"[The Arms Control Association is an] 'exceptional organization that effectively addresses pressing national and international challenges with an impact that is disproportionate to its small size.'" 

– John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
January 19, 2011

ACA Missile Defense Briefings - Powerpoint by Philip Coyle and Remarks by Greg Thielmann



The Arms Control Association Presents

Policy Briefing on Missile Defense

July 21, 2009


Ballistic missile defense has long been one of the most contentious issues in U.S.-Russian relations. At the July 6 Moscow Summit, the two sides found agreement on many START-related issues but continued to differ on missile defense. President Obama recently announced that a U.S. review of plans to build a missile defense system in Europe will be completed by the end of the summer. Meanwhile, North Korea and Iran continue efforts to develop and deploy ballistic missiles. ACA will offer widely recognized experts to brief on the nature of the emerging missile threat, on the status of U.S. programs to counter that threat, and on the broader implications for U.S. national security.

When: Tuesday, July 21, 2009, 10:00am to 11:30am
Where: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC


Steven Hildreth, Specialist in Missile Defense and Nonproliferation, Congressional Research Service

Philip E. Coyle, III, Former Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, Department of Defense; Senior Advisor, World Security Institute

Greg Thielmann, Former Office Director, State Department Intelligence Bureau (INR); Former Senior Staff Member, Senate Intelligence Committee; Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association

Moderator: Tom Z. Collina, Research Director, Arms Control Association



For more information on missile defense, please download Greg Thielmann's Threat Assessment Briefing "Strategic Missile Defense: A Reality Check (PDF)



Policy Briefing on Missile Defense Implications
Greg Thielmann
Carnegie Endowment
July 21, 2009

My research project at ACA deals with assessing threats realistically and proposing appropriate policy responses.

Today I will be laying out my conclusion that:

  • Our strategic missile defense efforts have actually increased the military threats we face
  • The only way for strategic missile defenses to decrease the threat is to find cooperative solutions with Russia and China.

Let me suggest an insurance metaphor for the U.S. missile defense program.

  • With insurance, we regularly pay a known price to avoid the uncertain possibility of paying a much higher price for a catastrophic event.Long-range ballistic missile defense is a form of insurance or risk management, hedging against the risk of catastrophic losses from a nuclear missile attack on the United States.
  • Long-range ballistic missile defense is a form of insurance or risk management, hedging against the risk of catastrophic losses from a nuclear missile attack on the United States.
  • For more than twenty years, the U.S. has been buying missile defense insurance to mitigate this risk – paying a very high premium for very restricted coverage.
    • Steven Hildreth has described the two emerging offensive threats, which shape our current strategic missile defense efforts.
    • Phillip Coyle has described the kind of restricted coverage we currently enjoy.

I will describe real world impacts and policy implications.

  • I won’t dwell on the direct costs of these programs, except to note that sunk costs since the launch of SDI are well in excess of 100 billion dollars.

“Opportunity costs” is the term economists use for measuring the things we have to give up in deciding to pursue a certain action; we have given up a lot already.

  • I won’t try to list all of the historic opportunity costs, but I’ll mention a couple of programmatic costs, which affect the here and now.
    • The billions spent annually on strategic missile defenses are not available to help pay the costs of two ongoing wars.
    • Strategic missile defense detracts from national efforts to defend against more likely vectors of nuclear attack through our ports and across our land borders from non-state actors.
      • Groups like al-Qaida are not going to be launching ICBMs at the United States.

Let me explain how long-range ballistic missile defenses have actually increased the threats we face – threats from our most powerful potential adversaries and from hostile proliferant states.

First point: Strategic missile defense has worsened the threat from
Russia and China...

-- the only countries, which can jeopardize our survival as a nation:

  • At different times during the Cold War, each was the principal target of U.S. strategic missile defenses; and in each case we eventually decided that such defenses could not be effective.
  • Now neither nation is considered an enemy. During the last decade, it has been U.S. policy to deploy an effective missile defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack – not against the arsenals of Russia and China.
  • The problem is that we have not been able to figure out a way to build limited territorial defenses without causing Russia and China to worry that their own deterrent capabilities could be threatened.
    • So far, U.S. determination to deploy territorial missile defenses has at least twice prevented stabilizing agreements with Moscow on strategic offensive arms control.
      • As a consequence, Russia has ended up with more capable systems than it would otherwise have had in order to ensure that it could penetrate U.S. defenses.
    • U.S. missile defenses have also given Beijing strong incentives to improve the quality and quantity of China’s strategic forces.
      • China is today the only one of the five NPT nuclear weapons states that is increasing rather than decreasing the size of its nuclear missile force over the last decade.

Second point: Deployment of U.S. strategic missile defenses actually
encourages rogue state missile programs.

  • Missile defense proponents continue to argue the opposite case – that U.S. missile defense deployments will dissuade rogue nations from pursuing missiles and nuclear weapons.
  • There is no evidence that deployments of missile defenses discourage deployments of missile offenses – none.
    • We see instead the opposite dynamic between defenses and offenses:
      • Russian ABM deployment—U.S. MIRVing
      • Israeli Arrow ATBM deployment—Continuing expansion of Iranian missile program
      • Indian strategic defense program initiated—Continuing expansion of Pakistani nuclear/missile programs
      • Taiwan deployment of Patriot ATBM—Chinese augmentation of missile forces across the straits, now over 1,000.
  • You have heard Steven describe how vigorous North Korean and Iranian missile efforts have been, in spite of massive U.S. investments in missile defense during the last decade.

Clearly, missile defenses don’t dissuade the North Koreans and Iranians—but do they really encourage them?

  • I concede we don’t know for sure what the “Supreme Leader” or the “Dear Leader” are thinking. But consider my hypothesis, which is at least consistent with what we do know.
  • Both North Korea and Iran want to gain prestige and power from their missile and nuclear programs.
    • For the U.S. to act as if its nuclear deterrent is insufficient to deter Pyongyang and Tehran from launching missile attacks against the United States is to credit these small nuclear/missile programs with enormous power – beyond that of the Soviet Union in its heyday.
      • Hardliners in these countries can argue that their missiles have succeeded in spreading fear in the United States and its allies; they have made the enemies of Iran and North Korea cower.
        • They can claim vindication for their policies, arguing: “The massive U.S. missile defense effort is proof that our nuclear and missile programs are potent.”

Moreover, missile defense not only encourages proliferation; it facilitates it.

  • Instead of strengthening non-proliferation efforts, U.S. missile defenses and the proliferation of related technology to friendly governments outside the NPT weakens non-proliferation regimes like the MTCR.
    • Most ballistic missile defense technology cannot be distinguished from ballistic missile offense technology.
    • So transfers of U.S. missile defense technology to non-NPT signatories fosters missile proliferation:
      • The U.S. helps Israel build missile defense systems; Israel offers to sell Arrow ballistic missile interceptors and their associated Green Pine radar to India. (Neither state is a signatory to the NPT.) Non-proliferation norms are violated and other non-proliferation efforts become more difficult.

To return to my insurance metaphor, paying our premiums is actually contributing to the risks that we’re trying to insure against.

-- And the coverage provided by the U.S. strategic ballistic missile defense insurance has a long list of restrictions.

  • If you read the fine print, you realize that it may not cover multiple launches or warheads using simple decoys or chaff or night shots with cooled warheads, etc.
    • Consequently, the policy holder has no guarantee in a crisis that his insurance would prevent North Korean or Iranian nuclear missiles from landing in the United States.
  • The fine print also includes another disclaimer: the insurance policy doesn’t apply to the most likely nuclear threat the U.S. will face – from non-state terrorist groups.

I will leave you with the words of the distinguished scientist, Dr. Richard Garwin, who previously served the United States first as a designer of nuclear weapons and a designer of penetration aids to accompany them:

“Our best defense against states that might fire ICBMs against the United States is still the commitment to a massively destructive retaliatory strike against the military of the country. We should not weaken that deterrence in our enthusiasm to replace it with a system to destroy the warhead in flight.”

--Richard L. Garwin
IBM Fellow Emeritus
IBM Thomas J. Watson
Research Center
June 3, 2009


Panelists: Steven Hildreth, Philip E. Coyle III, and Greg Thielmann

Subject Resources:

ACA Moscow Summit Press Conference Broadcast Live on C-Span 1



To watch a video of this event, please click here.

A transcript of this event can be downloaded below.

Press Contacts: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director (202) 463-8270 x107; and
Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow (202) 463-8270 x103

(Washington, D.C.): From July 6-8, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev will meet in Moscow. A top goal will be to evaluate and advance progress on the negotiation of a new agreement to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which is due to expire on December 5. Talks on the follow-on agreement began in April.

At the end of the first day of the summit in Moscow, two leading U.S. experts on nuclear weapons policy and arms control will analyze the status of the START follow-on talks, review the key issues of contention (including missile defense), describe likely outcomes, and discuss the importance of further nuclear reductions.

TIME: Monday July 6 from 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT
LOCATION: 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Choate Room
(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Building)

Morton Halperin is a senior advisor at the Open Society Institute and was a member of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, which released its report in May. He also served in the Clinton, Nixon, and Johnson administrations working on nuclear policy and arms control.

Daryl G. Kimball
is executive director of the Association and publisher of ACA's journal Arms Control Today. He has written extensively on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation for twenty years and has led major public policy advocacy campaigns to reduce the threats posed by nuclear weapons.

For further information, see:


(Washington, D.C.): From July 6-8, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dimitry Medvedev will meet in Moscow. A top goal will be to evaluate and advance progress on the negotiation of a new agreement to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which is due to expire on December 5. Talks on the follow-on agreement began in April.

Country Resources:

TRANSCRIPT: Arms Control Association Annual Meeting - Morning Panel










DARYL KIMBALL: All right, good morning, my friends. Welcome. If everyone could take a seat, find a seat, there is overflow space in the back. Please turn off you cell phones, put them on vibrate. So good morning, I'm Daryl Kimball, I'm the executive director of the Arms Control Association, and on behalf of the staff, the board of directors, I want to thank you all for being here. I want to welcome our members, our supporters, friends, associates, perhaps some of our enemies - but we all welcome you here this morning.

Let me just explain a little bit about what we're going to be doing through the course of the day - it's described in your program after this morning's panel discussion which I'll turn to in just a moment. We'll have our luncheon address, we'll hear from Gary Samore, special assistant to the president and Senior director for counter-proliferation policy. That will begin around noontime. We are full up for the lunch, so if you have not registered I don't think we've got additional space, but you can check with my assistant and the meeting organizer, Dan Arnaudo.

Following the luncheon, those of you who are Arms Control Association members and those of you who have the stamina for yet another session, you're welcome to join me, our board chairman John Steinbruner, other board members in the Butler Room, which is immediately behind this room in the rear on this floor, for our formal board election for a brief update and discussion on the association's program in finances in 2009 and going into 2010 - which are going to be two exciting years for us, and for all of us.

Now, our morning panel discussion this morning is titled "New Opportunities on Iran, Arms Control and Disarmament in U.S. Nuclear Policy" - a rather broad title, a rather vague title - but it will begin to take shape as you hear from our three excellent speakers. With every new presidential administration there are adjustments in our nation's foreign policies, but the administration of President Barack Obama promises to usher in a new, energetic and overdue period of renewed nonproliferation and disarmament diplomacy that I don't think was seen in decades. You can judge for yourself how many decades, but we haven't seen it in a long time.

In sum, arms control as a vital U.S. and global security tool is back. And as he, the president, outlined in his speech on April 5, in Prague, the president recognizes what many of you in this room, what the Arms Control Association and our community have been arguing for quite some time, which is that American leadership on nonproliferation disarmament and arms control is critical to building the necessary international support to repair and enforce the global nonproliferation system.

He put it very well: He said, and I quote, "As a nuclear power, as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act. We cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it." So as I'm sure you'll agree, that speech is a great start, but the hard work of building support for and implementing the plan of action that he outlined is still before us. There is a lot of work that we all need to engage in.

So our expert panel this morning is going to be discussing some of those future decisions and issues and opportunities. And to begin, we're going to hear from Ambassador Thomas Pickering about the diplomacy that's going to be necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. As we all know - or many of us might think - the previous administration's efforts, however well-intentioned, vis-à-vis Iran have simply not been working. The sanctions-focused policy did not succeed as Iran has continued to slowly build up its uranium enrichment capacity and string out the IAEA inspections.

In response to the situation, President Obama's secretary of state has promised to engage with Tehran's leaders in a dialogue to try to deal with the problem. Now what does the administration need to do to maximize the chances for success, and what pitfalls should be avoided? Those are some of the questions that Ambassador Pickering is here to share his thoughts about. He's got a long and distinguished bio. As you can see, he's got experience in the region. He is also the principal co-author of the April 2009 white paper by the Iran policy group of the American Foreign Policy Project - which I recommend to you; there are some copies of that outside.

Now, another issue that we're going to be talking about is the long list - the ambitious list - of arms control and disarmament initiatives that the president outlined in Prague, including a new strategic arms reduction treaty with Russia, ratification of the CTB here in the U.S., a new treaty on ending fissile production - all of which is designed to, in part, strengthen U.S. security and to strengthen the Nonproliferation Treaty as a whole, going into the 2010 Review Conference.

Joe Cirincione, who many of you know, who is the president of the Ploughshares Fund and leading expert in the field - he is going to describe and explain what he sees as the growing support for this agenda; what he sees as the new realism of arms control, which was the title of one of your blog posts; and what the Obama administration - and I hope Joe you'll say what our community needs to do to keep moving forward.

And then finally and perhaps most importantly Obama's pledge to put an end to Cold War thinking, and to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and to urge others to do the same - promising words. I think the test of whether he accomplishes that will be known over the next few months as we see the outcome of the nuclear posture review which is due to be completed at years end.

And on that topic - Joan Rohlfing is going to address that topic. Joan is the senior vice president for programs and operations with the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and she's got a great deal of experience on the Hill, in the executive branch, and, over the past few years, with Senator Nunn in the NGO community. So we're very glad you could be here with us, especially after yesterday's dramatic events - the meeting at the White House between the four statesmen, including Senator Nunn, with president Obama. So, with that I'm going to turn to Joe - I'm sorry, Ambassador Pickering, to begin. And after each of them speaks we'll take your questions and I'm sure we'll have a vigorous discussion. So, with that, Ambassador Pickering, the podium is yours.

AMBASSADOR THOMAS R. PICKERING: Thank you very much, and thank you for the opportunity to come by and talk about a subject that's been on my mind for a long time. I'd like to begin with at least four simple confessions. One is, as a product of Washington, I am very much in the thrall of what I used to call the curse of the Congress: Everything has been said, but not everybody has said it yet. (Laughter.) So if you hear things that are familiar, you'll excuse me.

And, secondly, not only is this excellent paper in which Richard Parker played a tremendous role in putting together available, but over the last couple of years, with two other colleagues, Jim Walsh at MIT and Bill Luers in New York, we have written some thoughts about how to deal with Iran in the future on the nuclear question. And I certainly would commend that series to you because the latest paper by Richard I think brings it up to date and I hope answers a number of the continuing questions that have come up.

And then I would say, just finally, that there is an old French proverb, or at least question, that constantly assails us here in Washington: It's working okay in practice, but will it work in theory? (Laughter.) And so I'm going to try to stay away from that and continue in the line of what I think is the process and the product of good ideas. I'm going to talk very briefly about Iran as much as I can, a little bit about some ideas on dealing with the Iran nuclear program, and then talk a little bit without, I hope, tramping too hard on Joe's feet, a little about how Russia, in my view, fits into this and how, indeed, what I think Joe's going to talk about helps us with Russia to fit into this.

To begin, there are lots of experts on Iran, and I have had the opportunity to speak at length with a number of Americans and a number of Iranian experts on Iran, and one of the most startling things I found early on, particularly speaking with Iranians who would often appear in group sessions, that they would all start explaining Iran at that particular point in time, from the same copybook, and as they got into their discussions, each would diverge into different directions.

And so, at the end of the day you were left with a confusing welter of contrary information about Iranian internal politics. My view was that nobody really knows for sure, perhaps even the supreme leader, and that it is therefore a serious mistake to base one's policies highly or totally on an analysis of what you believe may be going on internally in Iran, as beguiling, as interesting, and maybe as logical as that might be.

That's difficult, obviously, for all of us who have been brought up on other systems of analysis and other ways of dealing with logic, but you could understand a little bit about the perspective on Iran if you were to put yourself, say, in a remote island in the Pacific and had to interpret American events from slow newspapers and vicarious television. Some of the same would certainly be the truth.

It is, therefore, I think, very difficult to rely on that, and one of the early advices that we offered freely to the new administration was that there is very little value to be gained in trying to pick the negotiators on the other side as much as you would like to, which is a kind of offshoot, if you could put it that way, from my central thesis about Iranian internal politics, that you really have to play, to use the Rumsfeld quotation in a different context, with the hand with which you're dealt rather than to try to change the way in which the hand slides the cards onto the table. It is quite a different set of activities.

I think the third thing that is important for us in looking at Iran is that, as terrible a tantrum-giver as Ahmadinejad is, he is both important politically in Iran and, in hierarchical and in government terms, a great deal less that his title would signify. And we do know and understand in fact that Iran has a supreme leader but it also has a collectivity or a non-collectivity of advisory functions that reach out in one way or another to the supreme leader, and that it remains difficult.

And then I think the final - if you call these home truths or market truths - is that Iran is a great society with its own language, with its own great history, and to go along with it, 2,500 years of bazaar - not bizarre, bazaar - and bazaar is what helps you to understand how you give and take in the marketplace. And to underestimate Iranian capacities for dealing with negotiations, perhaps in their own terms, is a serious mistake on our part.

So let me just take that mistake and begin the second part of my talk and say that with respect to that, there is, in my view, no real substitute in dealing with Iran in the current period to the notion that we have to become diplomatically engaged and that we have to do that without preconditions, because the preconditions are usually the show-stoppers, and people as experienced in bazaar trading as the Iranians know and understand, in fact, that they will not get very far toward their objectives, and that for many reasons that we could examine in greater difficulty, patience is a virtue which at the moment works on their side and not on ours.

But we have to counter, I think, with I would call offers and opportunities and recognize that it will still take some patience to move the question ahead. And indeed, I think that while in fact the meeting on Monday at the White House between the prime minister of Israel and the president of the United States indicated a time schedule which, I am convinced, from Iranian perspectives, is vastly optimistic, nevertheless, we are once again folded into the question of time schedules.

We do know that the history of Israeli analysis of the Iranian problem, not to put too fine a point on it, has been for the last six years, Iran has been only a year away from a nuclear weapon. At some point, obviously, like a stopped clock, that will be right. At the moment we have difficulties, obviously, in contending with that question. And I heard this morning on the radio that a group of experts - I don't know who they were, maybe some in this room - decided that we have a five-year window, which may or may not be optimistic at all. We have to wait and see. The DNI has continued to talk about the potential for something happening in the next five years without, I think, a great deal of certainty as to what the near term or the far term is.

I think, secondly, my colleagues and I, who have written on the subject, have quite strongly recommended that we at least offer to open conversations with Iran without those preconditions, and I believe the administration has made it clear that it is in that position. The other two things that we offered are not, in my view, totally appetizing, either to the arms control or the nonproliferation community, nor to the current leadership in that community in places of significant importance in making policy, including your speaker at lunch. But they involve a two-part related approach to Iran on the question of enrichment, which I still believe is important and I'll do my best to try to explain why.

The first part of that, the unappetizing part, is that we ought to think about laying on the table for the Iranians a multinational proposal for enrichment for their civil nuclear activities, but that we ought to couple that and make it inextricably linked with a proposal which also demands the most thorough and obviously complete inspection system we can devise to deal with Iran. My problem at the moment is not, frankly, that somehow the Iranians are incapable of understanding how to enrich with centrifuges, or even, in the long term, somehow genetically incapable of managing cascades, as much as we would like to think that that is something that works very much in our favor.

So if the problem is not that the Iranians can find a way to enrich and enrich to higher levels, and to do so perhaps with trial and error; our problem is basically, I think, either we find a way all over Iran to be sure, in fact, that they aren't doing this, or we in fact give up and accept the fact that they will move ahead to a weapon, certainly something that I'm not prepared to agree to.

I also think, in a kind of typical American diplomatic way, that we have a great deal more leverage with Iran in getting the inspection system we would like if we do a couple of things, and one of those couple of things is to in fact basically say we hear what you say and we're giving you everything you say you want, but we're creating the best firewall we can against everything we say we don't want.

And this obviously would mean putting forward the kind of proposal I have talked about, but filling in all the blanks and the details, not all of which have been filled in, in order, in fact, to make that both what I would call the most generous offer we could make to Iran in light of Iran's profession of non-interest in nuclear weapons but interest in civil nuclear activities on the one hand, and, secondly, in light of our deep concern that either directly or clandestinely they will move ahead.

We have a serious problem, obviously, of breakout. We have that problem under any circumstances, whether in fact we were to succeed in getting Iran to freeze or stop enrichment permanently, even with an effective inspection program, and there I think we have to come to some conclusion at some point in light of this as to whether breakout would produce a military reaction, increased sanctions, or indeed pure acquiescence on our part. But there is no easy way to avoid that, and the proposal I make has no easy answer to that question, nor does the administration proposal have an easy answer to the question.

The difficulty I have with the administration proposal is that freezing, or indeed a permanent commitment not to enrich, aside from the fact of being historically, in my view, unrealizable, but even if you set that aside, has no real quid pro quo for getting the kind of inspection system that you and I believe, I hope, that we need to have in place to prevent a clandestine reproduction of its enrichment capacity and obviously moving toward a weapon.

In any event, I'll leave that point there and say that the other question that I wish to raise, which will help me to segue a little bit toward the Russian piece, because I think the Russians are important here, has to do with the potential now for taking this construct, which we have postulated will have real relevance to Iran, and see whether in fact this construct couldn't be relevant to civil enrichment everywhere, all around the world. In fact, I think it could be.

I think it could be coupled with, as well, a serious effort to phase out reprocessing for civil purposes, which I think you will all understand the importance of. But in fact, if we were then, the United States, perhaps coupled with our friends in Moscow, to take the lead and to say there are two things that have to attach to enrichment for civil purposes which we have been slothful about and somewhat lackadaisical.

One, international involvement, so in fact we - if I could put it this way - de-nationalize the kind of jihadi notion that the Iranians have that this is the sum and substance of their total national being and represents for them the historical future as great people on this earth. And, secondly that we introduce in that process the transparency that ownership and operation on a multinational basis can bring. I'm not a great one for transferring a lot of extra technology under multinational ownership. We'll have to address that question, obviously, if it has any legs, as a proposal, but I think that part is important.

I also think that the inspection systems should be pretty much the same. They should be devoted to dealing with non-recognized non-nuclear powers - recognized non-nuclear powers - with what I have postulated is important with Iran: preventing clandestine replication and other methods to lead toward a breakout.

And the other side, for the weapons countries, because I would strongly propose that the recognized nuclear weapons countries also adopt this proposal, is that there would be a clear inspection system to prevent diversion into military programs, something that is already covered by the moratorium and I hope will be followed by the kind of rapid action that the president at least talks about on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.

So I see this multilateral approach as having three purposes: one, to put on the table something that is generic that Iran in fact can be asked to comply with; secondly, putting on something that begins in a more serious way to close the loophole in the NPT for enrichment and reprocessing; and, thirdly, to be an initial down payment on taking the moratorium and moving it toward an FMCT, which is fully verified. So I think it has some significance as well.

We all know, in fact, that as this process goes ahead, we may well come, given Iranian attitudes toward negotiations, to a need for additional sanctions to encourage them to move toward what I consider to be a fair proposal on the table, were that proposal to eventuate. We also know that we need, at least in the U.N. context for multilateral sanctions, the Russians and the Chinese, and perhaps also to make a series of unilateral sanctions effective. How and in what way we go about this is difficult.

What has been, I think, important, is that over the last three or four months we have begun to see a change in the Russian-U.S. relationship. It is no longer a relationship, as it had been for the last six or eight years, characterized by a series of negative actions one against the other - ankle-kicking going forward to kicking each other at higher levels when the time came. And this has been, I think, the product of a lack of one simple question between the two of us: Where is it that the U.S. and Russia have a common national interest in working together, and how can we find a way to emphasize that as part and parcel of our going ahead?

Many people make fun of our relationship in the Clinton-Yeltsin period, but indeed it had at least some modicum of that kind of an approach, and having watched that first hand, I believe it did change attitudes on both sides and produced what I would call a mutual investment in some success in the areas that are of mutual interest on both sides. And we can take that back to the Soviet period. And, indeed, disarmament is the centerpiece of that, perhaps beginning with nuclear disarmament. Joe will discuss this in detail, but obviously addressing the START treaty and the talks that Rose and others are engaged in now in Moscow as we speak are the first down payments, we hope, in a process to move ahead.

It's my hope, and only my hope, that two things could begin to help enlist the Russians in dealing with Iran in a situation where they did not believe that the frustration of next American steps, however carefully conceived of on the sanctions side, was a key element of a successful Russian foreign policy. One of those is obviously the one that I've just mentioned, that we are putting on the table and we are actively engaging ourselves for the first time in a proposal that may have a chance of actually working.

And the second piece is that overall, the U.S.-Russian relationship, not just in the disarmament area but being carried forward in things like membership in the World Trade Organization, and serious discussions over the questions of how to deal with near abroads and other things can add a new quotient to that relationship, within which the proliferation piece can be discussed and seen on a much clearer basis as a win-win in our mutual interest.

And while it would be impossible, in my view, to secure a Russian prior commitment to support additional sanctions on Iran at any time, one could, I think, begin to lay out in common a plan of approach which after - in fact is expected by some - Iran were to frustrate talks on these issues against the backdrop of the kinds of thoughts and proposals I put on the table, we would get as much of a commitment as one can get by both Russia - and I think if Russia comes along, China will - and China, to take a serious look at how to, if I could put it this way, incentivize that process through sanctions.

In any event, those are my thoughts. I'd be delighted, when the time comes, to talk to you about questions and issues that you have. No proposal is sufficient unto itself unless it is tested in the marketplace, and I'm delighted to do that. And thank you very much.


MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Tom, for that comprehensive and masterful overview. Joe?

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE: Thank you very much, Daryl, and thank you for your dedication and leadership, and thank you all, members of the Arms Control Association - oh, I forgot my check. I meant to renew my membership. I promise I will do it later today.

MR. KIMBALL: There's a form on every chair.

MR. CIRINCIONE: Oh, thank you very much.

MR. KIMBALL: We can get you one.

MR. CIRINCIONE: Thank you very much. Can I have that glass of water, please? I'm delighted to be here. I'm delighted to see all of you. And I'm particularly honored that the chairman of the Ploughshares Fund board, Roger Hale, has joined us today, along with the inexhaustible executive director, Naila Bolus, so I have to be very careful of what I say here today. (Laughter.)

On April 5th Barack Obama gave the first full foreign policy speech of his presidency. It was devoted to nuclear policy and was one of the most comprehensive, progressive, and ambitious arms control and disarmament agendas ever detailed by a U.S. president. With this address, President Barack Obama began the transformation of U.S. nuclear policy. The question is, can he finish the job? I see four main obstacles.

First, the global economic crisis, which, if it worsens, threatens to swallow any transformational agenda, including on nuclear policy. Second, the nuclear Neanderthals, those with financial or ideological ties to the existing nuclear bureaucracy and posture. No matter how hard they beat the drums, however, this is a tribe in decline, clinging to tired doctrines and obsolete weapons.

Third is a more serious problem: the divisions within the administration itself. The tensions between the transformationalists, who share the president's vision of a world without nuclear weapons, and the incrementalists, who do not believe elimination possible or proliferation reversible will likely increase. Though all are good people, the half steps favored by the incrementalists will not give us full security.

Going slowly when we must go boldly risks the failure of the president's agenda. Still, with skill, presidential leadership, and the active participation of organizations like the Arms Control Association, I believe these divisions can be softened, coalitions forged, and the forces of reaction defeated. The last obstacle is cynicism. This is perhaps the most serious and deserves a bit more attention. Washington is the perfect place to talk about cynicism. You want to talk about sin, go to Vegas - (laughter) - vanity, L.A. - (laughter) - greed, where else, New York - (laughter).

But Washington - Washington is the capital of cynicism. It is here in all types and flavors. We have right cynicism that holds that nuclear disarmament is undesirable. The arrogance, insults and falsehoods of this tendency are on display most every week on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Moderate cynicism holds that nuclear disarmament is unachievable. That is the pose of many editors and journalists. It argues with vapid phrases, little knowledge, and nonsensical assertions that eliminating nuclear weapons is as futile as eliminating gunpowder. It is the pose of those who wish to appear worldly and wise with little actual effort.

We also have the left cynicism of those who believe disarmament is both desirable and achievable but who do not believe this president is up to the task. They disparage the appointments that are not good enough, the reports that do not go far enough, and a president who does not believe deeply enough. Overcoming this pervasive cynicism will be our greatest challenge, for it can sap the will of officials, filling them with a fear of appearing weak or foolish, and demoralize proponents, who will shrink from commitment to an apparently hopeless cause.

Cynicism is sometimes justified - this is Washington - but it should never substitute for research or reason. We cannot let attitude replace analysis. Obama understands this. In his Prague speech he says, "Such fatalism is our deadly adversary." He says, "There are those who hear talk of a world without nuclear weapons and doubt whether it's worth setting a goal that seems impossible to achieve."

And, speaking directly to our experience, he says, "I know that a call to arms can stir the souls of men and women more than a call to lay them down. That is why the voices of peace and progress must be raised together." I share this belief, not just ideologically, not just philosophically, but from a calm analysis of the political and historical trends now in motion. I see the arrows moving in our direction.

I see the threats increasing, having developed a fierce momentum over the past eight years, but also a growing consensus that the policies of the past administration have failed and they are joined with a new consensus that sees disarmament and nonproliferation as two sides of the same coin, and an historic shift of the center of America's security elite to a renewed embrace of disarmament and arms control, as demonstrated just yesterday by the White House visit of Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Bill Perry and Sam Nunn. Indeed, arms control has become the new realism. There is a global sense of urgency that is fueling new efforts, new alliances, new progress. I don't have time for a full analysis here today, but let me provide two examples to demonstrate that.

Conservatives, who, just a few years ago, condemned treaties as the illusion of security, are now embracing agreements to reduce nuclear arms. Exhibit A is James Schlesinger, former Republican secretary of defense and energy, who just endorsed a new treaty with Russia. Quote, "The moment appears ripe for a renewal of arms control with Russia, and this bodes well for continued reductions in nuclear arsenals," said the U.S. Strategic Commission he co-chairs.

Schlesinger once led the charge against further reductions and helped frame the Bush administration's alternative approach. He wrote in his 2000 article, "The Demise of Arms Control," quote, "The necessary target for arms control is to constrain those who desire to acquire nuclear weapons. In this view, the threat comes from other states and a large, robust U.S. nuclear arsenal was needed to counter this proliferation."

But two weeks ago, Schlesinger switched. The commission, whose leadership he chairs with former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, reported to Congress that, quote, "The United States must seek additional cooperative measures of a political kind, including, for example, arms control and nonproliferation." Exhibit B is Brent Scowcroft, a perennial realist and a representative of a different wing of the Republican Party. He was never ideologically opposed to negotiated reductions with the Russians. However, in 1999 he opposed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Two weeks ago Brent Scowcroft also shifted. The Council on Foreign Relations task force he co-chaired with the ubiquitous Bill Perry recommended that the Senate ratify the nuclear test ban he once opposed. He also agreed that the U.S.-Russian relationship is ripe for a new formal arms control agreement, one that would reflect current defense needs and realities and would result in deeper reductions.

Charlie Curtis at the Nuclear Threat Initiative describes the effect of these shifts and other changes as the thawing of frozen seas. Each day we see new passages opening to Europe, Russia and Asia. Some routes, like those to North Korea, remain blocked. I don't want to overstate this. Secretary Schlesinger is still opposed to nuclear disarmament. Scowcroft still favors a large U.S. nuclear arsenal, but both, and many of their colleagues, have shifted significantly. While not endorsing Obama's ultimate goal, they support several of his preliminary steps. That is enough for now.

The key is to forge broad agreement on the immediate policies whose fulfillment can build confidence in the realism of nuclear disarmament and the logic of zero. If Obama holds firmly to his ultimate goal, it appears that prospects are improving for building this bipartisan consensus on the actions that can help realize his vision. I believe there is a reasonably good chance of achieving, in the next 12 months, a number of critical threat reduction agreements whose victories can unlock the broader strategic agenda.

These include a follow-on treaty to START, with a further lowering of the number of strategic nuclear weapons allowed under the SORT treaty; negotiations underway for a new treaty to limit total U.S. and Russian forces to 1,000 or fewer weapons each; U.S. Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; a new U.S. Nuclear Posture Review that will reduce the role of nuclear weapons and security policy and begin the transformation of nuclear forces to the 21st century threats; a successful 2010 NPT review conference that will increase the barriers to proliferation and revitalize the grand bargains.

Negotiations are well underway for a verifiable ban on the production of nuclear weapons material; the containment and possible rollback of the North Korea nuclear program; negotiations for the containment of the Iranian program with some tangible signs of progress; finally, an accelerated program for securing and eliminating, where possible, all loose nuclear materials and weapons propelled by an historic global summit here in Washington.

This will be real progress, making our world more secure, but tough problems will remain, most importantly Pakistan, which will remain the most dangerous country on earth for some time and the greatest threat to the United States, Israel and other nations.

The hard work will not be over. It will never be over. But I and the leaders of the Ploughshares Fund believe that, given adequate resources, unselfish collaboration and the skill and determination we know are present in the arms control and security organizations, we can, working with the administration and Congress, achieve these substantial victories in the next 12 months. We have no choice. We have to. Thank you very much.


MR. KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Joe. Joan, that's a hard act to follow, but I think you're up to it. Joan Rohlfing.

JOAN ROHLFING: Thank you, Daryl. It's a pleasure to be here today and to see so many familiar and friendly faces. It is a tough act to follow. It's always tough to go third, in part because some of the same lines I was planning to use have now been stolen. (Laughter.) But I too am going to talk about opportunities as well as challenges facing our community today and advancing the ambitious agenda outlined by President Obama, and in particular looking at the Nuclear Posture Review.

We do have a significant opportunity to reshape the very framework of United States nuclear weapons policy, posture and operations through the nuclear posture review in the coming year. As Joe mentioned, this is really kind of a strategic opportunity, not in a generation at least and, I would argue, probably not since the beginning of the nuclear age has there been so much political space to really fundamentally rethink our nuclear policy and posture.

With respect to the Nuclear Posture Review, what does it mean to get it right? I'm sure there are many definitions in this room of what we would call getting it right, and many different visions of what we would like to see coming out of that review. Let's talk about first why it matters. It matters because it will set the stage for the most important operational steps that President Obama must take during his administration to reduce the nuclear threat. It will lay the foundation for all of the key initiatives that he has already outlined as his administration's priorities in this arena; for example, the START follow-on treaty, CTBT, fissile material control - or cut-off treaty, excuse me, and also strengthening the Nonproliferation Treaty.

And ultimately what comes out of this posture review is going to help reshape our global norms, practices and the legal context in which not just the United States but our allies and the rest of the world develop their own thinking and approaches to reducing the nuclear threat. So the stakes are high. The NPR really, really matters. And this president will probably have one shot at getting it right, certainly in the first term.

So what does it look like to get it right? Let me lay out six elements that I think are important to come out of the back end of this review. And this is not meant to be comprehensive, but I think these would be my six priorities.

The first is with respect to declaratory policy. Declaratory policy is essential for communicating the strategic purposes of our nuclear arsenal. There was a nice - I'd like to take a quote, actually, from the Perry-Schlesinger Commission. In the very beginning of their discussion about the nuclear posture they say - and this is fundamental - "The design of the nuclear posture must follow from an understanding of the strategic purposes it is intended to serve." This is pretty basic and fundamentally important.

"The Nuclear Posture Review, in my view, should support a declaratory policy that meets the president's objective of reducing the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy." Those were his words from the Prague speech. "Such a policy should make clear that nuclear weapons have no military war-fighting purpose, but for as long as they remain in our arsenal, they will be used only to deter."

Declaratory policy is also important for its implications for targeting policy, and ultimately for the number of weapons that the U.S. judges it needs to fulfill this basic mission. The Perry-Schlesinger Commission goes on to define a very broad definition of what it takes to deter. There's a lot of room for debate here and it's not necessarily a helpful debate, in my judgment.

Among other things, the commission report notes that it's important to be able to provide assurance to our allies, dissuasion of potential competitors, strategic equivalency with Russia, the maintenance of calculated ambiguity with respect to our use policy, and even to provide for damage limitation capacity.

I would submit that such a broad definition of deterrence in fact does not advance the ball at all. It's an old definition of deterrence and it gets us to maintaining the same numbers and the same type of posture that we've lived with for the past many decades. In my view, to be consistent with the president's vision and to really reduce the salience of nuclear weapons, we need a tighter definition of deterrence, one that would say something like this, that nuclear weapons are legitimate for only one purpose: deterring their use.

We also ought to seriously be examining, throughout this posture review, the option of a no-first-use policy. This would obviously require careful allied diplomacy before going there. But I do think it's something that the review ought to look at. So that's the first element: declaratory policy.

The second element that an NPR should include, it ought to look at the operational status of our forces. We ought to look at, how can we work to create a global norm against launch-ready nuclear forces? In order to create such a global norm, we ourselves would first have to adopt such a posture. We ought to seriously examine how we might go about taking forces off of their launch-ready or high-alert status.

The third element: I think the review must obviously look at how many weapons do we need, must examine the numbers. It needs to provide a basis for a deep reduction in numbers. This may require some clarification that strategic parity with Russia, or for that matter any state, is not necessary. The fourth element, the review ought to clarify that there are no new military requirements that might lead to the need for a new nuclear weapon type. There's a linkage here obviously to a need for testing, and in order to support the president's objective of ratifying a comprehensive test ban, I think having an unequivocal statement about our military requirements vis-à-vis new weapon types would be important.

That having been said, I do think it's important that we understand that for as long as we maintain weapons in our arsenal, they will need to be maintained in a safe, secure and reliable manner, and it is important for us - it will be required to make prudent and reasonable investments in the nuclear science, engineering and production base necessary to maintain those weapons.

The next element - and I've lost track of where I am; I think it's five - is to provide a strategic basis for the withdrawal of forward-deployed weapons in Europe. Again, this would also need to be managed very carefully from a diplomatic standpoint and should only happen after a consultative process with our allies, but I think the groundwork for this with respect to U.S. requirements must be laid in the Nuclear Posture Review itself.

And the sixth element has to do with the role of ballistic missile defense. It needs to be examined as a strategic component of our nuclear arsenal and our strategic requirements, and we ought to - I would hope that coming out of this review there would be an affirmation of the importance of cooperating, not just with allies but also with the Russians on ballistic missile defense.

In other words, coming out of this posture review, there needs to be very clear and unambiguous signals that the U.S. is serious about the vision and the steps outlined by President Obama in meeting its NPT Article VI obligation. The good news is that we have an opportunity to do just that. Prague gives us an excellent framework, the Prague speech, and that speech, together with other statements already made by President Obama, provide the necessary frame in which these kinds of elements can be driven out of a review.

But is the speech, in and of itself, a sufficient scoping document? I would submit it is not. It's going to be essential that there be a guiding document coming out of the National Security Council in order to really drive this process from a presidential standpoint. And I'll say just another word on that in a moment.

So what are the challenges to getting there? And there are some very serious challenges. And let me just talk briefly about three. Number one is the bureaucracy, and some of this overlaps with what Joe said. Number two are the people we need. Number three is the process that needs to be established. And I'll say a further word about each of those.

It's clear that the bureaucracy - our governmental bureaucracy, the pieces that connect to this issue, have vested interests in the status quo. Within the last two weeks we saw, I think, an unfortunate statement by the commander of Strategic Command, where he mentioned that the president ought to keep all options, including the nuclear option, on the table in response to a cyber attack.

It's clear that there are people who still think very differently about the possible use of a nuclear weapon and the role and purpose of nuclear weapons. We have the DOE nuclear weapons complex and the laboratories. They clearly have a vested interest in continuing to work on new weapon types and not just to maintain the old weapon types.

This is one of the biggest challenges I think this new administration is going to face is getting it right, making sure we have the right balance, that we're making appropriate investments in that infrastructure, but not keeping our father's Oldsmobile around, if that's even possible these days. (Laughter.)

Let's talk about people. We need staff in key positions and staff that personally support the president's stated agenda. A number of positions, as this community knows, have been slow to fill, and many of the key staff - I mean, I look at the folks in this audience and all of us who have been working on this issue for decades, we've come up through the Cold War paradigm. Shifting to a new way of thinking is not easy. It's going to take vision, it's going to take leadership, and it's going to take people with vision and leadership in the right positions.

And on the third challenge, that of process, this is perhaps the most fundamental point: The process of the Nuclear Posture Review must be driven by the president and his staff. There must be a presidential - or should be a presidential study directive that lays out both the policy parameters and clearly articulates the options that the president would like to have examined.

This should not be left solely to the Department of Defense. There are some very good people at the Department of Defense, but again, because of the bureaucratic inertia, it's not clear that a process that is exclusively DOD driven will end up in the right place, even if they have people from other agencies at the working level plugged into their working groups, which I know they do. But in the end, these are the president's weapons and it's going to take presidential leadership for him to move this forward, and it's going to take a centrally managed process, through the NSC, to make this happen.

Do we have all of these ingredients today? Not clear to me, and it's not clear to me - not for want of trying to figure out the answers to that but, you know, I fear that we don't quite have all of the right elements in place, so we need to, as a community, pay close attention to this and encourage our colleagues and the senior officials in the White House to do what I would call the right thing, to come out of the back end of this where we need to be to support the president's vision. I will conclude with that. Thank you.


MR. KIMBALL: Thank you very much to all of our speakers. You have served up a very full plate of ideas and suggestions. It is now your turn, and we will let the people in the overflow room have a chance too to ask your questions. This is our discussion time.

There are two handsome, good analysts here from the Arms Control Association who will bring you a microphone. Please state your name and your question, and who you would like to try to answer it. So why don't we start over there with Howard, I believe.

Q: Howard Morland. If Iran does indeed aspire to a nuclear arsenal, I would assume that the existence of Israel's nuclear arsenal is a factor in their thinking. What impact would it have on the conflict between Iran and the West if Israel did not have nuclear weapons?

AMB. PICKERING: I think that your conclusion is kind of hard to controvert. I also think that Pakistani weapons play a role. So I think that de-nuclearizing Israel, if it was conceivable, as a single, isolated act at the stroke of some kind of pen, would not in the long run make a difference.

Many have analyzed reasons why Iran would like to have a nuclear weapon. Some of them relate to threats in the region. Some of them relate to feelings about their inevitable important role in the Middle East. Some of them relate to the fact that unfortunately now all of the big powers who are now represented in the Security Council have nuclear weapons, and some of the aspirants seem to be there or headed in that direction. So my feeling is, yeah, but not conclusively so.

MR. CIRINCIONE: Can I just add to that briefly?

MR. KIMBALL: Sure. Joe?

MR. CIRINCIONE: There is a new report out from the East-West Institute. You may have seen a mention of it in the Washington Post yesterday. The Ploughshares fund was pleased to support that report. It was a team effort done by U.S. and Russian experts over the course of the last year that concluded that Iran is indeed capable of building a nuclear weapon within approximately one or two years but it would take another five years or so to fashion that weapon into a deliverable warhead, and during that time they'd have to develop a long-range weapon that could actually hit Israel. They're some time away from that.

They also noted an often-overlooked fact that of course such an attack would be suicidal. People tend to forget about the role of deterrence in nuclear weapons. It is alive and well and it affects Israel just as it affected most nuclear powers during the nuclear age. I encourage you to go to the East-West Institute Web site and download that report. It's the best, most thorough independent analysis I've seen. And Ted Postol, one of the authors of the report, along with Richard Garwin and Phil Coyle and others, was going to be at the AAAS tomorrow, giving a talk on the Iranian and North-Korean ballistic missile capabilities, based in part on the work he did on that report.

MR. KIMBALL: All right, why don't we go up here? Peter, if you'd bring it up - I'm sorry, Paul. Yes.

Q: Herbert Levin (sp). I wanted to ask you to go back to the American domestic side. Is there a thought of we need to revive ACDA? We've seen, just since President Obama came in, that if you need money or acquiescence from the House, you're not going to get assistance from the House Republicans, and in the last couple of days we have seen, and not to our surprise, that the senators all have their own interests on everything from gun control to the environment.

Which committees are going to take this - Foreign Relations, Defense, Energy? We've had a lot of these wonderful schemes and we've been convinced of them and then they've died in the Congress, going back to the League of Nations. So tell us where is your support to carry these things forward in the Congress, or are we just talking about what's true and beautiful and good?


MR. KIMBALL: All right, Joe, Joan perhaps?

MR. CIRINCIONE: Let me start. Did I detect a trace of cynicism - (laughter) - in that remark? Quickly, ACDA never should have been dismantled. This was a serious mistake on the part of the Clinton administration and part of an ill-considered compromise with Jesse Helms.

The purpose, of course, was to not only destroy the mechanism, but when they appointed John Bolton to sow the SALT on the earth so that it would never rise again. Wrong. Arms control is back. The State Department is back. It's got some of the most dynamic and powerful leadership I have ever seen assembled at the State Department.

And might I point out it's an all-female power team - (laughter) - ranging from Secretary Hillary Clinton, to soon-to-be Undersecretary Ellen Tauscher, to our chief negotiator, Rose Gottemoeller, to our NPT representative, Susan Burk, to our director of policy planning, Anne-Marie Slaughter.

This is a powerful, thoughtful, intelligent team. I think they can do the job. In fact, I actually believe the State Department will likely emerge as the lead on this set of issues. I actually don't see a team at the other agencies or departments that can actually withstand the combined talents of what's being put together at the State Department. But they need help, and Rose Gottemoeller has talked publicly about the need to recruit the best and brightest. One of the counters to cynicism is youth, people who haven't quite yet experienced it. We experience that in our lives when we have children. Well, now it's time to put those children to work. (Laughter.)

So there is a rebuilding process underway at the State Department that I think shows great, great promise and support across the agencies, including from the secretary of defense, who argues passionately about the need to increase our donations, our funding for - sorry, Ploughshares Fund - include our funding for diplomacy, and even if that means taking some from the military side of the budget.

Q: What about the Congress?

MR. KIMBALL: Joan, the Congress.

AMB. PICKERING: I can answer that.

MR. KIMBALL: Joan, try the Congress. Let's have Joan.

MS. ROHLFING: Fine, leave the hard question for me. (Laughter.) All joking aside, though, I think, you know, as with the agencies, we've also seen, over the last decade or so, that we've lost a lot of capacity in the Congress in terms of not only the staff expertise on these issues, but also member expertise and attention to these issues.

And so there's got to be a process of rebuilding, but I think the events of the day - I mean, the fact that the administration has made nonproliferation and disarmament a priority will, of necessity, get members to refocus on this issue, and we already see some signs that the Congress itself is beginning to figure out that they need to create some mechanisms for focusing on these issues.

They've reenergized something called the nuclear - excuse me, the National Security Working Group on the Senate side. And so we - you know, we hope that we'll see some renewed energy, renewed attention, and some new policies coming a result of that. I did just also want to echo the importance of building capacity, not just in the agencies but across the board. We need to work as a community to bring younger people into this community. As I look out at the sea of faces in this room, I see only a few people who are below the age of 30, so this is something we need to tackle on a class action basis.

MR. : Does that include you too, Joan?


MS. ROHLFING: Definitely not.



AMB. PICKERING: - could I mention just a few pieces that I think Herb's question raises? I'm not sure that executive branch organizational tinkering makes a huge difference on the Hill. What makes a difference on the Hill is what Joe and Joan have described, a commitment at very senior levels in the executive branch to get the job done.

I have had a feeling for a long period of time, since I started in ACDA at the day of its birth, that there is an important role to be filled by an organization like ACDA, which is a unique way to catalyze the people in this room around a particular objective to fund, where we need it, R&D and other kinds of activities, and obviously to help to bring together the interagency.

I'm not sure that it necessarily has to be stand-alone if you have got a Secretary of State and a State Department that's willing - as it appears to me now - to get behind this. But I've always favored where you had programmatic activities, particularly in AID and in public diplomacy, to use a Defense Department model, which is to create within the State Department a kind of stand-alone agency that can bring together more of the resources and much of the synergy and a lot of the program direction and program management experience, which doesn't exist normally in the State Department, to that end.

And that couples two things: one, a committed secretary and a committed department behind the budgetary aspects, and the synergies and indeed the R&D capacity, if it's necessary, and other kinds of programmatic activities, if they are necessary, to come out of the process.

I have a question mark over whether that kind of a future approach to arms control in the State Department is necessary, only because I'm not sure that all those needs have not yet been successfully met. I do think, however, that Congresswoman Tauscher will have that capacity, either virtually or if she wishes to proceed in a more formal way, perhaps organizationally, to make that happen if that seemed to be necessary.

I think the cluster of bureaus that in fact resulted from ACDA in a marriage with OPM is pretty good, but I don't know yet whether in fact the programmatic requirements and a significant budget for R&D are requirements that in the future need to be provided by somebody. In my view, they ought to be provided by an agency in State if that's the case.

MR. KIMBALL: And just quickly, I mean, a final thought on Congress and what this community needs to do. I mean, I think Joan is right that, you know, we have - there are gaps that have developed over time in terms of the staff expertise, the member expertise on these issues over time, the same kinds of problems that we have in the executive branch that need to be filled with good people.

So, I mean, when I said in my introduction there's a lot of hard work ahead of us, I mean, part of that hard work is explaining to folks - I mean, it's kind of remarkable - what was the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty? It is explaining to reporters, and reporters are smart people but they've got a lot of things on their minds, okay? What are these issues about, et cetera, et cetera. So, I mean, this is a challenge not just for the executive branch and the leadership, but it's a challenge for the nongovernmental and academic communities, who need to fill in this gap in public and expert knowledge that has crept in.

We have several more hands up. We're going to go over to this side of the room here, in the middle - Cole (sp) - and then we're going to take one from the back in the next round, so be prepared.

Q: Good morning. Paul Hughes, U.S. Institute of Peace. A lot of the discussions that we have heard today revolve around the United States dealing with state issues relative to Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, notably lacking China. But my question is really about nuclear terrorism, the non-state perspective on this, and your thoughts on how the United States government should prepare or deal with this particular issue.

One of the buzzwords we hear today is whole-of-government efforts, and I'd be interested in your perspectives on what obstacles and opportunities might present themselves with that. And I would also like to see where you would think the National Security Labs would fit into that whole of government solution.

MR. CIRINCIONE: Let me just tee this up for Joan - (laughter) - and just on the threat. I have said for years that nuclear terrorism is the gravest threat to U.S. national security, that the Bush analysis that the main threat came from a few hostile states whose - and the answer to this was to overthrow the regimes in those states, is fundamentally wrong and has led to the acceleration of the threats, not their diminution.

Two, I think Obama gets this. They say it repeatedly, that the gravest threat to U.S. national security comes from nuclear terrorism. And it is during the campaign and now in his program it's one of his most urgent actions, and you say it on day four of the administration when he created the office for the coordination and the prevention of WMD proliferation and terrorism, and then later appointed Gary Samore to head that office and is staffing it up with 10 people.

So this is not like the old days where there was just a senior director for nuclear policy. No, now we have an office in the White House to coordinate this. That's what experts have long recommended and that's some of the institutional change that can help bring about the whole government. Two, I think it's urgent that we communicate this to our allies. Let me give you one specific and pointed example. I think Israel is dead wrong that Iran is its major nuclear threat. Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, is not likely to have a nuclear weapon for some years, and if it does, will be deterred from using that weapon by the threat of instant and overwhelming devastation.

This is not true for Osama bin Laden, a sworn enemy of Israel who is in Pakistan, kilometers away from nuclear weapons. That is the most urgent threat facing Israel, and the sooner that state realizes it, the better our alliance will be and the more whole governments approach will be able to take. I believe it's imperative for analysts in America, at the government level and in the private sphere to be articulating this analysis, to be developing this, and to counter the kind of easy, lazy analysis that seems to dominate the press that every time a state does something, that that is our most urgent threat. We have to get away from this idea that North Korea and Iran, however serious, represent existential threats to us. They do not.

MS. ROHLFING: Thank you, Joe. (Laughter.)

Let me take another cut on the question, some of which will amplify what Joe just said, certainly consistent with it but maybe a little bit different perspective. And I think it's a really excellent question, Paul, because so much of what we think about and talk about with respect to the near-term arms control agenda, does connect to states. But in my view, the whole reason we have laid out the agenda we have is precisely to try and get our arms around the much harder and more urgent problem of stemming the proliferation into the hands of terrorist organizations.

And, you know, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this is a lot about getting control of materials. It's materials, materials, materials - locking those materials down, creating a new global architecture for the commerce in those materials, namely the fuel cycle, both the front and the back end of the fuel cycle. And just those two things alone - you know fissile material cut-off treaty, enhanced inspections and safeguards - a lot of things connect to how do we secure materials and create a new global architecture for how they're managed?

This is going to be, you know, a long process of creating norms, practices, legal constraints for doing that, and I think, you know, the president's got it right to be focusing on securing materials as part of his near-term agenda. He's planning to conduct a nuclear security summit, likely early next year, we hear, to engage other states in the world that have nuclear materials that - fissile materials that could be used to make a nuclear weapon. So, you know, this does require broad input from many elements of the government. There is a big diplomatic agenda. There is a big technical agenda.

Here is where it connects to the labs, to answer your other question. In fact, I think that job is so big and the nonproliferation components that connect to the lockdown agenda create an opportunity for our labs to build a new research agenda, an R&D agenda in service of the nonproliferation mission, a new organizing principle for our laboratories that can go a long way in substituting for the work they're no longer likely to be doing on building new weapon types, and I think our government ought to invest some serious effort in trying to refocus the research agenda that way.


MS. ROHLFING: Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL: Ambassador Pickering.

AMB. PICKERING: As a former - let me just try to moderate a little between Joe's, I think, well-taken but extreme statements - (laughter) - and Joan's highly rational focus on material because I think the two come together.

I tend to agree with Joe on the over-exaggeration of the Iranian problem. I cannot agree, however, that there is only one source of material for terrorist groups and that's homegrown. We have, in a sense, the possibility - I think remote but not totally impossible - of stealing a whole weapon, and we have the possibility, as Joan has quite rightly brought out, of having loose material.

And we need to guard against that, and I think that the Israelis do see the potential for Iran, and maybe even North Korea, although I haven't said much about North Korea because it's a long way away, and Russia and others being sources of loose material. Whether in fact we have enough capacity totally and radically and rapidly to identify the source of material for any explosion this country remains a difficult problem to answer.

I, finally, agree totally with Joan that I think the labs could play a huge role in all areas of this - everything from being more helpful at identifying material to finding new and very careful ways to deal with material and finding new and better ways to identify when people are moving material up the range of enrichment, or whatever, as the process goes ahead.

And I would strongly urge that the administration, if it hasn't done already, seek to put a permanent interagency operation in shape, led by somebody like Gary, who is very significant, who can't do it in his 10-man office alone, who has to have the full resources of the major Cabinet departments and who have to operate, in my view, with a heavy dose of significant expertise as opposed to merely the turf representatives of the agencies, a kind of mixture of this particular approach.

And my feeling is that that kind of effort in permanent existence, with one other ingredient - and many of these were identified by the Project on National Security Reform, where I have spent a little bit of time - the funding. In effect, if this funding is all going to be drawn out of the existing budgets, we know that that's a two-year process before any dollar appears.

If, in fact, we're either prepared to order new funding or, in effect, to include it in supplementals, if we have anymore of those, we will be a lot better off. But there has to be some kind of funding source. My view is this is so important that we ought to capture funds in some of the large departments and then replenish those as we go ahead on a regular rolling basis to make this kind of thing happen because we know the labs don't do research for free.

MR. KIMBALL: And if you haven't already read it, there is a great article in the latest Arms Control Today by Ken Luango on the next generation of threat reduction that addresses many of these questions, and he tries to put forward some forward-looking ideas. We're going to - Cole is going to ask those of you in the back to raise your hand. He is going to select someone in the overflow area.

You're going to stand up with a microphone and come into this little gap and ask your question, please, so that we can include those in the back. Are we almost there? Okay, I meant the back, back, Cole, but, okay, let's go from the back, back, all right? Peter, with alacrity, please. No one wants to ask you a question. Oh, my god. Okay, then we'll do it over here. Rebecca Johnson. Cole, could you bring the microphone over to this -

Q: Thank you very much, and thank you to the panel. This is very, very interesting. My question really is, President Obama's election and the Prague speech were very, very widely welcomed around the world, so I'd like your views on what other countries could do that would support these initiatives for disarmament, for progressive disarmament, and also perhaps what should be avoided.

MR. KIMBALL: All right, anyone want to take that one?

MR. CIRINCIONE: Let me start. The United Kingdom is already doing it. Gordon Brown has said that he wants the United Kingdom to be in the forefront of a global campaign for nuclear disarmament and he wants the U.K. to be a disarmament laboratory, and how exactly we do this. I think those kind of statements and efforts have to be encouraged and given the funding and attention that can make them serious.

The government of Norway is providing funding for a number of conferences, initiatives, studies, and using their convening power to bring together experts from around the world. The government of Sweden is doing something on a smaller scale but somewhat similar. Italy is the chairperson of the G-8 this year and make nonproliferation one of its priority agenda items and is moving out smartly on this, including sponsoring a conference just a couple of months ago with the "four horsemen" in -

MS. ROHLFING: Just a couple of weeks ago.

MR. CIRINCIONE: A couple of weeks ago in Rome. I wasn't invited, Joan. (Laughter.) I'd like to correct that.

MR. KIMBALL: There will be another one.

MR. CIRINCIONE: There will be another one. So that's some examples of the sort of convening and diplomatic support for this process. There must be others.

MR. KIMBALL: Ambassador Pickering. Yes?

AMB. PICKERING: Yeah, I would say that what's to be avoided is the famous Nancy Reagan statement about drugs, "Just say no." What's to be encouraged, obviously, is to find positive ways to say yes, but that's a philosophical attitude and we all know that probably there is more interest in this and more willingness to make positive contributions to it, with exception of two or three places where I think things are still scratchy.

One of the issues that's scratchy is of course what threshold do we reach to bring in others on nuclear disarmament? And that will be debated and discussed, and we need to prepare and condition others to do it. And while the U.K. is volunteering to be a laboratory and has basically said it wants to go to zero, it hasn't yet named the level or the date at which it will become involved with the reduction of its weapons, and for some good reason. They want to see where the 90-percenters go and how and what way they determine it.

I think that there are other pieces of arms control and disarmament that we tend, in our mesmerization with weapons of mass destruction, to put aside, but will become increasingly important as we go to lower levels, and indeed may provide some deterrent mechanisms as well as be the source of some very difficult problems. And of course we know that every war since 1945 has happily not involved crossing the nuclear threshold. So we have serious problems on the conventional side. The Russians, in the midst of what I would call the high dudgeon set of arrangements and relationships have gotten out of CFE, at least in part. We need to think about that.

I think we need to think seriously, with our European friends, which we seem incapable of doing right now, of taking President Medvedev up on his notion that it would be a good idea to sit down and talk about European security. It doesn't mean you have to scrap NATO and destroy the EU, or do anything else. And, in fact, President Medvedev, as far as I know, has invited the U.S. to join, so it isn't Europe and Russia against the U.S. anymore.

And this is, I think, an interesting and important challenge and could lead to some very useful and constructive thinking about a number of these problems as we go ahead. We need to think very much about failed states, which are not purely a question of arms, although arms happen to be a major lubricant that leads to significant difficulty. Very few failed states have become problems without arms.

And so it is a very important thing that we begin to look at. Not that I think we are yet in a position to control the question, but I'll give you one more example. Mexico is driven nuts by the fact that 95 percent of the weapons now being involved in the war against the government by the drug and criminal cartels in Mexico come regularly from the United States. And it is part of the two-way traffic we want to stop.

And in many ways, President Obama has moved out on this. This is not popular, as you know, by the NRA community, but in some sense it is yet another indication of the fact that at the low end we have to think as much as we have to think at the high end.


MR. KIMBALL: Go ahead, Joan.

MS. ROHLFING: Can I add to that? And this builds, I guess, on Ambassador Pickering's point. Other countries are going to need to recognize that to advance this agenda seriously is going to require more than just the U.S. and Russia building their arsenals down. I think there is some sense that other nations can hang back and wait until significant reductions have been achieved by the U.S. and Russia before they need to take seriously their own Article VI obligations.

And I think one of the things that we need to do as a community over the next year and beyond is to clarify that it's not just the nuclear weapons states that have an obligation to work to achieve the Article VI goals. There needs to be constructive engagement of all nations of the world, and there needs to be - we've been talking within our nuclear security project, coming out of the two Wall Street Journal op-eds, about the importance of creating a joint enterprise, an enterprise that includes both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states.

You know, a number of things simply can't be done only by the nuclear weapons states. We can engineer a new architecture for the fuel cycle just among the nuclear weapons states. We can only accomplish nuclear material security by working with all states that harbor nuclear materials today, some 40-plus nations.

We could use the help of other states in working with - working to bring into the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty the other outlier states who are necessary for CTBT to enter into force, and it ought not just to be U.S. diplomacy working to convince India and Pakistan to sign and ratify the treaty - among others, by the way.

And, finally, this shouldn't also be an effort only funded by, or predominantly funded by, the United States and a couple of other nations. There must be some financial contribution in order to fund the costs associated with this ambitious agenda, and I think we may have an opportunity, looking forward all the way to next year's G-8, when the Canadians again assume the presidency. I think there is an expectation in that there is an opportunity to invest in a renewed global partnership and to up the financial contribution of the G-8 for that purpose. So there's actually quite a healthy agenda for others to assume.

MR. KIMBALL: Great. We just have time for a couple more questions. We'll have Ambassador Wolf here, in the handsome gold tie, and ask - and then if the respondents could be as brief as they can, that would be helpful.

Q: Norman Wolf. I will try to be very brief. I don't want to get into a discussion of whether there should be an act or not. I would like to make a quick observation. My own sense is that the State Department remains a very unfavorable environment for specialists - great for generalists, not great for specialists. The second observation I would make is I think the experience of the last eight years demonstrates that if you want to have a robust bureaucracy in place, you need legislation. It cannot be simply left to administrative determinations.

My question, however, is for Joan, and it's a very - perhaps one that answers itself. I don't know. But you mentioned the need to examine carefully, in the Nuclear Posture Review, the role of missile defense and, given the power of the military industrial complex, the fact that the missile defense people seem to have a constituent in every congressional district, in every state in the United States. How do you see, or do you see a way forward to address missile defense on the merits as opposed to as part of the military industrial equation?

MS. ROHLFING: Sure. The answer is yes. And I think it comes back to the point I made in my conclusion about the importance of presidential leadership. I think for me the question is not whether or not we should have ballistic missile defense; it's what kind of ballistic missile defense can we have?

We need a system that is not threatening to other countries, that is perceived to contribute to not just our security but the security of other nations around the world that might be threatened by a ballistic missile strike of some sort. And this is why it needs to be a cooperative system. So I think, though, the fundamental point is really the president's vision and direction on guiding his bureaucracy toward the right answer is going to be essential, on that and every other issue covered by the review.

MR. KIMBALL: Well, and he has already said that he is not going to pursue a strategic ballistic missile system that's not been proven, that's not cost-effective. And, quite clearly, to anybody who has been reading Arms Control Today or even the Washington Post, the European missile defense proposal is not proven. It's not cost-effective. And as several of you have pointed out, the Iranian ballistic missile threat has not yet emerged and will not likely emerge for quite some time. So, I mean, in the short term, that particular aspect I think - I mean, the issue has been addressed. There still will be that constituency, but as Joan says, we need to think about what kind and how does it work in practice? All right, over here, Elaine Grossman. And Peter has your microphone.

Q: Elaine Grossman with Global Security Newswire. We haven't heard a lot from the Obama administration yet about de-alerting the U.S. nuclear arsenal. And I'm wondering if the panel might address what the significance of that quietude might be at this point. Is there fighting behind the scenes? We did hear a little bit from General Chilton that he's opposed to de-alerting since Obama has come on as president. So if you could address that, it would be great.


MS. ROHLFING: Let me take a stab at that first. I think it's certainly emblematic of the controversy surrounding the notion of de-alerting, even the terminology itself is quite controversial. You have a number of people in the military and the administration, this and previous ones, who say, you know, we're not on hair-trigger alert. This is a definitional question. I think we're certain - certainly our forces are postured to be launch-ready. Whether you consider that a hair trigger or not is just a definitional issue.

You know, I think the other reason is that, frankly, to reach some conclusions on how one might go about taking forces off of their launch-ready status in order to increase warning time is something that needs to be carefully examined through the course of the Nuclear Posture Review. And so, you know, my view is it wouldn't have been prudent for the president to prejudge where that examination comes out, but he ought to make sure that it's included in the review. But I recognize it's controversial, even though I don't honestly understand why.

MR. KIMBALL: All right, with that, I'm sorry; I think we're going to have to cut short this discussion. I know there is much, much more we could explore, but there is lunch awaiting many of you upstairs. We'll be joined in approximately 25, 30 minutes by Gary Samore. I want to ask you to join me in thanking our panelists for their great presentations. (Applause.) Thank you all, and we'll see you in a few minutes.



Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.


Morning Panel: "Advancing U.S. Nonproliferation and Disarmament Leadership" featuring ACA Executive Director Daryl Kimball, Thomas Pickering, Joe Cirincione, and Joan Rohlfing (Continue)

Country Resources:

TRANSCRIPT: Arms Control Association Annual Meeting - Speaker Luncheon with Gary Samore








DARYL KIMBALL: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I could please have your attention for just a moment? Thank you all for being here this afternoon. Is the microphone working? Yes, all right. I want to thank everyone for being here today. I'm Daryl Kimball with the Arms Control Association and, on behalf of our board of directors, our staff, I want to welcome our many members and friends, associates, who are here. As we await the arrival of our keynote speaker who is on his way from Capitol Hill, where he had a meeting this morning, I wanted to just take a moment to remind everyone of some of the exciting things that are happening here at the Arms Control Association as we try to take advantage of the unprecedented opportunity that exists - that we were just discussing a little bit about this morning in our session.

With strong support from all of our individual members, our major foundation supporters, we're moving ahead as best as we can to increase our capacity, to increase our expertise, so that we can be more effective over the next several years. We have benefited over the last several months from you and larger grants from some of our key foundation supporters - such as the Ploughshares Fund, who is well-represented here today with Joe Cirincione this morning, Naila Bolus, executive director, and two of their key board members, Roger Hale, the chairman, and Michael Douglas, who's joined us here for lunch today.

We also have received some renewed support from the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Connect-U.S. Fund for work on the conference of the test ban treaty, the Hewlett Foundation and others. And so, this is allowing us to build our capacity, to move ahead. Just let me tick off a few of the things that we're doing that many of you might not realize as you get your "Arms Control Today" and you look at that little section at the beginning, "The Masthead," that describes our staff.

In March, we just benefited from the arrival of a State Department and INR veteran Greg Thielmann, who's now working with us as a senior fellow on a new project - a realistic threat assessments and policy responses project - which is there, due in large part, to additional support from the Ploughshares Fund. Greg is going to be helping us to deal with some of the important questions and issues that we were talking about this morning about as properly and realistically assessing the threats - missiles, nuclear - regarding North Korea, Iran and others - so that we can come up with the right policy solutions.

In December, we launched a new project for the CTBT, working with our fellow NGOs and expert community members to bring together the energy and the expertise that we're going to need to build the case for the conference of test ban treaty to support the president's initiative to immediately and aggressively get the CTB over the finish line. And next month, we're going to have more about that with our new Web site. We have the arrival of a new editorial team, Miles Pomper, our long-time editor, has moved on to greener pastures and a new career at the Monterrey Institute for Nonproliferation Studies.

We're glad, however, to have Dan Horner, veteran journalist, who's joined us as our new "Arms Control Today" editor. And to help me manage all of this, we have a new deputy director position that we created just this spring. I'm surprised to see Jeff Abramson, our former managing editor and new deputy director, here, because I thought you'd have better things to do today. He and his wife, Beth, are the proud new parents of a baby girl, Kalliope, who was just born yesterday. Congratulations! (Laughter, applause.) On Monday. And so these ACA lunches are so exciting that he just had to ...

But that's a reminder of why we're here. It is something of a cliché, but it is really true. As I look into the face of my young daughter, Nola, and, you know - you all have your own sons and daughters and loved ones - it is for them and the future generations that we're working so hard now to make sure that we can move towards and realize a world free of nuclear weapons and build a safer planet for all.

I want to thank everybody for their support over the past year, which has, of course, been a difficult one from an economic standpoint. We, at the same time however, are living through a very certain time in terms of the historic opportunity we have to move ahead. So I want to ask you all to please consider making yet another contribution to ACA. There are a number of the "Yes We Can Do" little fliers that were on your chairs this morning - and I think they should be on your table now - if they're not, we will make them available on your table - that outlines our priorities and very much the community's priorities on these issues over the next couple years.

So, we're glad to have Gary Samore here with us. Where did Gary go? There he is. And Gary is, of course, a special assistant to the president and senior director for counter-proliferation strategy - otherwise known on the streets of Washington as the "WMD czar." Let me just say a couple words before I bring him up here and he'll give his remarks. You'll have a chance to ask him some questions.

Gary's resume is so long; it is quite remarkable. I mean, he has experience in the NGO sector, at the Council on Foreign Relations, the MacArthur Foundation, The International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. From '96 to 2000, he was the special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for nonproliferation at the NSC. All these things make him the obvious choice for this key position at the White House at this historic juncture.

So we're glad you're here, Gary. More importantly, I think we're all extremely delighted that the president has assigned the nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament issue as one of his top issues just in the first - I think within the first hundred days - that April 5th speech took place. And let me just also say, we talked a little bit in the morning, Joe Cirincione did about the dangers of cynicism here in Washington.

And it's clear that while some of the cynics and supporters of the nuclear status quo over the past few weeks have tried to dismiss the president's call for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons an exercise in wishful thinking, they're of course wrong and the real fantasy is to expect that nuclear restraint and greater commitment to nonproliferation from other states in the absence of bold U.S. action on disarmament and nonproliferation diplomacy.

So, we're eager to work together with you, Gary. John Wolfstall in the vice president's office is also here - of course, a former ACA staff alum that we are very, very proud of. I've asked Gary to describe, in further detail, to the extent that he can, the administration's approach and rational on reducing and eliminating the nuclear offense threat, and we will have the chance to ask a few questions before he has to leave later on. Gary, the podium is yours.


GARY SAMORE: Thank you very much, Daryl. I've always admired the work of the Arms Control Association and, in particular, I actually have a pretty good collection of "Arms Control Today," which I have read throughout my career. It's one of the few really serious publications on arms control issues, and I think it's very important to keep that alive. I think our community has gone through a difficult period, and now I think we may have an opportunity for a renaissance - and it's extremely important I think that we encourage younger people to try to make a career working on arms control and nonproliferation issues. \

As much as I share the president's vision that we need to work toward a nuclear-free world, I also suspect that there's going to be career opportunities in this business for some time. Let me say that I've been - as Daryl mentioned - I've been working on these issues for some time now. I think President Obama is the fifth president that I've worked for. And I am really impressed, genuinely impressed with his interest and knowledge on arms control on nonproliferation issues.

And having spent a fair amount of time with him now, with other people of course, talking about these issues, he really gets it. He really has internalized the essential message and strategy that he is trying to pursue, which was captured in the Prague speech. He really understands that you need to have both the vision of moving toward a nuclear-free world, and also practical steps. The vision without the practical steps is rhetoric, and the practical steps without the vision really doesn't have the same political punch.

And what the president gets is that the overall strategy toward arms control has to meet the national security needs of the United States, both in terms of maintaining an effective nuclear arsenal - as long as we have nuclear weapons - but also in terms of the arms control strategy helping us to deal with real national security threats like Iran and North Korea pursuing nuclear weapons and the danger that terrorists will seek to acquire nuclear weapons.

And to me, that's the way to make the political case for arms control and disarmament and nonproliferation. If, of course, has value in itself - it has merit in itself - but you've got to show how it deals with real national security threats that the U.S. and our allies are facing. So what I'd like to do is review, very briefly with you, the main elements of the Prague speech and sort of where we are.

Of course, it hasn't been very much time, but we've already seen some progress and it's my job as the White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction and terrorism to try to pull together these different strands in a way that makes for a comprehensive game plan. You'll recall the three pillars in the Prague speech: first of all, arms control and disarmament - that is to say, dealing with countries that have nuclear weapons, limiting and trying to move toward elimination of those nuclear weapons - secondly, nonproliferation - preventing other countries from acquiring nuclear weapons - and third is the basket of nuclear cooperation and security - trying to encourage the growth of nuclear power while keeping the risk to proliferation as low as possible and making sure that nuclear materials are safe and secure and not vulnerable to theft.

On the arms control front, we've moved out on each of the main elements that the president talked about in his Prague speech. The president, as well as Russian President Medvedev announced in London at their meeting that they had reached agreement, in principle, on seeking a successor to the START treaty, which you all know expires in early December. And this would be a legally binding treaty; it would control - it would have limits on nuclear capabilities below the Moscow Treaty and the START treaty.

Rose Gottemoeller has formed her team. She's in Moscow even as we speak meeting with the Russians, and she has a very intense schedule planned for her negotiations with the Russians that will lead up to the president's trip to Moscow in early July, and we hope at that point, we would be able to announce at least some more details of what we've agreed to. There are a number of contentious issues.

These arms control treaties are always difficult, and you know, they deal with some very fundamental national security issues, both on the Russian and the American side, so we're very realistic about understanding how much we can achieve in this immediate arms control agreement for this year, in terms of preserving some of the central verification provisions of START, in terms of making some further reductions below the Moscow numbers.

But I think we have to consider this initial treaty to be a first step, and that there will be additional negotiations, which are likely to take longer periods of time, in which we'll look at deeper cuts and we'll be informed by the results of the nuclear posture review, which is taking place this year and will be finished at the end of the year and which will present the president with a much broader range of options to choose from in considering the U.S. nuclear strategy and targeting issues.

The second issue the president mentioned in the arms control basket was the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which, as you all know, there's been a paralysis at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva for 10 years, and I, frankly, have been astonished at how the president's speech seems to have really made some very substantial process in terms of unsticking that stalemate. Just today, the Algerian president of the Conference on Disarmament has tabled a compromise work plan, which would include the start of negotiations on a verifiable FMCT.

And I'm sensing that we could very easily reach a consensus on that document and we would be able, then, to see the FMCT negotiations begin quite soon, although it's clearly going to take some time for governments to get themselves organized. It's been 10 years since people have really focused on this, and I would expect that the serious negotiations probably wouldn't get underway until at the end of the this year or early next year, if the CD reaches agreement on a work plan.

And I think we also all have to be realistic that this treaty is not likely to be concluded in the near future; there are a, again, a number of very contentious issues, which you're all familiar with and which were certainly exposed in the course of the discussions back in the mid-'90s, and none of them have been resolved. So you know, this is important to get this started, but I think we should be realistic that it's not likely to be - that we're not likely to see agreement on a treaty right away.

And lastly, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty - the president pledged to move ahead with U.S. ratification, which we hope will create a positive momentum and bring other countries onboard so that the CTBT can enter into force. Of all the things the president talked about in the Prague speech, this is the one that's probably the most controversial from a domestic U.S. standpoint. There seems to be very strong consensus on a post-START agreement and on FMCT, as well as the nonproliferation and nuclear security elements of the president's speech, but CTBT is still a very controversial issue and it's been 10 years, of course, since the Senate dealt with it.

So we're moving very deliberately in terms of doing the necessary technical and intelligence work to look at the important questions of verification, questions of American stockpile stewardship - can we be sure that our forces will remain reliable and effective under a long-term nuclear testing ban? And again, the nuclear posture review, I think, will help us address that question. So my anticipation is that we'll spend this year building support for the treaty and looking at the important issues so that we can present our best case to the Senate for their advice and consent.

In the nonproliferation basket, our hope is that by moving ahead on these arms control issues, we'll be in a very strong position, at the NPT Review Conference to lead a coalition of countries to strengthen the NPT. The NPT, as you all know, has a number of structural flaws; some of them can be fixed - some of them can't be - but we want to be very ambitious as the president laid out in the Prague speech, in terms of looking at ways to strengthen IAEA inspections, to strengthen enforcement and compliance measures, as well as steps to make it more difficult for countries to withdraw from the treaty.

And all of these reforms that we would like to put forward obviously have a direct bearing on countries like Iran and North Korea. And so from our standpoint, strengthening the NPT is directly relevant to dealing with those issues as part of an overall strategy. The other thing we would hope to achieve at the NPT Review Conference - and this relates to the third basket of nuclear cooperation and security - we think it's important that we try to develop a new global architecture for nuclear cooperation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

There are lots of ideas out there, like fuel banks and international fuel centers, which would obviate the need for countries to develop their own fuel-cycle capabilities, and as we expect nuclear power will expand, including to countries that don't currently have nuclear power facilities, it's important that we develop a system that will make it possible for nuclear power to spread without fuel-cycle capability spreading as well. And that also can provide a positive model for countries like Iran. If they wish to resolve the nuclear issue, they can have access to assured fuel supplies without feeling the need to develop their own enrichment capacity.

And the last piece, just to mention briefly, the president pledged that we would seek to secure all vulnerable nuclear materials over the course of the next four years, and as an important step to achieve that, we're planning to have a global nuclear summit sometime next year, and that would hopefully be a meeting of key leaders on this issue, which could pledge support to work together. As you all know, the nuclear security issue is one that requires cooperation among a fairly large number of countries; it can't be dealt with just on a U.S.-Russia basis or a G-8 basis. It's going to require a much larger group.

And I think that cooperation on nuclear security among this larger group can help to support cooperation on other nonproliferation and arms control objectives as well. So from our standpoint, we see these three pillars as an integrated package, and it's important to move together on all three of them; we're not going to be able to make progress on one in the absence of making progress on the other two, so from our standpoint, this has to be done in a systematic way. And I want to thank all of you and look forward to asking your support as we move forward in all of this, and I'd be happy to answer some questions.


MR. KIMBALL: All right, thank you very much, Gary. Why don't we start the questions with some newspaper and other reporters we have here. Mary - maybe Mary Beth can start us.

Q: Thank you. Mary Beth Sheridan from the Washington Post. I'm wondering if you could tell us your impressions of the significance of the Iranian missile test today.

MR. SAMORE: Well, I think it's a significant technical development. Up to now, the Iranian missile force has been based on liquid-fueled systems, which they obtained from North Korea. And the Ashura system that they tested is a solid-propellant system, which apparently, they developed on their own. And from a military standpoint, it's a significant advantage over liquid-fueled systems - much easier to move around, as a mobile system and can be launched on much shorter warning.

Of course, this is just a test. I mean, obviously, there's still much more work to be done before it could be built and deployed, but I see it as a significant step forward in terms of Iran's, you know, capability to deliver weapons. And I think it actually helps us in terms of making the case to countries like Russia, which have been skeptical in the past about whether Iran really poses a threat. This is a very clear demonstration that Iran is moving in the direction of longer-range and more capable missile systems and I am hopeful that we'll be able to capitalize on the test in order to strengthen the coalition that we already have to try to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

MR. KIMBALL: All right, thank you. Over here? (Inaudible, off mike.)

Q: Michael Adler from the Wilson Center. Hi, Gary. Just wondering, it seems that there's some kind of - even the president said he hoped to know by the end of the year whether there would be progress in talking to Iran and some diplomats put the "deadline" - in quotes - as much earlier, perhaps as early as the third week in September, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. And it seems that you're hoping to get some kind of freeze of Iranian enrichment - even a suspension, or even the application of the additional protocol. Realistically, given the past of this whole diplomacy and the Iranian nuclear crisis, what do you think are the chances that you can make progress with Iran?

MR. SAMORE: It's a very good question, and we all know the history of the negotiations, which have been very frustrating, and I imagine, will continue to be quite frustrating. However, I do think the Obama administration brings some additional assets to the table. First of all, I do think the president is genuinely interested in engaging Iran and in improving U.S.-Iranian relations and finding a way for Iran to have a place in the world that is respected and responsible. And I think that, actually, provides very powerful leverage, because I think there will be a number of people inside Iran who will be attracted to that vision and who will want to see the nuclear issue resolved so that it can be realized.

Secondly, on a more practical level, I think the collapse in oil prices has made the Iranian regime more sensitive to the threat of economic sanctions, and therefore more likely to look for a compromise that will avoid the risk of greater sanctions. And third, I think President Obama - and we've tried very hard to strengthen the international coalition so that if our overture to Iran is not successful, we'll be in a stronger position to take other action, to increase pressure. And our strategy towards Russia in terms of resetting the button and working on the nuclear issues, our strategy toward our allies - all of this is intended to create a stronger bargaining position. So I think we have a better chance of success now than we have in the last couple of - than we've been able to achieve in the last couple of years of negotiations. And as the president said, we should know by the end of this year - we should have some indications by the end of this year whether we're making progress.

MR. KIMBALL: All right. Right over here. Elaine?

Q: Elaine Grossman from the National Journal Group. I wonder if you might elaborate a little bit on what your plans are for this global nuclear summit next year. What countries do you want to see included in that, and what would your objectives be, coming out of it? Thank you.

MR. SAMORE: To be honest, I'm going to have to duck your question, because we really haven't been able to figure that out. I mean, and I don't want to sort of do it in a press statement until we really have our plan all together. But I think it will be, you know, a very important event and something that I'm - actually, sometimes I get up in the middle of the night and think, how are we going to do this? I mean, it's an awful lot of work to be done, especially when you're out - but I'm sorry, I just can't answer the question now.

We're thinking very hard - in fact, we've got meetings today to talk about exactly this issue, and you know, once we have an agreement in the government, then I think it will become - I mean, we'll be very transparent; it will become very obvious what we're doing and who's invited an so forth, but we're not quite there, yet.

Q: Is there some disagreement, then?

MR. SAMORE: No, no, there's no disagreement. It's just everybody's very busy and, you know, the Prague speech laid out an incredibly ambitious agenda, and in fact, when I was listening to the speech, I thought, boy, this is an awful lot to do! (Laughter.) So you know, the speech was great to start things off, but the implementation, of course, can sometimes take an awful lot of work.

MR. KIMBALL: So the challenge is so big even the WMD czar lays awake at night thinking about how we're going to solve these things. We have a question right here - Nicholas.

Q: Nicholas Kralev of the Washington Times. I'm very glad, Gary, that you managed to get out of that hotel in Mumbai, in November. I want to take you to North Korea. We know where we were in October-November, with Yongbyon mostly disabled, with the cooling tower blown up, but there's been nothing happening - even, there's been some reversal since then. What are your concerns about how far this reversal could go, and is there danger, today, in the next few months, of the North Koreans actually producing plutonium?

MR. SAMORE: Well, I think there is. I think the North Koreans have made a very deliberate, conscious decision to walk away from the agreements they made with the Bush administration, including to reverse the steps that they took to disable the Yongbyon facilities. And of course, they've publicly threatened that they will not only produce plutonium; they will also proceed with an enrichment program and test nuclear devices. I think the North Koreans have decided that they would try to kill the Six Party Talks and to pursue the nuclear issue in a purely bilateral relationship with the United States.

Now, how much of this reflects internal developments in North Korea, I really don't think we know. But in terms of our policy, we've made it clear that we are not prepared to engage on a purely bilateral basis. We will insist upon the preservation of the Six Party Talks as the framework for dealing with the issue - for disarming North Korea - and we will insist on North Korean nuclear disarmament as our objective. I think the North Koreans would like to be recognized or accepted as a nuclear weapons state and we're not going to do that; we've made that very clear.

Now, the North Koreans will take their measures. I mean, they will take the escalatory steps that they have decided to take. We will respond, with our allies and our partners, in terms of taking, you know, actions in response, as we did after their satellite launch in terms of additional U.N. sanctions. My prediction is, at the end of the day, the North Koreans will find that they have no choice but to engage in the Six Party Talks again, because there's no other alternative. But it may take some time before we get there; it may take months before we get there.

MR. KIMBALL: All right. We have a question right here.

Q: First, congratulations on the effective, within the first week of the NPT PrepCom last week, an agenda was set for the Review Conference, in no small measure because of your hitting the right note. And I think that the press has not properly given credit to the administration for that. My question relates to - two - they go hand-in-hand. This leap forward could be set back by the kinds of things that have come out of General Chilton, where he recently said that we would reserve the use of nuclear weapons against a cyber attack.

And he added that he saw no impediments to that, and the rest of the world heard a rejection of negative security assurances, a rejection of the doctrine of proportionality. The other is the modernization - the discussion of modernization in exchange for a CTBT. And I would hope that if there's any discussion of modernization, it's modernization of the Pantex dismantlement facility, which recent press reports have said are 15 years behind schedule. That would be a modernization that would do wonder in moving the nonproliferation/disarmament regime ahead - (inaudible, off mike). Could you comment on General Chilton and modernization of disarmament?

MR. SAMORE: Well thank you Jonathan. I should have mentioned the NPT PrepCom, because it was quite remarkable that there was agreement on an agenda, whereas in 2005, you know, disagreement over the agenda certainly substantially contributed to the failure of the conference. And I do think that - and it's not just me; a number of countries have said to us that President Obama's Prague speech really did mobilize a sense of confidence and optimism at the conference and no country wanted to be the one responsible for imposing procedural obstacles and delays. So it really did make a difference; I think you're right - there's a directly translatable effect.

On negative security issues, this is - I think it's a very difficult issue for all the nuclear weapons states, except, perhaps, for China, which has a clear no-first-use position. There's a lot of history here, there's a lot of theology, there's a lot of legalism. The nuclear posture review will look at questions of doctrine - of declaratory doctrine. And I think it's premature for me to comment on that now, but this is obviously one of the issues that we will want to look at. President Obama said, in his Prague speech, that we want to reduce the importance of nuclear weapons for U.S. security strategy, and that has implications for negative security assurances and our statements about use doctrine, but we're still working on that and I'm not in a position to comment further.

In terms of modernization, I think we have to balance, on one hand, our desire to take steps toward, you know, limiting and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, but on the other hand, the need to make sure that our arsenal - as long as we have an arsenal - is effective and reliable. And I'm trying to get smart and I'm looking at the stockpile stewardship program, which I think has been quite successful over the last decade, and I think there's a lot of credit to be given to DOE for the work they've done to make this into a very strong, scientific-based program.

Whether we can continue that indefinitely - whether we have to look at other options, you know, to maintain reliability and effectiveness, whether we need more funding to keep that program going, those are all things that will be looked at as part of the nuclear posture review, and again, I think it's better to wait for that work to be completed rather than to have me speak about it now.

MR. KIMBALL: And a key question, of course, is what does the word modernization mean? It can mean many different things to many different people in many different contexts. Okay, we have a question here in the middle - the bearded gentleman known as David Culp with the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Thank you.

Q: Hi, Gary. David Culp with the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Big congratulations on the Prague speech. I think that really is going to be seen as a historic speech. But on your goal of securing all nuclear material in four years, which probably everybody in this room supports, you actually cut the budget for the program that's doing the work at the Energy Department. Now, this is a program that has had strong bipartisan support, where they have, for the last several years, been regularly increasing the budget, and your budget submission cut the budget.

Now, I know you're going to tell me you have plans to do all this stuff in the out-years, and that's true, you show very large increases in the out-years. But frankly, the budget profile makes no sense. You're cutting the budget and then you're dramatically increasing it, and I would encourage you to work with the Congress over the next few months to come up with a more coherent budget profile.

MR. SAMORE: Well, part of what we're doing is, we've asked both Energy and the other departments to develop a plan for this four-year plan to secure all vulnerable nuclear material - I emphasize vulnerable. And that will certainly include questions of resources and budget. That work hasn't been finished yet, but I do think we will be seeking the necessary funds from Congress in order to carry that out. But right now, we don't actually have a plan, and that's something that people are working very hard on.

MR. KIMBALL: All right. Right over here, behind the cameras. Thank you, Murray (sp).

Q: Thank you, Gary. My name is Jiang (sp) from Radio Free Asia. On North Korea, I would like to ask you what's your view and the information about the possibility of the second nuclear test, and what's the Obama administration's plan regarding this?

MR. SAMORE: Well, the North Koreans have threatened that they may conduct a second nuclear test, and they may do it. The best we can do is to try to persuade them that that would be a mistake, and we will work with our allies in the Six Party Talks to try to convince the North Koreans not to do that. And if they do it, then we'll take appropriate measures, just as we did in response to the satellite test.

MR. KIMBALL: Okay. In the back there, in the middle - Peter - thank you. Mr. Sanger, yes.

Q: Hi, Gary, David Sanger from the New York Times. You have a pretty full agenda with the Pakistanis right now, but when you left office in the end of the Clinton administration, the official position was still to try to walk back their nuclear program. We now see significant evidence that they're expanding at a pretty good pace. Could you talk a little bit about that, and whether or not the Obama administration has begun to discuss with Pakistan slowing down or reversing their current build-rate, in addition to the nuclear security issues you've spoken on before?

MR. KIMBALL: And, I mean, one other corollary is, what else can be done ahead of the conclusion of the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, with respect to other nations, beyond Pakistan?

MR. SAMORE: Well certainly, the elements of the arms control approach, both FMCT and CTBT, would obviously have a direct bearing on countries like Pakistan that are not constrained by the NPT. So I think one way we get at the issue is by pursuing these new international instruments. And certainly, in the past, while there have been negotiations, we have encouraged that there be a moratorium on activities that would be contrary to the treaty.

Of course, in the case of the CTBT, there's been a test moratorium that's been observed by all countries except North Korea, even though the treaty is not enforced. And from our standpoint, it would be very desirable to have a similar kind of arrangement with the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. So I think that is one approach that we would take to try to address that issue.

In the past - and I've dealt with the South Asian nuclear issue since the Reagan administration - it is one of the most difficult issues, because the steps that we would like Pakistan to take in terms of restraining and limiting their nuclear program, the Pakistani government has always said they will do that in conjunction with India. The Indians have always said we can't take steps unless similar steps are taken by China and the other nuclear weapons states, and very quickly, you end up with a situation where it's hard to make progress. And I think we have to think of dealing with the South Asian problem not on a purely regional basis, but in the context of a more global approach.

MR. KIMBALL: All right. Right here, please. And then, Bruce, we'll go to you.

Q: Gary, Cooper Levin (ph). Gary, after our complete capitulation to the Indians in the previous administration - (laughter, applause) - that is, maybe I should stop right there. (Laughter.) That is, where they can build as many nukes and tests and so forth with no real disadvantages. Why shouldn't other countries just assume that if they ignore the United States long enough, they, too, will be blessed? In other words, we've said we'll interdict North Korean vessels; no ship has been stopped, et cetera, et cetera. How are you going to get people to be less determined and successful in defeating us in this area than the Indians have been?

MR. SAMORE: You know, I think it's a risk and I think that the only way to convince countries is to demonstrate, through success, that we are going to be able to stop nuclear weapons activities. It's been a while since we've had a success. I mean, if you look back over the last 30 years, we've had quite a few successes in terms of countries deciding not to pursue nuclear weapons, whether it's Argentina or Brazil or Ukraine or the South Africans giving up their nuclear weapons - I guess Libya is the most recent success story.

And so we need to look at Iran - to me, Iran is a critical tipping point for the whole regime. If we lose on Iran, I think it raises questions about the viability of the NPT within the Middle East. I think there's a great danger that it would trigger an arms race in the region. On the other hand, if we're successful with Iran - if we're able to restrain their nuclear activities and limit their acquisition of nuclear weapons capability, I think that sends a virtuous message.

So I think the only way to influence other countries' perceptions is through actions. I mean, words are fine, but what really counts are actions. And so for me, Iran has got to be at the top of the agenda for the future of, you know, our effort. If we fail with Iran, the message of seeking a nuclear-free world is going to be very significantly undercut.

MR. KIMBALL: Okay. Bruce MacDonald right here and then we'll go to the rear.

Q: Hi, Bruce MacDonald with the Strategic Posture Review Commission at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Gary, you may sleep less well, given the agenda you've got, but a lot of us sleep better knowing that you're where you are. (Laughter.) I wanted to ask, in the Strategic Posture Review Commission Report - the Perry-Schlesinger Report that was just issued a couple of weeks ago - in relation to the CTBT, which it could not reach consensus on, but it did point out there was a consensus on several steps the administration should take as the Senate reviews the treaty as it comes up again.

One is to conduct a broad assessment of benefits, costs and risks; second, to seek agreement on a specific definition of what is meant by a nuclear test - there have been questions raised there; a credible diplomatic strategy for moving from U.S. ratification to actual entry into force; commit to some progress of periodic review of the national security consequences of continued CTBT adherence; and then finally, some demonstration by the administration and the Congress that there will be some follow-through on the safeguards program. I mean, a bit of a laundry list, but I wanted to ask you, in light of those recommendations, what you think the Obama administration's response to that might be.

MR. SAMORE: Well, that's very much along the lines of our own thinking. And you know, the commission report has helped to reinforce our approach toward CTBT in terms of the recognition that we need to very deliberately and carefully lay the groundwork by doing exactly the kinds of studies and reviews that you've considered before we think it's right to have this issue addressed by the Senate. So we're, I think, acting very much in accord with what the commission has recommended.

MR. KIMBALL: And I just need to interject and add - the administration's going to have to answer this question itself - but the question, the assertion that the treaty does not make it clear what is banned is an issue that personally think the commission did a terrible job in addressing. And we've been through this before, Bruce. But the record is very clear from the negotiations from '94-'96, that the treaty bans all nuclear test explosions. It is also clear from the testimony of Stephen Ledogar in 1999 that Russia agrees that hydro-nuclear test are prohibited, that hydrodynamic tests are allowed. So we'll go through that again, but that's one, I think, severe flaw in this report that we should just be conscious of. We have a question in the rear. Paul, thank you.

Q: Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action, formerly SANE/FREEZE. The nuclear posture review - how do you envision it reflecting President Obama's vision of a world free of nuclear weapons? More specifically, how is that process going to differ from the previous two administrations, and has the president given directions on what he would like to see, or will he give it back if it's not what he likes to see?

MR. SAMORE: Well, I think it will be much more effective if the nuclear posture review takes place in a collaborative way, and we have set up a system so that the nuclear posture review, which is headed by the Department of Defense, will be in collaboration with the State Department, with the Department of Energy, and finally, overseen by the National Security Council. So I'm very confident that the NPR will present the president with a very broad range of options.

The point of the NPR is not to come back with a single proposed strategy and nuclear requirements; the point is to come back with a range of different options and give the president the opportunity to consider those. And I think we have superb colleagues in the Department of Defense, State and Energy and I'm very confident that the review will give the president a broad range of options in terms of numbers and doctrine and so forth.

MR. KIMBALL: All right. I think we had a couple of questions in the middle. We'll go, first, with Tom Cochran over there by the window and then back to Rebecca.

Q: Tom Cochran with NRDC. Gary, does the U.S. government have any evidence that Iran has resumed weaponization portion of its nuclear program that would counter the NIE finding previously that they had ceased weaponization?

MR. SAMORE: It's a good question, but I'm afraid I'm not in a position to answer it. I'm sorry.


MR. KIMBALL: All-right. That will have to be it on that one. Rebecca?

Q: Hi, Gary. Just to confirm what Daryl said, just last week at the U.N., when my book on the CTB was being launched, Ambassador Ledogar, whom many of you know - very, very tough Republican negotiator - chief negotiator of the CTBT confirmed that everybody - all the P-5 - knew exactly what they were signing up to when they signed the CTBT, and I think that any suggestion that they didn't just needs to be swept away - it's swept away by the negotiating record.

But my question to you is - first of all, congratulations on President Obama's Prague speech, which has been welcomed throughout the world. So my question is, in what ways, and particularly in relation to the CTBT and the progressive steps on disarmament - in what way can the rest of the world support and reinforce the positive impact that we're seeing coming from the Obama administration, both on the NPT and the Conference on Disarmament, but more widely?

MR. SAMORE: Well, obviously, we would want to - we need to work together with a lot of other countries - with a range of countries in order to achieve the objectives that the president laid out. So we see this as a collaborative effort. This is not something the U.S. can do by itself; it's not something we can do with Russia; it's not something we can do with the G-8 or even the G-20. And I think, you know, we've got a year now before the NPT Review Conference, and we're going to be very active in terms of trying to build a coalition of support for a balanced outcome of the Review Conference.

In my experience in the past, very often, people don't pay very much attention to the NPT Review Conference document until the last 24 hours of the meeting, which is not a very good way to have a constructive outcome. So we'd like to start much earlier, in terms of getting these issues out. And I thought the PrepCom meeting last week in New York was a very good start. I think when we have our full team in place, we'll be in a much better position to carry out those kinds of consultations that we'll need in order to make the Review Conference a success.

And just to mention, I think it's important that we engage other governments, not only at the foreign ministry level, but also, you know, the energy departments or the energy commissions, the defense people, as well as the leadership level. Again, in the past sometimes, I think the NPT has been treated as something just for diplomats, and I frankly think it's too important just for diplomats. I think it's important that, you know, the generals and the presidents and kings, and scientists also, should be part of the process.

MR. KIMBALL: Great. Last, final, brief question, right here, please.

Q: Thanks Paul Lettow from the Council on Foreign Relations. Gary, thank you for your service and for being with us today; we appreciate it. In terms of restrictions on enrichment and reprocessing, have we reached a point where a year-on-year moratorium is kind of officially seen as dead, and will the U.S. continue to support a criteria-based system in the Nuclear Suppliers Group?

MR. SAMORE: Yes, I think that a criteria-based system is a very effective way to proceed, because I think it avoids the ideological problem of appearing to be denying countries their, quote, unquote, "rights," under the NPT, however you interpret Article IV. There's a strong view there that - and we would get strong resistance if we tried to formally ban or limit people's access to fuel-cycle technology for civil purposes. And it would be, frankly, counterproductive; we would not be able to get the support we need on other elements of the agenda if we tried to pursue that.

So I think a criteria-based approach is the best approach and, you know, the fact is, if you look at the economic and technological need for fuel cycle, there's only a few countries in the world that have an actual requirement for having their own fuel cycle, given the nature of their nuclear power industries. And there are many countries that have, as you know, very extensive nuclear power programs that rely on foreign fuel and enrichment services and it works just fine. So I think that that's the best approach we can take, and my understanding is that the NSG is very close to agreement on a criteria-based system.

MR. KIMBALL: Well, thank you very much for being with us today. (Applause.) You've been extremely generous with your time, masterful in answering these tough - and some easy - questions. And all of use are ready to work with you and the president on this great endeavor. Just like President Kennedy called upon society with the Limited Test Ban Treaty, we're all ready to work hard in a - as Secretary Schultz said - a non-partisan fashion. All right, thank you.

MR. SAMORE: Thank you all very much. Keep up the good work.


MR. KIMBALL: All right. I would encourage you to take your time, finish your desserts that may be in front of you. We are going to be picking up on the member's meeting in the Butler Room downstairs at roughly 1:00 p.m. Thank you all.

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.


Speaker Luncheon - "Advancing U.S. Nonproliferation and Disarmament Leadership" with Gary Samore, Special Assistant to President Obama and White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism

Country Resources:

Kimball and Rademaker Debate the CTBT at CSIS



ACA Executive Director Daryl Kimball, and Stephen Rademaker, former Assistant Secretary of State, debated the merits of U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) during the 3rd Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI) Debates the Issues.

PONI Debates the Issues: The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

May 13, 2009


ACA Executive Director Daryl Kimball and Former Assistant Secretary of State Stephen Rademaker debate the merits of ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

Realizing the Promise of the CTBT



Statement by Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to the Preparatory Meeting for the 2010 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons

May 5, 2009

Distinguished delegates,

The history of the nuclear age makes clear that opportunities to reduce the risks posed by nuclear weapons are often fleeting. When the right political conditions are in place, government leaders must seize the chance to make progress.

Now is such a time.

Entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is within sight. Since the idea of a ban on nuclear testing was first proposed in the 1950s, it has stood among the highest priorities on the international nonproliferation and disarmament agenda. The CTBT is more important now than ever.

By banning all nuclear weapon test explosions, including very low-yield hydronuclear explosions, the CTBT limits the ability of established nuclear-weapon states to field more sophisticated warheads and makes it far more difficult for newer members of the club to perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads. For this reason, CTBT ratification has long been considered essential to 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."

The CTBT also serves to reinforce the nonproliferation system by acting as a downstream confidence-building measure about a state's nuclear intentions and, in this regard, it can help head-off and de-escalate regional tensions. 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, as called for in the Middle East Resolution adopted by the 1995 NPT Review Conference.

India and Pakistan could substantially ease regional tensions and demonstrate nuclear restraint by converting their unilateral test moratoria into a legally-binding commitment to end nuclear testing through the CTBT.

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.

The CTBT has near-universal support: 180 nations have signed and 148 have ratified the Treaty. Last fall, the UN General Assembly voted 175-1 in favor of The CTBT-and we expect that the one "no" vote by the United States to become a "yes" vote this year. We applaud those states that support of the Treaty and make their full financial contribution to the build-up and operation of the international monitoring and verification system.

Unfortunately, broad support is not enough. Article XIV of the Treaty provides that in order to enter into force, ratification is needed from a number of key players. Nine necessary states have failed to ratify the CTBT and are therefore delaying its entry into force.

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.

The United States is poised to be a leader on the CTBT once again as President Barack Obama has pledged to achieve ratification "as soon as practical." We applaud his April 5 statement in Prague in which he said:

"To achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned."

To do so, President Obama must convince two-thirds of the Senate that the treaty enhances U.S. security, is effectively verifiable, and would not compromise future efforts to maintain the reliability, safety, or security of the United States' remaining stockpile of nuclear warheads. Technical advances in each of these areas over the past decade should make the case for the CTBT even stronger than it was in 1999 when the Senate failed to provide its advice and consent for ratification.

The Obama administration's effort will require sustained, top-level leadership. His efforts will have the full support of a wide array of NGOs in the United States and around the globe.

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.

Washington's renewed pursuit of CTBT ratification opens up opportunities for China and other Annex II 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. Ratification by Indonesia would enhance its reputation as a world leader and agent for international security.

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 do so.

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 recent decision of the government of the Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea to suspend its participation in the Six-Party Denuclearization process is deeply disappointing. We sincerely urge the Pyonyang to refrain from further nuclear testing and we urge the effective and rapid implementation of the commitments made pursuant to the Six-Party agreements by all involved as a step toward mutual security, as well as CTBT entry into force.

If India and Pakistan wish to be regarded as responsible states with advanced nuclear technology, they need to engage more widely and deeply with the international community in support of meaningful and legally-binding nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament measures, particularly the CTBT, as well those outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 1172 of June 1998.

The decision last year by the Nuclear Suppliers Group to adopt a proposal by the United States and other key supplier states to grant India-a non-signatory to the NPT and the CTBT-a once-off exemption from NSG nuclear trading restrictions was deeply disappointing to many and contrary to the 1995 NPT Review Conference commitment to engage in nuclear trade only with those states that accept full-scope safeguards.

In the wake of that episode, leading states have a responsibility to work much harder to encourage India to meet the same nonproliferation and disarmament standards expected of other states, including ratification of the CTBT. Responsible nuclear supplier states should also make it clear to Indian officials, as the United States has already done, that as a matter of national policy they will terminate nuclear trade with any state that conducts a nuclear test explosion regardless of the circumstances.

To help put the CTBT over the finish line, we also strongly urge that like-minded pro-CTBT states work together to develop a common diplomatic strategy to persuade the remaining states to sign and/or ratify the treaty. Pro-CTBT states should announce their intention to execute that strategy at the September 23-25 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT at the United Nations here New York.

To reinforce their commitment to the purpose and objectives of the CTBT, we also call upon all nuclear-armed nations to adopt clear policies not to develop or produce new design warheads or to modify existing warhead types in a manner that creates new military capabilities. The Obama administration has taken an important step in this direction by stating that it will "stop the development of new nuclear weapons."

To increase confidence in their commitment to the CTBT, we urge nuclear-armed states to seriously consider joining France in closing their test sites to all nuclear weapons-related research activities and experiments, particularly those involving fissile material, and, in the meantime, to adopt additional transparency measures at their test sites.

CTBT entry into force is within reach. The next one to two years may represent the best opportunity to secure the future of this long-awaited and much-needed treaty. We urge you to act now and to act with boldness.

Thank you.

This statement was coordinated by the Arms Control Association and has been endorsed by the following individuals and organizations:

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

Prof. Mashahiko Asada, Graduate School of Law, Kyoto University

Hideyuki Ban, Co-Director, Citizens' Nuclear Information Center (Japan)

Cara Bautista, Coordinator, Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World (U.S.A.)

Barry Blechman, Distinguished Fellow, Henry L. Stimson Center (U.S.A.)

Jay Coughlin, Director, Nuclear Watch New Mexico (U.S.A.)

David Culp, Legislative Director, Friends Committee on National Legislation (U.S.A.)

Ambassador Jonathan Dean, former arms control negotiator, U.S. Department of State

Prof. Trevor Findlay, Director, Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance, Carleton University

Jonathan Granoff, President, Global Security Institute (U.S.A.)

Ambassador Robert Grey, former U.S. Representative to the Conference on Disarmament

John Hallam, Coordinator, Nuclear Flashpoints (Australia)

Mort Halperin, Director of Policy Planning, Department of State 1996-2001 (U.S.A)

Prof. Frank von Hippel, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton University

Paul Ingram, Executive Director, British-American Security Information Council (U.K.-U.S.A.)

Dr. Rebecca Johnson, Founding Director, Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy (U.K.)

Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association (U.S.A.)

Kevin Knobloch, President, Union of Concerned Scientists (U.S.A.)

David Krieger, President, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (U.S.A.)

John Rainwater, Executive Director, Peace Action West (U.S.A.)

Lawrence Scheinman, Distinguished Professor, Monterey Institute of International Studies

Susi Snyder, Secretary General, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

Vappu Taipale, M.D., Co-President, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

Hiromichi Umebayashi, Special Adviser, Peace Depot (Japan)

Paul Walker, Director, Security and Sustainability, Global Green USA (U.S.A.).

Peter Wilk, MD, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility (U.S.A.)

Angela Woodward, Executive Director, Verification, Research, Training, and Information Centre (U.K.)


Statement by Representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to the Preparatory Meeting for the 2010 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Country Resources:

TRANSCRIPT: Carnegie Endowment Conference Panel on the Future of the CTBT


















Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

From the 2009 Carnegie Endowment Nonproliferation Conference

DARYL KIMBALL: If everyone could please find their seats, turn off their cell phones.

Welcome to the Polaris room. I'm Daryl Kimball. I'm executive director of the Arms Control Association. I'm moderating this session on the future of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the CTBT.

The prospects for the treaty this morning are considerably brighter in the afterglow of President Obama's speech in Prague, in which he outlined his vision for strengthening the nuclear nonproliferation system, advancing U.S. and Russian efforts on nuclear disarmament and taking steps to prevent nuclear terrorism. And as most of you, if not all of you, have heard by now, he made his intentions on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty quite clear. He said, "to achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned."

Before we hear from our speakers, a few contextual thoughts on this issue a day after that speech. Why go for the CTBT? In essence, why is this treaty still - after five decades of pursuing it -- still a valuable global security instrument? The simple answer, and we'll hear more from our speakers is that by prohibiting the test explosions of all nations and all environments, the CTBT makes it far more difficult for states with advanced nuclear weapons programs to develop new types of nuclear warheads and it makes it more difficult for could be nuclear arm nations like Iran to proof test if they pursue nuclear weapons, more advanced types of nuclear warheads that could be placed on ballistic missiles and delivered by ballistic missiles.

And as the president said in his speech, the CTBT, of course is a central part of the global nuclear nonproliferation architecture, a key portion of the commitments from 1995 and 2000 NPT review conferences and of course U.S. leadership on the test ban is going to be critical for the success of the 2010 conference.

And entry into force, we should not forget, is also critical to improving national and global efforts to detect and deter secret nuclear test explosions by the countries and making onsite inspections possible under the terms of the treaty.

Now, many people have been asking me and asking one anotherhow close are we to U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty? On March 27, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, provided what I considered to be the most accurate answer to that question. Not all members of Congress provide the most accurate answers, but I think he did in this case.

He said, quote, "We are very close. We don't have that many votes to win over to win. But they are serious folks" - that is, in the Senate - "and we are going to have to persuade them." He went on to say that his committee will hold hearings on the treaty. He did not say when. He said a vote by the full Senate he said is unlikely before next year.

In other words, and this is me again, not John Kerry, the political conditions are more favorable for ratification - U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty than they have ever been since the opening for signature of the treaty in September, 1996. And with smart and strong leadership from the president, securing the necessary two thirds, 67 votes, in the Senate before the end of 2010 and perhaps before the pivotal May, 2010, NPT review conference, is clearly within reach.

Now, Obama's call for immediate efforts on the CTBT are important in my view since the task of winning the support in the Senate is going to take some time. We can't go from zero to 67, if you will, overnight. There hasn't been a debate, meaningful discussion about the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in about 10 years.

In order to move forward, the president, along with Senator Kerry are going to have to engage with the Senate, as we heard Jim Steinberg say at lunch yesterday, in a discussion to go over the technical issues, to listen to their concerns, to hear their views and to respond to those views. And of course the support of key Republicans such as John McCain and Senator Lugar, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are going to be critical. And we should remember that John McCain in his 2008 presidential run said that we should take another look at the CTBT.

Now, the outcome of the debate on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the Senate will undoubtedly hinge upon the politics of the moment and the various calculations that individual senators are going to make. But it's also going to be based on the same three key technical and security issues that were the center of the Senate's 1999 debate and ultimately it's "no" vote on the treaty. And recognizing that reality, Secretary of State Clinton back in January at her confirmation hearing said, and I quote, "We need to ensure that the administration works intensively with senators so they are fully briefed on key technical issues and receive the best scientific evidence available."

Obama's pledge on Sunday to aggressively pursue CTB ratification in my view suggests that there will be a high level administration led effort, involving the White House and key members of the cabinet. And as we heard Jim Steinberg say at the luncheon yesterday, that effort will, in some way or another, be spearheaded by Vice President Biden.

Now, in light of all this, we've organized a panel discussion this morning on the three key technical issues that I believe, that many believe will be at the center of debate on the test ban in the next several months.

First, how have U.S. capabilities to safely and reliably maintain the existing arsenal improved? Is resumed testing or new design warheads technically necessary to maintain the U.S. nuclear stockpile?

Dr. Sidney Drell of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Lab and a fellow at the Hoover Institution is going to talk about the developments with regard to the U.S. Stockpile Stewardship Program over the last decade.

Second, we're going to hear about verification and how global capabilities to detect clandestine test explosions have improved over the last decade, particularly with the International Monitoring System that is being developed and deployed by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Provisional Technical Secretariat in Vienna. And we have with us here today Ambassador Tibor Tóth, the executive secretary of that organization, to report on that issue.

And finally and perhaps most importantly, how does the CTBT improve U.S. security by restricting the ability of other states to conduct nuclear test explosions? How does the CTBT today, in the 21st century improve the security situation in dangerous regions like the Middle East and South Asia? Ambassador Jim Goodby, who has a long, distinguished career in the field and particular on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as an advisor to General Shalikashvili with his report in 2001, is going to look at this issue.

And finally, as you listen to these presentations, I would ask you to think about one very important issue and that is that as a signatory to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and with the United States' nuclear test moratorium that's been in place since September, 1992, the United States already bears most CTBT-related responsibilities but has denied itself the political and security benefits of being a ratifying state. Such a situation, in my view, is extremely self-defeating since there is neither the need politically, militarily, or technically for renewed U.S. testing.

So following their remarks, and we'll go sequentially - we'll hear from you. I hope we have a robust discussion.

And first up is Dr. Sid Drell. Thanks for being here from California.

SIDNEY DRELL: I had a few slides, but I think we'll forget them. So in 1999, when the United States took the test ban discussion to the Senate, there was a very perfunctory inadequate debate, but the technical issue of could we maintain a safe, effective, reliable, secure stockpile without testing was one of the technical issues. And what I want to discuss is what have we learned since then? Should that still be a barrier in anyone's mind to ratifying the CTBT?

Since 1999 we've had 10 more years of a very well-supported, multifaceted Stockpile Stewardship Program created by the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration. It was first created following the moratorium established under the first President Bush in 1992. During these 10 years since 1999, annually that program has certified the operation of our arsenal, its safety, reliability, and effectiveness. And it should now be said and let me say it with a simple quote from the heads of the weapons programs at the two laboratories, Bruce Goodwin at Livermore and Glenn Mara at Los Alamos - and this is their quote - "To date the SSP, Stockpile Stewardship Program has achieved remarkable successes. It has enabled the laboratory directors to assure the nation that we do not need to conduct a nuclear test to certify the deterrent is safe, secure, and reliable." Period.

Now, there're two fundamental measures of the program's success and they are the ability to discover causes for concern in the stockpile - the so-called significant findings, flaws due to production or design error or aging. And the second one is - its measure of success they've been able to fix these significant findings. And this process is responsive to and independently reviewed by the military's strategic command, who are the customers.

The good news comes together, however, also with a challenge. The SSP is a dynamic program and as the director of Livermore, George Miller, cautioned in recent testimony, "Sustaining the investments in stockpile stewardship is critical both to maintaining confidence in a likely increasingly smaller stockpile and providing the science and technology foundations that allow the laboratory to confront the defining issues of the 21st century."

Here let me give you - it will be listed on a slide, but you can't read it from the back of the room anyway. I can tell you what I consider the main technical achievements of the last decade that the labs have attested to.

First of all, there is what's called the Life Extension Program. We've refurbished the materials and components of the weapons in the stockpile to extend their lifetimes with high confidence. The first two of these LEPs, Life Extension Programs, were done for the ICBM warhead, the W87 and for the Trident warhead, the W76. There are more coming.

Most of the refurbishments and upgrades affect components outside the nuclear explosive package such as arming, fusing, firing, and boost gas transfer systems, which can be tested without nuclear tests under the CTBT. More to the point is has also been possible in the SSP to validate reengineered components within the nuclear explosive package on the basis of a suite of careful experiments and analyses that this program was able to do. And I'll come to that in a minute.

A second very important progress over the past decade is that Los Alamos has reestablished the capability to produce new plutonium pits, which are the core components of the primaries of a nuclear weapon. For the first time in 20 years, ever since Rocky Flats was closed down for environmental violations, the United States can build replacement pits. We have for the W88 Trident warhead and that has been certified for deployment, and if needed, in the future, should something happen to require it, we have demonstrated that capability without testing.

The third one is that a thorough multiyear study by the labs that was independently reviewed, critiqued by the JASON Group has removed the critical concern about the stability of the crystal structure of the plutonium metal due to radioactive decay while it's sitting in the stockpile. And we can confirm that their lifetimes are longer than very conservatively say 85 to 100 years. This finding was achieved as a result of significant advances in understanding.

Let me take a minute to say how can you worry about the radioactive decay of plutonium? It has a 22,000-year lifetime, which means that in any year one out of 22,000 plutonium nuclei decays. However, when that plutonium nucleus decays to a uranium and an alpha, a very energetic uranium nucleus is rattling around in the crystal structure. A solid has a crystal structure.

Plutonium, because of the large number of electrons-and for physicists the 5f electron has many phases under physical conditions-which are near each other. It's not very stable. And it's one phase you want and you want stabilized. But when the uranium nucleus is rattling around, it rattles until it slows down by knocking onto about 2,000 - more than 2,000 lattice sites where the plutonium nuclei are sitting. And if in one decay you rattle 2,000, that's one tenth of the one out of 22,000. In 10 years, you've perhaps rattled the cage and you've destroyed the crystal structure. It turns out that is not so. That's an experimental result. It turns out that the crystal heals itself. The displaced plutonium nucleus finds its place back where it belongs in the face centered crystal structure.

Experiments were done at SLAC and other labs by measuring X-ray fine structure, X-ray absorption fine structure and that is not happening. That is a major result which says that these pits- you're going to [be able to] count on them. And the other experiments showed that is the case in the order of a century.

That concern of having weapons more than 25 years old has been totally removed during the last decade. And another one I would mention is that the boost gas systems, when you have a plutonium implosion, what you do as the plutonium squeezes, you insert some deuterium and tritium into the cavity and as it squeezes and things heat up, you fuse plutonium - the deuterium and tritium join together and create an alpha particle - that's fusion. And you also create energetic neutrons. It's not the energy you get that way. It's the neutrons you get that way. And those neutrons speed up the fission process and that's why boosting - that's how boosting has made it possible to take a big bomb like the plutonium bomb over Nagasaki into a small bomb which then is the trigger that ignites the big secondary.

Well, boost gas systems have been improved and made more robust and therefore guarantee a large yield from the primary to ignite the secondary.

These are four major technical advances in 10 years. What were the essential ingredients of the Stockpile Stewardship Program that made these achievements possible? Well, the key technical achievement was made possible by advances in our understanding the science of what goes on in a nuclear explosion.

And let me say, looking ahead to an uncertain future, as long as we do have nuclear weapons - and we can all hope that President Obama will make good progress in what we've been hearing with great pleasure this last week - the nation will continue to need a strong, dynamic, science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program that does not call on testing, which has both the talent and the tools necessary to be able to respond to changes and surprises that may come up in the future strategically or technically. And with a strong infrastructure in stockpile stewardship, one can be sure that the president in the future, should he conclude or she conclude that due to strategic problems we may have to resume testing, we will have that capability. We will have the capability to respond to any future need.

And so what I'm saying is the Stockpile Stewardship Program has been a success without testing and I believe it's one that we have to maintain the success of without testing because we've displayed that testing has not been critical.

And what were the ingredients of the Stockpile Stewardship Program that made it successful? First of all, as a scientist, I can tell you the critical ingredient is to have good people working it, who know what they're doing and are embedded in the program, which allows them to maintain their skills. All the equipment in the world isn't going to buy you what you need if you don't have good scientists there and they don't come and stay if they're doing nothing.

We also must have a vigilant search for and discovery of problems in the stockpile that may arise from design errors or what not and that's what we've had and we've displayed we can do. Once the problem's discovered, people have to fix the problem. That takes both theory and experiment, theory to be able to try and understand what's wrong, but experiments to find out whether the theorists are right or wrong. And to have experiments, you need equipment and you need a support for a strong program.

Now, during the past 10 years, supercomputers have come. They have increased the capacity of these computers by a million fold. We can now - and this has been critical - do high fidelity three-dimensional calculations of the implosion process, and of what's going on in nuclear explosions. And we can do it for the first time with good, high fidelity, three-dimensional studies. And we have the advanced analytic tools and the codes developed to go with the super computers so that - with the high speed memory - so that's possible to carry out a program.

Additional facilities have been some small instruments in the lab, diamond anvil and what not, and big instruments. One of the things that it's important to do is to see as the implosion process goes ahead how that process is taking place, as you squeeze the plutonium down. Now we've had machines to do that, but now have much better machines. We can see what plasma instabilities are created. We can calculate them. We have models. We can test them with the computers and we can get data from the new machines - the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydro-Test Facility. That's a new machine operating in Los Alamos which allows us to make three-dimensional pictures with this X-ray radiography with extremely high precision.

The new ignition facility - National Ignition Facility just completed and beginning its research campaign at Livermore, will allow us to test the codes, these very high power codes with the super computers against data in the laboratory and further confirm their accuracy, their validity under conditions that cannot otherwise be created, except by nuclear explosion.

So I think we have answered the questions that were raised and can now be removed as a barrier.

Finally, clearly there are concerns expressed by other people who don't agree with this and they say that the - as we work to refurbish the weapons we have, small margins of performance get smaller and we lose confidence. What matters is how big is the performance margin, the measure of how much output you're getting above what you need - how big that is compared with the uncertainties.

Now, with the boost system, you can increase the margins, but the main thing that stockpile stewardship has done, in my view, it's decreased the uncertainties because we understand things.

We can do physics now, not just models. So I believe that this increase of the ratio of the performance margins to the uncertainties has given more confidence in our stockpile now than we could have had on scientific basis 10 years ago.

So I disagree with those who say, we're losing confidence or the future is bleak although the present is good. And I do believe, as the head of STRATCOM said recently, the program's been successful. It's not the whole story, but we must have - and his words were, we must modernize the nuclear infrastructure. And that is true. The nuclear infrastructure's old. And so a balanced program maintaining the science, improving the infrastructure so we can continue to operate this way as long as we have weapons is the right answer. But the need for testing, I believe, has been put to sleep.

Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you.

Tibor? Thank you.

AMBASSADOR TIBOR TÓTH: Thank you so much. To illustrate the verification

capabilities, I would like to take you on a journey and I would like to bring you back to October, 2006 [and the DPRK nuclear test], and to walk you through how the system worked at that time. So it's 9th of October, 2006. For Washington and New York, 8th of October, 2006.

You have to recall that at that time our system was 50 percent in place in terms of the seismic stations. The readiness was lower for the noble gas component, 25 percent at that time and still we were not operating 24/7, around the clock. And of course, as it eventually turned out, the yield was a lower yield for a country to do it for the first time, 0.5 kiloton.

So against this background what happened? The first layer of verification - the seismic stations - recorded the data - 22 seismic stations, primary and auxiliary seismic stations. And we need three primary stations to include the event in our bulletin.

The geographic distribution is quite interesting and let me try to illustrate that point. The distribution of the stations is clear north and south, east and west. And if you have a look, Bolivia, La Paz, is more than 7,000 kilometers away.

The way the system functioned was first of all the stations tested, communication system tested because from the stations we have to move the data to Vienna. The international data center tested because the international data center had to do the analysis of the data and again because we distributed the data, raw data and the - what we call the process data, the communication system again was tested in both directions. As a result of that, we could test the components of the system, important ingredients; number two, functions; and number three, the timelines for all these functions were treaty-based timelines against the background that we were not operating and we are not operating 24/7.

Even a meeting of states signatories and ratifiers were initiated the same day when the test happened. The data generated by the seismic component is very much in conformity with the onsite inspection requirements. For your information, after entering into force, there will have to be an area of 1,000 square kilometers identified for the initiation of the onsite inspection. The area identified by the 22 stations was around 800 square kilometers, very much below the level required for the initiation of onsite inspection.

The next layer of the system is the noble gas component. And it's clear from the seismic data, which was recorded at that time that the data and the data products were leading to a manmade event. At the same time, the link had to be made whether this manmade event had a nuclear fingerprint or not, and this is where the noble gas technology came into the picture. First of all, we had to calculate the venting. We took the 0.5 kiloton as a reference point for that calculation. We had to do it as a function of time and of course as a function of the conditions prevailing in the territory of North Korea. And then with an additional technology, which we call atmospheric transport modeling, we tried to simulate and project how this release of xenon-133 might reach our noble gas stations.

I mentioned to you. We have 25 percent of the noble gas system in place. At that time, we had 10 out of the 14 noble gas stations in place. So we had to see and we had to hope that the closest stations like Japan or Mongolia will record the release of xenon. At the same time, what happened, it was [the station at] Yellowknife, Canada more than 7,000 kilometers that recorded it.

The atmospheric transport modeling is based on an input which is six million pieces of meteorological data per day. So I would like to demonstrate to you in a much simpler way. And here you see the dispersion pattern. And this is a three-dimensional model at the altitude identified with different colors.

The message here that, of course, with replication of a certain exclusion modeling, where other potential sources of release were identified as well and excluded from this dispersion pattern, we could correlate the release as projected by us at the DPRK test site with the time, with the absolute amount and with the pattern of the recording.

The xenon-133 traveled for 12 days. The half life is relatively short. It's - half of that time is the half life of that particular noble gas. And in addition to that, the eventual amount recorded at Yellowknife, Canada, was the equivalent of 300 atoms of xenon-133. So it's a very minute quantity.

The importance of these findings for the noble gas component was, number one, the recording facilities worked, the laboratories functioned very much along the expectations and again we were doing that exercise in the conditions of what we call provisional operation, not the 24/7 type of operation, but against the timelines prescribed by us in terms of releasing the data once the data is processed and the data products.

The yield is, of course, relevant here as well. If you put together the seismic and the noble gas component, practically what emerged as a result of the DPRK test is an unforced test upon the verification system. In a situation where the readiness for their own 25-50 percent - that was the range. And the yield of this particular test was 30-50 times smaller than first test yields taken historically from other nuclear weapon countries.

What is interesting to see - okay, we were there in October, 2006. Where are we in April, 2009? And here I would like to mention first of all the build up - the title of this event is "Break or Build." We are in the build-up process. The build up of the stations brought us to 250 seismic stations compared to 180 where we were in 2006 - 180 vs. 250.

The number of the noble gas systems doubled in the last more than two years. So we moved from 10 of those noble gas stations to 22 by now. And if you allow me, this is where we were in October 2006. And this is where we are. I try to illustrate for the back row as well a bit some of the difference. And the difference is 70 more stations and facilities added to the system.

That will have to be translated into what we call detection capabilities. And this is the detection capability back in 2006 and the point which is relevant here, the North Korean test was magnitude four detected event, green. So what you see with green color here is the detection capability, which in the case of North Korea was 0.5 kiloton. What is turquoise or what is moving in the blue, turquoise is 3.5 and blue is magnitude three. And let me show the present detection capability. And again, for the back rows, let me just move back and forth. And for those who are sitting closer, again I would like to call your attention to the blue and the turquoise which quite significantly improved in the last two years. And just to give you some rough calculations and I do not claim that I'm the source of these calculations, but magnitude 3.5 is the equivalent range of 0.1 kiloton. And magnitude three is the equivalent range of tens of tons, 0.0 something, might be 0.3 as low as that particular number. So I hope that this is giving you some approximate reference point.

The detection capability does not reflect, number one, the auxiliary stations. And here some calculations are indicating that through the auxiliary stations, an additional improvement of 0.25, 0.5 magnitude can be achieved. These slides, of course, do not reflect some of the additional capabilities which might be gained as a result of other international systems and other national systems. It's extremely important not to forget those systems internationally functioning, regionally functioning, providing regional seismic data about events. Another technology, noble gas, there is an increase of national noble gas capacities. It is to a certain degree a spin-off of some of our success efforts like creating a noble gas system which can be transported. It's called - (inaudible) - and it was used as well in the context of DPRK by some countries and onsite inspection. Of course, what you see here does not reflect this.

The last points I would like to make and then to sum up what is the message here, the progress which has been made compared to the period 1996 to 1999, let's take this period, when the treaty emerged from the drawing board of Geneva and when the U.S. Senate ratification failed. If you take 1996 Geneva, what was foreseen at that time [was] the seismic component being able to deliver one kiloton detection sensitivity for underground seismic events with a full blown system in place. What the National Academy of Science's report did foresee in 2002- and still this was more a concept. It was not reality. It was a concept. It did foresee that with the full blown system the detection level might be as good as 0.1 kiloton. The example of North Korea's is a reality not a concept. And the reality, as you could see, that with only 50 percent readiness of the system, the 0.1 kiloton level was achieved in the northern hemisphere for defining areas U.S., Russian Federation, China.

What the 2009 slide hopefully revealed to you that as a reality we are moving to this 0.0 something that is tens of tons of the detection capability, still with a system which is 75 percent ready because 250 stations means the system is 75 percent ready.

And as a last slide, let me leave you with this notion that we will have another 25 percent of muscle just on the seismic system. Especially with addition of national technical means, other international systems, and the onsite inspection component [we have] a high degree of confidence that the treaty can be monitored,. {Or in the parlance of} the Nitze-Baker requirements for the verification: no test of military significance can go undetected.

I would stop here, though, I would like to make later on some points. I don't think that the treaty should be approached just on basis of verification, as a low lying fruit, verification around the corner, verification which is needed.

I think what we will have to do is to assess what are the demand-side requirements but as for the supply side, yes - verification in accordance with those criteria apply to other arms control agreements is something which is doable.

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Ambassador Tóth, and just by the way, there are a few copies of the executive summary of the 2002 National Academy Science Report on the Tactical Issues on the CTB in the back. If we've run out, they're on the Arms Control Association Web site as well as the Shalikashvili Report from 2001, which Ambassador Jim Goodby will be making reference to in a couple of minutes.

Ambassador Goodby?

AMBASSADOR JAMES GOODBY: Thank you, Daryl and thank all of you for coming out. After five decades of talk, as our president said, it's refreshing to see so many people interested in this subject, which to me is worth five decades if we can achieve some results at the end of it.

I think this is one of those good news/bad news stories that we're telling here on the platform. We've heard very good news from the two previous speakers. Now, I'd like to tell you a little bad news, which in a word is that the nonproliferation regime, which we've tried to build up over five decades, has deteriorated in the last 10 years or so. Just think about it. Just mention a few names: North Korea, Iran, Syria, A.Q. Khan. I don't need to elaborate. Those names speak for themselves.

The splits between nuclear haves and have-nots has widened, and even my use of those terms shows you what the roots of the problem really are. The basic bargain of the Nonproliferation Treaty has lost credibility. People don't believe that it's still operative. The 2005 Nonproliferation Treaty review conference was close to a disaster. The U.N. summit meeting of that same year failed to reach agreement on measures to strengthen the nonproliferation regime, a real disgrace in the words of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The renaissance in civil nuclear power is poised to spread technology and materials around the world in the next decades. Is it going to be safeguarded? The additional protocols of the IAEA are still a long way from becoming universals. Tensions in the Middle East and South Asia have risen, no end in sight. As summed up by George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Bill Perry and Sam Nunn in their Wall Street Journal article of a couple of years ago, and I quote, "The world is now on the precipice of a new and dangerous nuclear era," unquote.

They believed - I think they still believe - that reliance on nuclear weapons for deterrence is "increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective," their words. A comprehensive effort to revitalize and restore credibility for the nonproliferation regime is needed, desperately needed and a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty must be part of it.

Daryl Kimball mentioned General Shalikashvili's report and I'd like to say a bit more about that. General Shalikashvili was asked in the year 2000, after the Senate had turned down the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, to talk to senators, and Nancy Gallagher and I accompanied General Shalikashvili. I think Nancy is in the room. We talked to at least a third of the Senate, people that we thought would be influential and we wanted to hear their views.

And as a result of all those discussions, General Shalikashvili prepared a report, which he presented to President Clinton in 2001 in January. The essence of that report was that General Shalikashvili saw the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as one key element in a network of barriers against proliferation - not a panacea in itself, but an element critical to the success of the whole project.

As Daryl Kimball has noted, his report pointed out that a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would prevent the advanced nuclear weapon states from making significant improvements in their weapon stockpiles and it would prevent non-nuclear weapon states from entering into a nuclear weapon status, except perhaps through a primitive gun-type atom bomb.

I might parenthetically say here that Sid Drell was one of those who briefed General Shalikashvili about the effects of testing and the effects of discontinuing testing. And I think perhaps he might want to say something later about that particular aspect of it.

Because General Shalikashvili understood that what the nuclear powers do, in fact, does effect the decisions of other countries.

And testing is perhaps the most visible of nuclear weapons activities. It amounts, in my view, to a signal to the world that the testing state has little or no intention of complying with the provisions of the Nonproliferation Treaty, and that it probably regards nuclear arsenals as a nonnegotiable element of its defense posture. That's what testing signals.

Now, each state, of course, that is thinking about the test ban treaty has to make its own mind, make its own assessment of the effect of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty because no agreement, especially the nuclear field can be considered risk free. No nuclear weapons program itself is without risk for that matter. And that assessment is always in order. If the advantages outweigh the risks, one proceeds. If not, one does not.

Now, General Shalikashvili's assessment of the advantages for the United States was as follows. And I'm quoting directly from his report. I think from what Daryl has said, his report is at the back of the room. You can read it.

He said, "The test ban treaty will complicate and slow down the efforts of aspiring nuclear states, especially regarding more advanced types of nuclear weapons. It will hamper the development by Russia and China of nuclear weapons based on new designs and will essentially rule out certain advances. It will add to the legal and political constraints that nations must consider when they form their judgments about national defense policies. The Test Ban Treaty," he said, "is vital to the long-term health of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and will increase support for other elements of a comprehensive non-proliferation strategy.

The United States is well positioned to sustain its nuclear deterrent under the test ban treaty. The verification regime established under the Treaty will enhance the United States' own very capable nuclear test monitoring system and foster new techniques to improve verification. The Treaty will make it easier to mobilize domestic and international support for clarifying ambiguous situations and for responding vigorously if any nation conducts a nuclear test."

Much has changed both for good and for bad in the past 10 years. But those assessments, I believe, remain correct.

Now, the past 10 years have shown us how unilateral moratoriums work and how they don't work. We've learned some things about them. And one lesson is that instabilities are inherent in moratoriums. When any participant can drop out with little or no notification, an atmosphere of the temporary is inescapable. This makes it difficult to support institutions like the CTBT office that are essential, in my view, to the long-term consensus in favor of banning explosive tests.

Another instability is that since there are no agreed standards regarding the scope of a moratorium, there are always bound to be doubts about whether there is a leveled playing field among the countries observing those moratoriums.

And a third is that there is no agreed way to remove doubts about other nations' actions: no on-site inspections, no transparency at test sites. The general expectation that a binding treaty is not in the cards obviously discourages any state that might be thinking about refraining from nuclear weapons program from doing so. I think, for example, that a CTBT would be a higher barrier for Iran to jump over than is a moratorium, probably the same for North Korea as well. I think there is no real alternative to a fully ratified CTB, in short.

The importance of the context for a CTBT cannot be overstated. President Obama has said that he will work to put us on the road to a world without nuclear weapons. What the end of a two tier system, if that is in sight - as I hope it is - my guess is that it will easier for CTBT holdouts to accept the test ban. I hope therefore that all possessors of nuclear weapons will rally around the vision of a world without nuclear weapons. It isn't a simple or an easy thing to do, but it provides a goal and it provides a compass. It should help nations to think more positively about a test ban.

But conversely, if we can't get a test ban and enforce the outlaw preliminary nuclear weapons is bleak.

And I wind up by paraphrasing a statement made by Shultz, Kissinger, Perry and Nunn, and this is it: without a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons will not be perceived as realistic or possible. It's that important.



MR. KIMBALL: Thank you very much. All right, everyone. Now it's your turn to ask questions, pose thoughts. We've got a very expert audience here. It's quite an amazing gathering today. There's a microphone in the middle. Please state your name. Try to get to your question quickly.

We'll begin with you, sir.

Q: I'm Bob Civiak. I'm an independent consultant most recently working with Nuclear

Weapons Complex Consolidation Policy Network.

Dr. Drell gave a very good defense of the Stockpile Stewardship Program, but there are other more cheaper and more reliable and more certain ways of maintaining the United States stockpile and that's simply stopping making changes to nuclear weapons. That's a complicated issue and I don't want to go into that here.

What I do want to mention is that the NNSA spends more than 50 percent of its budget on nuclear weapons doing research and development primarily to improve the codes to predict the behavior of an exploding nuclear weapon. Most of that work is important for designing new nuclear weapons and the NNSA has proposed two new nuclear weapons over the last few years, and now they're proposing to continue to develop nuclear weapons through an advanced LEP program.

And my question is, is granting additional money to the Stockpile Stewardship Program and the ability to continue to make changes to nuclear weapons consistent with President Obama's view of decreasing the importance of nuclear weapons? Is it consistent with our CTB obligations to end the nuclear weapons arms race? Or is it making a deal with the devil to spend more money on stockpile stewardship in order to get a CTBT?

MR. KIMBALL: All right. Thank you. Before you jump into that, Sid, let's take one more question and then we'll respond.

Q: Thank you. Rebecca Johnson, Acronym Institute for Disarmament Diplomacy. I'd like to thank all the panelists for really very, very good presentations - very thoughtful, very useful.

A couple of weeks ago, I was speaking to Ambassador Stephen Ledogar by phone, and some of you may know he was appointed by George Bush senior to complete the Chemical Weapons Treaty negotiations and then retained by President Clinton to head the U.S. delegation for the CTBT negotiations in Geneva in the 1990s. And he was very, very troubled and had said to me that there was a story or there was a story circulating in Washington that the Russians had not accepted the zero-yield interpretation of the scope of the finalized treaty. And anyone who was involved in the negotiations at that time, and I know that the chair of the final year, Ambassador Jaap Ramaker is actually here, would know that that's complete nonsense. But my question for the panel is from where are such false accusations arising? Are they being taken seriously? Are they playing in the attempts to get ratification? And what can be done to put the record straight?

MR. KIMBALL: All right. Ambassador Goodby, you might want to handle that one, but let's - Sid, do you want to answer the first question that Bob Civiak just put forward?

MR. DRELL: Yes. The Life Extension Program is not in any way, I believe, involved in designing new weapons. The discussion of the reliable replacement warhead, the RRW, was different from - the LEP program said there were parts in the weapons chemicals, tritium, and so forth that have to be changed periodically, they age.

And the Life Extension Program was a program which was refurbishing -- sticking as close as possible to the existing designs. Some manufacturing processes have changed over the years and you have to take that into account.

The RRW program was moving more toward changing some of the components significantly for reasons of making the margins bigger rather than the uncertainties smaller.

And I think it's wrong to mischaracterize the program that way. These weapons are living longer than we've had experience with. And I believe it is important to do the science, to have the computer codes and so forth, so that our confidence in these weapons can be attested to without getting new data unavailable without testing. So I think a healthy SSP program is part of what's going to be the sensible policy without testing.

The technical definition of zero, to answer your question, is that no sustaining chain reaction be created. There is no ideal zero. Plutonium-239 made in a reactor comes with another isotope in small percentage, Pu-240. And that does spontaneously fission. And that point is being abused by those who oppose the CTBT because the energy released without a chain reaction from spontaneous fission is so many orders of magnitude below what the high explosives is yielding that it's silly to even talk about.

AMB. GOODBY: Rebecca, the question you asked has been around since the very days in which the treaty was testified to by the Clinton administration. Not only Steve Ledogar should be troubled, but also former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright should be troubled because she very specifically told the Senate that there had been conversations with the Russians and other nuclear weapon states and that there was agreement that zero means zero.

There were discussions among the nuclear-weapon states, not widely revealed because there were a lot of non nuclear weapon states also negotiating this treaty, that simply picked up the language of the existing Limited Test Ban Treaty which has been in force now since 1963.

And behind the scenes, the nuclear weapon states agreed that zero meant zero. They specifically agreed that hydrodynamic tests would be permitted, hydro nuclear tests, which do have some sustained fission yield - very short - would be prohibited. We've talked to a lot of people who were involved in those discussions as well as read the testimony. That seems to have been widely agreed. I think there's no doubt that the Russian ambassador at the time stated this, and I understand that in testimony before the State Duma they said the same thing. So there should not be any doubt about the agreement as to what the scope of the treaty is. And still these rumors persist.

MR. KIMBALL: Yes, and I think those rumors are based upon opponents of the CTBT selectively quoting officials from the Russian government, mostly in the late '90s, that were ambiguous about this issue. But, as Ambassador Goodby said, there's a definitive statement from 2000 during the course of the State Duma deliberations on the CTBT in which the senior Russian government official said, and I quote, "Qualitative modernization of nuclear weapons is only possible through full scale and hydronuclear tests with the emission of fissile energy, the carrying out of which directly contradicts the CTBT," close quote.

Next question, Bruce McDonald.

Q: I'm Bruce McDonald with the Strategic Posture Review Commission. I find the arguments that our distinguished panelists make quite compelling.

But let me - with that is a - and I'm a supporter of the CTBT, but with that as a preface let me raise one question that's been rattling around for a while and it comes as no surprise that it's been rattling around more lately. I'm sure we're going to hear a lot more of it as well, and that's the question of decoupling.

The concern that some have expressed is that, while the international monitoring system is quite good, that it is possible in doing tests in a cavern and with various enclosures and that sort of thing, that it's possible to muffle the effect of a nuclear blast by anywhere from a factor of 10 to 100.

And so that being able to restricting or to tech down to a few tens of pounds, I guess that would be - or tons rather of explosive yield that one - again, I'm quoting them, this is not my argument - that you're talking about - you know, yields up to maybe a kiloton or so, and that being able to conduct tests such as that on the sly would provide some significant advantage, particularly in the area of small scale tactical weapons which right now Russia is probably less concerned about their strategic arsenal than their tactical arsenal, especially vis-à-vis China.

So what I'd like to ask our panelists, what is your response to this question that is not new, but it has strong legs, apparently? And I'd be interested if you all could shed some light.

And then as just one postscript really to thank you all for your unstinting service on behalf of this cause over many, many years. It's really a gift to the country and the world.


MR. KIMBALL: All right. Thank you. We'll take one more question and then we will try to answer the questions. Jay Coghlan.

Q: I'm Jay Coghlan with Nuclear Watch New Mexico. And Mr. Drell, you cited the JASON pit lifetime study as one of the four technical breakthroughs or achievements over the last decade that will help enable CTB ratification.

As a brief background, a gentleman that you no doubt knew, J. Carson Mark at Los Alamos, the ex-director of the theoretical division, but he told me in 1996 that Los Alamos had set aside plutonium pits for decades for the express purpose of studying aging. And in his own words, I quote, "The big news was no news." And then I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for that - denied, classified. That didn't sit well with me.

So when I heard in 2004 that NNSA was doing their own pit lifetime studies, I then went to an aid of Senator Bingaman asking that there should be required independent review of those pit lifetime studies. So the senator subsequently got an amendment in the 2005 Defense Authorization Act and enhanced the JASON pit lifetime study. Now, since that time, NNSA has been alleging other problems - possible problems with weapons reliabilities, specifically with secondaries.

My question to you becomes if the JASONs were to do another study on weapons reliability, and if it was up to you, what issues would you like to explore?

MR. KIMBALL: All right. Thank you. But let's first try to address the decoupling question which I think has been around as long as going back to Edward Teller and folks like that.

Ambassador Tóth, would you like to take a crack at that, and maybe, Jim, you can add something more.

AMB. TÓTH: Yes. Let me recall the detection capabilities slide first. So I made a reference to this 0.03 level, and if you make the computation, then, if you go to the lower end of this range, you need a decoupling factor of 100 to have this one kiloton event decoupled and muffled to this level, making it noticeable by the system.

As a layman, as a diplomat, what I came across in the literature is the decoupling factor of 70 which was achieved in the United States in an experiment back in 1966 with a yield of 0.38 kiloton.

So that level is practically beneath the level which the National Academy of Sciences and JASON is identifying as a military significant one. And another element here is that this decoupling was carried out in a sort of cavity which was created by a previous blast of 5.6 or 5.8 kiloton.

As for the Russian Federation, what you come across in the literature is a factor of 12, historically. This is going back to 1976. This is based on a cavity created by an explosion of 70 kilotons and the decoupling led to this factor of 12.

There is another complexity here besides the detection, and I think Dave Hafemeister, who was sitting in this room, has an amazing series of publications about that. He is naming practically six criteria of how to address the issue of decoupling.

And the point he is making that these criteria have to be applied together, and with this criteria one can move from a 90 percent probability level down to 50 percent probability in the case of three tests 15 percent probability that a test would go undetected.

What he is mentioning, the excursion of the yield, especially for a country which is doing it for the first time, this is something very difficult to fix the right way. And here you might recall the DPRK test because earlier, before the test, some of the early indications were of a higher yield than eventually turned out, so it might have been a sort of a not just a fusion but a phenomenon which might be quite close to an excursion yield.

Element number three, besides the two ones I mentioned already, the venting. The venting, number one, is related and correlated to the yield. For those who are knowledgeable in this area, the lower the yield, the better the chances are in a cavity environment there is a venting happening - that the noble gas particulates will be seeping to the surface. So this trade off is again working against too low yield events going on because of the venting.

And for your information, there was a reference about a one kiloton event decoupled. But what I tried to point out in the context of the DPRK was a 0.5 kiloton event, a 0.5 kiloton event which the 25 percent readiness of system was in very extreme circumstances recorded and attributed.

In addition to that, there are other elements like new technologies - InSAR technology which could identify the change of the surface up to the precision of a couple of millimeters as we understand from the literature as well.

So there are a number of ifs and question marks, and especially for a new country, these ifs are extremely complicated to handle in the conjunction and there is a question for both a practitioner, a nuclear weapon state. But here, the question of, again, the Nitze-Baker definition of verification is coming in place, whether those potential cheatings are of military significance or not or rather they can be identified and intersected innovate that the benefits can be readdressed and denied of those who are carrying off.

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. And as we consider the questions that will arise regarding verifiability, I think we shouldn't lose sight of the reality that today the United States has an interest, and the world has an interest in detecting with high confidence clandestine nuclear explosions. And the fundamental question we've got to ask is, are we in a better situation with the treaty in force or without? And the answer is clear. So that's the other thing to keep in perspective as these questions do arise.

So, Dr. Drell, do you want to respond or answer the question that Jay Coughlin asked about?

MR. DRELL: I generally believe that as long as we have an arsenal and we want to know that it's safe, reliable, and secure, we should have continual reviews and analyses of what's going on.

So you asked, if there any special problem about a secondary or what not. I think that it should be studied like we were called upon at JASON to study the plutonium lifetime.

I just think, though, a strong scientific program studying the processes that are going on in a very complicated event; namely, a nuclear explosion, is part of maintaining a community of weapon scientists who will be prepared should something we haven't anticipated come up in the future or should the strategic situation change and we may need to go back to thinking more seriously about nuclear weapons.

I can't think of any one thing, but I do believe a strong program to show that one has the vigilance along the way. There are many areas where predictive physics still does not exist. The Congress is supporting now something called the national boost initiative. The boost physics is very complicated and getting more fundamental predictive physics involved I think is good. So my belief is we do need a healthy stockpile stewardship program, and I consider that a part of the CTBT world that I aspire to.

MR. KIMBALL: All right. We'll take two more questions. Another round, please.

Q: Good morning. My name is Rebecca Davis. I work with the Air Force's International Treaties and Agreements branch. My question relates to the issue that I think is going to be the hardest when we talk about getting the votes for the CTBT and that is stockpile reliability. I believe it was back in the fall at Carnegie that Secretary Gates said that he believes for the future, we either need an RRW, or the ability to test for a stockpile. When you go back to the congressional testimony over the past couple of years, the lab directors always talk about the increased risk that we face with the aging stockpile.

So when this debate comes up, rational people are going to disagree on this issue and I'd like to hear how you make sense of that, and then, do you think there's going to have to be certain concessions, the six safeguards like they had in 1999 concessions to have an RRW? How do you think that issue is going to resolve?

MR. KIMBALL: Okay. I mean, Sid Drell's whole presentation addressed that fundamental issue about whether new designed warheads are necessary. But Sid, do you respond directly to what Gates said at Carnegie?

MR. DRELL: My point was that your confidence in the weapon depends upon how big your performance margins are compared with the uncertainties. And that if you're going to change the weapons - the RRW approach was to change the weapons, make a hybrid or something.

And to do that without testing the new combination is no way to decrease the uncertainties in how well you know the margins. The LEP approach concentrated very much on trying to make the weapon as close as possible to the one already has if you take into account changed manufacturing process and things like that, including environmental factors in order to decrease the uncertainty.

And I think that, first of all, the political decision has been made, no RRW. We're going to stick with LEPs.

Secondly, I think that scientifically that is the right one for this time because the margin over the uncertainty is being improved by, first of all, making modest improvements in margins by better boost systems, but making significant decreases in uncertainties and, therefore, making the ratio larger.

But I do believe that part of maintaining a Stockpile Stewardship Program and confidence in the stockpile is to have the ability to meet future unknown problems that may arise.

And you do that by a good research program which maintains good people, hones their skills, and opens a spectrum of possible responses to potential needs.

That's why I thought it was interesting that the chairman of STRATCOM talked about maintaining the ability to respond by modernizing the infrastructure - no longer saying modernizing the weapon in that statement, if you read it, which I thought it was interesting. So it is not a trivial problem to maintain a confidence in a deterrent as long as we have it without testing and to convince people that we know what we're talking about.

And therefore, one has got to continue what I consider a strong program. And that's going to mean that in the present budget cycle, one is going to have to see that the weapons labs are going to come in and going to say, if the budget continues to go down in the science and technology part, they're going to begin to question their ability to maintain the stockpile just based on a diminishing Stockpile Stewardship Program. And they're going to have to be listened to on that point because I do believe that we need to keep a healthy program for scientists and to prevent surprise.

MR. KIMBALL: On the political point, very quickly, before we get to the other questions -we're running out of time - on end-game trades. This has been in the air for months as the proponents of RRW have sought to revive a program that is dead.

The starting gun on the discussion on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has just sounded.

What the end-game bargains may be to get the final consent it may have absolutely nothing to do with any of the issues we're talking about today. It may have to do with a road project somewhere or something else.

So I think it's premature to talk about what is it going to take, especially if you consider what I said at the beginning which is that there hasn't been a serious debate about this subject in 10 years.

Most senators probably couldn't tell you what RRW is if you ask them what it is. So there's a lot of time we go before we can really answer the question what are the end-game bargain is.

But the other thing -- and I would be remiss in not mentioning this -- in all my contacts with diplomats from various countries, there's another issue that comes up that the United States - Democrats and Republicans - have to consider with respect to a new design warhead program. It is that if the United States is pursuing a new design of warheads in the name of ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the purpose of which is to end the qualitative improvement of nuclear weapons arsenals, countries will ask, well, what is the point of the CTBT? And countries with nuclear weapons who are trying to maintain their weapons or maybe modernize their weapons, they're not going to believe anything that the U.S. administration says about "no new military capabilities."

So I think this would severely undermine the entire purpose, and going back to Jim Goodby's point, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is a key part of the global nonproliferation architecture and it would make that part of the architecture wet cement rather than solid cement. So that's another thing to consider.

Next question. Jennifer?

Q: Jennifer Mackby from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. And I just thought I would mention to the people in the room there is an independent scientific study going on to determine and evaluate the verification capabilities of the system. These are top scientists from all around the world in their fields, whether it's infrasound, radionuclide, seismic, et cetera, all the technologies involved in the treaty -

MR. KIMBALL: And when is the event coming up?

Q: - in addition to data fusion and data mining. And they will their final results in June in a large conference in Vienna, and we, CSIS, and AAAS will be bringing those results here to Washington, D.C., in July for those of you who are interested. So stay tuned. Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL: All right.

Q: I have no idea - of course, the U.S. will be doing its own studies and they're unlikely to listen to those internationals. But you never know. There will be some American scientists involved in this international study.

MR. KIMBALL: I wouldn't be surprised if the United States didn't start listening to others. But all right. Thank you, Jennifer.

Larry, your question.

Q: Surely that the CTB is the most frustrating endeavor in the history of diplomacy. Fifty-two years ago, Jim Goodby and I in London were dealing with this and exchanging cartoons on the subject. For the young ones here, 52 years is more than a half of century. (Laughter.) He doesn't look it, but I do. (Laughter.)

But seriously, in London, 52 years ago, if they hadn't had a horrible diplomatic error on the part of the U.S. negotiator, we very well might have had the first arms agreement be a CTBT. And we had Eisenhower as the president who would have gotten it ratified fairly easily, I believe.

In the early '60s, the argument got down to, did Ambassador Dean agree to four inspections, as the Russians claimed, or six to eight on-site inspections? That was the difference. People weren't that involved in the technicalities then. And we had people like some very distinguished scientists arguing you're going test back of the moon, the Russians would test back of the moon. And they will always have arguments against this.

My question that I'd like to put now to the panel is what do they think is the most serious argument that has to be overcome of all of the various arguments that will be raised in order to get the 67 votes? And related to that, what do they think will be the role of the public in this? Because, let's not forget: it was the discovery and the increased awareness of strontium-90 and carbon-14 and mother's milk in the bones of children that had more to do with the ratification of the limited test ban treaty than any technical discussion in or out of the government.

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Larry Weiler.

Let's take the last question and then we'll respond and then I'm going to give each of the speakers a couple of minutes to wrap up their thoughts. Yes, sir.

Q: Hi. I'm Sharior Shariv (ph) with the World Federalist Movement. I basically have a management question for Ambassador Tóth or the panel. And the question is that having the fact that IAEA is part of the U.N., but in my understanding, CTBT is a separate organization, its own members and contributions of the members probably were - that's where the budget comes from.

And then we have NPT, yet another organization, and START is being restarted so that would be a bilateral organization.

Has there been any effort, as far as you know, to streamline things, to bring them under one umbrella either under the U.N., if the U.N. is the right organization to handle it, or any kind of attempt to streamline these organizations?

MR. KIMBALL: All right. Thank you. Why don't we start with Larry Weiler's question about what's going to be most difficult - I think we might come up with three, or four, five different answers about that. But Sid, Jim, Tibor, your thoughts.

AMB. GOODBY: I think one of the important issues is whether one can get senators to read the treaty. (Laughter.) I don't mean in the insulting way, although I admit, it does sound that way. But I doubt very much that any senator, certainly in the past 10 years has read it.

I read through it again just a couple of days ago. It's a powerful document. It provides for on-site inspection. It provides the mechanics of doing it. It is a document that if senators read through it, they will find that there are review provisions, that there is a potential for setting up a scientific advisory panel on call. There are so many useful things in it that in my mind outweigh the questions that have been raised that I can't really believe the senators have read it that carefully and understand what it does. So that would be number one.

And number two, I think, would be to convince senators that in fact, a lot has changed as I've been emphasizing the bad things that have happened, but as you listen to the other speakers, we are so much ahead of where we were in terms of verification and in terms of the understanding of how nuclear weapons work that it's almost, in my mind, a no-brainer to say, yes, obviously, we should go ahead and ratify.

So there are some fundamental things that I think have to be done by the Senate. But it's going to take a while to work our way through senator by senator talking about this treaty. But I think in the end we'll succeed.

MR. KIMBALL: Ambassador Tóth, your thoughts, and if you could address the last gentleman's question.

AMB. TÓTH: I think we have to pay the necessary attention to the verification issue. I don't think it took place back in 1999. There is a need to involve scientists, to have a fresh look.

But I don't think this is the defining issue. And to a certain degree, of course, there is a complicated discussion about the stockpile stewardship. Again, I don't necessarily believe if you try to look upon the ratification from a positive point of view that answering the questions of be it verification or stockpile stewardship will be enough.

Probably what we will have to do is to revisit the benefits of the treaty from a wider perspective, from a post-'99, post-2001 viewpoint. And this is what Kissinger, Shultz, Perry and Nunn put forward in the context of the U.S. and the Russian Federation is relevant not only for the U.S. and Russia but relevant for all the other eight countries whose ratification is still needed for the entry into force, how they put this issue in the context of not just a potential miscalculation but how they put this issue in the context of a potential terrorist nexus to nuclear weapons vis-à-vis their own security.

I think the only angle they can answer this question of ratification or non-ratification, would it make a difference for them as a country, would it make a difference for any of those nine outstanding ratifiers from the point of view of the terrorist nexus of nuclear weapons, increasing amounts of fissile material, increasing amounts of facilities, increasing numbers of people and institutions and technology holders, and what might be the link between some of the security issues they are facing here in the U.S., in Asia, in South Asia, and in the Middle East. That question is, of course, relevant from the point of view of the issue of the challenges.

And there was a question over the IAEA, and I might link the two questions here. There is a distinctive delineation between what the IAEA is doing and what the CTBT is supposed to do. IAEA is talking care of the up-stream barriers, layers of defense against the misuse of nuclear technology, fissile material, preventing the weaponization. And what the test ban treaty is doing it's practically the last barrier on that road. This is the last barrier which a country would have to cross to enter the nuclear club.

The complexity on the upstream elements is that the distinctions are becoming blurred, dual-use technologies. On this final barrier, fortunately, we are not affected by the dual-use nature of technologies. Nuclear weapon tests are nuclear weapon tests. There's no peaceful use of nuclear weapon tests.

From that point of view, the specific cases like North Korea, the specific case of Iran will have to be factored in. Whether this last barrier is to be the last one to be put in place or not - why this is the last barrier probably be it in the context of the DPRK or in the context of Iran or any other issue coming up, this layer of defense will have to be put in place as soon as possible, especially in a situation where the P-5 countries might sign up to a norm and might be undertaking obligations which they would legitimately expect to be respected by others as well.

So this whole issue of discrimination, different obligations, preaching while doing other things is becoming irrelevant. This issue for North Korea, for Iran, for any country will come up not as a part of those particular negotiations but a totally different game plan that these countries will have to follow those rules which others are hopefully following as a result of a hopeful ratification.

MR. KIMBALL: Excellent points. Sid?

MR. DRELL: What an historic moment. For the first time in 20 years leaders of two very powerful countries have said, we want to get rid of nuclear weapons. It's a huge moment.

That's changed the context. Everything is open.

If I worry about the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty verification, then let's have a little more transparency. That was talked about 20, 10 years ago because there's every reason once the CTBT is in force that the United States and Russia could - I think the real worry about verification comes down to what are the "bad" Russians doing? What are nuclear countries doing that we're not doing?

Of course, you worry, otherwise, about proliferation. But I think the political opposition is based on concern that the Russians are cheating. Let's have on-site stations at Novaya Zemlya and in Nevada. We've offered. People have talked about that. It's not new. It would seem that you just have to ratify the CTBT and that problem will go away. So I think transparency is very important.

We have a six-month withdrawal clause from the CTBT because we have to be prepared in case things change. That's why I say we have to have a good science program so if that six-month withdrawal clause has to be invoked, we are ready and we know what we're doing.

And so, I think maintaining a Stockpile Stewardship Program, one of the issues that wasn't mentioned but has to be is this urgent push for the RRW really was based on an argument which was new. It said, we have to make these weapons more resistant to a terrorist using it against us if they capture one. That's a point worth looking into. The RRW did look into that. They didn't get all the way there when they were stopped and one didn't know how much you could accomplish that without testing. And so there are legitimate issues which require that we keep alive this idea.

[The} treaty has a six-month withdrawal clause and we'd better not put our guard down. And that's why I think maintaining the Stockpile Stewardship Program healthy is going to be a very important part of the debate.

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. One final thought in response to Larry Weiler's good question about the role the public and the other tough issue. This is an international conference. It's a public conference. The role of the public is of course going to be important.

Personally, based on my experience working in the field for about 20 years, we're in a different time than we were 20 years ago when the threat of an actual nuclear exchange was quite palpable in the public.

The public is not likely going to be as involved as it was in 1963, 1964 when it was my baby teeth [absorbing Strontium-90], but the public is going to be important.

And the president is going to have to use all of his skills as an orator and as a communicator to tap into that because there is a strong well of support from the public for these kinds of initiatives and actions to reduce the nuclear danger.

The other thing that will be important to address, and this is one of the last arguments of the opponents of the CTB are going to make that we already are hearing about, it is: well, the United States might ratify, but maybe these other countries won't ratify. And that is a challenge and it is going to require the leadership and the hard work of the other countries that are strong supporters of the test ban treaty to work with the president to bring in the other countries that must sign and ratify the treaty for it to enter into force according to Article XIV of the treaty.

And I think one very promising point, and we'll end on this note, is that not only did the president say that he's going to reach out to the Senate to secure a ratification of the CTBT at the earliest practical date, but he will also launch a diplomatic effort to bring on board other states whose ratifications are required for the treaty to enter into force. That's also very important for the entire CTB enterprise.

So I wish to thank you all for being here. Please join me in thanking our panelists.


The session is concluded. And enjoy the rest of your conference.



Moderator - ACA Executive Director Daryl Kimball Speakers- Sidney Drell, Ambassador James Goodby, and Ambassador Tibor Tóth

Country Resources:

Next Steps in U.S.-Russian Nuclear Arms Reductions: The START Follow-On Negotiations and Beyond


Arms Control Association Press Briefing

WHEN: Monday, April 27, 2009, 10:00 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.

WHERE: 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
(Carnegie Endowment for Intl. Peace Building)

Click here for the transcript.

This month U.S. and Russian negotiators are expected to begin talks on a new legally-binding nuclear arms reduction treaty to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which is scheduled to expire on December 5. The new agreement would reduce each side's deployed strategic nuclear arsenal and include verification mechanisms drawn from START. On April 1, Presidents Obama and Medvedev announced their intention to conclude the new treaty by the end of the year.

The Arms Control Association (ACA) will host a briefing featuring leading experts in the field. They will outline the current size and composition of the U.S. and Russian arsenals, key issues that will need to be resolved to conclude a follow-on to START, how the two sides can bridge differences, as well as the possibilities for even deeper nuclear reductions in the future.

The panelists are:

Hans M. Kristensen is director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. Kristensen is the co-author of the Nuclear Notebook column, a leading independent assessment of global nuclear weapons stockpiles. He previously worked as a consultant to the Nuclear Program at the National Resources Defense Council, and served as a senior researcher at the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability.

Ambassador Linton Brooks served as Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees the U.S. nuclear weapons program, from July 2002 to January 2007. He was previously the chief U.S. negotiator on START, Assistant Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and Director of Defense Programs and Arms Control at the National Security Council.

Greg Thielmann is a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association. Prior to joining ACA, Thielmann served as a senior professional staffer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). He was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer for 25 years before joining the SSCI, last serving as Director of the Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office in the Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

Daryl G. Kimball is the executive director of the Arms Control Association and publisher of the journal, Arms Control Today.


Panelists - Hans Kristensen, Ambassador Linton Brooks, Greg Thielmann, and Daryl G. Kimball

Country Resources:

The NSG and Sensitive Nuclear Fuel Cycle Technologies in the Aftermath of the U.S.-Indian Nuclear Cooperation Deal



Oct. 21, 2008

Remarks for M.I.T. Workshop on Internationalizing Uranium Enrichment Facilities by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director.  Click here to download.


Remarks for M.I.T. Workshop on Internationalizing Uranium Enrichment Facilities by Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director (Continue)

Country Resources:

Averting a Nuclear Nonproliferation Disaster: Where States Should Draw the Line in the U.S.-Indian Nuclear Deal Endgame







Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

Edited by the Arms Control Association

DARYL KIMBALL: All right. If everybody could take their seats, turn off their cell phones and other electronic devices. Good afternoon. My name is Daryl Kimball. I’m the executive director of the Arms Control Association and I want to welcome you to our briefing this afternoon about the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) discussion and debate regarding the proposal to exempt India from long-standing NSG guidelines that restrict nuclear trade with states that don’t agree to full-scope IAEA safeguards. This has blocked nuclear cooperation with India since its 1974 nuclear test explosion. [Editor’s note: The NSG did not adopt the full-scope safeguards requirement until 1992, although it had been previously instituted in 1978 in U.S. law.]

We, the Arms Control Association and my two colleagues here, are part of a loose, but diverse coalition around the world here in the United States and in over 24 countries that have been working for months now to try to adjust the terms of the proposed arrangement to exempt India from these international nuclear trade guidelines and, as we see it, to minimize the adverse impacts of this arrangement on the global nuclear nonproliferation system.

Now, in a mere two-and-a-half days, the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group will reconvene to consider a revised draft proposal from the United States to the NSG. This is a revised proposal because, on August 21 and 22, the group met to consider the Bush administration’s earlier proposal, which I think can be characterized as a clean and unconditional exemption for India. That proposal was rejected by NSG member states.  Approximately 20 countries put forward some 50 [amendments] and suggestions regarding that proposal. Those suggestions and proposals numbered some 50 in number. So in the last few days, India and the United States have been negotiating a revision to that proposal that was transmitted to NSG member states some time this past weekend. As I understand it, countries are evaluating that new proposal.

But it is unlikely, in my view, that this new, revised version is going to be accepted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group at their meeting on the 4th and the 5th. I’ll be talking about that later in my presentation, which will come up last. Now, why is there an impasse?

Well, there are a number of states, not just the six, so-called likeminded states that have put forward proposed restrictions and conditions, but several other states that are concerned about giving India a clean and unconditional exemption from NSG guidelines. In our view, our basic message today is that it’s extraordinarily important for these states to stand their ground to protect the tattered nuclear nonproliferation system.

What we’re going to be doing today is to highlight what we see as the key problems with the overall arrangement. We’re going to be identifying steps, many of which have been put forward by these likeminded states and their allies, that could restrict and condition future nuclear trade with India to minimize the impact on the nonproliferation system. Then, we’re also going to be providing a summary analysis of responses that have come from the State Department to a set of questions that the House Committee on Foreign Affairs asked in October of 2007, which are just being released this afternoon by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. These questions relate to the U.S.-Indian 123 Agreement, the agreement for nuclear cooperation between the United States and India.

Sharon Squassoni, who is a senior analyst here at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former Congressional Research Service analyst, is going to be describing her perspective on the State Department’s responses to the Congress’ questions. Henry Sokolski, who is the executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, is going to review what is at stake and what might happen if the NSG grants India a so-called clean and unconditional waiver. I should also add that Henry is a member of the Congressional Commission on Preventing WMD Proliferation and Terrorism. So I’m going to conclude after they speak to review the status of the NSG debate and the rationale behind the proposed conditions and restrictions that a number of responsible NSG members are putting forward.

So, to begin, Henry, if you could come up here to the podium so the camera can catch your visage, Henry is going to talk about why this deal is not a good idea.

HENRY SOKOLSKI: Well, it might be a good idea, but there’s a lot at stake. I think what I would like to focus on is what’s at stake.

You know, former Secretary of Defense Harold Brown was once told that there was a problem with a sale that he was thinking of making on nonproliferation grounds and that, in fact, there needed to be much more staff work done on the nonproliferation issues. He said, staff work? Well, actually, you only need two people to do all of the work related to nonproliferation: one to count the number of countries and another person to wring their hands.

Now, I think that comment is a little inaccurate now because we have countless hundreds if not thousands of people in our government and in other governments counting the numbers and wringing their hands. So the numbers are bigger. But it does highlight why it would be useful to recap why anyone should care about this deal. I think it’s somehow taken for granted that either you don’t care or you do care; you don’t have to explain yourself.

First, roughly, is it September 4th and 5th that this meeting [will occur]? Remember those dates. They have the potential to be the 9/11 of nonproliferation, if you will. Georgia now has a date where we rediscovered history; 9/11 is very important for the war on terrorism.  September 4th and 5th, potentially, could be a turning point dealing with nonproliferation, and I mean a negative one.

A friend of mine describes this problem with the India deal as roughly [the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty] NPT RIP. There certainly are people in India that like to see this deal as just that. They talk about promoting the nonproliferation norms and the mainstream. They do not like the NPT though and they’d rather see that pushed aside. Now, it’s hard to see how going ahead with this deal, unless it’s conditioned more appropriately than it has been, how it can be anything but an engine of destruction of the nuclear rules that are based on the NPT. After all, what it is that the Nuclear Suppliers Group is being asked to do is to supply nuclear fuel and fuel-making to a state that did not have a nuclear weapon in 1967 and therefore is not recognized by the United States, formally, to be a weapons state.

Now, that sounds like a lot of technicalities, but what it means is this; that group was established after the first Indian test in 1974 to make sure that they didn’t get nuclear fuel-making technology. They’re now being asked to approve a deal that roughly would authorize just such transfers, if not from the U.S., and we’ll get into that in a moment, certainly for other countries like Russia and France. Certainly this is how India sees it. If you take a look at the deal, you take a look at the exemption that they’re seeking, it’s hard to see how that wouldn’t in fact be the case.

Essentially, the suppliers that are supposed to show restraint to prevent non-weapons states from getting the means to make weapons are being asked to send fuel, roughly uranium, lightly enriched or otherwise, which India critically needs because, while it has plenty of uranium in the ground, it’s lousy ore; it’s very poor-quality ore. It’s in the ground. They can only produce a certain number of hundreds of tons and it’s less than what they need and want to run all of the reactors they want to run for power and all of the reactors they want to run to make bombs.

This deal is the fix. It supplies everything they need for their power reactors. It therefore leaves all of the other fuel that’s indigenous available to make bombs. Now, roughly then, if you say the NSG should go ahead and supply this reprocessing and enrichment technology needed to make bomb-usable material, you have roughly the mother of all rule-breakers. You eliminate, essentially, the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Now, why should we care about any of this? You can say, well, so what? Pakistan has been pretty vocal. It claims that this deal will lead to an arms race. They’ve already increased their reprocessing and enrichment and their plans to deploy power reactors. They want China to supply a 20-fold increase in power capacity in their country by 2030. India, meanwhile, has people who are experts in weapons and enthusiasts for weapons saying, well, maybe they need 400 weapons. I’m not saying they’re going to get it, but there are people who are fairly serious who think that’s the number they need. They have less than 100 now.

And then, what is China to make of all of this? One of the free [book] giveaways at the desk [outside the conference room], has a chapter in it describing how Pakistan and India might compete after the deal. It is very detailed. I recommend it. It’s depressing. It’s not something we should be encouraging.

Now, why? Well, as these three countries amble up or, god forbid, race up, what are we trying to do? Climb down. You can go to many of Daryl’s events and they talk about climbing down. Well, if you climb down to let’s say 1,000 weapons in the U.S. stockpile, which is one of the favorite numbers I hear, you’re going to be very close to where people are racing up. That is not a comfortable world to live in. You want everyone to come down, not just us or the Russians or the French and the British. By the way, who knows what the Russians will do now?

So that crowded space also becomes a space in which having civil programs and particularly in places like India, China, and Pakistan start to take on military significance in a way that we have never thought about before. That also isn’t great because there are a lot of people in this city and in Paris and in Moscow that think promoting “Atoms for Peace” and civil and nuclear energy is a great idea. It’s an intensely more complex, competitive, and unstable world without at least some of these fig leaves being preserved.

Finally, I think U.S. credibility is at stake here with this deal. You’re going to hear more from Sharon about these questions for the record, but, roughly, what Daryl and others—I think I signed onto one of the letters—said is, the executive branch, the State Department and the White House, is telling Congress what it wants to hear, that we would never sell them, the Indians, the means to make nuclear fuel because that could help their weapons program. Of course we would suspend assistance if they tested nuclear weapons. By the way, that’s exactly what these questions for the record indicate that we told Congress.

But we tried to keep it quiet, keep it from the public, because we didn’t want the Indians to see this. More important, I think we didn’t want the members of the NSG to know about this because they’d say, well, if America doesn’t want to do these things, maybe we should even insist on it not happening. We’re kind of hoping the release of these questions for the record will prompt that result.

In fact, finally, you’ll see a letter; it’s very obscure: Harmon, Wilmot, and Brown. It’s out there on the table. The idea that we’ve been pushing that this deal is about reactor sales, at least from the U.S., is nonsense. This letter clarifies why it is: liability insurance. The Indians don’t have it. I’m not sure I blame them for not having it after the terrible experience of Bhopal. But because of that, the law firm that represents the U.S. nuclear industries says we can’t do business with India until that changes. It’s not about the change.

So the United States is saying lots of things to different audiences. It needs to get its story together. Daryl will conclude with what we need to do to condition the deal with regard to testing and what sanction or what restraint should be placed on supply after that and about nuclear fuel-making. There are many variants. I mean, I’m sure Daryl has once said, the key thing is to do something in these areas. I think, with that, I’ll hand it over to Sharon.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Henry. Sharon Squassoni.

SHARON SQUASSONI: Thank you, all. Daryl’s asked me to talk a little bit about the answers to the questions for the record that are being released even as we speak from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Chairman Lantos, last year, submitted 45 questions in October of 2007 [to the State Department]. However, the State Department reportedly requested that the answers be held in confidence and I’m not sure whether they gave a reason for why that was. But I think when you take a look at some of the answers to these questions for the record, you’ll see that the likely reason is that some of the answers are very clear-cut in terms of U.S. responses to certain Indian actions. The [State Department’s] response came in February 2008. So it took them several months for them to put this together.

I think that part of the negotiation all along has been this dance of different perspectives or different interpretations. We saw that in the negotiation of the Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Agreement [the 123 agreement]. We’ve even seen that a little bit in the negotiation of India’s safeguards agreement.

One thing that I would say as a former diplomat that you need to do is make sure that everyone’s expectations are the same going in. I think that these answers to the questions for the record will help that. Many of the questions are very technical in nature. I’m going to highlight just a few of what I thought were some of the interesting answers. The good news is that the administration’s interpretation of what we call the 123 agreement, the Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, does reflect the requirement in U.S. law under the Atomic Energy Act to cut off supplies if India tests.

The agreement itself doesn’t say that very specifically. But in these answers to the questions for the record, the administration says unequivocally, yes, you know, we will cut off [supplies]. The bad news is that it’s doubtful that the Indian government agrees with that interpretation, and I’ll provide a few details there.

The implication of this is that it’s very important that the Nuclear Suppliers Group write this restriction—by restriction, I mean, if India tests again, nuclear supply should be cut off—into any decision that it takes in the coming weeks or months if the U.S. expects other nations to follow suit. The U.S. is bound by law to stop supply. There is a presidential wavier, but my guess is that’d be tough to implement. If the U.S. wants other nations to follow suit, it’s got to do this through the NSG.

Okay, so I’m just going to touch on a few issues. One is full cooperation. Indian officials have stated time and time again that full nuclear cooperation means cooperation in enrichment and reprocessing. This is uranium enrichment to make fuel for reactors. It can also be used to make bomb-grade material and reprocessing of spent fuel, which can also be used to recycle fuel and make more fuel or for plutonium bombs.

The U.S. answers in this area, and I quote, “As a matter of policy, the U.S. does not transfer dual-use items for use in sensitive nuclear facilities. The U.S. will not assist India in the design, construction, or operation of sensitive nuclear technology through the transfer of dual-use items, and the administration does not plan to negotiate an amendment to the proposed agreement.” An amendment would be required if we were actually to engage in this cooperation. So at least in three different areas, the U.S. said, we’re not going to do this. That may be news to the Indians.

On termination for nuclear testing, Indian officials have stressed that the U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement does not, and I quote Prime Minister Singh from last year, “does not in any way affect India’s right to undertake future nuclear tests, if that’s necessary.” The foreign minister also told the parliament last year, there’s nothing in the bilateral agreement that would tie the hands of the future government or legally constrain its options.

In these answers to the questions for the record, the U.S. government stated quite clearly, we have a clear right for the U.S. to terminate nuclear cooperation and a right to require the return of our stuff—it didn’t say that [exactly] but I’m shortening it for you—in all circumstances required under the Atomic Energy Act, including if India detonates a nuclear explosive device. It talks about ceasing cooperation immediately and it also mentions that, in addition to ceasing cooperation immediately, it would also affect the supply of fuel and the right of return.

A related issue is fuel-supply assurances. Both in the nuclear cooperation agreement and in India’s safeguards agreement, there are several places, I guess in the preamble, where it mentions that India wants assured fuel supply, including what they call a strategic reserve of fuel for the lifetime of their reactors. Indian officials have stated, in many ways, their interpretation is that if that fuel supply is cut off, they have the right to take corrective measures. These corrective measures have never been defined and it’s funny, in the answers to the questions for the record, because these were done last year, the U.S. says, well, once these corrective measures, once that’s clarified, you know, we’ll be able to comment on this. Well, a year later, it’s still not clarified.

But the U.S. responses clearly indicate that the fuel assurances that the U.S. is undertaking are not legally binding and they are not meant to insulate India against the consequences of a nuclear test. So, number one, the U.S. says, well, these are important presidential commitments that we intend to uphold. Number two, the agreement itself doesn’t compel any specific cooperation. In other words, we wouldn’t have to make these fuel assurances or assured fuel supply.

Third, and probably the most important thing here, the question was asked to [the State Department], well, what is disruption of fuel supplies? The answer was, well, by that, we mean a trade war resulting in the cut off of supply, market disruptions, or potentially a failure of an American company to fulfill its contracts, not a nuclear test. In other words, the fuel supply is only good for those other kinds of disturbances in supply. If India tested, fuel supply would be cut off.

There are several other items, but I’m going to leave them for the Q’s and A’s once you have a chance to look at the actual questions. But I think the bottom line here is that there still exists a gap in the expectations or the interpretations of this deal, both from the Indian side and the U.S. side. One of the useful activities that the NSG can take up is to clarify what the Indians really do expect and nail down some of these things so that nuclear cooperation, if it does happen, can go forward in a stable and reasonable way.  Thank you.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Sharon. We’ll be able to go back through some of those issues in the Q’s and A’s. I know that’s pretty complicated, but I think Sharon did a good job of summarizing. For those reporters out there, we can make some copies of these responses to the questions available to you.

Let me describe a little bit of our understanding, our analysis, of what is likely to happen later this week at the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting and outline what we hope and think several responsible Nuclear Supplier Group countries are going to do. As I mentioned in the opening, on the 4th and the 5th, the Nuclear Suppliers Group is going to reconvene in Vienna, Austria, at the Japanese mission where they traditionally meet. They are going to be asked to approve a revised proposal from the United States that was negotiated last week with India.

According to my sources and a few press reports that are out there, it remains essentially unchanged from the clean and unconditional version that was presented and discussed at the August 21 and 22 meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. It appears as though the Indian government and the United States government are hoping what will happen is that the Nuclear Suppliers Group countries will be satisfied with cosmetic changes and a statement from the chair that would substitute for a rational policy from the Nuclear Suppliers Group on future possible trade with India.

In addition, there seem to be two cosmetic adjustments that have been put into this revised proposal which, by the way, I have not seen, nor am I aware of anyone outside of the NSG government’s seeing this revised proposal. The first is a paragraph that states to the effect that all governments participating in the NSG shall inform one another on what kind of bilateral nuclear cooperation they are pursuing with India after the exemption is granted.

The United States, for instance, has made its nuclear cooperation agreement public. That came out in August 2007. Those are the issues that Sharon was just discussing. We’ve not seen any details about proposed Russian-Indian nuclear cooperation or French-Indian nuclear cooperation. So to some extent, this would be mildly useful, especially ahead of an NSG decision. But it does nothing to hold India accountable to any nonproliferation or disarmament commitments that it’s making.

The second cosmetic adjustment that I understand is in the revised proposal is a paragraph that states that governments participating at the NSG can call for an extraordinary consultation within the NSG on India “should circumstances require it.” Now, this is being characterized by the proponents of the revised proposal as a response to the call from several NSG states for a regular review mechanism of India’s nonproliferation record to assess to what extent it is meeting its safeguards requirements and other commitments that it has made.

However, this doesn’t do anything more than what’s already in the Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines. There’s something called Paragraph 16 in the NSG guidelines that already allows for a special meeting of NSG states in the event that extraordinary events warrant. So this is not a concession of any kind; this is simply a restatement of something that’s already in the NSG guidelines.

In my view, given that the government of India has shown so little flexibility and given that the revised proposal was distributed only a couple of days before this next NSG meeting, it is highly unlikely that the NSG will reach a decision at this week’s meeting.

Now, let me just explain a little bit my understanding of the perspective of the several NSG states that have raised objections and put forward counterproposals on this exemption. Many states acknowledge India’s legitimate interest in diversifying its energy options, but several likeminded states, which is what they call themselves, including Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland, as well as countries including Japan and possibly others—or I know others; I’m just not sure who—correctly recognize that the Bush approach is deeply flawed and, as Henry said earlier, would effectively end the NSG as a meaningful entity.

What’s behind their rationale? I think many of them understand correctly that any India-specific exemption from NSG guidelines would erode the credibility of NSG efforts to ensure that access to peaceful nuclear trade and technology is available only to those states that meet global nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament standards. So let’s look at India. Contrary to what I think can only be called the Orwellian claims of proponents, this deal would not bring India into the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream. A couple points: unlike 179 other countries, including the United States, who have signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, India refuses to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty or enter into any other parallel, legally binding test moratorium.

India also continues to produce fissile material, unlike at least four of the five original nuclear weapons states, and probably also China. India continues to expand its nuclear arsenal. As Henry said, India continues to go up while most other nuclear-weapon states are going down or are maintaining their current status.

In order to maintain its option to resume nuclear testing, as Sharon was describing, India is seeking bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements to help provide it with strategic fuel reserves and lifetime fuel guarantees. Now, this is not only a problem as far as the NSG is concerned. But I should point out, it flatly contradicts a provision in the Henry Hyde Act, the U.S. legislation of 2006 that regulates U.S. trade with India, that was included in that bill by none other than Senator Barack Obama. That provision stipulates that U.S fuel supplies to India should be limited to “reasonable reactor operating requirements.” The idea there is not to provide India with a multi-year fuel supply that could be used to overcome a cutoff in nuclear trade that might result from renewed nuclear testing.

In our view, the current proposal is still unsound.  It’s still irresponsible and should be rejected. To summarize what some of the things are that could be done to minimize the adverse implications and that are being apparently advanced by several of these likeminded and other countries, the NSG states should, at a minimum, establish a policy that if India resumes nuclear testing or violates its safeguards agreements, trade involving nuclear items with India shall be terminated and unused fuel supplies returned.

Another one should expressly prohibit any transfer of reprocessing, enrichment, or heavy-water-related items or technology, which can be used to make bomb material. Third, regularly review India’s compliance with its nonproliferation obligations and commitments. Call on India to join with four of the five original nuclear-weapon states in declaring that it has stopped fissile material production and to call on India to transform its test moratorium pledge into a legally binding commitment.

These are the very conditions and restrictions that are in one form or another embedded in the Henry Hyde Act. From our perspective, if U.S. nuclear trade is going to be limited by these kinds of conditions and restrictions, it only makes common sense for the Nuclear Suppliers Group to adopt the same or very similar conditions and restrictions so that U.S. nonproliferation policies are not undercut by the Russians or the French or Malta or Japan or whomever. In addition, if the U.S. nuclear trading rules are significantly different from that of AREVA or some nuclear vendor in Russia, U.S. companies are going to be at a distinct disadvantage in addition to the fact that, as Henry pointed out, India has not yet agreed to this international nuclear liability convention.

Now, some Indian officials have said that they may walk away from the deal if the NSG establishes even these most basic requirements. From my perspective, if that’s what they want to do, so be it. This would still be a very generous proposal, given India’s nuclear history and its current policies.

We are urging and calling upon those NSG countries that I mentioned and others to stand their ground and to make sure that the NSG does not capitulate at this very sensitive time in the struggle against the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ll take your questions on any of these subjects that we’ve just discussed. If you’d just wait for the microphone to come to you and announce your name before you ask your question.

QUESTION: Thank you. Paul Eckert of Reuters News Agency. Primarily to Sharon Squassoni, not having seen the State Department responses yet, but in and of themselves, do these State Department answers pass muster with you in the sense that they clear up concerns you have about how the agreement was going to be implemented? You seemed to say at the outset that they were very frank in the sense that they were held back to avoid offense to India during their delicate negotiations there. But how about from the point of view of disarmament experts? Are they complete and compliant with U.S. law?  Thanks.

SQUASSONI: Great question. In some areas, yes; in some areas, no. I think that this issue of corrective measures, which they could not resolve a year ago is still unresolved. And the IAEA safeguards agreement that India just negotiated doesn’t clarify matters at all.  In general, however, though, I mean, the U.S. administration, has to follow the U.S. law. So it’s very important. I think it’s very good that they put these answers down on paper to clarify. I think it’s likely that the Indians will not be very happy with such frank answers.

There are a few areas, one on a strategic reserve of supply, that I think they kind of were a little circuitous in their answer. Basically, they said, well, I guess the Hyde act language was “reasonable operating requirements.” Their response was, well, nobody discussed what “reasonable operating requirements” were and, you know, this might change. And, you know, a strategic reserve will depend on all kinds of commercial issues and, for example, how much storage capacity does India have to put this fuel. You need a lot of storage capacity. So it’s a mixed bag, I think. But at least on the testing issue, I find myself satisfied.

KIMBALL: Yeah, I think Henry has a response. Let me just also remind everybody that these questions were sent, as I understand it, to the State Department in October 2007. That was three months after the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement was concluded in [late July]. They were delivered in February so I think there are going to be many more questions that Congress is going to ask. These were questions that were written basically a year ago. I think it’s not unexpected that they don’t, as Sharon said, fully answer all the questions that are still out there. Henry?

SOKOLSKI: I have a slightly different take. I did have a chance to look at these things over the weekend as well. I think the operative phrase that rings loudest in what Sharon shared with us is, “as a matter of policy.” [I’ve] spent a fair amount of time with the history of the previous deals that we’ve cut, which were very instructive. And Robert Zarate has worked with me and is taking a lead in writing a history of some of the Wohlstetter’s work. One of them is called “Buddha Smiles.” I recommend it. It’s on our website. It is a history of the prevarications, vagueness, and confusion associated with the first set of nuclear deals. It’s not a pretty picture. Some of the arguments will rhyme with the kinds of debates we’re having now. So from an experience standpoint from history, I think we need to be worried about what any administration thinks, since it goes away and there are other administrations after it.

Second of all, as someone who has worked in the government, I have to tell you, I don’t think that any of the answers suggest they would like to be held to what they are saying in print. In other words, they don’t want a law that tells them that they have to see things a certain way. It’s the reason they’re fighting these rules in the NSG. That suggests that things could be subject to change.

I leave you only with this other additional thought: there is no way that this deal could be approved by Congress in its current form without violating the Hyde Act. Once you violate a law, you’re on your way to interpreting and reinterpreting all sorts of things willy-nilly. It’s the desire for Congress to uphold the law that it passed that animates a good deal of the effort on this panel and many other people. I’m pretty sure that Mr. Berman sent his note to Secretary Rice precisely because he took his pledge to uphold the laws of the land and the Constitution seriously. But you cannot go ahead with this deal unless it is conditioned more without it violating the Hyde Act. So I wouldn’t take the say-so of these Q’s and A’s even when they’re good until you have something in print that is binding.

KIMBALL: All right, any other questions? Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Thank you. Mike Miyazawa. What is the real objective of the administration? Is it nuclear business or to bring India into the U.S camp as a counterweight against China? What is the single biggest, most important objective of the administration?

KIMBALL: That’s a very good question. I’ve been asked that question for about three years. I still don’t really know the full answer. There are a lot of, I think, theories about why. I think there are different reasons, depending on which part of the administration you’re talking about. I mean, Sharon and Henry could talk about this as knowledgeably as I can. I think there are multiple things going on here. One is simply that the Bush administration is looking for a foreign policy “victory.” Another is that the Bush administration wants to establish stronger strategic ties with India. But the U.S. already has very good strategic ties with India, even without this deal. Maybe they would be even better without the deal.

There is also a strong interest in increasing U.S. defense sales to India. One of the unspoken reasons is that it might help counter Chinese influence in Asia. But personally, I think that that is an extremely flawed theory, given that India is a very independent country that is not going to compromise its foreign policy in order to help Washington on some particular issue vis-à-vis China.

Those are all some of the reasons that have been put forward. Some of the other reasons, such as hoping to reduce the amount of carbon emissions in the atmosphere, I think, have been wildly inflated given that India’s nuclear industry has barely performed in the last four decades. I don’t think it’s going to meet its projections to build all the reactors it is projecting. India’s carbon emissions could be reduced much more significantly through other means other than building a large number of nuclear reactors.

But that’s just a quick review. Do you all have anything else? Henry?

SOKOLSKI: The answer is they asked for it. Clearly, the answer is the Indians asked for it. They like reactors and they like rockets. They like reactors and rockets. I used to work for an assistant secretary that had to travel to India occasionally. He said, whenever I get on these topics with Indians, I try to change the subject to computers or something else because it’s neuralgic. I mean, they just simply love talking about getting more of these things.

We actually bargained to try to get the Indians to send troops to Iraq and then reconstruction funds. They said reactors, rockets. They didn’t send anyone to Iraq and they didn’t give any money for reconstruction. But they kept asking for reactors and rockets. It was thought that if we gave them reactors and rockets, somehow things would improve and that indeed there would be a strategic partnership that would be built on—if not American sales of these things, at least Russian and French sales. And that would be good enough to promote better commercial, military ties with India and the U.S.

I think it was a mistake. The reason it’s a mistake is I remember when they did this, the administration really did not want to hear what the staff had to say. The people, you know, at the director level who actually knew something about nuclear and space cooperation. They would have said, hey, don’t go in here. The reason why is there is so much history of misunderstanding that relations have gotten worse when you focus on these topics. Roughly, I think that’s where we’re headed here.

Make no mistake, there are better ways to cooperate. I would suggest without getting into anything at length, the place I would start is perhaps an ironic place. If you go to the law that the United States passed in reaction literally to the first Indian test, it’s called the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978. There is a Title V in there. It says we should promote and work with other countries to develop non-fossil fuel, non-nuclear fueled energy sources. It has never been enforced, not by Democrats, not by Republicans; even though I think there are quite a number of programs that we have with other countries in these areas.

It might be time to start thinking about implementing that law, because I can assure you there are many, many more cost-beneficial ways of promoting energy development than nuclear power in India. That’s for sure.

SQUASSONI: I would just add one brief point that there are two questions in these answers that relate to what are the economic benefits that the U.S. expects to get from this deal. The answer is very little. Both because of the issue of liability and, when asked, India has made no commitment to buy reactors from the U.S. They are very interested in uranium to fuel their heavy water reactors. They’re interested in French and Russian reactors.

I know your question wasn’t, you know, was it U.S. nuclear business? I’m sure the global nuclear industry is looking at India and China and salivating for all the reactors they might be able to sell, but not for the U.S. As a matter of fact, in India, at one point, this agreement was called the 126 agreement not the 123 agreement. That was for the 126 fighter aircraft that India would at some point purchase from some lucky defense contractor.

KIMBALL: Any other questions? Yes, we’ve got a couple here. Why don’t we go to the person in the middle?

QUESTION: Thank you. Joanne Thornton with the Stanford Group Company. And I wondered what happens on Capitol Hill in the unlikely event that the Nuclear Suppliers Group can come to a consensus this week. I’ve seen so many different renditions of how many legislative days are required for the package to lay over before the Congress. Can you clarify that? Thanks.

KIMBALL: Yeah, before Sharon clarifies that, let me just also just put one other important piece of information on the table, which is that we mentioned Howard Berman, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, wrote an Aug. 5 letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about his interest in seeing the Hyde act restrictions and conditions written into the NSG guidelines. He also said that even if the NSG makes its waiver and the U.S.-Indian 123 agreement is sent to Congress, immediately after we reconvene on September 8th, it is not likely that Congress will have sufficient time to fully consider all the issues and details surrounding the agreement.

He goes on to say that any effort to consider the agreement outside the requirements of current law—as Henry said the current proposal at the NSG is not consistent with the requirements of U.S. law in that it does not contain the same restrictions and conditions—will be “impossible” if the administration’s NSG exemption fails to include the Hyde act conditions. So we have at least one key member of the Congress saying that. It will be impossible. You can interpret what that means if the NSG decision does not meet or is not parallel with the Hyde act.

In addition to that, the clock is ticking. And for that, Sharon?

SQUASSONI: The clock is ticking. The most optimistic counting of the days if this agreement were to be presented to Congress on Monday the 8th, that would only give 19 days until September 26th. It’s not out of the question that we’ll have a lame-duck session, probably unlikely; 19 days is not enough time because the agreement must, by law—no way around it unless they pass another law—must sit before the committees for 30 days, no less than 30 days. So what happens then is if there aren’t 30 days in the session, next year, we have a new Congress. The agreement has to be resubmitted.

But that assumes that all the ducks are in a row. Quite frankly, they’re not, because there are, I think, seven requirements that the Hyde act says the whole package has to meet. One of them is that India has made substantial progress toward negotiating an additional protocol with the IAEA. Now, this is a safeguard agreement strengthening—the U.S. has one, although I don’t think it’s in force yet—additional [IAEA] access and information; all the things that the IAEA inspectors now get in this new agreement. [Indian and IAEA negotiators] met maybe once. They’re not going to make that by next Monday. I don’t even think that particular one can be finessed. Some of the other requirements can be finessed a little bit.

Really, this is not going to be taken up by this Congress. It will have to wait until the next Congress.

SOKOLSKI: Looking forward, a lot of people in the United States like to think about, well, what happens if Mr. Obama becomes president or Mr. McCain becomes president?  We can talk about that. What Americans don’t like to think about is what happens in India? They’re going to get a new government.

Now, the people that are opposing the current government say they want to renegotiate the agreement. I have to tell you, my hunch is it isn’t to include all these conditions. I think this thing is very much in play. It suggests to me that when the Indians say, well, we can’t possibly do this and we can’t possibly do that, it kind of suggests either they’re not that interested in getting this deal or they’re still bargaining. If there are any Indians that are out there that are in favor of this deal, I would urge them to actually think long and hard about maybe agreeing to some conditions because these are not that onerous. They really aren’t. If they don’t, well, the new administration they have to worry about probably isn’t Obama or McCain, it’s a non-Congress-led government in India. My hunch is that that’s the reason why these dates, 4th and 5th of September, are going to be remembered at least by people who write histories of nonproliferation.

KIMBALL: I agree with Henry. One other point that I think is important to emphasize that I’ve been talking about for several days is that the conditions and restrictions that the like-minded responsible NSG countries are talking about, I don’t think they can be addressed through creative language, through wordsmithing. These have to be clear, meaningful guidelines in the NSG policies that apply to all of the NSG states. They can’t be interpreted differently by one state or another. They have to clearly apply to all these states. Otherwise, these like-minded states, I don’t believe, are going to be satisfied and are going to continue to block agreement on anything less than what they’re looking for.

Are there any other final questions before we adjourn this afternoon? Yes?

QUESTION: (Inaudible), Voice of America. You just said that there will be a new government in America and there will be one in India as well very soon. So what do you say to the fact that if at all, India just goes ahead and tries a deal with Russia or France and they have been really positive about that? So what do you say to that?

KIMBALL: Well, the rules are quite clear. The Russians and the French have said publicly that they’re not going to enter into bilateral agreements with India on nuclear cooperation until and unless the NSG approves a waiver that allows them to do so.

In addition, India still has to sign the safeguards agreement that was approved on August 1st. Russia has, in the past, violated NSG rules by supplying India with nuclear fuel even though the NSG guidelines have up to this point barred that. So theoretically, it’s possible that Russia may simply chuck the NSG rules and go ahead. But I don’t believe that will be the case. In fact, I think Russia may in fact be supportive of some of these restrictions and conditions that are proposed by Ireland, New Zealand, and others. So I don’t really think that’s a realistic possibility. I think the Indian government fully understands that.  Henry?

SOKOLSKI: I don’t know. I’m not as sure. I do know this. The French are not quite as keen to put their nuclear thumbs in America’s eye. The Russians? That’s a special case, always a special case. The Indians, however, and the Russians, need to be careful. You can do this a little. But you have relations not just with America but you have relations with Pakistan.  You have relations with China. And what these countries do matters a lot to a sensible peaceful prosperous Southwest Asia as well. They will game it. You can count on that. They will game it.

So, one of the reasons these rules are helpful—I know many Indians find them nothing but meddlesome—is it reduces the need to keep looking over your shoulder and people gaming all these things for possible military purposes.

Finally, I can only urge one other thing. America’s relations with India depend primarily on the movement of people, money, and trade. There is so much that can and needs to be done in this area. Yes, energy technology as well, but probably not nuclear; I can’t imagine making a dime investing in that.

But it seems to me that there is plenty of work and plenty in the original agreement that does not pertain to rockets and reactors that is pretty important to pursue. I would think it would be a big mistake if we forgot what else we agreed to.

KIMBALL: All right, yes, sir? Microphone, please, so we can record this for all time. This better be good, Eric. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Today, in the People’s Daily in China, the Chinese government is coming out against the India NSG exemption. What do you make of that? Several of you mentioned the role of China in all this. Is this really a doorstop for this?

SOKOLSKI: This gets to the point of gaming. I don’t think the Chinese want to be the primary spoilers for this deal. On the other hand, if they see others that are willing to at least condition it, I don’t think they want to hold back. I mean, they would prefer a world in which the rules make it easier for them to know what to do with regard to nuclear trade for India and Pakistan, which is a real nasty brew of trouble for them. Oddly enough, I’m not sure the Chinese are totally against these rules. They could see how they might help them.

But I would say that they are at least cheering for one side right now, which is interesting. Don’t expect that to stop if people come to the conclusion to push the rules aside and start doing deals with this country or that country. China will continue to try to maneuver.  That China agreed to sell nuclear items not just to Pakistan but India tells you just how playful they can be. They’re easy to underestimate. That’s a mistake to do.

KIMBALL: I’m not quite sure what it means. But I think it’s possibly a sign that the deal is in deeper trouble than the government in New Delhi thinks it is. Any other questions?

Well, I want to thank everyone for attending. I want to just underscore our basic message today, which is that, as Henry said, [this deal is] a potential nuclear nonproliferation 9/11.  It’s very important for world leaders who are serious about the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the rules and standards that govern nuclear trade and commerce to stand up and stick to some core principles to make sure that this is not a further dent in the already damaged nuclear nonproliferation system. Thank you very much. (Applause.)


Event transcript of a discussion between Henry Sokolski and Sharon Squassoni moderated by Daryl G. Kimball.

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