Daryl G. Kimball
The Obama administration’s fiscal year 2012 budget request includes $33 million for the U.S. contribution for the Preparatory Commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization’s (CTBTO) ongoing work to build, operate, and maintain the International Monitoring System. To date, 264 of the system’s total 337 monitoring stations have been built and are certified. Previous U.S. government reports have noted that several of the stations provide monitoring capabilities in sensitive regions not fully covered by U.S. national technical means of intelligence. The annual budget for the CTBTO is approximately $110 million, and the current annual U.S. assessment is approximately $25 million. The $33 million request for fiscal year 2012 matches the administration’s fiscal year 2011 request. However, in the continuing resolution for federal funding, which covers the first five months of the current fiscal year, Congress approved funding for the CTBTO at an annual rate of $30 million. By March 4, Congress must pass a bill funding the remaining seven months of the fiscal year or approve another stopgap funding measure.
The administration’s latest budget request for the U.S. contribution to the CTBTO exceeds the current-year assessment in order to address shortfalls in past years in Washington’s contributions to the monitoring system. According to the Department of State, the United States is nearly $13 million in arrears because of outstanding amounts due for 2010. An administration source said the United States “is committed to fully paying its share of Preparatory Commission activities in full and on time.” The administration also is seeking an additional $7.5 million for fiscal year 2012 to fund specific projects “to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the [Comprehensive Test Ban] Treaty’s verification regime.”