had expired, not something that was new. And we had a ticking clock on the inspections side. So it was great to be able to come back every time somebody talked about the challenge from Russia and whether we could really believe them as they signed their interest in New START. Our response could be, yeah, but we don’t have anybody on the ground and so we would be better off to have inspectors on the ground than to continue the current situation.

      So as we begin to think about future treaties or arms control agreements, it’s going to be very difficult to replicate all of those things that were in our favor as we began the discussion around New START. And I think that, then, raises the question of what next? Obviously, New START was a high-profile success. There are several equally high-profile treaties on our agenda, however, I think each of them will be difficult and will require some significant time and effort.

      The comprehensive test-ban treaty, for instance – and I know Ellen Tauscher spoke earlier today making the case for the CTBT – you all know the national security arguments in favor of the treaty. There’s no doubt that technical advances and new monitoring techniques have changed the contours of the debate since it was last considered in 1999.

      But like all Senate staffs, ours is pretty good at counting votes and we do have some work to do, as I’m sure all of you know. In 1999, when the treaty was taken up by the Senate, there were 48 yes votes. Only half of those senators are still, now, in the Senate. In addition, in 2013, at least 55 senators will have been newly elected since 2005 – so over half of the Senate. This means we really have some work to do on Capitol Hill if we’re going to make the case to a relatively young U.S. Senate.

      Another high-profile treaty that’s being discussed is a follow-on bilateral agreement with Russia. This, too, will require a heavy lift both from the administration and in the Senate. The outlines of such a follow-on treaty are still unclear. Both countries still maintain significant deployed, non-deployed and tactical nuclear weapons in their stockpiles. And as we saw during the debate on New START, all of these complex issues will play a role in the future negotiations.

      This, like CTBT, will be difficult. But for all of us who are optimists in the room that just means we need to start now. I think it’s also important to focus on the lower-profile but still valuable initiatives that will not require 67 Senate votes. For example, on the U.S.-Russia bilateral front, it would be prudent to explore some of the recommendations made by Secretary Albright in her recent op-ed.

      Ideas like accelerating New START reductions, de-alerting the status of some of our nuclear weapons, missile defense cooperation and re-energizing consultations on the Iranian threat should all be something to take a close look at in the coming year. In addition, I think it’s very important for us to shift more focus, time and resources onto nonproliferation and nuclear security in the months ahead.

      The threat of nuclear terrorism remains perhaps our greatest national security challenge today. As Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, and I quote, “Every senior leader, when you’re asked what keeps you awake at night, it’s the thought of a terrorist ending up with a weapon of mass destruction, especially nuclear.” I have to say it’s that thought that, for me, made the debate around New START so compelling and also so hard to understand why there was so much opposition to getting the votes to ratify the treaty.

      Estimates suggest that the global stockpile of highly enriched uranium in 2010 was enough to make more than 60,000 nuclear weapons. The fact that many of these stockpiles are growing and remain insecure is a sobering and alarming fact. And the discovery that Osama bin Laden, the global face of terrorism, was found to be hiding out in Pakistan, the world’s fifth-largest nuclear power, should keep all of us awake at night.

      Unfortunately, not everyone on the Hill seems to understand the urgency. We saw the House recommend a $600 million cut to critical nuclear nonproliferation programs in this year’s budget. Considering the threat posed by a single nuclear weapon falling into the wrong hands, this decision is incomprehensible. Even when fully funded, the U.S. nonproliferation efforts amount to far less than 1 percent of our national security spending.

      To change that, we will need your help in the coming budget cycles to make the case that nuclear nonproliferation remains a priority and should remain a priority. So we have accomplished a lot in the last two years. We’ve done much to, as President Eisenhower said, “help solve the fearful atomic dilemma and to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death but consecrated to his life.”

      I think Eisenhower’s quote is particularly appropriate, as New START will bring us back to the deployed levels seen during his day. However, as we all know, we have a long way to go to meet this challenge. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you during this effort. Thank you for your time today and for everything that you’ve done to get us to this point. (Applause.)

      MS. WING: Thank you. Are you willing to take a couple questions?

      SEN. SHAHEEN: Yes, I can take a few.

      MS. WING: So I think we have time for a couple of questions if there are questions people would like.

      SEN. SHAHEEN: One of the other things you realize, as a politician, that’s a challenge is that you never want to be in a room full of people who know more about the issue than you do. (Laughter.)

      MS. WING: Okay. So could you –

      SEN. SHAHEEN: And maybe I could just get you to identify yourself and tell me what organization you’re affiliated with.

      Q: Hi, thank you for coming, Senator. My name is Paul Walker with Global Green USA. And I’m a part-time resident of New Hampshire.

      SEN. SHAHEEN: Ah, good.

      Q: And I’m a full-time resident of Boston, but we’re up in the lakes region all the time so I know the politics you have to deal with very, very well. We asked Senator Casey this morning whether he thought a vote on the comprehensive test-ban treaty would be likely before the 2012 elections – I guess over the next 18 months sometime.

      And I’d just like to pose the same question to you. Do you think we know how tough it’s going to be? It was tough for the New START treaty. It’s been tough for every single arms control treaty we’ve tried to pass over the last couple decades in the Senate. But do you think it’s likely, at all, that we’ll have a vote in 2011 or 2012?

      SEN. SHAHEEN: I don’t think it’s likely for some of the reasons that I stated earlier – that we have a lot of members of the Senate who are new and who haven’t really engaged, in a meaningful way, in this debate, who still have questions about the New START treaty. And I also think – so I think our effort ought to be focused on educating people and also on trying to build support in the country for the need to address nonproliferation.

      You know, I was having a conversation earlier with somebody here – we were talking about working for Gary Hart back in the ’80s when Alan Cranston and the nuclear freeze movement and Gary Hart and all of the other people running for president were making that an issue. And it’s not an issue right now. It’s not an issue for the public. And one of the things we’ve got to do is to help people understand why this is so important.

      I mean, the idea of a nuclear weapon in the hands of a terrorist ought to scare all of us and we all ought to be very interested in what we can do to try and reduce that threat, but most people, whether it’s we can’t bear to think about it or whether people just don’t know about the threat , clearly it’s not an issue for people. And it needs to be.

      MS. WING: Other questions? Yes?

      Q: My name is Norman Wulf. I’m retired State Department. My question, Senator, is, as part of the ratification of just about any arms control, including the New START agreement, certain reassurances were necessary to persuade some senators to vote, such as the nuclear infrastructure. Could you speculate with us what type of reassurances may have to be considered in the context of a CTBT ratification? Thank you.

      SEN. SHAHEEN: I can’t even speculate, unfortunately. Again, partly because I think it’s just – we’re so far from the point where people are prepared to actually negotiate and we have an interest in even negotiating around that issue that it’s hard to think about what it would take to convince people.

      Q: I’m Richard Garwin. I’ve worked with nuclear weapons and arms control for 60 years and I have what may be a rather impolite question. This is a public session so you may not want to answer it.

      SEN. SHAHEEN: I’m used to impolite questions. (Laughter.)

      Q: Okay. So suppose you have a new senator coming in and they don’t have any understanding or opinion on this and they hear from all sides. Now, somehow, it seems that people with totally extraneous views and interests influence those elected representatives. They may want jobs in the state; they may want something else – you know, people who really know their business. They’re very intelligent, paid lobbyists.

      And so they provide some arguments and you don’t get the vote until those people get what they’re interested in getting, which may be couched as jobs or whatever. So my not-too-impolite question is, does this pressure come from your state – a person’s state – or does it come in general? And is this a reasonable understanding of the problem of getting people to look at the issues?

      SEN. SHAHEEN: I think it is. I think there are two issues there. One is, as you identify, there are powerful lobbying interests who may not be supportive of an agenda that moves the country in the direction of arms reduction. So that’s one challenge and that is related, often, both to an individual elected official’s constituencies, but it’s also related to money.

      The reality is that what drives so much of the debate that we have in the United States Senate has to do with money in campaigns. And that was made worse last year by the Supreme Court decision, which basically said there are no longer limits on who can spend money in campaigns.

      So that’s why I said I think, as we’re thinking about how do you move an agenda – a nonproliferation agenda in Congress, one of the things we need to do is to think about how to move it in the public because, ultimately, we respond, as elected officials, to our constituents. And it’s those constituents who need to begin – we need to help them make the case about why this is so important.

      MS. WING: I think we’re going to take one more question. Yes, right in the middle of the room.

      Q: Thank you. Charlie Day from the Project for Nuclear Awareness in Philadelphia. Senator, sometimes unpredictable events have a way of impacting what happens in public policy. And I’m thinking of one unpredictable event right now – Fukushima, the nuclear plant. It seems that it’s put the words nuclear and the words radiation back in the public awareness. And I wonder if you see any carryover into other nuclear issues, such as weapons and our nuclear future – nuclear security?

      SEN. SHAHEEN: Seabrook, you’re right. Some of you may remember that the last power plant licensed in the U.S. was Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant on the coast of New Hampshire. And there was quite a debate about that. And whether or not it was going to go forward was impacted dramatically by Chernobyl and what happened at Chernobyl because that happened at a critical time in the opening of Seabrook. So I personally very much appreciate the impact of those kinds of events.

      Unfortunately, I think most of the discussion around Fukushima and what happened in Japan has been around nuclear power and it has not gotten translated into how – nuclear issues, in general, and the fact that, you know, it can be damaging, both as nuclear power, but it can be even worse as nuclear weapons.

      MS. WING: Thank you very much. (Applause.)

      SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you all very much.

      (Audio break.)

      MS. WING: I’m going to hand this over to Daryl to close, but before doing that, I just wanted to take the opportunity, since I got here at the podium, to thank Daryl and the incredible staff of the Arms Control Association. It’s a privilege to serve on the board. I’ve known these folks for a while. They do really good work. We’re lucky we’ve got them. (Applause.)

      DARYL KIMBALL: And since – (inaudible, off mic) – Chris is the treasurer of our board – (laughter) – she would not be happy if I didn’t remind you all that, you know, the work that the Arms Control Association does, does depend on your contributions, the large and the small. There is a donation box outside and there are donation cards here. I know many of you have already given once or twice or many more times, but please keep that in mind.

      And I just want to really pay tribute to the staff and remind everybody about the volume of the work that this little staff does. I think of it as the little engine that could, you know. Just in the last 18 months, the organization has produced six major staff reports. One of the latest was co-written by our Scoville Peace Fellow Rob Golan-Vilella. That is – the cover is outside – it’s online on the nuclear security summit goals.

      As I said before, we’ve got a new report on the European debate about tactical nuclear weapons and NATO nuclear policy. Last year, in 2010, the staff produced, through Arms Control Today, 42 feature articles by leading experts, which takes a little bit of work editing and refining and making it better. So thanks to Dan Horner [our editor] and to Farrah [Zughni], our managing editor. And thanks to the rest of our staff – those are the people who have produced 145 original news articles in Arms Control Today. So just with the magazine, there’s an incredible output with reports.

      And then on top of that, last year, we produced 41 rapid-reaction issue briefs on hot-button topics, many of those about the New START treaty. So the staff works very hard. I want to thank all of them and I want to ask you to join me in thanking all of them for their hard work, please. (Applause.)

      And we are at the end of the public program, but for those of you who are dues-paying members of the Arms Control Association, or are thinking about it, I just want to let you know that we are going to give you an opportunity to have an informal discussion with the staff right after this session downstairs in the Butler Room, which is downstairs and to the rear, to have an informal conversation about the year ahead, some of the things that we’re doing on the issues that you’ve heard about and to give us your ideas about what we ought to be doing that we’re not already doing.

      So on behalf of the staff and the board, thanks for coming. It’s been a great day. All of the proceedings have been recorded. The video and a transcript will be available in just a couple of days. So thanks again, and have a good day. (Applause.)

      (END) Back to Schedule


      Transcript and Video Available. Keynote Speakers Include:  Ellen Tauscher, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pennsylvania), and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire).

      ACA Deputy Director Addresses CIFTA Consultative Committee



      Improving CIFTA: A Nongovernmental Perspective

      Remarks by Jeff Abramson, Deputy Director, Arms Control Association, to the Consultative Committee of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Material (CIFTA)

      April 15, 2011, OAS Headquarters, Washington DC


      Estimado representantes,

      Es un honor y un placer de estar aqui y presentar algunos comentarios en nombre de organizaciones de la sociedad civil de todo el continento americano. Muchas gracias por la invitacion.

      Lo siento, pero mi espanol no es perfecto. Entonces, voy a hablar ya en ingles.

      I’m Jeff Abramson, Deputy Director of the Arms Control Association, a Washington DC-based nongovernmental organization that promotes effective arms control agreements to address the dangers posed by nuclear, chemical, biological and conventional weapons.

      Last year, we added our name to a letter on behalf of organizations throughout the region that was delivered at the 11th regular meeting of this consultative committee. The number of organizations endorsing this year’s letter has nearly doubled, comprised of 14 groups and regional coalitions that represent citizens throughout the hemisphere (see attached). This is indicative of the wide-ranging support from civil society for CIFTA, and the importance we place on seeing that it be a strong and useful agreement in reducing the human and security costs of the illicit manufacturing and trafficking of firearms, ammunitions, explosives, and other related materials.

      In my presentation, I’d like to do three things.

      First, share a sample of the work that civil society is doing.

      Second, reiterate a number of the main points you’ll find in our letter.

      And third, address some of the core issues of this meeting: marking and tracing, as well as stockpile management.

      Turning initially to some of the work civil society is doing, many of you are familiar with CLAVE (La Coalición Latinoamericana para la Prevención de la Violencia Armada) comprised of dozens of nongovernmental organizations who are working to prevent and reduce the impact of armed violence.

      More recently, a new network has formed that is particularly focused on measuring the impact of violence on development and the millennium goals, and supporting the rights of and assistance to victims of armed violence, named SEHLAC Seguridad Humana en Latinoamerica y el Caribe.

      Additionally, regional nongovernmental organizations are very active in supporting a robust Arms Trade Treaty and the global Control Arms coalition. In fact, organizations from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica and the United States currently serve on the coalition’s steering board.

      Turning now to our letter… In it, we highlight that CIFTA faces two major challenges: one is the ratification by all members of the Organization of American States, and another is the need for real progress in its implementation. Concern about gun violence is at the heart of civil society interest in CIFTA and in the letter we underscore the need to recognize this issue. We also stress that effective control of firearms and ammunition is an international issue that therefore demands coordinated regional and international action.

      Flowing from these observations, our recommendations include that all countries ratify the agreement, that initiatives be undertaken to examine how information is shared in order to improve the agreement’s implementation, that OAS members states make a strong positive statement in support of global Arms Trade Treaty negotiations, that states carry out initiatives to increase understanding and measure the problem of gun violence in the region, in particular focusing on victims and survivors of gun violence, and that mechanisms be created for official participation of civil society within the OAS and CIFTA committee.

      Turning to the core topics of today’s meeting, let me first talk about marking and tracing.

      On marking, states should continue to develop methods for the proper and reasonable marking of ammunition, so as to improve their control. In Brazil, use of laser technology to mark bullets, not with individual numbers but with lot numbers, provides proof of possibilities and cost effectiveness of new approaches.

      Like CIFTA, we believe that a broader, global Arms Trade Treaty should take into account ammunition. Most OAS member states have stessed the necessity of including ammunition in any global norm-setting agreement because it is the supply of bullets that is essential to controlling armed violence, while the United States has argued against ammunition’s inclusion primarily citing logistical barriers. We encourage OAS members to use their experience to improve the debate on ammunition and work to overcome any disagreements so that the eventual ATT includes the bullets that are used for the majority of the violence perpetrated with conventional weapons.

      Next, the registration of the various transactions related to weapons, particularly for transfers, is one of the pillars of traceability. However, even when records are available, they often contain errors. Among others, the Asociacion para Politicas Publicas (APP) in Argentina has found this to be a particular problem, in part through exploring customs data using the COMTRADE system. Therefore, we recommend that you conduct a joint exercise to compare transfer records within and across borders and determine the reliability of those records.

      For tracing to work, cooperation and exchange of information within national agencies and between countries is essential. But civil society members see that capacity problems, jealousies and bureaucratic inertia conspire against the actual implementation of such cooperation. Therefore, we recommend an evaluation first to determine the real scope of cooperation and exchange of information, and second to identify obstacles and areas for improvement.

      Of course, there are also successes and at times large volumes of weapons are seized as part of efforts to combat their illicit trade. Those instances should be better publicized as well as used to measure how well marking, tracing and broader communication efforts are working. Each such incident could provide a data point into how well information was shared, how quickly cooperation occurred, and how existing records aided in understanding and stopping illicit trade routes and practices.

      Turning to stockpile management, states parties need to continue to work to improve mechanisms for accountability, which are essential for identifying and preventing the leakage of weapons into the illicit market.

      For example, we encourage all countries to examine problems, accidents, and safety failures that occur with their military and police stockpiles, and private security firms, and to concentrate on improving accountability systems. Parliaments and civil society members will need to be involved in this effort because in democracies they provide the ultimate oversight to the internal operations of government bodies.

      We also recommend that a mechanism be created for sharing information about stockpile losses and lapses. We recommend that this be done in a transparent manner, but at a minimum this sharing should occur at some level between governments. Lapses in stockpile security are not local problems, but regional ones, especially if large quantities of weapons and ammunition enter into illicit use.

      At times, states have argued that such transparency would affect national security and secrecy concerns, but such arguments simply provide cover for government inefficiency or corruption. Reasonable systems can and should be put in place that do not compromise national security goals.

      Speaking personally, as a citizen of and someone who works in the United States, I know that my country provides support to the CIFTA process, and has signed but has not ratified it. States parties should continue to make the case and press the United States to ratify the accord. I am also keenly aware that U.S. laws allow for loopholes that make it easy to obtain weapons near the Mexican border and illegally traffic them into that country, often in exchange for drugs. This only exacerbates the problems of illicit trafficking. While we are here today talking about CIFTA, we must not be afraid to point out where actions undermine the basic goals of the agreement.

      Finally, as highlighted at the start of today’s meeting, CIFTA member states are engaged in a questionnaire about the implementation and effectiveness of the agreement. We encourage all countries to engage in this exercise. But that exercise should not result in a document that lists the number of countries that are filing reports and perhaps some details about what they are doing at a national level. We have seen the limits of those reports, for example, in official evaluations of the UN Program of Action and the UN Register of Conventional Arms. The real measures of effectiveness, however, have to be related back to the problems the agreements are meant to address. In CIFTA’s case, that’s the illicit trafficking of weapons and ammunition. We must ask the basic questions of how do we measure that problem? Is trafficking now more rampant, or is it declining? Is CIFTA truly working to address those issues?

      We encourage all states to use the CIFTA agreement as a mechanism that holds every nation accountable and raises everyone’s efforts to fight the illicit trafficking of firearms, ammunition, explosives and other related material, because ultimately, doing so is essential to saving and improving the lives of all us living together, here, in the American states.

      Muchas gracias por su atencion.


      Remarks by Jeff Abramson, Deputy Director,  to the Consultative Committee of the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, and Other Related Material (CIFTA).


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