"Reducing the Nuclear Danger: Next Steps on the Test Ban Treaty and Nuclear Arms Reductions"
Tuesday, May 10, 2011, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Root Room
1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Daryl G. Kimball
ACA Executive Director
Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pennsylvania)
Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
The Test Ban and National Security
State Rep. Ryan D. Wilcox (R-Utah)
Richard Garwin, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center (slides)
Lynn R. Sykes, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia (slides)
Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
Prospects for U.S.-NATO-Russian Nuclear Reductions
Steven Pifer, Brookings Institution
Catherine Kelleher, Center for International and Security Studies,
Unversity of Maryland
|Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire)
Member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Arms Services Committee
This year's annual meeting is in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Thanks to the Foundation and other ACA supporters, ACA is pleased to announce we are able to waive the registration fee for our 2011 Annual Meeting.
Please keep in mind that our continued work, including the publication of Arms Control Today, still depends on the contributions of individuals like you. Please consider making a contribution online.
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION
REDUCING THE NUCLEAR DANGER: NEXT STEPS ON THE TEST BAN TREATY AND NUCLEAR ARMS REDUCTIONS
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION
SENATOR ROBERT P. CASEY (D-PA),
SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE
TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011
Federal News Service
DARYL KIMBALL: I’m Daryl Kimball. I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association, and I want to welcome everyone to the 2011 annual meeting. We’re going to have a full day this year of speakers and discussion. And I hope everyone is comfortable. There will be a few breaks through the course of the day.
I want to also welcome those of you watching online. We’re webcasting the event today. So for those of you in the audience, be on guard to look your best. We’ll have thousands watching on the Web.
This year marks the Arms Control Association’s 40th year as an independent, nongovernmental organization, and my 10th year as its director. And while we may be reaching middle age, we’re not slowing down, thanks to the members of the Arms Control Association, the many private foundations that support ACA, from the Ploughshares Fund to the Hewlett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and many others.
And also thanks to the dedicated, hardworking staff of the Arms Control Association. We’ve got a small team but they work very hard and have done a great job pulling together today’s events.
With nuclear arms control and nonproliferation back in the national and international spotlight, this past year has been one of the most productive and incredible and tiring in the organization’s entire history. We believe we’ve made a significant difference on multiple fronts, and I just want to recount some of these things that have taken place in the last year.
ACA, along with many other organizations, were, I think, a pivotal force in the successful approval of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. When a treaty is approved by 71 votes, a relatively narrow margin, every bit of work makes a difference.
ACA also worked with colleague organizations to push the Obama administration to adopt I think a more progressive nuclear posture review that reduces the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. military strategy.
We provided analysis and recommendations on measures to strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty before the review conference last May, which, for the first time in a decade, produced a consensus action plan.
Under the leadership of our senior fellow, Greg Thielmann and Peter Crail, we launched a series of briefings on solving the Iranian nuclear puzzle in the past year that we intend to expand in the coming year.
With our international representative, Oliver Meier in Berlin, and the British American Security Information Council, and a grant from the Hewlett Foundation and the Böll Foundation, we sponsored a series of policy briefings in Europe in faraway places, including Tallinn, Brussels, Ankara, Warsaw and also here in Washington.
And later this week – you might have noticed on the table we have a new publication on reducing the role of tactical nuclear weapons, the papers from several of those seminars that we’re going to be publishing on Thursday.
Our deputy director, Jeff Abramson, has provided leadership on conventional arms control. We’re not just nuclear, chemical and biological but also conventional arms control, working on encouraging the United States to join the mine ban treaty and to support negotiation of the arms trade treaty.
And through our Project for the CTBT that we’re working with – we’re working with many different organizations in Washington and across the country. I think we’ve brought together a diverse and strong network of organizations to encourage the Obama administration to take a more proactive role in reengaging the Senate on the treaty, and to encourage the Senate to take a look at the facts that speak for its ratification.
And we do all this with, as I said, a very small staff of nine people, two fellows and our one part-time representative in Berlin. So, while a lot has been accomplished, we think there’s a lot more to do, and that’s what today’s event is about. We’re trying to look forward to the next steps on reducing the nuclear danger, on a test ban treaty, and on deeper nuclear arms reductions involving all types of nuclear arms.
And we’re very thankful to the Heinrich Böll Foundation for their support for this particular event. We’ve worked with them in the past on the U.S.-India nuclear deal, on the conference that we held in this room last November on strategic nuclear reductions involving – I should say nuclear reductions involving strategic and tactical nuclear weapons.
And we appreciate their support, which has helped us waive the registration fee that we usually have for our meetings and make more effective use of your contributions. And if you don’t know, the Böll Foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes democracy and civil society, human rights, international understanding, and a health environment. And they’re based in Berlin and has more than 25 offices worldwide, including in Washington, D.C.
So, I would ask you to give the Böll Foundation a quick round of applause. (Applause.) And, as I said, we have tucked away in your program a contribution form, if you feel so moved, if you haven’t already contributed as of late to the organization, because our work really does depend on our members.
And I have been informed that Senator Casey is on his way but is about five minutes behind schedule, so my timing is a little bit off now. So what I would just like to invite you to do is to go back to your conversations very briefly. When Senator Casey comes, I’ll begin the introduction and we’ll get started. Thanks. (Applause.)
MR. KIMBALL: Excuse me for breaking into your conversations. If I could ask everyone to take a seat. We’re going to begin the program in just a moment. If I could just remind you to turn off your cellphones to mute or silence, that would be very helpful.
We’re going to get back on track this morning with the first part of our program. Senator Casey has just arrived and is on a tight schedule. So we’re going to start on a high note with Senator Casey. Come on in. Here we go. (Applause.)
Thank you very much for coming.
Senator Casey, as you may know – as many of you know, serves on the Foreign Relations Committee. And he played a key role in the ratification of the New START agreement last year, and has been a leader in promoting nuclear security and combating the threat of nuclear weapons posed by terrorists and the spread of nuclear weapons.
Since joining the Senate in 2007, he created and became the co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Caucus on Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism. He also introduced the Nuclear Trafficking Prevention Act to curb nuclear proliferation by establishing that the transfer of nuclear material or technology to terrorists is a crime against humanity.
He has been a leader in the Senate on U.S. policy responses to the Iranian nuclear program, in introducing the bipartisan Iran Sanctions Enabling Act, and he co-sponsored the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act, which have both become law.
On the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he’s the chair of the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs, where he has jurisdiction over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Israel and the Middle East.
So, Senator Casey is going to be a busy person over the next few weeks and months, I believe, and he is not afraid to take on tough issues, which is perhaps why he’s agreed to come to speak to us today and offer his perspectives on the longest-sought, hardest-fought arms control endeavor, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, and the next steps on nuclear arms reduction and nonproliferation.
And if we still have time after your remarks, if you could – if the senator has time for a couple of questions, we’ll do that.
So please join me in welcoming Senator Casey once again. (Applause.)
SENATOR BOB CASEY (D-PA): Well, thank you very much, and good morning. I’m aware of the fact that I’m the first speaker, which isn’t a bad position to be in. It’s the speaker right before lunch that has trouble and sometimes the speaker right after lunch. (Laughter.) And I’m grateful and I send my sympathy to those who are in that position.
But I’m truly not only grateful but really honored to have this chance to be in a room with folks who have worked so long and so hard on these issues, but also that come together and work year in and year out to see us make some progress. And we’re able to report on some significant progress just in the last couple of months.
But I do appreciate the opportunity to be with you this morning. I was noting about the history that since 1971 the Arms Control Association has played an indispensable role in informing policymakers in the public debate itself.
And I especially want to thank Daryl for his introduction, and your staff for making this possible. Damien Murphy from my staff is right here. I wanted to make sure that folks knew where Damien was.
And I have to say, in a broader sense, the impact of nongovernmental organizations on so many of these issues is critically important. Because of your work, senators who were voting on the New START Treaty were, in fact, better informed and I think more engaged than some may have expected.
In the end, 71 United States senators made the right decision to support ratification of the treaty. And it was interesting – just parenthetically I’ll say interesting to see how it played out in the weeks leading up to the actual vote. For a while there it seemed like there wouldn’t be much of a debate, and then the debate became more engaged.
And in some ways I was heartened by that. Even though you don’t – you don’t always want to have a tough fight, I think the fact that there was more engagement gave the American people a greater sense of the significance and importance, and really the gravity of not – of not ratifying New START.
So that debate that we had – and it actually was at times a real debate, which is rare in the U.S. Senate these days because you tend to have speeches by one side or the other, kind of talking past each other. But there were actual debates and counterpoints and rebuttal speeches over the life – or I should say over the course of the weeks leading up to ratification.
So today we stand at an important point in the debate over nonproliferation and arms control. President Obama set out a clear agenda to make America safer when he spoke in Prague. And in just two short years, the U.S. has made remarkable progress toward that vision.
In April of 2009, the president hosted the largest gathering of heads of state since the establishment of the U.N. to discuss securing nuclear material which could fall into the hands of terrorists. Leaders from around the globe made tangible commitments to secure fissile material, and have agreed to continue dialogue next year in Seoul.
And in December, as I mentioned, the Senate ratified New START, which will enhance the security of the United States by diminishing the number of nuclear weapons pointed at the United States.
But this progress, in my judgment, is just the beginning, and just the beginning if we’re serious about making America and the world more safe and more secure. This came into sharp focus recently in Pakistan in light of the developments just in the last nine days or so.
Based on the evidence gathered at his compound, we now understand that Osama bin Laden was actually more actively engaged in al-Qaida and its strategic planning than maybe we thought previously. We already know that – we already knew, I should say, that bin Laden had a declared interest in obtaining a nuclear weapon for use against Western targets.
While the threat posed by al-Qaida or some shadowy terrorist network or their desire to acquire a nuclear device – while all that may be unimaginable and frightening, what we can do to address this significant threat is actually not remote or imaginary; it’s actually quite real and concrete.
I believe we can and we must do more to secure fissile material. We can and we must do more to strengthen the international arms control framework and build political support for diminishing the threat posed by nuclear weapons. Let me start with the nuclear security summit.
For years, countries around the world viewed the threat of nuclear terrorism as an American or simply a Western problem. As a result, political pressure within countries across the globe was not brought to bear to ensure that fissile material was secure, did not cross borders, and could not end up in the hands of terrorists.
Recognizing the importance of political commitment to this issue, President Obama convened the nuclear security summit in 2010. The summit was a landmark achievement because countries, for the first time, have begun to acknowledge the gravity and the importance of securing fissile material.
This is not, as we know, just a Western problem. A nuclear attack anywhere would have devastating consequences and impact on people everywhere. By placing the issue so high on the agenda, President Obama sent a clear message to the international community that the U.S. was willing to lead but that others need to participate.
In preparation for the conference, government bureaucracies around the world committed resources and people to defining the threat within their borders and creating policies to share at the summit.
Some brought what might be termed housewarming gifts to demonstrate their commitment to the issue, but over time, these policies have been refined, and we look forward to measuring progress when these leaders gather next year in Seoul.
Nuclear security has historically been a bipartisan issue here in the United States and in the Congress. But recent concerns have arisen with respect to funding of these programs.
As we completed the fiscal 2011 appropriations process – don’t remind us how long that took, you’re saying as I’m reminding you of this – I was very concerned, as many in this room and others were, that H.R. 1, the House bill, included severe cuts in funding for the Department of Energy’s programming on nuclear security – programming which was not defined as within the national security realm by the House leadership. They are wrong and they shouldn’t have come to that conclusion.
This proposal and the cut that was entailed here was a step in the wrong direction, which I hope will not be repeated in the fiscal 2012 appropriations process since we’ve made serious commitments to international nuclear security, following the summit.
NNSA administrator Tom D’Agostino has said that the 2012 request will provide, quote, “the resources required to meet commitments secured during the nuclear security summit, including removing all remaining highly enriched uranium from Belarus, Ukraine, Mexico, and working with the Defense Department to implement a nuclear security Center for Excellence in China and India,” unquote.
As we move towards the next summit in Seoul in 2012, the U.S. needs to show its commitment through tangible action as we ask for more of that from our partners abroad. The only way we can make true progress on nuclear security is if our partners understand, acknowledge and have the resources and the political will to act.
The bottom line is this: When it comes to preventing nuclear terrorism, we are truly in this together. As we encourage our friends abroad to take this issue more seriously, we must do the same here in the United States and ensure that the necessary funding is made available to do that.
Let me talk for a moment about a piece of legislation that I have introduced previously and will be reintroducing this week, the Nuclear Prevention Trafficking Act. I think there are important legislative steps that can be taken to ensure that nuclear security remains a front-burner issue. I introduced this act in 2009 and a companion bill was introduced in the House by Congressman Adam Schiff.
The bill will establish nuclear trafficking as a crime against humanity and make it easier to prosecute international nuclear traffickers in the United States federal courts. And it will strengthen penalties for trafficking in nuclear material.
Just as the international community has agreed that such acts as slavery and genocide are crimes against humanity, so too should it come together to brand nuclear smuggling a crime against humanity. I’ll reintroduce the legislation this week and seek to bolster the consensus in the Senate that nuclear terrorism is the most serious threat to United States national security.
The Senate has also – I should say also has an important legislative role in a more immediate sense. Last month, the Justice Department sent Congress implementation legislation for the 2005 amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, the so-called CPPNM Amendment, and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism – yet another – an acronym. ICSANT I guess we can call it – I-C-S-A-N-T.
The Senate ratified these treaties in 2008, and this legislation would update the criminal code to fully investigate and prosecute acts of nuclear terrorism. This legislation provides an important opportunity for the Senate to help prevent nuclear terrorism and show our allies around the world that we’re committed to the principles outlined in the nuclear security summit.
We need to adopt this legislation expeditiously. And I think it would convey a sense of urgency if we did this. We can’t just simply keep pointing back and saying that the New START Treaty is a great achievement. It is, but this is a new year and there are many challenges ahead of us. So this would be one way of demonstrating to the American people that the Senate is serious about moving forward on ways to prevent nuclear terrorism.
Let me move to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. As we face proliferation threats around the world, in Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, as well as other places, we need to – we need, in my judgment, multiple tools to build international pressure for behavioral change.
The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is one such tool that the United States needs in order to make ourselves safer and more secure. I look forward to debating this treaty in the Senate, but before that we have a lot of work to do. The administration recognizes this hard work that has to be done, and the administration will take steps to educate senators on the merits of the treaty and its importance to our national security.
One of the biggest obstacles to support for CTBT is the lack of public awareness of the issue. Government officials have an obligation to talk to the American people about this treaty and about its significance and importance, and about how CTBT will enhance U.S. national security.
I’m grateful that Undersecretary Tauscher will address CTBT in her speech to you today, and trust that this is the beginning of a sustained effort to discuss the merits of this important treaty. And let me say as well how much we appreciate her work in the State Department. We’re grateful for her leadership.
On a positive note, senators are engaged in nonproliferation and arms control issues today in ways that were not apparent in the recent past. I enjoyed learning more about these important issues during the New START debate. And, believe it or not, once in a while senators learn something on the floor from each other sometimes. I know that’s maybe a well-kept secret but it’s true.
And some of the leading voices on this, starting of course with Chairman Kerry and his team and others, but even some of the newer senators who were elected in 2006 or 2008 were taking in leadership roles on the debate.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen – and I know you’ll hear from her later – was one of those voices. Jeanne emerged, I think, throughout this debate as a leader in this field, and one of a core group of members committed to raising the profile of arms control and nonproliferation. And she of course spoke with the authority and the clarity of a governor, which helps in a – which helps in a legislative body.
But she’s someone I’ve gotten to know. We traveled to the Middle East this summer, and I’ve been so impressed by not just her knowledge but by her commitment on a whole range of foreign policy and security issues.
As with respect to the treaty itself, there’s ample room for discussion. By the time we debate CTBT, the Senate membership will have changed significantly since 1999. Just consider this for just one example – I can say this personally. I’ve been in the Senate – I’m in my fifth year. In those roughly four years, I moved from 94 to 63 in seniority – 30 places in four years. And just by way of retirements, I know that I’ll be in the mid-50s after that.
I don’t say that to brag about seniority because of course you get seniority only because others move on. You don’t get it based upon merit. But I mention that just to indicate how much the Senate has changed in just four years and then over five or six years you can just imagine the substantial turnaround – or turnover, I should say, in the course of more than a decade.
So, moreover, I should say, in the same vein, international consensus in support of the treaty has grown. In 1999 when the Senate voted down ratification, only 51 countries had ratified CTBT. Today, 148 countries have done so.
And I think we don’t have to look far and wide for analysis to indicate how important this treaty is. Sometimes you just have to mention a couple of places in the world – Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and China, just for – just by way of example.
The White House coordinator for arms control and weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, Gary Samore, recently said – and I’m quoting, that, “The risk of a conflict escalating to nuclear war is probably higher in South Asia than anywhere in the world,” unquote.
CTBT serves as a – serves U.S. national security interests by providing a tool to constrain nuclear buildup in Asia. International approaches such as CTBT are likely to be more effective than a regional approach, particularly due to the rising tensions in South Asia. That’s an understatement of course.
Some experts believe that U.S. ratification of CTBT would encourage – encourage China, India and Pakistan to ratify as well. The U.S. has not conducted – as many of you know, has not conducted a test for 19 years, yet we have been unable to benefit from the restrictions and verification that CTBT would place on others.
As long as we’re confronted with the prospect of nuclear testing by other countries, the U.S. will face a potential of newer, more powerful and more sophisticated weapons that cause and could cause unimaginable damage.
For example, testing would provide the Chinese an opportunity to miniaturize nuclear weapons to be placed on missiles. The same could be said of Iran. Without the ability to test, Iran would be under more pressure not to develop – not to develop a nuclear weapon. We need to erect as many barriers as possible to an Iranian nuclear bomb and to continue developments – and to continue developments in North Korea. CTBT can help in this regard as well.
Despite its critics, CTBT will not jeopardize the safety, security and reliability of our nuclear arsenal. Significantly, advances in both stockpile stewardship and our ability to monitor explosions bolster the case for CTBT.
After 1030 nuclear test explosions, it has become abundantly clear that the United States nuclear deterrent does not require testing to remain an effective tool for U.S. national security. Nuclear weapons laboratory directors have a deep understanding of the arsenal and a deeper understanding now than ever before.
And President Obama’s unprecedented $85 billion commitment over 19 years for upgrading the nuclear weapons complex provides a long-term strategy and more than enough funding to continue to maintain the U.S. arsenal safety and effectively.
Last year I had the opportunity to travel to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna, where I met with the executive secretary and his team. I toured the command center, which oversees the International Monitoring System, the so-called IMS, of stations placed all around the world, a really impressive demonstration of technology and the comprehensive nature of that technology for monitoring all over the world.
And we know that when the Senate voted on verification in 1999, verification was a central topic of debate. At the time, the monitoring system did not exist and so there were zero monitoring stations in place.
To date, 264 of the system’s total 337 monitoring stations have been built and are certified. This includes monitoring sites in Russia and China, places where the U.S. simply cannot gain access to on its own.
So, for those reasons and others I’ve mentioned, a lot has changed since 1999. A strong case can be made that a senator voting in 1999 against the treaty based upon concerns over verification could indeed vote yes today.
So, I think that’s one of the challenges we have, not just educating senators generally and not simply engaging in a debate with the American people, but also making the case about how verification makes us safer and more secure. And we had to do that in New START as well. And that might – that wasn’t as easy as some may have thought, heading into the debate.
In closing, I would like to underscore my ongoing concerns about Pakistan. Pakistan’s government claims that it did not know about the presence of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. In the Senate we continue to examine this claim.
If true, this apparent incompetence does not inspire confidence in the ability of Pakistan’s governing or security institutions to oversee the nuclear weapons program. I look forward to holding the administration and Pakistani authorities accountable as we examine our assistance package to Pakistan and the overall nature of our relationship.
But I do want to thank you again for your work, your very important work here in this city and throughout the debate, but also the impact that you have on the debate throughout the country. This is an important role that you play in promoting better arms control and nonproliferation policies, and I personally – personally relied upon your expertise and appreciated your nationwide advocacy on behalf of New START.
Your efforts are valuable, and in the end necessary to ensure that we have the support required for ratification. I know this work is not easy, and many of you have been laboring in this vineyard for not just years but in some cases decades.
In the ’50 and ’60s, nuclear fallout drills sensitized children and the population at large to the dangers of nuclear war. In the ’80s, a broad grassroots movement called for a nuclear freeze in the face of a U.S. nuclear arms buildup. Now, more than 20 years after the Cold War, I think that it is a – I think that it is tougher to engage the broader public in a discussion about these issues.
We need to do so with more public officials, and we need to sensitize a new generation of Americans and actively engage them in this public debate. The organization and expertise represented in this room will help to facilitate this engagement, and for that I’m both grateful and inspired. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
I know we’re somewhat limited on time, but I did want to take a few questions if we can.
MR. KIMBALL: So, just please identify yourself. A microphone will come to you.
Q: Yeah, hi. I’m Susan Cornwell with Reuters. I was wondering, in what timeframe do you think the Senate should act on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty? Do you think it should take this vote before the 2012 elections?
And can you give us a little bit of your assessment of how – of where the votes are? You must have thought about counting the votes now – you know, how likely that is, assuming you’d be dealing with this particular Senate for that vote. Thank you.
SEN. CASEY: Thank you for the question. I’ll do should, will, and votes. (Laughter.)
In my judgment, we should act before the 2012 elections. I don’t have a high degree of confidence that we will. I think that would obviously be preferable, but I don’t have great confidence that will happen.
In terms of the vote count, I’m not paid to do that. There are others who do that as part of their job. So, even if I were – even if I wanted to hazard a guess, it would be – the margin of error would have to be substantial.
So it’s hard to – it’s hard to predict. Obviously I don’t think you can – that any of us can overlay the votes on New START on this vote. It’s going to be a different debate in some ways, and frankly a more difficult debate, from my side of the debate.
It’s going to be, I think, a longer and more difficult challenge to get the treaty passed. But what’s why I think it’s important to start now, as best we can, to keep the treaty in the news, so to speak, to begin the outreach and engagement and education process.
But, you know, a lot of things have happened in the last 18 months about legislation that we didn’t think would happen. I think if you’d asked me about some things that were passed in 2009 and ’10, I would have said, well, that topic might be addressed but it might be a lot smaller than was ultimately passed.
So, you never know, but – I don’t want to hazard a guess on votes but I think we’ve got some work to do. And when I say “we,” I mean the administration does. But I think the Senate does as well. And public officials and advocates and experts across the country I think will help us do that.
MR. KIMBALL: All right, a couple more questions. In the middle, please.
Q: Senator Casey, first as a Pennsylvanian in particular, I want to thank you for your leadership role in the Foreign Relations Committee and particularly in this area.
SEN. CASEY: Thanks. What is your name, sir?
Q: Ed Aguilar with the Project for Nuclear Awareness.
SEN. CASEY: Thanks, Ed.
Q: And the question I have is regarding – you mentioned that China, India and Pakistan, among others, have not yet ratified the treaty. What are the chances of negotiating with them, you know, perhaps quietly on the side, to perhaps agree to submit for ratification contemporaneously? Would that help domestically?
SEN. CASEY: I don’t think there’s any question it could, and I would hope that we address this challenge like we do whenever we’re confronted with both the domestic – I should say either a domestic or international challenge. You can’t have one track and you can’t – for example, in the Senate, all the time you’ve got to try to have both a legislative track as well as other tracks.
And I don’t think the time lag between now and when we actually have a fully engaged Senate debate, and hopefully when we’re on a path to ratification, I don’t think we should wait to take steps to convince other countries that it’s in not only their interest but the world that they should ratify.
And that’s why I think it’s so important how – it’s so important to highlight how significant engagement is. You know, there are a lot of folks in this town with much more of a – sometimes a cowboy mentality that says, you know, on various security issues, we just have to be tough and act tough and everything will work out.
And it’s important to be tough, but it’s also important to engage constantly. And if we continue to have kind of a multi-track approach, I think one of the ways that we can influence positively the debate will be taking steps as you’ve outlined.
MR. KIMBALL: All right, I think there’s another person who has a question here in the middle. Please, Xiaodon. Thank you.
Q: David Culp with Friends Committee on National Legislation. There’s lots of Quakers in Pennsylvania and they’re very proud of your leadership.
SEN. CASEY: Our state was founded by Quakers.
Q: That’s right.
SEN. CASEY: Yeah.
Q: You’ve got a roomful of test ban advocates. What are the three or four things that you think that they should be doing that would be the most effective to influence undecided senators? What are the things that influence you on issues where you’re undecided?
SEN. CASEY: It’s a good question. And part of it is a simple answer. It’s just keep doing what you have been doing. And I don’t say that just to be – you know, just to tell you what you want to hear, because if this were a year ago, maybe I’d have more reason to give you advice, but in light of the work that was done prior to New START, you’ve demonstrated, collectively and individually, that you know how to get this message out.
I think the main thing, though, that we have to do is always tie it to our security, and repeat that message as much as we can. It’s very hard to get any message out in Washington, even a very important message about something as profound as ratifying CTBT or any other security issue.
Things that appear to us self-evident or that we think everyone should be concerned about, they’re not, and sometimes they’re not because they just don’t hear enough about it and the gravity of it is not brought to their front door, so to speak, or to their attention.
So I’d say repetition helps in linking it to security. I thought that was very helpful in the debate on New START. I know in my floor statements I tried to go back to that as much as we could because too often the debate on this falls into the usual patterns of American politics, which is black and white, one side or the other, and it’s the – you know, the so-called tough guys over here and the folks over here seem something else, less tough or not as interested in security.
And we can’t let them do that. We can’t allow them to frame the debate that way. I think that the more we can make the case that this is – this will make us more secure, this is better for our national security, that will help. But I know it helped enormously in the New START debate.
MR. KIMBALL: All right, maybe one last question, towards the rear. Anyone? No takers. My goodness. Yes, sir?
Q: Stephen Young with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Thank you, sir, for all your work. I really appreciate it.
My question for you is on the big picture things of a budget. Budget is a big issue in D.C. right now, and thus far lot of money has been committed to the budget for new weapons programs. And this community essentially held its breath on the issue of budget. We didn’t support a general – the president’s large commitments for new funding for weapons complex. And in New START, he committed to modernizing the entire triad.
Also, we think that it shouldn’t have been done, but – essentially it had been done but we think it was a mistake. How do we move forward on this? Is there a way to, I think strategically, reduce the costs of our nuclear complex by making sensible cuts in our stockpile without going down a treaty road – things the president could do with Russia, perhaps, to reduce our costs and make it safer at the same time?
SEN. CASEY: Yeah, that’s a real tough one, the answer, in light of what we’re confronting overall. This challenge we have on the budget coming up, and the broader challenge, frankly, well beyond 2012 with regard to deficit and debt, makes the question you posed even harder because we’re going to be having – in other words, if we had that debate in isolation, we’d be in a better position.
But because there are going to be so many – so many individual debates about various parts of the budget and where we should cut, where we should reduce, that it’s going to be – I think it’s just going to be real difficult to make the case that you’re making.
But maybe as we get further into it and it comes down to a discussion about defense spending, maybe that can be – maybe that can be more of a robust part of the debate. But I think it’s going to be very hard because of the – because of all the other cutting and reforming and conversations that people have to get to some kind of a grand bargain on deficit and debt.
But I’d be willing to sit down and listen to ideas about it because we’re not only at the beginning of the debate you raise, but we’re really in the early stages of the overall debate. We have kind of a framework about what the challenge is and what the shortfall will be if we don’t act with regard to deficit and debt. But we have a long way to go. So I think that this – it may be something that we could sit down and talk about.
MR. KIMBALL: Well, Senator Casey, I want to thank you once again for speaking to us today. Please join me again in thanking Senator Robert Casey. (Applause.)
We’ll be shifting to the next panel in just a couple minutes, so don’t go too far away.
(END)Back to top
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION
REDUCING THE NUCLEAR DANGER: NEXT STEPS ON THE TEST BAN TREATY AND NUCLEAR ARMS REDUCTIONS
PANEL 1: THE TEST BAN AND NATIONAL SECURITY
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION
RYAN D. WILCOX (R),
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF UTAH
THOMAS J. WATSON IBM RESEARCH CENTER
LYNN R. SYKES,
HIGGINS PROFESSOR EMERITUS,
LAMONT-DOHERTY EARTH OBSERVATORY, COLUMBIA UNIV.
TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011
Federal News Service
DARYL KIMBALL: All right, if I could ask everyone to wind up their conversations, find their seats again, we’re going to begin panel number one. (Pause.) All right, thank you, everyone. If you could get your coffee refill, have a seat, we’ll get started with the next phase of today’s program, which will now focus on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
As Senator Casey said, many of you here in this room have been working for years to end nuclear test explosions. I know I certainly have. And it is, as I said before, the longest-fought, hardest-fought prize in arms control history. And the length of the campaign reminds me of something that was written 10 years ago by General John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who was asked to write a report on the test ban treaty in the aftermath of the 1999 vote.
And I’m reminded of this, in part, because Ambassador Jim Goodby, who advised General Shalikashvili, is here in the room, in the front. And as you’ll recall, Jim, Shalikashvili concluded in that report that the advantages of the test ban treaty outweigh any disadvantages and ratification would increase national security. And for the sake of future generations, it would be unforgiveable to neglect any reasonable action that can help prevent nuclear proliferation, as the test ban treaty clearly would.
And I think we heard that thought echoed in Senator Casey’s remarks about the necessity of putting together a bulwark of initiatives and barriers against proliferations and arms racing. And you know, because the test ban treaty is an oldie but a goodie, I think there is a growing bipartisan list of national security leaders supporting the treaty.
And the Arms Control Association agrees with Senator Casey’s sentiments that there needs to be a serious, fact-based, high-level dialogue with the Senate on the value of the treaty. And that requires added energy on the part of the Obama administration. It requires that senators on both sides of the aisle thoroughly review the evidence that has accumulated since 1999 and since the Shalikashvili report of 2001.
And when they do, I mean, I have faith – I think many of you have faith – that the outcome this time around will be different. And that’s because George Shultz – former secretary George Shultz captured this thought in remarks a couple of years ago: “Republicans may have been right in voting against the test ban treaty some years ago but they would be right voting for it now based upon new facts. There are new pieces of information that are very important and that should be made available to the Senate.”
So that’s what we hope to begin to do with today’s conference, with today’s panel. We have, I think, a great set of speakers here today. First of all, we’re very pleased to have with us State Representative Ryan Wilcox who, I think it is safe to say, will be providing us with an outside-the-beltway perspective.
He hails from Ogden, Utah. He is a Republican in the state legislature. And among his many accomplishments, he was the cosponsor of H.R. 4, which some of us noticed here in Washington, which was a resolution passed in 2010 unanimously by the Utah state legislature urging the Senate to approve the treaty.
And because a lot of the debate about the test ban treaty is technical in nature – at least, you’ve got to dispense with the technical issues before you get to some of the political issues – we’ve also brought to the podium, or to the panel today, two of the world’s foremost experts on those technical issues. Dick Garwin is well-known to all of us. He’s been a guiding force in U.S. nuclear weapons policy for decades.
I’ve looked at Dick’s resume a number of times over the years but I was just astounded to see that he received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago in 1949. So he has been a pillar on these issues for many, many decades. He’s been a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee under three presidents, the Defense Science Board. He’s a recipient of the Enrico Fermi Award, just to name a few of his many accomplishments.
And he and our other panelist, Lynn Sykes, are active with the National Academy of Sciences and are members of the committee that has, for the past two years, been reviewing the technical issues related to the test ban treaty, a study that I understand is complete and is going through declassification review.
Lynn Sykes, on stage right – I think that’s right – is with the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia. He’s going to be our third panelist. He’s one of the world’s leading experts in the field of geophysics and the verification of nuclear testing. As I said, he’s also on the National Academy committee reviewing the test ban treaty. So we’re going to begin with Ryan Wilcox. And each speaker is going to speak, then we’ll have a chance for your questions and plenty of discussion. Ryan, thanks a lot for coming all this way today. (Applause.)
RYAN D. WILCOX: You know, before we started here, I’m meeting some new friends and one of them began speaking to me about the Carter administration and some of the issues they worked on with the MX missile. And admittedly – and he could tell – I suppose that I look my age. I am the youngest member of the House of Representatives in the State of Utah.
I’ve been there for some time working for other representatives and then – I believe I’m the only representative to serve as an intern and run for office in the same year. (Laughter.) And so beat that. No – (laughter). No, this is an interesting issue for Utah. And admittedly, there probably aren’t a lot of my colleagues in Utah that would understand why I would consider speaking at the Arms Control Association meeting.
One of the things that Senator Casey highlighted this morning – and I wrote down some – I apologize but it’s critical to what I want to talk about today so we’re going to alter my comments somewhat – one of the biggest obstacles is the lack of knowledge by the public and that nuclear security has historically been a bipartisan issue.
The Utah legislature has passed no less than three specific resolutions over the last decade calling for an end to the use of the Nevada test site. Utah has a long history with nuclear weapons, as you know. The down-winder issue, as it’s termed in our state, has taken over – you know, depending on the estimates that you look at – 250,000 to half-a-million residents from the period of 1945 up to the end of this last century.
We all know someone that we’ve lost due to this nuclear testing. At least 25 percent of the above-ground tests were larger than Hiroshima. We were told forever by our government that there was nothing to worry about, that nuclear fallout wasn’t a risk, even as Geiger counters were held over children’s heads, their parents concerned about what the readings said and, at the same time, believing.
I opposed – and I’m a nerd, I admit it; I followed this stuff as a young man – I opposed the original ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty with many of my Republican colleagues for many of the same reasons that I learned as a young man. Admittedly, my first president in my memory was President Ronald Reagan.
And I followed his career. Honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference between listening to him and listening to a sermon at church. That was my household, okay? I grew up in very conservative Utah. And one of the things that he said that has sort of formed my thinking, and I think a lot of Utahans on this, was that the only value in possessing nuclear weapons is to ensure that they can’t ever be used again.
I know that I speak for the people everywhere when I say that our dream is to see the day when nuclear weapons will be banished from the face of the earth. There is strength in having – you know, Senator Casey discussed this a little bit – there is at least a perceived strength in having a stockpile.
Certainly, the threat of using the nuclear weapons has deterred much of the aggression of the Cold War. And I attended elementary school and I remembered seeing – and I’m sure that this was sort of a common experience for many here – the giant nuclear fallout shelter. My school was one of them.
When I grew up in the mid-’80s, I remember asking my teachers what in the world that was. It wasn’t something that we practiced anymore but it had been something that the community had rallied to, that they’d – you know, the alarms would sound and everybody would run to the basement of the elementary school.
It’s simply something that much of my generation doesn’t understand. It’s something that we’ve heard about, something that we’ve seen on the news, something that we’ve read about in history books. But for Utahans in general, it’s very different. And I think the key to – a large portion of the key to the successful ratification of the treaty is public education, as Senator Casey talked about. And that has to start – like a lot of other issues when they don’t happen quickly enough in Washington – has to start locally.
We have to be able to tie the realities of the nuclear threat that we face with the lives of those whom they will affect. It’s not simply that there happens to be this in Utah because we’ve seen the research now. The research shows that the nuclear fallout has spread across every state in the lower 48. You can follow the pattern. Some of the research has been done.
Ironically, my first Democratic opponent in my first campaign was a friend of mine and he taught at the university I graduated from there in Ogden, Utah, Weber State University. So if you’re seeing this, congratulations, I just called you out at the Arms Control [Association] meeting. (Laughter.) We were friends. He took a sabbatical one year to study this throughout the State of Utah. And so he went around the state meeting with – he’s a sociologist – meeting with the families of those who we’d lost, those who are continually suffering.
One of our current congressmen right now, Jim Matheson, from Utah – a Democratic colleague there – lost his father. Our current senator who was just elected, Senator Mike Lee, lost his father due to the fallout. And his principal opponent in the primary, Tim Bridgewater, also lost his father, directly caused – and acknowledged that it was caused – by the fallout from this nuclear testing.
We have to be able to tie the consequences to the citizens so they understand. That’s how they will understand, when they know the consequences. We understand cancer, right? It affects everyone, everywhere. When the rate doubles and triples in a community and it can be tied back to needless suffering, then we’ll get somewhere.
Now, one of the things that’s been more difficult – and frankly, I didn’t quite expect as big of a challenge in the Utah legislature because of the history, because we’ve passed resolutions essentially – not calling explicitly for ratification of the test ban treaty but calling for the principal parts of it – that we would, ourselves, never again resume testing in Nevada.
Because we had done that, I expected perhaps more of – naively – an easier ride on that issue. It came down to national security concerns. Utah also has a proud conservative tradition of supporting the military. We have – you know, Hill Air Force Base is an extremely important part not only of our community but our economy.
Military service is a long, storied tradition in Utah, from the “triple-deuce” (222nd Battalion) in southern Utah and the stories that we learn about them growing up to the current, you know, Camp Williams. And we have so many – just like we have with this nuclear tradition, we also have a strong military tradition. And the last thing that we’d want to see is to put ourselves in a position, in Utah, where we are somehow subjected to the whims of a rogue state, the whims of a madman, as it was discussed dealing with Iran or North Korea.
And that is principally why I, myself, felt inclined to lobby my own senators against signing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty ratification in the ’90s. Since then, things have changed dramatically, specifically – and I’m glad that we have the experts that we have here tonight – the International Monitoring System. North Korea, as you know, detonated in 2006. I believe we had 20-plus stations register that test.
In 2009, they did it again; this time, we had over 61 stations that registered that test. We’re at a point now where it’s demonstrably verifiable to identify, to locate, to react to appropriately any further testing. We’re in a position where we’ve detonated over 1,000 nuclear weapons in the Nevada test site alone and we have the data that we need to do that.
Once Americans – once average citizens across the country understand that we are in fact strengthening our position, militarily; that we are preserving our superiority in this regard; and at the same time, preventing others from developing – rogue states from developing nuclear weapons, or at least testing them, then we’ll understand a world where perhaps we won’t have to worry about it someday.
There are a lot of things that we could talk about and, frankly, I don’t know that I’m – I’m glad that we have other, you know, scientific experts here. What we did well in the Utah legislature is that we were able to communicate the reality of the consequences of nuclear weapons testing and the reassurance by speaking with – working with, you know, former, now, senator Jake Garn, Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisor to President Bush, Ambassador Linton Brooks, who came to Utah and helped us to discuss that with the public – that kind of support that is clearly bipartisan, that clearly communicates this is not a partisan issue, this is not a Republican-Democrat issue.
I think that is the greatest risk politically for us, is when it falls into, oh, the Democrat administration wants this and so now this is bad for national security and Republicans must oppose. That kind of thinking will lead to a world where we are constantly under the gun, and that can’t be allowed to happen. So I understand this is difficult.
Honestly, I came back out here in December to work with and try to lobby my own senators in support of New START. And I recognize, you know, Greg Thielmann back there and a few other faces that I can’t remember your names. I appreciate the work that you’ve done. I know it’s hard. Honestly, I didn’t know that it was going to work. (Chuckles.) We were hopeful. You know, we worked on it. We wrote about every op-ed piece and letter and phone call – made every phone call we could.
But the bottom line is we have to stay on the ball. We can’t stop with New START. We have to see ratification of the nuclear test ban treaty. If that happens, if we continue to work like we have in the past and if we remember that it can’t just be a Washington thing – the pressure has to come from home; we have to start there. So I look forward to working with you in the future and, again, thank you for being here today. (Applause.)
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. Dick Garwin, you’re on. Thank you very much for being here with us. When you invite the world’s leading scientists, they bring you the world’s leading PowerPoint presentations. (Laughter.)
RICHARD GARWIN: Actually, it’s a PDF.
MR. KIMBALL: A PDF, I’m sorry. (Laughter.) Better than, better than –
MR. GARWIN: I’m really glad to be here to talk about stockpile stewardship, about nuclear explosion testing. And this talk will be posted at my websites. Here they are.
MR. GARWIN: If you don’t remember fas.org/rlg, you can remember www.garwin.us. So this is the mechanism for maintaining the reliability, safety and security of U.S. nuclear weapons without nuclear explosion testing. President Obama has stressed his dedication to this goal – that is, if we’re going to have nuclear weapons, they should be reliable, safe and secure – and also to the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. But he didn’t expect that to be accomplished during his lifetime, or perhaps even the lifetime of his children. So we’ll have nuclear weapons for a long time.
As this image of the destruction at Hiroshima reminds us, the avoidance of not only nuclear war but of accidental or terrorist nuclear explosions is of critical importance. This was a 20-kiloton nuclear explosion detonated at an altitude to maximize the destruction of buildings. But the devastation in the center of town is not nearly what it would have been, had it been a ground-level explosion. And there was essentially no fallout, which would be very different for a terrorist explosion on the ground.
In this presentation, I rely heavily upon a paper of January 28th, 2010, posted on my website, “Reliability and Safety of U.S. Nuclear Weapons.” I prepared that for discussion with congressional staffs and posted it immediately after. The points I make in this talk are developed more thoroughly in that paper with references.
The goals of stockpile stewardship may be summarized by a United Kingdom document of 2002, which, in addition to sketching the program on which the U.K. relies to address nuclear warhead assurance without nuclear test explosions, defines safety and reliability: A safe warhead is benign in all situations other than deliberate detonation. A reliable warhead will act in the prescribed manner when detonated.
Well, those are absolute goals and we have more quantitative expression of those goals here. Now, all of this is old stuff. I wrote about it and it was on my website in 1995 in a paper with a Russian nuclear weapon developer. But we have to remind ourselves – and even I have to remind myself – of some of the things that go into this paper.
And the reliability, the security and the safety of U.S. nuclear warheads is astonishing. A modern U.S. nuclear warhead consists of a primary nuclear explosive and a secondary explosive package enclosed in a single radiation case. You know, a nuclear explosive radiation case is smaller than I am, typically – sometimes much smaller.
The primary obtains its yield from the total fission of a fraction of a kilogram of its plutonium, which energy is used to compress the secondary, which consists of uranium of various enrichments, together with solid thermonuclear fuel, often containing the light isotope of lithium – lithium-6 – and a heavy isotope of hydrogen – deuterium – in the form of lithium deuteride, dubbed “salt.”
The secondary is in the form of a canned secondary assembly – so you can pick it up, carry it around – for ease of handling and storage and to reduce environmental influences on the materials of the secondary. The secondary provides almost all the yield of the weapon, say 100 kilotons or 350 kilotons or several megatons. The primary nuclear explosive, in turn, consists of a hollow metal shell of steel or other sturdy and heat-resistant material, encasing a shell of plutonium. The whole metal object is known as a pit.
The pit itself is induced to provide nuclear yield by its implosion by means of high explosion surrounding the pit, which, in turn, is detonated by electrically or optically fired detonators, just like a stick of dynamite. But it costs a lot more – (laughter) – has better quality. At least two simultaneous detonators are required so that accidental detonation of the high-explosive, the HE, at a single point will not provide a nuclear yield.
The design of the primary must ensure the single-point safety. The plutonium content of U.S. nuclear weapons averages about four kilograms per weapon – about nine pounds. In order to obtain adequate yield and light weight and confined space sufficient to compress and ignite the secondary charge, the primary explosion is boosted by having the hollow pit filled with some grams of deuterium-tritium mixture, which provides neutrons at a rate approximately 100 times that of the D-D – deuterium-deuterium reaction – at the temperatures achieved in a fission bomb.
So after the plutonium is imploded and begins to make its nuclear yield, then the D-T gas goes off, produces lots of neutrons, which boosts the yield. Since the tritium has a half-life of only about 12 years, tritium gas is stored externally to the physics package in a steel bottle with automatic valves that allow the in-flight injection of deuterium and tritium into the pit, and also the scheduled replacement of the tritium bottles. So that can be done in the field.
Now to discuss, in sequence, reliability, safety and security. Reliability: It’s entirely reasonable to expect that individual nuclear weapons will gradually or suddenly become less reliable as they age, like a light bulb burning out. Some nuclear weapon parts are routinely reset to zero age, as I’ve implied is the case with the substitution of refilled tritium bottles – screw in another light bulb.
Other parts outside the physics package, outside the radiation case, can be thoroughly tested without destroying them. Or in some cases, samples are tested to destruction with retrofit to be made if the reliability is questionable. For instance, the arming, firing and fusing system, a responsibility of the Sandia National Laboratories, can be thoroughly tested without nuclear explosion and, in fact, was not ordinarily exercised in the case of underground nuclear explosion tests.
And there’s also the opportunity, carefully, to install elements of new design if they can be thoroughly demonstrated by independent groups within NNSA and, by actual test not involving a nuclear explosion, to be, in turn, highly reliable. So we could substitute a solid-state radar set for a vacuum-tube radar set or a different power supply for the detonators and, obviously, can only improve the reliability if you haven’t made some foolish mistake.
The fact that this can be done, of course, does not ensure that it will be done. And there have been and probably are now deficiencies in carrying out this entirely feasible activity. So if it ain’t broke, don’t change it – (chuckles) – is probably a good aphorism. Plutonium metal is highly reactive, chemically, avidly combining with water, air or hydrogen. But in U.S. nuclear weapons, it’s well-protected in the welded-metal-sealed pit.
The pit, however, does not protect the plutonium against its inherent radioactive decay. Half of it converts, in 24,000 years, to uranium-235, or about .1 percent of the plutonium in 40 years. So if you took away .1 percent of the plutonium from the pit, it wouldn’t be significant loss but the radioactive decay, in itself, is a problem because the energetic helium nucleus – the alpha particle produced – gives substantial recoil to the U-235 product of radioactive decay.
The recoil moves the uranium-235 many atomic positions in the plutonium metal crystal and, in the process, displaces about 2,000 plutonium atoms from their positions. Furthermore, the alpha particle instantly acquires two electrons from its surroundings, becomes a helium atom and the helium atoms can agglomerate into high-pressure micro-bubbles of helium.
It was therefore a matter of some surprise and great relief when NNSA announced in 2006 that, so long after the 1999 CTBT debate, overall the weapons laboratory studies assessed that the majority of plutonium pits from most nuclear weapons have minimum lifetimes of at least 85 years. And also they said the JASON study concludes that most plutonium pit types have credible lifetimes of at least 100 years, while other pit types of less than 100 years of projected stability have mitigations either proposed or being implemented.
And that compared with 45 years, which was the nominal lifetime that people were talking about at that time. So it gave us another 55 years from 40 years ago, which is a long time – long enough to have a CTBT. (Laughter.) The other metals of the pit – steel, perhaps beryllium, et cetera – do not have the special aging problem and are not a concern for aging for the 85 or 100 years for which the plutonium is expected to remain viable.
But the metal pit is not the primary explosive package, by far. The high-explosive shell, itself, is not a single compound but a mixture, usually include plasticizer, and can, with time, crack, become inhomogeneous, emit vapors and the like. The crucial detonators can, fortunately, be tested and are. Identical detonators to those used in the nuclear weapons are routinely tested as they age – many, many of them each year.
The ones in the nuclear weapons, within the physics package, are exposed to a somewhat different environment and those can be assessed by the detailed stockpile stewardship – stockpile surveillance in the Stockpile Stewardship Program. The program has long been designed to detect, with 90 percent probability, the potential failure of 10 percent of the nuclear weapons in a time less than two years.
To do so, 11 samples of each type of nuclear explosive are temporarily removed from the inventory and brought back for inspection by radiography and partial disassembly. One example of each type is totally disassembled and cut up so that the detonators and high explosive and other parts can be assessed and even fired.
As might be expected, there have been many so-called significant finding investigations – SFIs – most of them not within the physics package. About one-third of these become actionable findings. Some SFIs within the physics package itself, uncorrected, could have prevented proper operation of the nuclear explosive. Most of these have been design flaws, some discovered late in life, which contributed to unreliability from the time the weapons were put into service.
Specifically, from a very useful 1996 Sandia report – and it’s puzzling that a more recent summary is not available – from 1958 to 1995, some 14,000 weapons were tested, assessed, yielding 1200 SFIs – one for every 12 weapons – from which there came 400 actionable finings – about 3 percent of the weapons tested.
Of these, 300 related to the non-nuclear components and 110 to the nuclear explosive package – 13 to the secondary, 97 to the primary. Overall, some 118 of these 1200 SFIs resulted in retrofits and major design changes. Finally, from the GAO report of 1996, 1.3 percent of the 14,000 weapons had failures that would have prevented the weapon from operating as intended.
Since 1996, the scientific basis for stockpile stewardship has been much strengthened with focused experiment, analyses and computer simulation so that it’s clear that the Stockpile Stewardship Program, with which we now have 17 years of experience in pretty much its current form, is doing a good job in maintaining the reliability of the nuclear weapons. We never did use nuclear testing for maintain reliability but for developing new types of nuclear weapons and other purposes.
How about safety? It’s long been the criterion for U.S. nuclear weapons that, under ordinary operation, the probability of an unintended detonation should be less than one part per billion per weapon lifetime. And in an accident such as a fuel fire, the probability of detonation should be less than one in one million.
Nuclear weapon design is strongly constrained by such requirements and nuclear weapon concepts have sometimes involved the separation of the plutonium core from the high explosive until the weapon is about to be used, as was the case with the Nagasaki plutonium-implosion bomb. Alternatively, the explosive could be extruded into place after the weapon is launched.
The scattering of plutonium in an accident, although serious, is a far lesser concern than is the prevention of an unintended nuclear yield. To this end, U.S. nuclear weapons have long been fitted with enhanced nuclear detonation systems – ENDS – designed so that even a lightning strike on a nuclear weapon cannot produce nuclear yield.
Evidently contributing to safety is a substitution of insensitive high explosive – so-called HIE – for conventional high explosive – CHE – in order to prevent detonation by shrapnel or a bullet if the weapon is fired upon in transit. Since the late 1950s, much effort has been expended in tests and analyses to ensure that U.S. nuclear weapons are one-point safe against detonation of the high explosive at the most unfavorable point. No matter where you shoot it with a bullet, it will not give a nuclear yield.
It would be desirable, though, to ensure that the weapon is multi-point safe so that even several points of simultaneous detonation – firing all of the detonators in the high explosive – could not produce nuclear yield. In the extreme, it is of course feasible to make a nuclear weapon that will not produce yield, even against precision and simultaneous firing of the detonators, which could be done – and has been done – by filling the pit with enough inert material, such as wire or pellets, to keep the system even from reaching nuclear criticality.
This is not done universally because of the tradeoff among risk mitigation, reliability and operational constraints. Nuclear weapons safety is a primary responsibility of the weapon laboratories – Los Alamos, Livermore and the Sandia National Laboratories at Albuquerque and at Livermore.
Nuclear weapon surety is a term used to encompass both safety and security. Although the design and manufacture of nuclear weapons is the responsibility of U.S. DOE – and more specifically, the National Nuclear Security Administration, NNSA – the actual use of nuclear weapons is a responsibility of the U.S. Strategic Command – STRATCOM – under a chain of command from the president through the secretary of defense.
Indeed, physical control over nuclear weapons is transferred to the Department of Defense and its agencies until weapons are returned to NNSA control for refurbishing or dismantlement. NNSA and DOD have highly capable people involved in the planning and execution of nuclear weapon security tasks, about which there’s even more than the usual tension over public discussion.
The introduction of the permissive action link – the PAL – to U.S. weapons in the 1960s is an example of a major improvement that could be implemented, evidently, without nuclear testing. But as the threat evolves, nuclear security measures must also change. Evidently, theft of U.S. nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union is no longer a leading concern for U.S. security measures.
But the demonstrated willingness and goal of terrorist groups to inflict enormous damage on society, including the use of suicide as an enabler, has evidently demanded a response. Over the years, weapon safety has been improved by the substitution of insensitive high explosives for the conventional plastic-bonded explosives that have been the mainstay in nuclear weapon primaries.
HIE has also enabled improved security, in principle allowing energetic measures to defeat attacks on the nuclear weapon itself. Serious evaluation of the weapon security situation compels a look at not only external but internal threats, including threats to kill or torture family members of those with legitimate access to nuclear weapons. There are examples during the Irish troubles over the years.
And responses to security analyses must take into account the enormous range of consequences of terrorist access to a U.S. or other nuclear weapon, ranging from full-yield detonation in a city at a time and place of terrorist choice through detonation in place of a weapon in transit, perhaps resulting in a small fraction of the planned explosive yield to damage that might be done by the security measures themselves that successfully prevent terrorist access to an intact weapon.
So how about the future of U.S. stockpile stewardship? The reliability, safety and security of U.S. nuclear weapons is satisfactory, as evidenced by the annual assessment letters of the heads of the U.S. nuclear weapon laboratories and the commander of STRATCOM. But to carry this forward in the future requires competent and dedicated personnel and facilities. The system can be imperiled in many ways, from being a political football to demands for ever-increasing capabilities that, paradoxically, might lead to less-safe nuclear weapons.
As has happened in other major government programs, over-promising and over-commitment can imperil the more mundane goals of reliability, safety and security. To argue that enormous investments are required just because we know how to make nuclear weapons safer and more secure than they are now is to ignore not only the enormous marginal costs per unit of improvement in weapons safety and security, but also ignores feasible options for obtaining improved safety and security without significant modification of existing weapons.
It is just such an analysis that is an essential responsibility of both Department of Defense and of NNSA, to which they seem to be committed. Thus far, I’ve discussed stockpile stewardship in the light of the four goals of reliability, safety, security and preserving the capability into the future.
It’s also instructive to take a cross-cutting view and to illustrate some of the tools that might contribute to several of these goals. For instance, Livermore has built the National Ignition Facility – NIF. Los Alamos has developed and deployed the Dual-Access Radiographic Hydro Test Facility – DARHT. And Sandia has built, used and upgraded the z-pinch machine – ZR.
The U.S. nuclear weapon program benefited from the very first by a capability to use short-pulse, high-voltage electron accelerators but you can’t do that for the full-up pit; it will explode. To image sectors of a pit or small-scale plates or shapes driven by high explosive involves no risk of nuclear yield but if done with plutonium, must confidently contain the plutonium so it’s not scattered to produce a radiological hazard.
The proton radiography facility – PRAD – at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center can provide multiple x-ray-like images during a single implosion, as can DARHT, and is capable of using plutonium. Together with bench-scale experiments, these major facilities give valuable information on the properties of materials at the extreme conditions found only in nuclear weapons and also lead to understanding the difficult but crucial questions of the mixing of adjacent materials in the weapon.
Many PRAD and DARHT images are of explosively driven implosions that use lead or other heavy metals, such as uranium, as a simulant for plutonium. The most powerful and flexible tool for stockpile stewardship, aside from the human mind, intuition and spirit, is advanced computer simulation, which has developed enormously over the past 15 years by a factor of a million, almost.
However, experiment, peer review and images, in particular, help to keep both simulation and humans honest and contribute to the store of both information and humility in the program. So that’s the story – a considerable update since 1999. And more on my website and in other papers there. Thank you.
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you very much, Dick. (Applause.) When I said that were we were going to pursue a fact-based analysis of the technical issues of the test ban treaty, I wasn’t kidding. Thank you very much for that thorough overview. And I’ll just take a moment to get Dr. Sykes set up here. Great. All right. Lynn Sykes, take it away.
LYNN SYKES: Okay, thank you very much. Need to get this to move.
MR. KIMBALL: We can maintain the nuclear arsenal, but I don’t know about this. (Laughter.)
MR. KIMBALL: Shall we take a two-minute break, Jeff?
MR. ABRAMSON(?) : Nope, it’s good now.
MR. KIMBALL: Okay. Okay. Thank you.
MR. SYKES: Okay, I would like to give you a sense that monitoring has gone on for 60 years. I’ve been part of that for about 55 years. I remind you that earthquake studies, seismology, is the main technology for detecting, locating and identifying underground tests. And it’s those that were not banned by the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963.
I’d like to give you just a quick overview that much progress has been made in seismic detection and identification in the last decade and, for example, since the time the Senate last considered this in 1999. I’d also like to then show, or tell you, that no country that has signed the treaty is known to have tested since the treaty was signed in September, 1996.
Of course, tests by other countries that did not sign the treaty – India, Pakistan and North Korea – have been easily identified. And I will show you some examples. First, I’d like to discuss two common misconceptions in the United States. And they’ve particularly been portrayed by those that are against the test ban treaty.
And one is that the comprehensive test ban organization in Vienna and its International Monitoring System is responsible for identifying seismic events – and of course, there are many that are earthquakes – but identifying those that are nuclear explosions, earthquakes or chemical explosions. And a second misconception is that the international organization should deal with evasive testing, such as testing in a large underground cavity, called decoupling.
And neither of these is correct. The treaty specifies that seismic event identification is the responsibility of national CTBT authorities. And of course, we have an active one in the United States. The United States does not rely upon the Vienna organization to decide if a particular event was a nuclear explosion or earthquake. However, of course, within an hour or so in Vienna, with the first North Korean explosion in 2006, there was no doubt that, that’s what it was to many people there.
But nevertheless, this decision was, under the treaty, left to individual countries. The U.S., then, can concentrate on countries of particular concern to it, whereas the international organization has to take a world view. And of course, the United States has many other additional resources, satellite imagery being one of them and determinations using certain types of radar images as a new technology that Vienna does not employ for detecting very small changes, particularly in vertical motion.
Okay. I just want to give you a sense of the huge number of stations that exist of various types. The red ones are seismic. And most of these are now installed and they have also been certified. I might mention that one thing that could be done – that India and Pakistan, not signing the treaty, have not allowed stations to operate by the Vienna group within their country and send data out.
So at least one small step might be to try to move to get India and Pakistan to do this. And for example, if they did this, they’d be able to get data from the international monitoring station in Oman and many other stations. So I think there are benefits. They could then, of course, have the benefit of getting data from the other country more readily than monitoring it from their own territory.
But this is not the only thing that exists. There are now hundreds of very sensitive seismic stations, both single stations and arrays of stations, that operate beyond the comprehensive test ban organization in Vienna. And this shows many of them here. These data are now transmitted in a different manner than the comprehensive test ban organization’s but to a central facility in which seismologists all over the world, and others that are interested, can get these data in nearly real time.
And some of my colleagues, in fact, specialize in working up all of the moderate and larger spikes on a worldwide basis using these data. So it’s important to realize that for both of these types of data that I showed, we now have data not only from Russia and China, as Senator Casey mentioned, but two or three other very important countries – for example, stations in Mongolia, stations in Kazakhstan.
And Kazakhstan, now of course being an independent country, has been very receptive to stations of various types within their country, and for more than a decade. There are many new stations that have been put in, in the Middle East, as well. Ukraine is another station. So in terms of monitoring, Russia and China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, other countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union have capabilities that are readily available.
Here, I’d like to give you a sense of one of the things that has been accomplished, in this case with the first North Korean explosion. This was one that was quite small – somewhere a little bit less than one kiloton. There are three wiggly lines here of which the red is the first North Korean test. The two others are small earthquakes.
And I merely point out to you that the waves over here marked SN and LG are very large for the earthquakes; they’re very small for the nuclear test, whereas the first waves over there are quite large for the nuclear test but not for the earthquakes – ones of about the same size, here. So this is something in which these high-frequency data have allowed us to extend down monitoring to a much smaller level.
And it’s been particularly important for countries in which these waves are transmitted quite readily; they are not attenuated. And places that are like this include most of the – most of Russia, the Russian Arctic test site, the Chinese test site in western China, the Indian test site. So this is something that is a technology that is now very widely used. It just didn’t come on instantaneously, but it has gradually improved.
I’d like to give you a snapshot, here, of monitoring of the Russian test site at Novaya Zemlya, the Arctic test site. You can see it’s at very high latitude, farther north, in fact, than the northernmost point in Alaska. But there are several arrays of stations that are part of the international monitoring system, but also, anyone can go online and, from the Norwegian center, you can get these data.
They also locate many other events in Scandinavia, Finland and the adjacent parts of Russia, the Kola Peninsula – in fact, get data from Russian stations in the Kola Peninsula. But these are arrays of instruments, in which they can form a beam. And in fact, these beams are made something like every five minutes to monitor what the noise is like.
And we can see – and I will come back to what magnitude two, or a little bit larger, is – that they, even though are at moderate distances from the Russian test site, they can monitor it down to magnitude two or a little bit larger than that. And this is, in fact, a technology that can be used for monitoring other places. You can monitor the Chinese test site using similar procedures. And this group in Norway has been quite instrumental in doing that. And the United States and Norway, as NATO allies, have worked very much on both submarine detection and also nuclear detection.
Okay, and now this is a little bit a busy slide, but I’d like to give you the sense of where do we stand, particularly with the Soviet Union, of monitoring the area in the general vicinity of their test site, Arctic test site. This figure is from Ketterer, of data when the U.S. was testing in the early to mid-1980s showing the frequency of U.S. tests as a function of yield. I remind you that this is a logarithmic scale so it goes over a factor of 10,000, from the smallest number down there up to the limit of the Threshold Test Ban Treaty over here.
So, as Ketterer argues, here is a very important peak in U.S. testing that was done. You can see a similar peak when you calibrate Russian testing, with a few other smaller tests that are smaller. And so up at the top represents events that have been shown to be – except for the Ukrainian 1979, all of those are earthquakes that are shown here in blue.
So if we go back 40 years ago, there were a few events that were deemed difficult to identify out of the many thousands, in fact, that were picked up and recorded. And of course, the problem with monitoring underground explosions is dealing with all of the earthquakes that happen. So it’s making sure that you can identify that occasional explosion that could be buried like a needle in a haystack. And we are doing this very successfully.
In the late 1960s, we did work on a series of events that were claimed to be difficult to identify and, with some special work, were able to show that all of those were earthquakes. The British group, in working on verification, has been very instrumental, also, in working and publishing. That Kara Sea event in 1986 was something that was leaked to the press as being a difficult-to-identify event.
And I think there’s no question that the British work convinced, as far as I know, everyone that it was, in fact, an earthquake. And it was out in the Kara Sea. It was not at the Soviet test site. If we come down to the Kara Sea 1997 event, which, in fact, was claimed in the United States to be a Russian explosion at their test site, again, a lot of data and data provided largely by stations in Scandinavia and Finland had a lot to do with being able to positively identify those events as being earthquakes. And in fact, one was an aftershock of the other.
Also, these high-frequency tests that I showed with the North Korean explosion have also been able to show, in addition, that these were earthquakes and that they were out in the Kara Sea and not the Soviet test site. Over the last 10 years, there have been two small events in Novaya Zemlya, one in the very far north, hundreds of miles north of the Russian test site, and one – a small event – that was in the general vicinity of the Russian test site.
But these high-frequency techniques showed that, in fact, those were earthquakes and not explosions. This is, as far as I know, then, the first case in which these did not get leaked to the press as being possible or definitive Russian explosions.
So I think that down to quite a small level – and that magnitude two or a little bit larger is what I’ve shown up there as Novaya Zemlya 2009 tamped, in which no attempt is made at evasion – we are now down at a very small level, using those special arrays, of monitoring that test site. And the others that are shown in green are the two explosions involved in the sinking of the Kursk submarine in the Barents Sea in this general area 11 years ago.
Okay, I think in the interest of time, I will not say very much about the subject of evasion. The subject of decoupling always comes up. It’s not a new technology. It’s something, in fact, that was first proposed in 1959. And it’s amazing, in fact, of how little data there is of nuclear explosions that have been tested with the decoupling concept in mind.
And one was the U.S. explosion Sterling in 1996. It was a .38-kiloton explosion, so it was much less than one kiloton. The vertical axis here is by how large a signal amplitude do you degrade the seismic signals by decoupling. That Sterling explosion achieved about a factor of 70.
Down here at the bottom are two data points for one Russian partially decoupled explosion in an area called Azghir that’s now in Kazakhstan. And you can see that the decoupling factor there was much less. The horizontal axis that I’ve shown here is the yield divided by the yield that Albert Latter proposed 60 years ago for being what is needed to fully decouple an explosion. So we can see here that the data points, few as they are, indicate that there’s a very rapid fall-off so, in fact, you cannot use a fairly small hole and put a fairly large explosion in it.
And so this is different than the two different code calculations that have been made that indicate that you could achieve a larger decoupling factor or muffling factor going out to numbers, here, that are larger than that number two for the Sterling explosion. And I think the reason for this is that the modelers have not adequately taken into account the material surrounding the cavities of cracks and joints and other things that geologists are well-familiar with.
Okay. So I will leave it with this, with decoupling. But I think that it’s important to realize that a country that would attempt to do decoupling has to deal with a whole range of factors if they want to do a decoupled test, do it successfully without being detected. And in fact, then, of course, the seismic networks have improved down to the point in which it’s not going to be possible to do something of one kiloton or 10 kilotons and fully decouple it.
We do not have data, for example, on a nuclear explosion in hard rock. It’s much more difficult to mine a cavity in hard rock and to ensure containment. So a very important factor with monitoring is having radiological monitoring that could detect, for example, xenon isotopes that could escape from a decoupled test. And in fact, many of the Russian tests that were not decoupled at their Arctic test site, in fact, are known to have leaked in the past. So thank you. (Applause.)
MR. KIMBALL: Thanks to all of you for those presentations. We’ve got a lot of material before us. We have about 20, 25 minutes before we break for lunch for questions from the audience. And as you think of your questions and my staff gets the microphones ready to take your questions, let me just remind everybody that outside on the table, amongst the materials from the Arms Control Association, is a report that Tom Collina, our research director, led the way on that we published in February of 2010.
That covers a lot of these issues relating to improvements in the Stockpile Stewardship Program and verification and monitoring and the effect of the test ban treaty on limiting the nuclear capabilities of other countries. So that’s out there on the table. There’s also a website that we created last year as part of the Project for the CTBT that I would encourage you all to check out if you didn’t see that the first time.
It’s just www.projectforthectbt.org. And we use that to provide information about developments and news on the test ban treaty debate. So let me open up the floor to comments and questions from the distinguished audience out there. And we have someone in the middle. Yes, Nick, right there.
Q: It’s Jim Ranney, the Project for Nuclear Awareness, Philadelphia. I have a question for Congressman Wilcox. I’m wondering if you shared your hero, Ronald Reagan’s, views on nuclear disarmament. And the reason it comes to mind, especially, by the way is that just yesterday I received a correspondence back – I’m writing a book review essay for the New York Review of Books on eliminating nuclear weapons.
And I had a quotation that’s attributed to George Shultz, to the effect that, what’s so great about a world that can be blown up in 30 minutes, which is what he said when he was challenged by the neoconservatives when Reagan came back from Reykjavik. And so I was calling to find out where I could find the citation to that because I’d seen it numerous times, I’ve memorized it and so on.
And the staff person responded yesterday and said that he couldn’t remember the book, either, but he knew it was something he had picked up – he knew it was repeating what Ronald Reagan had said numerous times, which was a new item of historical information for me. So I’m curious if you support his views in that respect.
MR. WILCOX: I don’t know that I can give you the citation for that quote. (Laughter.) I’ve heard that before, as well. You know, I think that was one of his – you know, as he spent so much time negotiating with Gorbachev on this – you mentioned Reykjavik, specifically. The original genesis of the original START treaty, I think, was one of those things in his presidency that was a personal issue for him. It wasn’t just the political victory of the Cold War. He understood that.
You know, the work that I have been able to do with former senator Jake Garn from Utah who was – I don’t know if you remember or not, but he was one of the – or I guess the first senator, I should say, to orbit earth from a space shuttle. Senator Garn talks about looking down upon the earth, and you don’t see borders, and about how, you know, he’s carried warheads.
He fought – you know, he was a fighter pilot. And about the things that we do to one another – I think that President Reagan, when I read and listen to his speeches, and Senator Garn and that perspective of, really, the sort of world we’re left with from the nuclear legacy, I guess the short answer is yes.
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. Others, yes? Right over here, if you could identify yourself, please.
Q: Hi, I’m Pete Sprunger. I’m currently unaffiliated but I’ll be starting with the Department of Energy in June. A question for Dr. Sykes regarding your very last slide: Could you give an estimate on the uncertainties on the data you showed relevant to the – of the models? And on top of that, you mentioned that there are – they didn’t take into account certain aspects of the cavity. Do you have an estimate of how small the uncertainties could get, considering some of the inherent unknowns of the cavity state and the cavity shape?
MR. SYKES: Well, these crucial, partially decoupled Russian explosions – and I think we have good estimates that they’re somewhere – that one explosion between eight and 10 kilotons. Those red symbols represent, the size of those, about the uncertainty of making those measurements at large distance. There were some closer-in measurements that were made, up to 110 kilometers, but have more uncertainty. But those are indicated by those bars.
So I think the important thing is that, given this very small amount of information we have on decoupled nuclear explosions, that this drops off very rapidly from full decoupling – so if you don’t have a cavity that’s suitable for full decoupling, you’re going to make larger seismic signals.
And even, in fact, in 1976, there were many open stations that detected that partially decoupled explosion. And certainly today, it would be detected by many, many tens of stations. So this is quite some time ago that we have this data. One of the problems with decoupling is that proponents can argue that many things can be done – and do so – but it’s in fact based on a very small database of explosions.
MR. KIMBALL: And Lynn, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think everyone should just remember, for context, that the Sterling test from 1966 was conducted near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is that not correct, in the Tatum Salt Dome, I think it was. I think that’s – so not all the nuclear test explosions were taking place in the Nevada test site. In 1966, I was living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, so I didn’t realize at the time, but it’s just a reminder that there have been as many nuclear test explosions in the State of Mississippi as in North Korea.
MR. SYKES: Well – (laughter) – so it’s important, also, to remember these two explosions were set off in the cavities created by larger nuclear explosions – ones that had to be about 10 times larger to produce a cavity in salt. And we know about these larger explosions, or moderate-size ones, that happened in the Soviet Union that were part of their so-called peaceful explosion program. And many of those, in fact, were in Kazakhstan and no longer are in the Russian republic.
So people have proposed setting off explosions in cavities that are mined in salt, particularly by solution mining, but we’ve not had the experience so I believe that any country attempting this has to take into account the very many unknowns, as well as the much better capabilities of monitoring today.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. I think we’ve got a couple questions here. The gentleman – that gentleman will do, yes.
Q: Nick Roth, Union of Concerned Scientists. My question is for Dr. Garwin. Last week at a Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, deputy administrator for defense programs Don Cook referenced a pit corrosion problem with the W78 warhead. My question for you is, how significant a problem is this and are the options that NNSA is looking at to address them, in your mind, appropriate?
MR. GARWIN: So the question is pit corrosion in the particular W78 type of warhead. Well, I think that you will find out that it’s not a serious problem. We have, of course, reduced very greatly the number of nuclear weapons in our active stockpile. And the nuclear weapons no longer fly around so, from the point of view of safety and security, we are in much better shape. From the point of view of reliability, we have these assessment techniques. And I know about that problem and I predict that it will come out okay.
MR. KIMBALL: We have a question here – Mr. Corden – a little further up here, Fredi.
Q: Pierce Corden with the American Association for Advancement of Science. Two brief comments and then one question. The first comment is that, as far as the general value of the CTBT goes, I don’t think it should be ignored that at least two of the established nuclear weapon states, France and China, are not parties to the Limited Test Ban Treaty. So in particular, were China, at this point, to conclude that it really needed to do something in the atmosphere, it has no legal constraint against doing so.
The second comment has to do with the decoupling issue and the role of the international – well, not really the International Monitoring System, itself, but the test ban organization. Data collected from any event – let’s say a seismic event in which there was some evidence collected from an otherwise seismically decoupled explosion – that data is, of course, provided to any state that wishes to have it, but there are other technical technologies available.
And then as far as the treaty goes and pursuing something like that, you have the treaty’s provision that national technical means can be brought to bear in seeking an on-site inspection, as well as the data from the International Monitoring System, and both of those could lead to the resolution of that ambiguity, let’s say from a low-yield, decoupled evasion attempt. And finally, on that point, the treaty provides a mandatory requirement for consultation and clarification in a situation like that.
The question, then, has to do with the utility of civil seismic data. And here, I’d be interested in Dr. Garwin and Dr. Sykes’ views. My impression is that there is no readily available estimate of the capabilities of the civil seismic stations that we have seen in the illustration from Dr. Sykes. We know there’s many, many stations but so far as I know, there’s no generally published calculation as to how good those stations actually are compared with, say, the understanding that we have of the capabilities of the International Monitoring System. So I’d be interested in your thoughts on that.
MR. SYKES: Yes, let me address that latter point. For example, the 2009 North Korean explosion, the second one – very quickly, the U.S. Geological Survey got out an estimate of their location; the International Monitoring System did the same. They each had about 100 stations and most of them are not common stations. So you can see that the federation data were very good that got reported openly to the U.S. Geological Survey and were used there.
Also, the identifications that were made there used data not from the IMS but from these international stations. So those wiggly lines that I showed you for the first North Korean explosion were from either a station in South Korea or the nearest station was in China, of which those data were available right away to the international community.
MR. KIMBALL: Dick, did you want to comment on that?
MR. GARWIN: Yeah. You know, it’s a large world and a lot of work to take all of these stations and ask what their capability is for any event of different sizes and various depths against noise. Now, if you would limit that to ask what is the capability of the informal networks against the test sites, that would be an easier question and that’s not something that the International Monitoring System is going to answer because they do not focus on the test sites. They look for explosions – try to characterize explosions anywhere in the world. So I suppose if somebody gave a small amount of money, people could study these for the test sites.
MR. SYKES: I might say, in fact, that for the Vienna meeting in 2009, a colleague of mine, Meredith Nettles, and I were able to get the data from the International Monitoring System for nine years of recordings and reports from seven different test sites or former test sites, in which we got data on events that the International Monitoring System had located within 100 kilometers of these seven test sites.
And we worked on these and we were able to identify each one of these as being an earthquake. That’s not the whole world, but very clearly, the United States is more interested in what China, India, Russia are doing than what El Salvador or Paraguay is doing.
MR. KIMBALL: Really? Okay. (Laughter.)
MR. GARWIN: In response to the question, China did sign the Limited Test Ban Treaty in September, 1996, although it has not ratified. So it’s in the same position with the LTBT as it is with the CTBT.
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. We’ve got a question right here. Yes, sir?
Q: Dave Hafemeister from California. Just a historical comment: The NPT and the CTBT are inexorably linked. When the NPT was about to crash because it was running out of time in 1995, the P5 all promised that they would go ahead and ratify a treaty without a time limit. And of course, that hasn’t happened and so if you value the NPT then you have to think about how the CTBT couples in. Thank you.
MR. KIMBALL: Thank you. I think we have someone right in front of you, Freddy. Thank you. And then we’ll move over here.
Q: I’m Kathy Robinson with Women’s Action for New Directions. And thank you, Representative Wilcox, for being here today and for lobbying hard on the START treaty. And I want to ask you about your very successful and impressive efforts, along with Representative Seelig’s. She’s one of our women state legislator members so I felt obligated to mention her. (Laughter.)
But do you have any tips for us or ideas about how the debate happened when you had your resolution to encourage the ratification of the test ban treaty? So if we wanted other legislatures in Nevada or maybe Mississippi to do this, what should we do?
MR. WILCOX: Thank you. Yeah, you know, I think that was probably one of those things I left out when I started quoting Senator Casey. And so it’s good that you mentioned Representative Seelig because she certainly would have punished me later. (Laughter.) No, to answer your question, I think that’s sort of what I was hoping that you would get out of my comments. (Chuckles.)
You know, we were talking just a moment ago about some tests that – you know, was it Mississippi, you said – there have been as many there as in North Korea. The key to that, I think, is to recognize the political realities in each state. In our case, where we had this history of the down-winders, it was important for us to bring them to the committee hearings, those who are still surviving, who are still fighting their cancer battles, family members, et cetera.
But again, the key wasn’t so much – and this sort of caught me off guard – it was recognizing that, including some key committee members there in the legislature – that they saw the sacrifices of their own family members – they reconciled it, in their own minds, as part of their sacrifice for the war effort. So my mother died and served her country by dying – by, you know, giving up – this was her part of the contribution.
And there were things like that, that we just hadn’t considered. And as we addressed and sort of honored the sacrifice that had been laid out, recognizing, at the time, that it’s easy for us to say, well, the government just lied about the – what existed there at the time. Honestly, I think as a nation, we didn’t really understand it, either. We saw this new technology, this new weapon that would allow us to end World War II and virtually guaranteed superiority militarily with the Cold War and it was a hard thing for us to wrap our heads around.
But the political reality in each state is very different. So those are the things we dealt with in Utah and had to adjust to. The debate has to be framed according to what reality exists in each individual state. So whether that’s a conservative Republican area where we need to talk a lot more about national security interests and how the CTBT strengthens our superiority, militarily, or whether that’s something, you know, in a completely different state – maybe California – where different personalities and different ideology hold sway. It has to be directed at that particular state.
MR. KIMBALL: All politics is local, as they say. I think we’ve got time for a couple more questions. Why don’t we take these questions and then we’ll have the panelists answer. So I think, Nick, if you could come over here to the right side, over here. The gentleman in the front with the – right here. Raise your hand, Larry. Okay. Yeah, raise your hand so we know where to go. Thank you.
Q: Larry Weiler. I’m a Utah native so I’d like to ask Representative Wilcox – I’d like to make a suggestion and ask a question. The suggestion is that you get the tombstone speech of Senator Dirksen that he made in the Senate ratification debate on the Limited Test Ban Treaty for all of your Republican colleagues to read. There’s a certain emotionalism in that speech that you don’t normally get in Senate speeches.
The question to you is that – for two of us here who are negotiating the test ban in London half a century ago, never give up, so my question to you is what you think the chances are, given the particular background of the Utah view of this subject, of getting some votes out of your two senators?
MR. KIMBALL: All right. You get a second to think about that. We’ve got another question over here, please. Please raise your hand so Nick can find you.
Q: I’m Steve Kulecki with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Representative Wilcox, I was very taken with the kind of health argument wedded to the national security argument that was very effective. I’m also just wondering, as a religious leader, we also make arguments about the ultimate use of weapons – you know, about the indiscriminate and disproportionate nature of weapons.
And I’m wondering what sway, sort of, moral arguments might have had in Utah, or that you think might have, or did any religious leaders in the state speak from a moral perspective of, you know, trying to move away from the threat of indiscriminate and disproportionate weapons?
MR. WILCOX: Okay. Those are good questions, thank you. Larry, thank you for the suggestion. I’ll definitely look that up. But I think the second one is the key. And you know, right now, we have Senator Hatch and Senator Mike Lee who represent the State of Utah with very different political expectations and despite their similar ideology. Senator Lee is at the beginning of a six-year term. Senator Hatch is at the end of his, what, fourth? He was elected the year before I was born.
So Senator Hatch wants to get re-elected and this is part of what I’m talking about when I answered the question earlier about the political reality in each state. If Senator Hatch feels enough momentum and pressure from his home state from his own constituents urging ratification of the treaty, then there’s a possibility of that happening. But until that happens – until that homegrown pressure, either from the legislature or from, simply, his own constituents – unfortunately, a lot of these decisions, I think, are based on those who want to keep their jobs, a lot of the time.
Senator Lee is at the very beginning of this. He’s sent some mixed signals regarding, you know, New START and CTBT, et cetera. Publicly, there have been different positions. And that’s where policymakers like myself, who represent large chunks of his own constituency and groups who are interested and understand the intricacies of both the national security and health arguments that we’ve talked about need to come into play.
We have to make our voices heard. It’s been fun – I’m from the same hometown as General Brent Scowcroft and so it’s been fun to use him – he’s an old friend of Senator Hatch – to put some pressure on with some of these issues. But it’s a difficult thing. Again, it has to be sort of an organic pressure from home, sort of a thing. They want to keep their jobs. And in the end, I think that kind of home pressure is what’s going to win the day.
There are – to answer the second question, you know, I don’t know that I expected a lot of that, as far as the religious factor coming into play, other than it was effective personally for those – I mean, Utah is obviously predominantly LDS – the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of which I am an active member. Representative Seelig happens to be a Methodist and a Democrat and so it was important for us to stand together to show that it wasn’t a partisan issue.
And that was specifically designed to show that it wasn’t a – you know, one religion or another religion or a Democrat-Republican. Though there weren’t any specific endorsements, religious groups were certainly active in supporting us and quite vocal in lobbying other legislators. We had a lot of support and I think that there is a significant contribution to be made on this issue by the religious community, so I’m glad that you’re here. But yeah, there wasn’t a specific endorsement, any sort of thing. But definitely behind the scenes, very, very much so.
MR. KIMBALL: Well, I think that’s a great question and note to end on. We’re at the end of our time here before lunch. I want to really thank each of the panelists for the richness of this discussion. We all, in this room, have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of things to think about, about how we update and refresh and refine the arguments and the answers to the questions about the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Representative Wilcox, I think, has brought us a fresh and important perspective and, Dick Garwin and Lynn Sykes, thank you always for your solid analysis, year in and year out. And we’re going to be needing your help in the months ahead as we take the case for this test ban treaty back, again, to the people who need to decide. So join me in thanking everybody.
Just a couple of quick housekeeping items: We have a buffet lunch set up outside here on the south side. There is set up – there is another on the north side so form two lines, come back in, enjoy your lunch and your conversations. Undersecretary of State Tauscher should be with us a little before 12:30 so we’ll try to get moving again around 12:20, 12:25. So we’re adjourned until then. Thanks.
(END) Back to top
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION
REDUCING THE NUCLEAR DANGER: NEXT STEPS ON THE TEST BAN TREATY AND NUCLEAR ARMS REDUCTIONS
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION
UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR ARMS CONTROL AND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY
TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011
Federal News Service
DARYL KIMBALL: Ladies and gentlemen, if I could just ask you to wind up your conversations.
Welcome back. Daryl Kimball from the Arms Control Association – I hope you enjoyed your lunch, your conversations with your colleagues.
And as we heard this morning from State Representative Ryan Wilcox and Dr. Garwin and Dr. Sykes, the national security case for the test ban treaty would appear to be stronger than it ever was. And there’s growing recognition that – by Democrats and Republicans that it’s an essential part of a 21st century U.S. nonproliferation strategy.
And you know, it’s been many years since the United States stopped nuclear test explosions, approaching 20. It was in 1996 when the treaty was was opened for signature. But the treaty will not enter into force without U.S. leadership. The U.S. was the first to sign the treaty. The remaining states in many cases are waiting for the United States to move forward. We’ve seen the beginnings of that with President Obama’s Prague speech in which he committed the United States once again to reconsider and pursue and try to enforce the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
And just this past March, on March 29th I believe, President Obama’s national security advisor, Tom Donilon, reiterated that message when he said, and I quote, “We are committed to working with members of both parties in the Senate to ratify the CTBT just as we did with New START. We have no illusions that this will be easy but we intend to make our case to the Senate and to the American people,” unquote. So this meeting, as I said before, is the Arms Control Association’s effort – one of our efforts to begin that conversation.
And we’re very pleased to have with us today somebody who has long recognized the value of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, who has been making the case for the CTBT for quite some time. As a member of Congress representing two national laboratories and as the chair of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Forces Committee, Ellen Tauscher was – as is often said – one of the handful of members of Congress with the deep knowledge and expertise on these weapons-related security issues that are out there.
And this is just one of the reasons why she was asked by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to serve as her Undersecretary of State for arms control and international security. So we’re very pleased to have with us Undersecretary Tauscher, who is well-informed and very dedicated and a very resilient person, who, as many of you know, has had to overcome a great deal this year, not just in the arms control field. So it’s with particular pleasure that we have with us Ellen Tauscher. Please join me in welcoming her today. (Applause.)
ELLEN TAUSCHER: Thank you very, very much, Daryl. Good afternoon, everyone. I want to thank my very good friend Daryl for having me here today. The good news is that not only is the state of arms control in good shape but I am too and so I’m glad to be here.
Let me just say that Daryl is of course one of the world’s most tireless advocates for arms control, especially banning nuclear testing. And his work over the last 10 years at the Arms Control Association was recognized by the MacArthur Foundation last year and it is tremendously important to our efforts to move forward on so many of these different issues. So thank you, Daryl, for your friendship and your leadership.
Many of you have heard me speak, probably more than you’d like to recount, about what this administration intended to do and intended to accomplish. And now we know what we have accomplished. In the two years since President Obama’s Prague speech, the administration has taken significant steps and dedicated unprecedented financial, political and technical resources to prevent proliferation, to live up to our commitments and to move toward a world without nuclear weapons.
Under President Obama’s leadership, we have achieved the entry into force of the New START agreement, adopted a nuclear posture review that promotes nonproliferation and reduces the role of nuclear weapons in our national security policy. And we have helped to achieve a consensus action plan at the 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.
And I think I saw Susan Burk here. There she is. Susan, of course, was indefatigable in traveling the world in preparation for the prep con and was absolutely – for the rev con and was absolutely instrumental to our achieving a consensus in May of last year in New York and I want to thank her publicly for all of her efforts. She is just really amazing. Under the president’s – (applause). That’s right. (Applause.) That’s right.
The Obama administration also convened the successful 2010 Nuclear Security Summit to help secure and relocate vulnerable nuclear materials, led efforts to establish an international nuclear fuel bank and increased effective multilateral sanctions against both Iran and North Korea. And now I know why I’m tired. (Laughter.)
But let me say that we have so many people that worked very hard, and as you know, at State Department we’re called T, and we have so many people – over 600 people – that work so hard on these issues. And let me tell you that it is wonderful to help lead that organization and to be in a place now where we have delivered over two years I think some very, very significant public policy initiatives with the leadership of both President Obama, Secretary Clinton and, in many cases, Secretary Gates.
As for what’s next, our goal is to move our relationship with Russia from one based on mutually assured destruction to one that is based on mutually assured stability. We want Russia inside the missile defense tent so that it understands that missile defense is not about undermining Russia’s strategic deterrent. Even though this is a bipartisan goal – both President Reagan and President Bush both supported missile defense cooperation – it will not be easy.
I know that many of you have opposed missile defenses. I have as well when the plans were not technically sound or the mission was wrong. But this administration is seeking to turn what has been an irritant to the United States and Russia relations into a shared interest.
Cooperation between our militaries, scientists, diplomats and engineers will be more enduring and build greater confidence than any other type of assurances we can give. We are also preparing for the next steps in nuclear arms reduction, including, as the president has directed, reductions in strategic, nonstrategic and nondeployed weapons. We are fully engaged with our allies in this process.
But let me turn to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. President Obama vowed to pursue ratification and entry into force of the CTBT in his speech in Prague. In doing so, the United States is once again taking a leading role in supporting a test ban treaty just as it had when discussions first began more than 50 years ago. As you know, in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the United States ratified the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned all nuclear tests except those conducted underground.
The Cuban Missile Crisis, which was about as close as the world has ever come to a nuclear exchange, highlighted the instability of the arms race. Even though scholars have concluded that the United States acted rationally, that the Soviet Union acted rationally and even Fidel Castro acted rationally, we came perilously close to nuclear war. Luck certainly played a role in helping us avoid nuclear catastrophe.
In the months after the crisis, President Kennedy used his newfound political capital and his political skill to persuade the military and the Senate to support a test ban treaty in the hopes of curbing a dangerous arms race. He achieved a Limited Test Ban Treaty but aspired to do more. Yet today, with more than 40 years of experience, wisdom and knowledge about global nuclear dangers, a legally binding ban on all nuclear explosive testing still eludes us.
This being Washington, everything is seen through a political lens. So before discussing the merits of the treaty, let me talk about this in a political sense for a moment. I know that the conventional wisdom is that the ratification of New START has delayed or pushed aside consideration of the CTBT. I take the opposite view. The New START debate in many ways opened the door for the CTBT.
Months of hearings and debate and nine long days of floor deliberations engaged the Senate – especially its newer members – in an extended seminar on the composition of our nuclear arsenal, the health of our stockpile and the relationship between nuclear weapons and our national security. When the Senate voted for the treaty, it inherently affirmed that our stockpile is safe, secure and effective and can be kept so without nuclear testing.
More importantly, the New START debate helped cultivate emerging new arms control champions such as my friends, Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Senator Bob Casey, who I know Bob was here earlier today and Jean will be here this afternoon. Before the debate, there was not a lot of muscle memory on treaties, especially nuclear treaties, in the Senate and now there is. So we are in a strong position to make the case for the CTBT on its merits.
To maintain and enhance that momentum, the Obama administration is preparing to engage the Senate and the public on an education campaign that we expect will lead to ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. In our engagement with the Senate, we want to leave aside the politics and explain why the CTBT will enhance our national security. Our case for treaty ratification consists of three primary arguments.
One, the United States no longer needs to conduct nuclear explosive tests, plain and simple. Two, a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that has entered into force will obligate other states not to test and provide a disincentive for states to conduct such tests. And three, we now have a greater ability to catch those who cheat.
Let me take these points one by one. From 1945 to 1992, the United States conducted more than 1,000 nuclear explosive tests, more than all other nations combined. The cumulative data gathered from these tests have provided an impressive foundation of knowledge for us to base the continuing effectiveness of our arsenal. But historical data alone is insufficient.
Well over a decade ago, we launched an extensive and rigorous stockpile stewardship program that has enabled our nuclear weapons laboratories to carry out the essential surveillance and warhead life extension programs to ensure the credibility of our deterrent. Every year for the past 15 years, the secretaries of Defense and Energy, from Democratic and Republican administration and the directors of the nuclear weapons laboratories have certified that our arsenal is safe, secure and effective.
And each year, we have affirmed that we do not need to conduct explosive nuclear tests. The lab directors tell us that stockpile stewardship has provided deeper understanding of our arsenal than they had ever thought of when testing was commonplace. Think about that for a moment. Our current efforts go a step beyond explosive testing by enabling the labs to anticipate problems in advance and reduce their potential impact on our arsenal, something that nuclear testing could not do.
I for one would not trade our successful approach based on world-class science and technology for a return to explosive testing. The Obama administration has demonstrated an unprecedented commitment to safe, secure and effective arsenal so long as nuclear weapons exist. Despite the narrative put forward by some, the Obama administration inherited an underfunded and underappreciated nuclear complex.
We have worked tirelessly to fix that situation and ensure our complex has every asset needed to achieve its mission. President Obama has committed $88 billion in funding over the next decade to maintain a modern nuclear arsenal, retain a modem nuclear weapons production complex and nurture a highly trained workforce. At a time when every part of the budget is under a microscope, this pledge demonstrates our commitment and should not be discounted.
To those that doubt our commitment, I ask them to put their doubts aside and invest in the hard work to support our budget requests in the United States Congress. When it comes to the CTBT, the United States is in a curious position. We abide by the core prohibition of the treaty because we don’t need to test nuclear weapons.
And we have contributed to the development of the international monitoring system. But the principal benefit of ratifying the treaty – constraining other states from testing – still eludes us. That doesn’t make sense to me and it shouldn’t make any sense to the members of the Senate. I do not believe that even the most vocal critics of the CTBT want to resume explosive nuclear testing.
What they have chosen instead is a status quo where the United States refrains from testing without using the fact to lock in a legally binding global ban that would significantly benefit the United States’ national security.
Secondly, a CTBT that is entered into force will hinder other states from advancing their nuclear weapons capabilities. Were the CTBT to enter into force, states interested in pursuing or advancing a nuclear weapons program would risk either deploying weapons that might not work or incur international condemnation and sanctions for testing.
While states can build a crude first-generation nuclear weapon without conducting nuclear explosive tests, they would have trouble going further and they probably wouldn’t even know for certain the yield of the weapon they built. More established nuclear weapons states could not with any confidence deploy advanced nuclear weapons capabilities that deviated significantly from previously tested designs without explosive testing.
Nowhere would these constrains be more relevant than in Asia where you see states building up and modernizing their forces. A legally binding prohibition on all nuclear explosive testing would help reduce the chances of a potential regional arms race in the years and decades to come. Finally, we have become very good at detecting potential cheaters.
If you test, there is a very high risk of getting caught. Upon the treaty’s entry into force, the United States would use the international monitoring system to complement our own state-of-the-art national technical means to verify the treaty. In 1999, not a single certified IMS station or facility existed. We understand why some senators had some doubts about its future untested capabilities.
But today, the IMS is more than 75 percent complete. Two hundred and fifty-four of the planned 321 monitoring stations are in place and functioning and 10 of the 16 projected radionuclide laboratories have been completed.
The IMS detected both of North Korea’s two announced nuclear tests. While the IMS did not detect trace radioactive isotopes confirming that the 2009 event was in fact a nuclear explosive test, there was significant evidence to support an on-site inspection. On-site inspections are only permissible once the treaty enters into force.
An on-site inspection could have clarified the ambiguity of that 2009 test. While the IMS continues to prove its value, our national technical means remains second to none and we continue to improve on them. Last week, our colleagues at the NNSA conducted the first of a series of source physics experiments at the Nevada nuclear security site. These experiments will allow the United States to validate and improve seismic models and the use of new generation technology to further monitor compliance with the CTBT.
Senators can judge our overall capabilities for themselves by consulting the national intelligence estimate released last year. Taken together, these verification tools would make it difficult for any state to conduct nuclear tests that escape detection.
In other words, a robust verification regime carries an important deterrent value in and of itself. Could we imagine a far-fetched scenario where a country might conduct a test so low that it would not be detected? Perhaps. But could a country be certain that it would not be caught? That is very unclear. Would a country be willing to risk being caught cheating? Doubtful because there are significant costs to pay for those countries that test. So we have a strong case for treaty ratification.
In the coming months, we will build upon and flesh out these core arguments. We look forward to objective voices providing their opinions on this important issue. Soon, the National Academy of Sciences, a trusted and unbiased voice on scientific issues, will release an unclassified report examining the treaty from a technical perspective.
The report will look at how the United States’ ratification would impact our ability to maintain our nuclear arsenal and our ability to detect and verify explosive nuclear tests. Let me conclude by saying that successful U.S. ratification of the CTBT will help facilitate greater international cooperation on other elements of the president’s Prague agenda. It will strengthen our leverage with the international community to pressure defiant regimes like those in Iran and North Korea as they engage in illicit nuclear activities.
We will have greater credibility while encouraging other states to pursue nonproliferation objectives including universality of the additional protocol. In short, ratification helps us get more of what we want. We give up nothing to ratify the CTBT. We recognize that a Senate debate over ratification will be spirited, vigorous and likely contentious. The debate in 1999 unfortunately was too short and too politicized.
The treaty was brought to the floor without the benefit of extensive committee hearings or significant input from administration officials and outside experts. We will not repeat those mistakes. But we will make a more forceful case when we are certain the facts have been carefully examined and reviewed in a thoughtful process. We are committed to taking a bipartisan and fact-based approach with the Senate.
For my Republican friends who voted against the treaty in 1999 and might feel bound by that vote, I have one message: Don’t be. The times have changed. Stockpile stewardship works. We have made significant advances in our ability to detect nuclear testing. As my good friend and fellow Californian, George Shultz, likes to say – those who opposed the treaty in 1999 can say they were right. But they would be more right to vote for the treaty today.
So we have a lot of work to do to build the political will be need to ratify the CTBT. Nuclear testing is not a front-burner issue in the minds of most Americans, in part because we have not tested in nearly 20 years. To understand the gap in public awareness, just think of the fact that in 1961, some 10,000 women walked off their job as mothers and housewives – just as we celebrated Mother’s Day just the other day – to protest the arms race and nuclear testing.
Now, that strike did not have the same impact as the nonviolent marches and protests to further the cause of civil rights. But the actions of mothers taking a symbolic and dramatic step to recognize global nuclear dangers show that the issue has resonance beyond the Beltway, beyond the think-tank world and beyond the ivory tower. That level of concern is there today and we need your energy, your organizational skills and your creativity to tap into it.
If we are to move safely and securely to a world without nuclear weapons, then we need to build the requisite political support that can only be done by people like you. I want to thank you very much for all of your support for many of the different issues that the president and others have espoused. And I would be very happy to entertain an easy question or two. (Laughter.) If it’s a hard question, I’m going to turn it to Daryl. (Laughter.)
MR. KIMBALL: I think you can handle yourself, Ellen. (Laugher.) Thank you very much. Please join us – (applause). I think we can start out with a few questions from this table over here, which happens to be some interesting people who write for newspapers. So please raise your hand and Xiadon will give you a microphone.
Q: Hi, I’m Susan Cornwell.
MS. TAUSCHER: Hi, Susan.
Q: Hi – with Reuters. What’s your timeline for ratification in the Senate? When would you like – would you like to get it done before 2012 and elections and do you think you can?
MS. TAUSCHER: Both President Obama and Vice President Biden and Secretary Clinton have made it very clear that there will be no action on the floor until the argument has been made and until we find ourselves in a position to go for ratification. We were greatly aided last December in the most unlikely time to ratify the New START treaty, during the most political time of the year, by the fact that 73 percent of the American people were for ratification of New START.
There is a level of scrutiny for anybody that takes a vote. I did it for 13 years. You want your constituents with you. And it’s important that we bring the American people to a place where they can actually influence how the Senate votes. And so that will take some time.
I cannot predict when we will bring – when the president will make the choice to send the treaty to a vote. But I will tell you that we intend to win that vote. And so whatever it takes to make that argument and how long it takes to make that argument, the president is committed to do that.
MR. KIMBALL: Okay, anybody else on the reporters’ table? All right, then let’s go to the folks in the back. Xiadon, the gentleman right there, thank you.
Q: Thank you. My name is Andrzej Sitkowski (sp). I’m with ITAR-TASS News Agency of Russia. Madame Secretary, thank you for your remarks. Can you update us on your recent meeting – meetings with your Russian counterpart, Mr. Ryabkov? Is there any progress on nuclear tactical weapons and when do you think you will start formal negotiations on this issue? Thank you.
MS. TAUSCHER: Well, President Obama has said that within the next year – February of last year until February of next year –we would like to begin conversations with the Russians on a panoply of issues – missile defense cooperation. We’re currently talking to them and obviously strategic, nonstrategic and nondeployed weapons.
Right now, we are moving forward together in the implementation of the New START treaty. We’ve already had one exchange which is very important to get it off to a good start. And, you know, as the president has said, he is interested in beginning this conversation as soon as possible. My sense of it is that we will continue to work issues as they are coming forward and that we would look to go on to this next steps as we call it in arms control sometime later in the year.
But what’s important to note here is that we start the New START treaty off on the right foot. I think we have. And what we believe with Russia, as I said earlier, is moving away from a time of mutually assured destruction to a time of mutually assured stability and we believe that cooperation and engagement is the best way for us to do that.
On missile defense, for example, we no longer target each other. We haven’t targeted each other for a very long time. But there are still lingering doubts about whether our limited missile defenses, which are robust enough to deal with Iranian and North Korean threat, but certainly could not undercut Russia’s strategic deterrent, that that is actually the fact.
So it’s important that we continue but I will tell you that the reset is not only successful and holding but has been a very important initiative for this administration and it has accrued benefits in national security to the American people and to our allies. But we have much more work to do.
MR. KIMBALL: All right. Let’s go to the back, please. Take your pick, Fredi. I can’t quite see anyone there. Yes?
Q: Thank you. Avis Bohlen, retired State Department former assistant secretary for arms control.
MS. TAUSCHER: Good to see you.
Q: Madame Secretary, thank you for your remarks. And I wonder if you could say – following up on the last question – a few words about the dynamics with our allies about the potential negotiations on nonstrategic weapons. Thank you.
MS. TAUSCHER: Well, as you know, following on the strategic concept that was worked very successfully by Madeleine Albright and her team for NATO, we’re now going to what is called the defense and deterrence posture review for NATO.
And what we have made clear to our allies, especially our NATO allies, is that we will not do anything unilaterally about these weapons – especially the tactical weapons – and that our engagement will be with them at NATO and directly and then with the Russians, but that we’re looking to move this issue forward after the NATO deterrence and defense posture review is completed.
So we have made clear that we are very interested in engagement in this conversation. We believe that it’s important for our national security. The characterization of these weapons, being much smaller, being much more portable, causes us to be as concerned as we can be about their safety and security. But at the same time, while they are characterized often as political weapons by ourselves and many of our European allies, that has not achieved widespread agreement.
And so what’s important is that we make clear that we’re not going to make our own decisions on this. This is part of the NATO strategic deterrent. We make those decisions at that very big table of 28 and then we will then engage the Russians.
But I think you have to see that there are a number of different steps that have to be taken by others in concert with us before we get to the Russians. But this is a number one conversation that we intend to have with the Russians when the time is right and when we’re ready to do it.
MR. KIMBALL: All right, I think there were a couple of other hands. Yes, right here in the middle, up front, Fredi, my esteemed member of the board of directors – (inaudible).
Q: Thanks. I’m Chris Wing from the Center on International Cooperation at New York University. Thank you, Madame Secretary. Hello.
MS. TAUSCHER: Hi, Chris. My pleasure.
Q: This is actually back to the CTBT and the question about the Senate debate. How important do you think that the decisions of the other nonratifying Annex III countries will be in that debate?
MS. TAUSCHER: No, I think that that – I didn’t mention that because it’s one of those things we talk about in conversation all the time. But I see people’s eyes glaze over when they say, well, isn’t that nice that all those other countries will go forward after we go and why should I be influenced by what somebody might do.
And we all know that the math is very important here because having the treaty in force isn’t just about us, although we are the first domino that could cause everybody to go. So I think it is very important. We’ve also made clear to our allies and friends who are deeply interested in our ratification of CTBT because they’ve already been there and done that that this cannot be about international pressure. This cannot be about international influence.
So we’ve kind of taken that whole issue off the table. This has to be about us. It has to be about our national security. It has to be about the safety and security and reliability of the stockpile. It has to be a science-based conversation. And it needs to be a less politicized, more bipartisan conversation. If we can keep our focus on those elements, I think we’ll be fine.
We have lots of people that want to help influence us, lots of parliaments and lots of heads of state that want us to go and do it and want to let the American people know that they want us to do it. And I remind them that they don’t vote here, although that may be something we need to think about. (Laughter.) Only kidding.
But this is about the American people and the Senate and the administration making the case. And I think that those are the grounds under which ratification will be perfected and that is where we need to go. But I take your point that this is – there is something fundamentally more important than just one more person ratifying because we do have tremendous influence and sway on the other states that would ratify and then bring the treaty into force.
MR. KIMBALL: Okay, yes, again in the rear, towards the window, Fredi. Is that Anne? Yes?
Q: Thank you. Hi. Thank you very much for your very encouraging remarks. It’s Anne Penketh from BASIC.
MS. TAUSCHER: Yes, Anne, good to see you again.
Q: And on the CTBT, would you expect President Obama to get personally involved in the CTBT ratification process as he did in START, and from what you just said about the parliaments, when he goes to Europe in the next week or so, would you expect him to talk about the CTBT and nuclear issues?
MS. TAUSCHER: I don’t expect him to talk about it when he’s in Deauville, for example, next week or the week after. But you know, I am not in control of his conversations when they’re one-to-one with heads of state. But I will tell you that the president was enormously engaged and personally very, very impactful in the New START debate. And frankly, we couldn’t have done it without the president, the vice president, Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates.
So it was very, very important that we keep that going. The president, when he makes the case, is so unambiguous and so very, very powerful that I expect that he will be part of this. But once again, the president is so busy. We can’t depend on the fact that he is going to be the guy that’s going to carry us over the finish line.
So there are many people on this team, people in the White House, people in the State Department and we will – and people in the Energy Department, other places. And we will make this narrative as short and concise and understandable as it needs to be for the general public and for people that are interested in the debate and as opaque and complicated as it has to be for people that are scientists and others that really understand this.
And so that’s the tension point. The tension point is to get it in the sweet spot where we can take it to the people in an understandable way, knowing that it is something that is enormously complicated. If you took – you know, I represented the 10th congressional district in California. Some of the smartest people in the world, not because they elected me seven times – that’s just a coincidence. (Laughter.)
But they did work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They did work at Sandia, California, and the largest number of graduates from the University of California at Berkeley who liked the sun but didn’t go to school in the sun came to my district to live. So 65,000 of them – so really smart people and I think if you just took a bunch of them that weren’t necessarily involved in the labs and asked them whether the United States had ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty or not, they’d probably say, of course.
I think most Americans think we did. They take the fact that we have an executive order and we haven’t tested for nearly 20 years to be the law and it’s not. And they don’t understand what the impact of our ratification would mean on entry into force and what it means for bad guys and what it means for our ability to hold people accountable.
And that’s the case we have to make. We have to do it on many different levels and many different levels of sophistication. But in the end, I’m sure the president will be involved because he is the best messenger we have.
MR. KIMBALL: Undersecretary Tauscher, if I could just ask you to – let me redirect that question a little bit as a way of having you address what you mean by the process of engaging the Senate.
And if you could just go back to the New START Treaty and just remind us what are the three, four, five key things that were required to get the Senate to the point where 71 votes are possible because we keep getting questions at the Arms Control Association about when the test ban treaty will come up about, okay, how many votes do you have, when do you think the vote is going to be. And I honestly have to say, well, I don’t know because the work has not begun. So if you could just remind us?
MS. TAUSCHER: Sure.
MR. KIMBALL: I mean, what are some of the things from a government perspective that have to be done in order to get a complex treaty through the United States Senate?
MS. TAUSCHER: Sure. First of all, you have to deal with the fact that New START was harder than we expected. And if anybody was paying attention during December when during the most unlikely and most politicized time of the calendar year in that Congress, what we were actually, you know, able to debate because the president kept making sure that of the basket of issues that had to be completed by the end of that year, that New START was always in the mix. And that’s a key component to where we need to be.
He did that because he believed in it and because he – we had I think done a very good job of negotiating it, but also because it was good for us for national security reasons, good for follow-up on his Prague speech. But he could also make the case for it. But New START didn’t have the kind of checkered career that CTBT does. And there weren’t a lot of people that already have a voting record saying, I’ve already said no once.
So I think the key component right now is to get the facts out, and the way to do that is by having, frankly, others speak for us and having the National Academy – their study come out and then have others on the outside come out and talk – certainly people like Henry Kissinger and George Shultz and Sam Nunn, Steve Hadley and others that are out there working on many of these issues on a track two basis.
It’s important to have folks that are not politically affiliated directly, have been in previous administrations but aren’t now carrying a D or an R, out there speaking for why they think this is important. And so part of this is to make the case on facts, not on politics, and not make the old case or rebut the old case. There’s so much different about what happened in 1999 for so many reasons. But for many people, we have to take that and put it aside.
So there does have to be perhaps a conversation where you settle what happened in ’99 and push it aside and then bring people forward. And so as we’ve said, it’s the conversation about stockpile stewardship. It’s why science-based stockpile stewardship delivers for us what we need and what it has done to enhance our predictability and being able to certify the reliability and safety of the stockpile every year. The investments the president has made, both in the science and in the human capital and in the infrastructure, and talk about what the benefits of a CTBT ratification are, the fact that we have lived for all these years with the effective CTBT without any of the benefits.
So we’ve lived under the strictures of CTBT voluntarily but we have none of the benefits. We can’t hold people accountable. We can’t do on-site inspections and our rhetoric doesn’t really provide us with the ability to whack people when we need to if they step out of line because the treaty is in force. So I think we have a good argument. We have to make that case.
A number of the different things we did for New START was not only the briefings of staff and members. We had many, many briefings. I think that, you know, there were hundreds of briefings that we had both during the time of the negotiations and Senator Kyl and Senator Feinstein and a few others came actually to Geneva to be observers during the negotiations for New START.
So that’s part of it. It’s the Hill campaign of having senators, both those that have voted on it in the past and those that have not – get them up to speed on what exactly it does and why it does it – keep the staff going.
Hearings are very, very important, something missing from the 1999 debate. We need public hearings. We need to have a lot of them on the Hill and off. And then it’s engaging what we call influencers – editorial boards and other people that are considered to be influential in these debates but not necessarily partisan and have them speak out and kind of build that list.
In the New START debate, we had very, very few people that came forward with any substantive problems with the treaty. Now, you know, it was a modest treaty and that I guess is something you can criticize. But it was still better than nothing and so I think in the end we didn’t really have any serious criticism about it and most of the editorials, even in red states with senators that were out there saying they would never vote for it, were positive.
So I think that that’s part of the debate too. And engaging beyond just the intellectual elite, which I think is important to get because they do drive these debates and certainly people that are very informed by these issues, like all of you, is important. So it’s important for you to reach into your rolodex and write emails to people and tell them why you think it’s important.
Ask them to write their senators and remember who lives in a red state or who lives in a blue state and really push them to engage because in the end it’s going to be people demanding that there be a vote on something that they want and the president making the political decision that it’s the time to go and then being sure we can win.
And it’s not until the day of the vote or perhaps minutes before the vote that you actually know if you can actually win. And you know, very often these debates are not done in a vacuum where this is the only thing that’s being talked about. Very often these kind of issues are part of an amalgam of other things that are happening.
And so you have to weigh whether this is going to be part of the trade space and whether it is, you know, really part of what you want and whether – what you’re willing to trade for it. And those are the kinds of negotiations that the White House is very good at.
MR. KIMBALL: Well, thank you for that –
MS. TAUSCHER: My pleasure.
MR. KIMBALL: – that very important answer, and I want to thank you for coming once again to address us on the test ban treaty and to update us on the Prague agenda. Please join me, everybody, in thanking Ellen Tauscher. (Applause.)
MS. TAUSCHER: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you.
MR. KIMBALL: All right, we are going to take about a three- or four-minute break while we reshuffle the deck chairs on our ship and begin the second panel. Thank you.
(END) Back to top
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION
REDUCING THE NUCLEAR DANGER: NEXT STEPS ON THE TEST BAN TREATY AND NUCLEAR ARMS REDUCTIONS
PANEL 2: PROSPECTS FOR US-NATO-RUSSIAN NUCLEAR REDUCTIONS
PROGRAM DIRECTOR, FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY
HEINRICH BÖLL FOUNDATION
DIRECTOR, ARMS CONTROL INITIATIVE,
THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AND SECURITY STUDIES,
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011
Federal News Service
SEBASTIAN GRAEFE: Welcome to the second panel discussion this afternoon here at the Carnegie Endowment.
My name is Sebastian Graefe. I’m the program director for foreign and security policy with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is one of the German political foundations with offices here in D.C. And I think now I understand what Senator Casey this morning meant when he said that either the session before or after lunch is the most difficult one. So thanks for joining us again here.
Before introducing the panel here, I just want to thank the Arms Control Association team for their cooperation. I want to mirror the warm words from Daryl this morning. It’s a great pleasure, a great experience to work with you on these topics.
And actually, we have been working on those issues already for quite a long time, and Daryl pointed out the great conference last November here in this very same room on the New START Treaty. And I’m personally looking forward to future activities with you.
Having mentioned our joint project, I want to mention also one product produced by the Heinrich Böll Foundation itself. I think we ran out of copies outside already, but you can still get electronic copies on our website, boll.org. It’s a publication we just launched called “The Myth of Nuclear Power.”
Probably not surprising for you, as a German foundation we are – in this publication we are talking about the economics of nuclear power, but we also combine it with security questions. And probably you know, Henry Sokolski. He contributed the security part to this publication. I highly recommend you to take a look at it.
Welcome to this panel here, where we are going to discuss further – well, progress for further steps on nuclear arms reduction. I think we have great speakers here this afternoon – to my left Steve Pifer, and to my right Catherine Kelleher. And both are great experts.
Steve directs the Arms Control Initiative just next door at Brookings. And Catherine is College Park Professor at the University of Maryland just outside – well, actually still inside the beltway. Both served for the U.S. – for several U.S. administrations in various positions, including the National Security Council. Steve used to work for the State Department, Catherine for the Pentagon.
Just yesterday I was happy to also join the launch of a new publication Steve just wrote on the – on his and others’ efforts in the early ’90s to remove the nuclear arsenal in Ukraine. I think there are also copies outside.
And when I looked at Catherine’s résumé I was, of course, as a German, quite happy to see that you were also director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin for a couple of years at the end of the ’90s.
But I think now I am about to break an unwritten law here in D.C., because I think you should not assault your audience, but in your résumé I also read that you are the first president of the Women in International Security. And I think also this room is evidence that we can have much more women actually in these security debates. And I think your efforts in this regard are really great, to support more women in those policy debates.
So, let me know turn to Steve, who should start the discussion. I asked him to talk about the prospects for next steps on strategic and tactical nuclear weapons reduction. And I also would like to know from him how the NATO Deterrence and Defense Review plays into that.
STEVEN PIFER: Thank you very much. And let me also thank the Arms Control Association for inviting me today. What I’m going to talk about would be next steps on U.S.-Russia and NATO nuclear reductions in the aftermath of the New START Treaty, which entered into force about three months ago.
And I’ll begin by describing, I think, the American position, which is the United States is ready to proceed to a next step already back in April of 2010 when signing the New START Treaty. The president stated that he would like to move on to another step that would include non-strategic nuclear weapons but also non-deployed strategic warheads.
And after what was, I think, a more difficult ratification debate than they expected, the administration has – the bureaucracy has turned its attention now to beginning to do its homework for that next round.
So, for example, the interagency process began working in February. They stood up a non-strategic nuclear weapons group. There is a new working group on verification. So they’re beginning to do their homework.
And then the White House is also beginning to work out guidance on nuclear employment policy, which will go to the military and lead to a judgment by the military as to, you know, what level of nuclear weapons might be required to support that policy.
When you look at the Russian side, I think the position is not no, but it seems to be, right now, not yet. The Russians articulate a litany of issues that they would like to see addressed either in conjunction with or, some suggest, even before they move on to further reductions of nuclear forces.
And those issues include missile defense. They include long-range conventional strike weapons, which some Russian analysts fear could in fact substitute for nuclear weapons. It includes conventional forces in Europe and the issue of weaponization in space.
I think when you look at Russian commentary, it does seem that missile defense here is the key, and that will be an issue that I know Catherine is going to address in more detail. But the question is, if you could get progress in that area, would that begin to open up the space for a new nuclear negotiation?
And part of this, I think, is going to be persuading the Russians to move from a sequential approach to the idea that these issues ought to be addressed in parallel. Realistically speaking, the next arms control treaty is not going to be a 10-month affair; it’s probably going to be a two- or three-year negotiation.
And that does give the Russians time to see how other issues develop. If, at the end of the day, they’re unhappy about some other question, they always have the option to hold up conclusion of the arms reduction agreement, but that shouldn’t be a reason to start or to delay the start of a next negotiation.
Now, if and when negotiations begin, I think several questions come up. You know, first of all, does the United States go for deeper gradual reductions? And I think it would not be hard, and I think most of the people in this room could probably design a stable U.S.-Russian nuclear balance at either a thousand or even 500 total nuclear warheads.
But I suspect you’re going to see a much more incremental approach. First of all, if you look at Russian commentary, I think it’s pretty clear the Russians don’t want to go too far too fast in cutting nuclear weapons, in part because there’s a prestige factor here.
You know, for Russia, being a nuclear superpower has political importance in the sense that it’s one of Moscow’s last claims to superpower status. And I think they don’t want to go too far too fast in terms of reductions without taking account of third country forces, but also with a better idea of what’s going to happen on missile defense.
I suspect the U.S. military would probably prefer a more gradual approach. And one of the lessons of the debate over New START I think last year is that the Senate is going to look for a more incremental approach rather than a radical reduction. So my expectation is the next step is probably incremental.
Now, if you do that, you know, what might you do in terms of cutting the strategic forces? If you look at deployed strategic warheads, I would suggest 1,000, not just because that’s a nice round number but I think in conversations I’ve had over the last couple of years with Russians, that seems to be kind of the bottom number that they’re comfortable talking about before they get really concerned about third countries and before they really begin to press hard on the question of missile defense.
I think a thousand is an easily doable number. It still would allow for an American deterrent that would be survivable, robust and agile, and would still allow the United States to preserve a triad.
Now, looking at reductions, I think it’s pretty clear the U.S. military plans to use all of the space allowed by New START. The United States will go down to 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, and heavy bombers.
The Russians are in a different situation, in part because they have a lot of aging systems. And over the last eight to 10 years, they have actually made relatively modest investments in procuring new ballistic missiles.
So most analysts expect the Russians will actually go through 1,550 deployed warheads and keep going down. Some Russian analysts even suggest they may go down to 1,000 to 1,100. And then Moscow is going to have to face the question, does it make a decision then to build back up?
And I think one of the worrisome discussions taking place in Moscow now is, would a heavy ICBM, or a successor to the SS-18, be a way to quickly build back up to 1,550? I don’t think a new Russian heavy ICBM would be good, in terms of our traditional concerns about the threat to our ICBMs and silos. It’s also not good, I think, in stability terms in terms of the Russians putting so many warheads on a relatively small number of launchers.
So the question is, are there ways to, you know, help abort that decision in Moscow? Again, I think an American push to take the number down below 1,550 would help.
A suggestion that was offered by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov about a month ago was that the United States might even consider stating that, as a matter of policy, it would go down below 1,550 down to a level of 1,300, which was supposedly the absolutely bottom line from the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, provided the Russians did not build back up above 1,300. But part of that is looking at ways to discourage Russians from making a decision to revive an SS-18 modernization.
In terms of deployed strategic delivery vehicles, the Russians are likely to go below 500 under New START, so I think it can be expected that in a follow-on negotiation, the Russians will try to bring the level of 700 down because initially it would apply only to the United States. On the American side, I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of enthusiasm for that, but at the end probably somebody needs to accept it in the context of an overall treaty.
The next question would be, how do you handle non-strategic nuclear weapons? And, as I said, the administration wants to get into that, and they want to get into that in the next negotiation. And I think it’s going to be a tough issue for several reasons.
First of all, there’s a significant numerical superiority. When you look at Russian forces and you count the – you don’t count the junk, probably Russia has about 2,000 deliverable non-strategic nuclear weapons to about 500 on the U.S. side. So, dealing with that kind of disparity is not going to be easy.
Second, the Russians see non-strategic nuclear weapons as an important offset for what they regard as significant conventional force disadvantages vis-à-vis NATO and, I believe more importantly, vis-à-vis China. And that’s simply adopting NATO policy from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s is that nuclear weapons are a way to offset conventional inferiorities.
Third, I think there is an asymmetry of interests between how NATO looks at nuclear weapons and the Russians do. American nuclear weapons in Europe – you know, when you talk to senior American military officials, they basically say these things have virtually no military utility. Their value is seen almost entirely in symbolic terms, as a symbol of the American link to European security.
The Russians, on the other hand, I think do attach more military significance to non-strategic weapons, so that a symmetry of interests may complicate the negotiation. And then there’s also – and this will be a complicating factor, although it could also be helpful in the end.
There is the NATO angle, which is the United States, while it’s beginning to prepare for a possible negotiation with Russia that would address non-strategic nuclear weapons, it has also initiated a new process with its NATO partners that’s a Deterrence and Defense Posture Review that’s looking at an array of questions, including what should NATO’s force posture be? And it’s doing that in a context where if you look at NATO, there really is a spectrum of uses. There really is no NATO position per se but a lot of different country views.
I think even if one accepted the Russian rationale that Russia probably requires more non-strategic nuclear weapons than the United States does because Russia has a very different geopolitical situation – you know, we have Canada and Mexico, they have China; we have the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean – but I think even if you accept that position, it’s very difficult to understand the current number of weapons the Russians have.
And I posed this question a couple of times to former Russian generals: How many tactical nuclear weapons would you drop on the Chinese Army invading in the Far East before you would go to the strategic level? And I suspect that number would be significantly below 2,000.
And I think that’s actually a point that, you know – (laughter) – this is a point where I think actually European allies, I mean, in conversations as this negotiation hopefully gets going, is what people really ought to be hammering – I mean, I think European leaders, when they talk to people like President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, ought to just say, look, this number really is not reasonable. There’s no basis for it.
In terms of getting into that discussion, I think a couple of principles are likely to emerge, although I’m not sure that the U.S. interagency process has yet come to specifics. One is I think you’re probably going to be talking about limits on weapons – I’m sorry, warheads and bombs, not on delivery systems, because most of the delivery systems have primarily conventional roles. I don’t think either the American or the Russian air forces are prepared to limit tactical fighter aircraft in its negotiation.
Second, I would think there will probably be a preference for global limits versus a regional limit because these weapons are very transportable. There’s also, I think, for the United States – which needs to take a broader look than NATO on this – there’s a world angle here, which is that the United States needs to manage its negotiation in a way with Russia, and also the discussions in the consultations with the Europeans, in a way that also doesn’t alarm Asian allies. Certainly Asia does not want to see a regional limitation regime in Europe that pushes nuclear weapons to the east of the Urals into Asia. And so, the United States will keep that in mind.
As National Security Advisor Donilon suggested about a month and a half ago, the process might begin with some transparency and some confidence-building measures. I think there are an array of possibilities in that area. There are also a number of unilateral steps going back to the 1991, 1992 Presidential Nuclear Initiatives, but one complication with those factors is they’re probably going to, in most cases, fall more heavily on the United States. And ultimately I think the preferable way is to get these into a negotiation.
Another question is what do you do about non-deployed strategic warheads? The Russians certainly are going to push the limit of those because they see those as an area of American advantage. And this is as the sides reduce under New START, the United States will download all of its ICBMs and most, if not all, of its submarine launch ballistic missiles, and store those warheads, which will give the United States the capability, if the Russians were to withdraw from the treaty, to put warheads back on missiles and go beyond the limits in New START.
The Russians at this point do not appear to have that capability because they seem to be removing missiles, but the missiles that they retain, they’re keeping full warhead sets. So I suspect the Russians are going to push to address that, and the administration has already said that it is prepared, in fact, to get into that.
Another question would be, is it now time for a single limit that would cover all nuclear weapons – deployed strategic warheads, non-deployed strategic warheads, and non-strategic nuclear weapons, put them all under a single limit. And maybe you could combine that with a sub-limit.
A concept I’ve suggested in the past would be a total limit on each side of 2,500 total nuclear weapons, with a sub-ceiling of 1,000 deployed strategic warheads. And what that would do is perhaps create the possibility to offset the U.S. advantage in non-deployed strategic warheads against the Russian advantage in non-strategic nuclear weapons. And you might be able to get some negotiating leverage in that mechanism.
And my sense is the U.S. government, as it looks at these questions, is actually leaning more towards that kind of approach as opposed to a negotiated approach that would have a discrete negotiation just on non-strategic nuclear weapons.
I think in the interest of time, I’ll skip verification challenges other than to say that if you start talking about limits on non-deployed weapons and on non-strategic weapons, your verification challenge is to become much more difficult because you’re not going to be counting just warheads that are associated with large missiles and large known silos and on submarines. You’re going to have to talk about things like going into storage bunkers. And it’s going to raise questions that are not necessarily insurmountable, but it’s going to be new territory for both sides’ militaries.
Just talking about what my goal for the next round would be, it would be aimed for a limit of about 2,500 total weapons on each side, a thousand deployed strategic warheads, and perhaps 550 to 600 deployed strategic delivery vehicles.
You would have an intrusive – a more intrusive inspection regime under this agreement than you would have under New START, but it would not be a perfect regime. There would be significantly less confidence in your ability to monitor limits on non-deployed warheads, non-strategic weapons, the ability to monitor deployed strategic warheads.
When I tossed these numbers out to a group a few months ago, they kind of said, gosh, it’s kind of hard to get excited over 2,500. That’s not very ambitious. And I guess I can accept that criticism, but I would make a couple of points in its defense.
First of all, for the first time under this regime you would be talking about all nuclear weapons. Second, this proposal would represent about a 50-percent cut in the U.S. arsenal compared to where it was in September of 2009, and probably about a 65 to 70 percent cut in the Russian arsenal. And I think this is probably, again, as far as you might be able to go in one more round of negotiation that would be just the United States and Russia.
I would go on to suggest that perhaps if you could get this negotiation done by 2014, complete that treaty, that would then position the United States and Russia, at the 2015 NPT Review Conference to begin to say, OK, it’s now time to expand the nuclear reductions process and bring in some other countries, beginning with Britain, France and China.
Just a last question. I would hope that negotiations would begin sooner rather than later, but I’m not sure when this is going to happen. And part of this is because it’s hard to see where the impulse comes from.
The Russians right now are not pushing for the negotiations. There doesn’t seem to be much of a push coming from Congress. And I think while some NATO countries would like to see negotiations sooner rather than later, NATO does not yet have a consensus view. I mean, there’s a spectrum of views in NATO on this question.
And so, I guess one of the last questions would be is, is the president prepared to push to make this happen? And that probably gets into issues of time and bandwidth in terms of other things that he has to deal with. So this may be one way where outsiders may be helpful in terms of trying to give the process a push and getting this negotiation underway sooner rather than later.
Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. GRAEFE: Thank you. Thank you, Steve. I’m not only impressed by your – the content of your presentation but also by your notes, actually. I mean, I advise the audience to take a look at his notes. It looks like a mathematical problem. (Laughter.)
MR. PIFER: It’s extremely big print so I can read it. (Laughter.)
MR. GRAEFE: But let me now turn to Catherine. I know Ellen Tauscher and also Steve already mentioned the discussion about missile defense cooperation between NATO and Russia. Could you give us an update on that discussion?
CATHERINE KELLEHER: I think I’ll start where Steve left off and say that as far as missile defense is concerned, it’s not a topic I ever expected to speak warmly about from this platform.
But there seems to be a convergence of both opportunity and challenge over the next, I would say, six to seven months where in fact we may find that this is one area in which there is at least the possibility of progress towards an agreement that would lead to a different aspect of the reset than perhaps the president outlined, but one that I think might lead to some very interesting cooperation between Russia, European states and the United States, at levels and with intentions that haven’t been seen before.
It is all too possible that electoral politics, particularly in Russia and the United States, will in fact mean that the opportunity is really not a real one, that very quickly, as we see both in Moscow and in Washington, the realities of the 2012 campaign season are well under way. And this might then turn out to be a poison chalice that nobody wants to go near.
But let me at least talk about what seems to be an interesting confluence of opportunity and challenge. This comes really out of the NATO discussions at the end of last year. You may have missed some of it in the shadow thrown by the new Strategic Concept – thin but definitely definable – and really, I think, also out of what I hardly need to explain to this crowd, is not an interruption of the Bush European missile defense plans but a reworking under the European Phased Adaptive Approach, which changes both the character and the deployment footprints to a new Obama scheme.
We’re just about to enter Phase 2 with an agreement that was concluded last week with Romania about stationing and deployment, and began really last spring and fall with the deployment of an Aegis-class vessel into the Mediterranean, the Monterey.
What we are basically doing is conducting a very interesting public/private conversation, particularly with the Russians – but not only with the Russians, also with many European states – about how this phased approach, this Phased Adaptive Approach, is really going to work out.
We’re doing it in terms of the U.S. in three bilateral channels that are being worked simultaneously and, I’m happy to say, as far as I can view from the outside, in very good coordination and in one multilateral venue, which is the NATO-Russia Council, which I’ll talk about a little bit later on.
But those in the U.S. really have to do with the Jim Miller, Antonov discussions. Ellen Tauscher is meeting with Ryabkov, and Admiral Mullen is meeting less frequently with Makarov. And it will in fact be these sets of discussions about how we go forward with the cooperation that we all promised to one another in and around the NATO summit last fall. Embedded in the final communiqué is a promise of a cooperative solution to the question of missile defense.
In the NATO-Russia Council we have the self-proclaimed but also occasionally anointed czar, Dmitry Rogozin, who is Mr. Medvedev’s pick to, in fact, run the missile defense side, and Ivo Daalder, ably assisted by Bob Bell.
So that’s sort of the cast of characters that are talking about this issue. We also are having, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, virtual volleys of press releases and speeches that have been going on particularly as the negotiations season has wound up. We had, I think, four meetings on this topic alone last week in various locations in Europe.
And all of this is because the two presidents at least have promised to take up this issue, the whole question of cooperation on the sidelines of another meeting that is taking place in Deauville at the end of this month. And this is before someplace that we’ll meet, the NATO-Russia Council, that will have a meeting in early June to, in fact, hear a report on initial progress towards a cooperative solution in this outcome.
So, what is it that’s being discussed? Part of it – and part of this has to do with more the public campaign than the one that is going on behind the scenes – is a lot of, what shall we say, dreaming aloud in some cases, making domestic political points in others, yet in a third floating balloons that are more or less trial, as to what the nature of the system that will emerge from all of this really is.
The Russians, and particularly Medvedev, started just after the NATO summit saying this was going to be an integrated system. We were going to all play together nicely. And we were going to have total coordination. The response back was – from the United States and from a number of the NATO allies was essentially, that’s not what we said and that’s not what we’ve agreed to.
This will be two systems: a NATO system in Europe, which has to do with theater missile defense and short-range missile defense; and a Russian system already embodied in the Galosh system, which is, as you know, equipped with nuclear warheads still, that rings Moscow.
And these two systems will in fact exist in parallel. So what we are talking about is looking at ways in which we could in fact share different procedures, perhaps share some information that would be helpful in the operation of these two systems, and through that exercise, that we would be able to reach a point where perhaps we would gain sufficient trust and confidence in one another’s system to move forward. And that is, I think, as far as I can tell – again, from the outside – is the view that has prevailed.
So, although there are still echoes, particularly from the Russian side, of this earlier dream of an integrated system, particularly a system which might in fact take over sectoral responsibilities, which on any given day are defined differently but most often have to do with Russia somehow assuming responsibility for Northern Europe, and to the delight of the Balts, particularly the defense of the Baltic territories as well as Russian territory against the occasional intruding rogue missile.
You can imagine how delighted the Balts were who immediately caused to come from the secretary general – himself very interested in this issue – the definition that the NATO will take care of the defense of NATO territory and Russia will take care of the defense of Russian territory. So you will occasionally hear sectoral floating in and floating out. Pay no mind. That one is off the table too.
But what is being discussed is a set of rather interesting and somewhat reminiscence of earlier times, transparency, joint exercises, joint information sharing, and perhaps even early warning cooperation that I think would actually form a fairly interesting basis on which cooperation could go forward.
On transparency, it would be a question of keeping both sides abreast – here I mean both sides, NATO and Russia, keeping abreast of precisely what’s happening in terms of deployments, and also the production of new systems.
In addition to the Galosh of course, the Russians have the S-300, not exactly the newest item on the shelf, but certainly the S-400 now beginning to come out, and the dream, the S-500, all of which are important systems to keep track of.
On the U.S. side, we have Aegis itself, a bit of a problem for the Navy that never expected quite this much success for that system. It’s in demand all over the world, and which is going to exist in both a sea-based and a land-based version, an update of an existing missile and then two versions of yet another missile, not yet deployed, not yet even tested, in some cases.
But, anyway, a lot to talk about, and what the capabilities are, and why it is that we can in fact say, on the basis of capability analysis, that we are not threatening the Russian strategic force from European bases, on the NATO side at least.
The major question is, that’s really not what this is about, although that’s what one hears. It’s really, I think, a combination, and it’s summed up in two battles that are also going on in public, or semi-public. One is what I would say the negotiating positions that both sides have taken in these various channels about what will be required even to get to the level of transparency, exercise cooperation, joint early warning, data exchange that’s foreseen.
The U.S. is, in fact, insisting, as they have insisted at earlier points, that there has to be a cooperation agreement that allows the transmission of scientific and technological data to the Russians.
The Russians in return, perhaps upping the ante more than slightly, said, and, oh, by the way, we’’d very much like legal guarantees perhaps in the form of a treaty or something else that would say that particularly in Phase 4 of the Phased Adaptive Approach, when in fact we foresee having intercontinental ballistic missiles defense, would in fact not result in any kind of scheme that would lead or endanger – raise the risk to Russian strategic forces – essentially guarantee against targeting but also break out from the existing program that the United States has put on the table.
We also have what might be called rather amusing, if they weren’t so painful, protocol politics that are taking place both in the Duma and in the Senate and Republican letters about not doing things we’re already doing, and other good things that you’ve seen come out in the last couple of weeks.
So, there’s a lot to be said about what in fact is happening. I think the major question is, what would be the benefit if we went ahead with, for example, the German invitation to have yet another – this would be the ninth exercise of joint missile defense since 2002.
They only stopped at the time when we all stopped everything with regard to Georgia in 2008. So we’ve had tabletop exercises. We’ve had simulations. There’s even, believe it or not, a plan for a live fire exercise at some point. We’ll see if we get there. But there are, in other words, a plan of exercises.
I think here – and now I’d like to cycle back, if I could, to the NATO-Russia Council idea because that is a new wedge in this process. Remember, Phase 3 is supposed to hit around 2015, and Phase 4, depending on whose crystal ball you like better, is 2018 or 2020 in terms of the Phased Adaptive Approach timetable.
I think that the NATO-Russia discussion is, in some ways, an interesting barometer to watch, but it also represents perhaps the first time that we’ve had such direct involvement by the NATO states in this discussion altogether.
Most of them are really not prepared for it, not prepared to take up some of the arcana that we all know and love about missile defense and what’s involved and what’s not involved. But there is much more understanding, I think, than certainly existed three years ago or at the time of the Bush third site proposal.
And so that is turning out to be the excuse to have some discussions about whether missile defense might be the new form of at least something that used to be called deterrence or something like that, which is one discussion that’s going on right now. Maybe in the 21st century we’ve changed the requirements for deterrence, and certainly those of reassurance.
So we’re really in a state, it seems to me, where, as I said, there’s an opportunity and certainly some enthusiasm to move ahead in this area. There are a number of non-governmental organizations including one that I’m involved in, a Carnegie commission, which is very much involved with pushing the idea that this is a vehicle for engagement of all three – Russia, Europe and the United States – in an issue of some concern where there can be demonstrated benefits from cooperation.
But we’re not there yet. And as we go forward, certainly to Deauville, where there will be this side discussion on missile defense and the NATO-Russia meeting in June, you can imagine that there will be yet more volleys in the press, meetings semi-public, and a lot of serious head-scratching about what steps we take next. So, stay tuned. (Applause.)
MR. GRAEFE: Thank you, Catherine.
Before I’m going to open up for questions from your side, I want to use my position as moderator to ask a question which is related to my job and my background as someone working with a European institution, because I guess you are going to ask questions more related to the role of the U.S. in these discussions.
Steve and Catherine, I would like to know how actually European allies, especially also Germany, can help in these negotiations. You’re aware of Foreign Minister Westerwelle’s initiative to withdraw the remaining tactical nukes in Germany. I mean, I would like to know, was this helpful at all? And where do you see the European partners in that whole discussion? A question to you both actually.
MR. PIFER: Well, let me say, no, I think there is a very interesting discussion that started up maybe about a year and a half, two years ago in Europe on the nuclear weapons question, and it’s now reflected – and it’s been channeled into this NATO Deterrence and Defense Posture Review. And right now it’s just premature to say there’s a NATO position. I think you can define a spectrum.
In the fall – and this is an oversimplification, and I state that at the outset, but, you know, the debate was seen framed by a French position on one side, which was very concerned with regards to considering changes in either NATO declaratory policy or NATO nuclear posture, and on the other side by Germany, which was seen as looking towards, you know, pushing for perhaps a radical reconsideration up to and including removal of American nuclear weapons from Europe.
And then I think you could take the allies and sprinkle them between those two. I would put the Baltic States and Central Europe a little bit closer to the French position. I think Benelux, Norway, Denmark were probably more sympathetic to the German position and others were somewhere in between.
The strategic concept was, I think, a success in the sense that it found a solution that everybody could sign up to, but it did it, I think, by then pushing those issues off into the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review. So, over the course of the coming months there may be, I think, a more difficult discussion within NATO on this.
And what you see when you – I mean, talking to people that are in Washington, I think there’s sympathy for the range of viewpoints. I mean, the Washington interagency has a spectrum of views, just as you have in NATO.
I think there’s some people who feel that, you know, the American nuclear commitment to Europe probably requires some presence of nuclear weapons in Europe, although in discussions I had in March with a number of people in the administration, I also found a lot of people in the administration saying that they could conceive of a possible negotiation outcome in which there would be no American nuclear weapons in Europe, but they said it was very condition-dependent on that and it depended on, you know, what the rest of the agreement looked like.
They also made a couple other points. They were very, I think, sympathetic to as this process is managed, it needs to be managed in a way that the Central European states, those states that joined NATO since 1999, a number of whom I think joined in large part because they wanted that nuclear guarantee that you have to leave them reassured that the NATO commitment is there.
There’s also a second point, which gets to – which I alluded to. When the United States thinks about its nuclear policy in Europe, it also has to think about what are the implications then for nuclear policy in Asia and the Middle East? And so that’s maybe a broader perspective. But, again, I think right now you have a range of views on both sides.
I guess the one thing I think Europe can, and I hope would do, you know, once this discussion becomes more focused, is, again, there are a lot of European leaders who have direct channels to President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin, and those conversations ought to be, I think, beginning to raise this question and say, look, you know, you can’t just say, not now, not now.
You know, with the numbers of non-strategic weapons, it’s time to be getting a serious dialogue on this and get into a negotiation. I think pushing on that subject would be very helpful.
MR. GRAEFE: OK, Catherine, would you like to take that?
MS. KELLEHER: I think there’s – as I said, there’s a European role in this discussion so far that’s very different from what the role has been in the past. And it’s something that I think should be taken seriously. Not every country has. But certainly I think the French alone have moved a number of notches along in their understanding both of what’s expected of them and in fact the refining of their own position as to what they see is required.
I think the more important question – and this is something that I think really – because it was taken as a test particularly of U.S. intentions – I think the idea of greater transparency for everybody, more information about what’s going to happen and what’s been looked at is really something that has met a welcome ear in populations that aren’t particularly interested in this area at all, and where anybody who comes out for defense expertise tends to lose the next election, or something at least to cause some difficulty.
So, I think in that sense there has been a mutually beneficial effect. I think the real question will be, if you set up something like a data fusion center, which is what we’re supposed to call it these days, not data exchange, but a data fusion center, we are in fact going to have, participating in those data fusion centers, at least all of the present members of NATO. And the question is, and then what?
We have a number of oldie, somewhat worn out or at least thought to be old-fashioned schemes that already exist, like the Cooperative Airspace Initiative, or even, may I mention it, the Open Skies program, where we do have data exchanges and we have ways in which we can talk to one another.
They even either have a treaty basis or there’s an agreement, and it’s a question as to how we perhaps knit together something that might be called a set of reinforcing, confidence-building measures that would also promote the same kind of transparency and trust that we’ve been looking for.
And there I think one could find a very helpful role on the part, say – the Poles in particular have been pushing the Cooperative Airspace Initiative, as have the Finns, from a different perspective. Just saying what it is that they can contribute or they in fact are willing to pay for. And I think both of those things would make success with the Congress much more probable.
MR. GRAEFE: Thank you, Catherine. And I guess the European diplomats among you took notice of what both our panelists just said and will send cables. (Laughter.)
And now I open it up to you. Please identify yourself, as in the morning session. Daryl, if you’ll go first.
Q: Daryl Kimball. Thank you very much. Thank you, Steve and Catherine, for your great presentations. I learned a lot listening to you.
There are two questions that I want to put to each of you that I think get to – you touched upon, Steve, one of them – which is, if you could try to summarize the nature of the Russian concern about deeper offensive reductions absent some sort of understanding or framework regarding strategic missile defenses out in the future.
As we’ve all heard, seeing the statements from the Russians over the years, I mean, sometimes it seems to be motivated, these stated concerns, to send messages to those inside Russia. But at the same time, I can see, if you look at the math, if you look at how many Russian launchers there are versus how many potential interceptors there might be, I can see how the math might make some Russian military planners worried.
So, if you could each take a stab at just trying to summarize – and I know there’s a range of views – I mean, what the nature of that Russian concern is, and specifically why, Steve, you say reductions on both sides to about a thousand deployed offensive warheads could probably be achieved without this arrangement on missile defense, that would be very helpful. Thank you.
MR. GRAEFE: OK, I think we’ll take two more questions. I saw hands up somewhere in the back. Yes?
Q: Robert Gard. The Russian concern over the missile defense issue – I’m a little confused because I’ve read two or three times that some Russian official has said, we now have a directable warhead that can defeat any of these so-called missile defense systems – as if to say, you know, we know how to defeat it.
And then on the other hand, they want some kind of legal instrument that says our missile defense won’t threaten their nuclear deterrent. Well, I don’t think we have any ambition to threaten their nuclear deterrent. Why don’t we give them one?
MR. GRAEFE: Very clear question.
And the last question in the first round. Here.
Q: Ward Wilson. I have a kind of a – maybe it’s an academic question.
A friend of mine seems to think that the Chinese essentially don’t believe in deterrence. They have nuclear weapons because everyone else does, but fundamentally they don’t – they’re not really on board with, say, American notions of nuclear deterrence.
And I wondered if you could review a little bit if you think there’s unanimity in Europe about beliefs about nuclear deterrence. Is everyone essentially talking about the same thing or do some people kind of have one notion and others another? Thank you.
MR. GRAEFE: Great question. I think the first one – I mean, basically all were addressed to you both, maybe the first one only to you, Steve. Maybe you’ll start.
MR. PIFER: Well, on the interconnection between offense and defense, I think the first point is, never underestimate how much credibility Russians give to American technology.
I was posted at the embassy in Moscow from 1986 to 1988, and when I got there, I mean, they were still just totally obsessed with SDI and the fear that this would put them out of the ballistic missile business.
Now, by ’87, ’88 you actually had people like Sardeis (ph) say, no, this really is rocket science; this is hard to do. But I think when the Russians look at the plans, I think the Russians assume that we are going to be dramatically more successful than may, in fact, be the case.
So, they look at the system and they look at 30 ground-based interceptors, and as I understand the Phased Adaptive Approach, the total buy is about 550 of the four blocks of missiles. And they say, that’s 530 missiles; that’s a lot – particularly when they worry about Phase 4, where the Aegis is to have some capability against ICBMs. So I think that’s part of it.
And you saw in the New START Treaty – I believe at the end of the day the Russians fell off the demand for having some mention in the treaty of at least missile defense as a reason for withdrawal from the treaty because they understood where the Phased Adaptive Approach was going to be in 2020.
And the New START Treaty will expire in 2021. They’re comfortable with that. And then in 2021, if all of a sudden the American missile defense expands in a way that they see as a threat, you know, they’re then no longer limited by the treaty.
I think it gets harder when you look at a next treaty because if you’re talking about a follow on that may go to 2025, 2030 or 2035, they don’t fully understand what American missile defenses might look like then, and that makes them then more reluctant, I think, to reduce.
The thousand number is based – just in talking to some Russian analysts who told me that they thought a thousand was about as far as Moscow could go before it would really want to have some very concrete assurances on missile defense in terms of more reductions.
And then I guess the last point is that the Russians just have a very different assessment, I think, of the ballistic missile threat from Iran, is they don’t see Iran developing a long-range missile that could reach the United States as quickly as the U.S. intelligence community – which I think is still – you know, with help they could achieve it by 2015. They don’t see that happening, you know, for – it’s a much slower assessment.
And then there’s a certain, I think, Russian paranoia which says, well, if the Americans aren’t building this for Iran, why would they spend all this money to deal with an Iranian threat that we don’t see happening for a number of years. Aha, it must be about us.
So there’s a certain amount of paranoia there but I think there also is a certain amount of real concern that American missile defenses could, at some point, threaten a portion of their strategic deterrent.
On the question – it’s interesting because I think the Russians sometimes try to have it both ways, because on the one hand they do express concern about missile defense, but also I think in messages which I believe were targeted primarily at the Russian public, they try to be reassuring.
So they do say, we have very capable ballistic missiles. We could penetrate any American missile defense. They make allusions, for example, to a maneuverable warhead and things like that. So, to some extent, there’s a certain schizophrenia there in how they talk about this issue that, at the end of the day, you may not be able to fully reconcile.
Finally, the last question on Europeans and deterrence – and this may be a question for you – I guess the way I look at it – and I think one of the challenges that NATO and the United States have to think through when they’re looking at the question of the appropriate mix between missile defense and conventional and nuclear forces in Europe is a sort of rationale that we argued for back in the 1980s, for example, when I was involved in the debate on medium-range missiles.
I’m not sure those arguments are going to have much resonance then. I mean, you don’t have a large – you know, first of all, you don’t have the Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact anymore. You don’t have a large Russian conventional force in 2007, which is the last year that Russians provided data before they suspended their participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty. They had 5,000 main battle tanks in the European part of Russia and at the same time NATO had about 12,000.
So, you don’t see that conventional imbalance. I think that many European countries, I think Germany in particular, don’t regard Russia as a threat. And that’s not a uniform view. I think countries closer to Russia have a more worried view about Russia but they don’t see the threat.
So, the sorts of arguments that I think succeeded in persuading people that we had to go through with what was a very controversial decision to deploy an intermediate-range missiles, which ultimately led to a treaty banning all intermediate-range missiles, I’m not sure those arguments would work now.
I think there’s just a different sense in Europe. And that’s going to be, I think, a struggle for NATO as it thinks through how it comes up with a policy that will be sellable not only to European and American leads but also to the public.
MS. KELLEHER: Maybe I would take a step to a more general level. I think whomever you speak to in Russia, wherever they are on the political spectrum at home, the major thing that strikes me is pervasive uncertainty about the future.
They’re not as comfortable as I would have hoped they were by this point about what they’re going to become. And I think this real debate that I think took place when oil prices were down in the comfortable $80 a barrel range, you know, what is Russia going to be, is it just going to be a provider of oil? Don’t we need to diversify the economy? Don’t we need a different set of prospects?
That debate still lurks around the edges. And whether you’re talking about the economic future or whether you’re talking about the political future, or you’re talking about specific military systems, as you part things away, at the bottom you hit uncertainty. And are we far enough along? Can we trust ourselves?
It is all of a piece, I think, with the end of the Soviet Union, which mercifully happened without many shots being fired but without really much of a directing genius saying, and this is how we move to the next step. So it’s been bumps along, and maybe we haven’t finished bumping yet, which is what many people feel.
I think on the question of what they want, I think what you’re hearing in terms of this demand, at least in the missile defense area, for a set of guarantees sounds an awful lot like the ABM Treaty, you know, and it’s not by accident, comrade – namely, they felt very much snookered by the United States over the ABM Treaty, and perhaps they were.
And the fact that the U.S. seemed without compunction and without really much in the way of a justification, just ready to get up and leave whatever final agreement they had made. And they would like to demonstrate that the agreement is still needed. So there’s certainly a bit of, shall we say, payback nostalgia in that particular demand.
I think the major question that I have is, I think, General Gard, like yours, namely we have – if you go through the panoply of guarantees and discussions that we’ve had with the Russians – we will not target, we will not do this, we will not do that – the question is, are we really giving up so much to say, and we will not – that no-targeting pledge on our part, renewed by every president, or however you’d like to play it, in fact of course includes also defensive systems as well as offensive systems on our side.
I don’t think we’re going to really give much up. But this then takes us back to domestic politics, and that particular guarantee is one that I suspect – I don’t know if it would cost the president the election, but it would certainly be a rather heavy stone, and would be presented in a way that would be very damaging, I think, to President Obama by the opposition.
And toward Wilson’s question, yes indeedy there are different views of deterrence, including a whole bunch of people who aren’t sure that deterrence ever worked, and that we were, in fact, confused, not they. And there are others who – and I quote only the most famous Polish statement of all time is, we want a separate guarantee from the United States, because who wants a NATO guarantee? That’s too slow. (Laughter.)
It’s just – it’s all over the place. And the interesting thing is probably the closest conception, as Steve said in his alignment, the French and the Balts, the Central Europeans on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays but not the other days – (laughter) – to say, you know, we want nuclear weapons in order to provide us with surety that in the old-fashioned – remember these debates – escalation, trigger, buckets of blood, whatever you want to remember those sets of arguments as – we have the means to blow everything up if it doesn’t go – you know, in order to convince somebody else not to do something bad.
So, I think we don’t want to have that discussion. I don’t know how we’re going to get to the end of the NATO process without having that discussion because the fig leaves that we’ve gone through in the last 24 months are wearing thin, and we have to make sure that we get that report done by December, and that’s going to take a little bit of fancy penmanship, or wordsmanship to emerge from that.
But, you know, it’s a hard question, including this new wrinkle that missile defense represents the new face of deterrence or something like deterrence in the 21st century.
MR. GRAEFE: OK, we have maybe 10 more minutes. I think that’s one more round of questions, so please raise your hands. I see Greg and – yeah, Greg, why don’t you start?
Q: Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.
I’m wondering how adaptive you think the European Phased Adaptive Approach is. And by that I mean, how adaptive to the actual threat – the Europeans are reluctant to name Iran, for reasons related to Turkey.
MS. KELLEHER: Some. Some.
Q: Some Europeans.
MS. KELLEHER: Yes.
Q: One of the surprises to many in the U.S. intelligence community from 10 years ago is that the Iranians do not now – have not now deployed the Taepodong-2. In fact, the North Koreans haven’t deployed the Taepodong-2.
But at any rate, there is much less of a longer-range Iranian ballistic missile threat than there was thought to be. The Iranians seem much more interested in building or developing solid fuel medium-range missiles than moving to the next step, a liquid fuel missile.
So, what if, five years from now, the Iranians are still not manifesting a desire to be able to put Berlin, London and Paris under their ballistic missile threats? Does that mean that the U.S. will not move to Phase 3 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach?
What happens then to the Russians, who already don’t believe the U.S. definition of the threat now – an ICBM possibly by 2015 – what do the Russians then say? Is the Lisbon commitment to territorial missile defense in Europe an automatic machine that will move up the Phased Adaptive Approach ladder sort of independent of an actual threat because it’s a political commitment from the United States?
I just wondered if you can speculate a little bit about what the connection is between the actual threat and the course that we seem to be on.
MR. GRAEFE: OK, then there was one question in the back. Yes?
Q: Dan Arnaudo. I’m interested in the data fusion concept that you mentioned earlier in terms of how it’s structured. You said there are some systems that we already rely upon that do similar things through data exchanges, but just if there are possibilities to create more modern approaches that might actually improve cooperation.
I’m thinking along the lines of something like cloud computing where you distribute the network so that you don’t have any single space that you have to, you know, make kind of a political football. Do you have a data-sharing center in Russia or in Europe or in America?
So, if you can distribute the information sharing, then perhaps you can create a system that is, you know, encouraging of cooperation and encouraging of trust building and these other measures. So, if you had heard of any concepts like that actually described.
MR. GRAEFE: Catherine, do you want this part?
MS. KELLEHER: Yes, OK.
I think perhaps to the first question, Greg’s question, the automaticity side, I think this is where this NATO-Russia Council gambit becomes very important. It’s hard to imagine that if President Obama were to be re-elected, that he would feel comfortable going back to something going back to something that said, the U.S. is going to proceed with this despite the fact that that NATO-Russia Council doesn’t approve.
And there are several countries – I think Germany certainly is one of them, but there are others as well – who would say, unless you prove something is actually threatening, why should we go ahead with, say, to Phase 4? Why don’t we stop at Phase 3, which is still territorial/theater defense?
I think that brings in a whole different range where the Bush administration was happy to go ahead in the face of non-multilateral support with bilateral agreements and bilateral systems decisions with, say, the Poles and the Czechs and the Romanian, the Bulgarians.
The question I think now is raised to the alliance level in a way that makes it very much more of a test of how responsive the U.S. is going to be to the ideas of others. So I think that’s one thing that’s really quite different.
I would argue – and here I’m talking about something I don’t know the content of, but there is supposedly a threat assessment exercise that’s pretty close to conclusion, where everyone has been sitting around with the Russians included, talking about a common definition of the threat.
I’ve not told you everything I know. But it’s supposed to be happening – that is, maybe at least being distributed internally – fairly soon. And publicly I don’t know if it ever will be, but it’s there. So that kind of exercise is the kind of thing that you can imagine the NATO-Russia Council definitely lapping up and saying, this is what we should be doing.
I think, to answer the question of the gentleman in the rear, there’s a very interesting discussion that goes on. Under the Cooperative Airspace Initiative, what you have is essentially a system by which you report to one another about unusual aircraft, rogue aircraft, movements in the civilian space.
It could also – it allows for extension eventually to the military airspace as well. And you essentially report to one another on any movement 150 kilometers on either side of the NATO-Russia border. And you do this by three data collection points and a center in Warsaw and one in Moscow.
That’s in the process. The end of concept will come in June, at which point the Air Force, the U.S. Air Force, which is very much involved in this, would like to hand it over to the system that’s going to operate it. And that’s kind of a critical point at the moment. But the software that exists is compatible with the software that does general airspace management in Europe under Europol. So that’s one thing.
There’s been a suggestion that we don’t have physical data fusion centers, that we have a virtual center to which people contribute and have access and take responsibility about its configuration and its control, but that it would not necessarily have to exist physically.
There are lots of reasons, not the least of which is hacking, that suggest maybe you don’t want to do that, right? But the present suggestion to have a center in Moscow and one in Brussels is a feel-good solution rather than one that I think will get around the estimated six-to-10-year planning permission process in Brussels, right?
That’s how long it takes. And unless you can figure out a way to put it in an existing something or other – and even then you’re going to have trouble – it’s going to slow the whole system down. And those people who see this as a good thing would like to have, as fast as possible, some kind of result that indeed allows people to fuse data on both historical records of missile launches and all, or some kind of commonly defined data that they can then show to skeptical publics and parliaments.
MR. GRAEFE: OK, Steve?
MR. PIFER: Yeah, I’d just like to add, I just – I personally actually like – I think that there are other advantages also to having a physical scenario as opposed to a virtual scenario. One is, it does seem to me that there are advantages in terms of transparency if you have a physical location where NATO military officers and Russian military officers are in the room together 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
And it seems to me that hopefully the big advantage of missile defense cooperation is that you begin to build this layer of trust, but also that the interactions are a way to convey to the other side a lot of transparency about what U.S. and NATO missile defenses can and cannot do. So I think there’s an advantage to having that physical scenario.
The other advantage – and this actually came from a retired Russian general. He said the other advantage he thought was that it would be a place where you could actually bring, you know, non-NATO and non-Russian country representatives.
And he had particularly in mind China, in saying, you know, one of the potential risks that he saw to NATO-Russian missile defense cooperation was it creates suspicion in China that this is somehow directed against China.
Again, he thought that there might be advantages to having a location where you can bring the Chinese military officers where they could actually observe what was going on and what it was doing, what potential threats were being looked at in a physical location that then might make it useful, a vehicle for greater transparency vis-à-vis China so that you did not provoke sudden concerns to Russia’s east about what NATO-Russian missile cooperation might entail.
MR. GRAEFE: OK, thank you very much, Steve and Catherine. I think we have to stop here because the Senator Shaheen is about to join us. But please first join me in thanking our both panelists. (Applause.)
MS. KELLEHER: Thank you. Thank you.
(END) Back to top
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION
REDUCING THE NUCLEAR DANGER: NEXT STEPS ON THE TEST BAN TREATY AND NUCLEAR ARMS REDUCTIONS
TREASURER, BOARD OF DIRECTORS,
ARMS CONTROL ASSOCIATION
SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH)
TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2011
Federal News Service
CHRISTINE WING: Friends, we’re going to get started very soon because our next speaker is on a fairly tight schedule, and we want to be sure to have time to hear her. So may I ask you, please, to stop your conversations and sit down so we can get started? And then I get really bossy. Gentlemen? Thank you. Okay.
MS. WING: Okay, having just been really bossy, I just discovered she’s doing an interview. (Laughter.) Just do not get up. You may talk to the person who’s sitting next to you. I should say, my name’s Chris Wing. I’m a member of the board of directors of the Arms Control Association, something that I really enjoy. Okay, we’re ready? Okay. Thank you – yes, please.
And I would say that, as a member of the board of the Arms Control Association, it’s my sincere pleasure to introduce someone who has been, and I am sure will continue to be, a true champion for arms control and nonproliferation in the U.S. Senate. As a member of both the Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, Senator Jeanne Shaheen has played a crucial role in support of the New START treaty last year, and she’s a strong supporter of President Obama’s agenda to reduce nuclear dangers to the United States.
She also has a very impressive background. She’s the first woman in history to be elected a governor and a U.S. senator, and she’s been involved in all levels of New Hampshire life. She taught in a New Hampshire high school, which most of us know would probably prepare you to deal with the U.S. Senate – (laughter) – chaired the Town of Madbury zoning board and served three terms in the state senate.
She became the first woman elected governor of New Hampshire, serving three terms from 1997 to 2003. In 2008, she became the first woman elected to the United States Senate from New Hampshire. We’re delighted that you can be here, Senator Shaheen. And please help me – (applause).
SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): Thank you very much, Dr. Wing, for that nice introduction. You know, as a politician, I understand that timing is everything and I’ve been around long enough to know that when you’re the last person on the agenda, that it’s always challenging because you’re never sure that people are awake and everything’s always been said before you get up to speak.
So I will try and be brief this afternoon and understand that you’ve had a long but very constructive day. And I’m really honored to be part of the same lineup of speakers for you with Ellen Tauscher and Bob Casey, who, as you know, were both critical in passage of the New START treaty.
I want to begin by thanking Daryl Kimball and the Arms Control Association for hosting the event today and for all of your leadership on such a critically important issue for America’s security. So thank you all very much. I know that today’s theme is focused on the next steps in arms control and nonproliferation, but I think it’s important to begin – and I assume you’ve done some of this already today – by taking a step back and looking at where we’ve been as we’re trying to decide where we go next.
It’s been a good two years, I think – and I assume that most of you would agree with that – since President Obama’s Prague agenda was first announced in April of 2009. The United States has re-established our global leadership on the nuclear agenda. We had a successful NPT review conference, which led to a consensus document for the first time in 10 years. The nuclear posture review reduced the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.
We successfully pressed for a fourth round of sanctions on Iran at the U.N. Security Council, something that many of us thought was not going to be possible. And certainly, we had a lot of debate in the Senate about whether that was going to be possible. The United States also convened the first-of-its-kind nuclear security summit, which rallied the international community to press for securing all vulnerable nuclear materials within four years. Now, obviously, at the top of the list of what we want to accomplish was the successful ratification of the New START treaty in the United States Senate.
And I think most people looking at the treaty once it had been negotiated and thinking about getting it through the Senate really thought that this was going to be not too difficult – that this was low-hanging fruit – and didn’t really realize, at the beginning of the debate, just how difficult it would be because it linked together, ultimately, every possible interest tied to the nuclear agenda, including modernization, tactical nuclear weapons, missile defense, delivery systems and many other issues.
Eventually, the obvious benefits of New START and the overwhelming support from the past seven presidential administrations won over enough senators to ratify the treaty. But I remember being in some of those hearings and listening to some of the debate on the floor of the Senate, thinking we’ve had every living secretary of state and secretary of defense on both sides of the aisle come in to say this was something we should do, so why is it so hard?
Well, New START was a big triumph for our national security interests, and I was very pleased, personally, to play a small role in its passage. Being relatively new to these issues, I was especially proud to be one of those senators who went to the White House to watch President Obama sign the treaty.
And then, also, I happened to be in Munich for the Munich international security conference and got a chance to see the exchange of the instruments of ratification. So that was also very exciting, to be there. And I really, again, want to thank all of you for your support throughout this process. All of the advocacy organizations, the think tanks, the NGO communities really came through in the end in a way that made a huge difference.
Having witnessed it firsthand, you were absolutely critical for me and for my staff throughout the Senate debate, helping us with op-eds, letters to the editor, phone calls, rapid analysis, interviews – all of the kinds of things that helped win the argument, ultimately, for passage of New START. Because of your efforts, when it’s fully implemented, the United States and Russia will have the fewest warheads deployed – the fewest deployed warheads since the 1950s.
Now, so that’s where we’ve been. As we look forward to future efforts in the Senate, I think it’s important to recognize some of the advantages we had during New START. We had strong bipartisan support, as I said, from nearly every living former national security official. We had the full support of the president and his entire administration, including 100 percent backing from the military, as well as the national labs. And that military backing was huge as we tried to convince our colleagues on the other side of the aisle that this was important to do.
We were arguing, also, for the resumption of something that had expired, not something that was new. And we had a ticking clock on the inspections side. So it was great to be able to come back every time somebody talked about the challenge from Russia and whether we could really believe them as they signed their interest in New START. Our response could be, yeah, but we don’t have anybody on the ground and so we would be better off to have inspectors on the ground than to continue the current situation.
So as we begin to think about future treaties or arms control agreements, it’s going to be very difficult to replicate all of those things that were in our favor as we began the discussion around New START. And I think that, then, raises the question of what next? Obviously, New START was a high-profile success. There are several equally high-profile treaties on our agenda, however, I think each of them will be difficult and will require some significant time and effort.
The comprehensive test-ban treaty, for instance – and I know Ellen Tauscher spoke earlier today making the case for the CTBT – you all know the national security arguments in favor of the treaty. There’s no doubt that technical advances and new monitoring techniques have changed the contours of the debate since it was last considered in 1999.
But like all Senate staffs, ours is pretty good at counting votes and we do have some work to do, as I’m sure all of you know. In 1999, when the treaty was taken up by the Senate, there were 48 yes votes. Only half of those senators are still, now, in the Senate. In addition, in 2013, at least 55 senators will have been newly elected since 2005 – so over half of the Senate. This means we really have some work to do on Capitol Hill if we’re going to make the case to a relatively young U.S. Senate.
Another high-profile treaty that’s being discussed is a follow-on bilateral agreement with Russia. This, too, will require a heavy lift both from the administration and in the Senate. The outlines of such a follow-on treaty are still unclear. Both countries still maintain significant deployed, non-deployed and tactical nuclear weapons in their stockpiles. And as we saw during the debate on New START, all of these complex issues will play a role in the future negotiations.
This, like CTBT, will be difficult. But for all of us who are optimists in the room that just means we need to start now. I think it’s also important to focus on the lower-profile but still valuable initiatives that will not require 67 Senate votes. For example, on the U.S.-Russia bilateral front, it would be prudent to explore some of the recommendations made by Secretary Albright in her recent op-ed.
Ideas like accelerating New START reductions, de-alerting the status of some of our nuclear weapons, missile defense cooperation and re-energizing consultations on the Iranian threat should all be something to take a close look at in the coming year. In addition, I think it’s very important for us to shift more focus, time and resources onto nonproliferation and nuclear security in the months ahead.
The threat of nuclear terrorism remains perhaps our greatest national security challenge today. As Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, and I quote, “Every senior leader, when you’re asked what keeps you awake at night, it’s the thought of a terrorist ending up with a weapon of mass destruction, especially nuclear.” I have to say it’s that thought that, for me, made the debate around New START so compelling and also so hard to understand why there was so much opposition to getting the votes to ratify the treaty.
Estimates suggest that the global stockpile of highly enriched uranium in 2010 was enough to make more than 60,000 nuclear weapons. The fact that many of these stockpiles are growing and remain insecure is a sobering and alarming fact. And the discovery that Osama bin Laden, the global face of terrorism, was found to be hiding out in Pakistan, the world’s fifth-largest nuclear power, should keep all of us awake at night.
Unfortunately, not everyone on the Hill seems to understand the urgency. We saw the House recommend a $600 million cut to critical nuclear nonproliferation programs in this year’s budget. Considering the threat posed by a single nuclear weapon falling into the wrong hands, this decision is incomprehensible. Even when fully funded, the U.S. nonproliferation efforts amount to far less than 1 percent of our national security spending.
To change that, we will need your help in the coming budget cycles to make the case that nuclear nonproliferation remains a priority and should remain a priority. So we have accomplished a lot in the last two years. We’ve done much to, as President Eisenhower said, “help solve the fearful atomic dilemma and to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death but consecrated to his life.”
I think Eisenhower’s quote is particularly appropriate, as New START will bring us back to the deployed levels seen during his day. However, as we all know, we have a long way to go to meet this challenge. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you during this effort. Thank you for your time today and for everything that you’ve done to get us to this point. (Applause.)
MS. WING: Thank you. Are you willing to take a couple questions?
SEN. SHAHEEN: Yes, I can take a few.
MS. WING: So I think we have time for a couple of questions if there are questions people would like.
SEN. SHAHEEN: One of the other things you realize, as a politician, that’s a challenge is that you never want to be in a room full of people who know more about the issue than you do. (Laughter.)
MS. WING: Okay. So could you –
SEN. SHAHEEN: And maybe I could just get you to identify yourself and tell me what organization you’re affiliated with.
Q: Hi, thank you for coming, Senator. My name is Paul Walker with Global Green USA. And I’m a part-time resident of New Hampshire.
SEN. SHAHEEN: Ah, good.
Q: And I’m a full-time resident of Boston, but we’re up in the lakes region all the time so I know the politics you have to deal with very, very well. We asked Senator Casey this morning whether he thought a vote on the comprehensive test-ban treaty would be likely before the 2012 elections – I guess over the next 18 months sometime.
And I’d just like to pose the same question to you. Do you think we know how tough it’s going to be? It was tough for the New START treaty. It’s been tough for every single arms control treaty we’ve tried to pass over the last couple decades in the Senate. But do you think it’s likely, at all, that we’ll have a vote in 2011 or 2012?
SEN. SHAHEEN: I don’t think it’s likely for some of the reasons that I stated earlier – that we have a lot of members of the Senate who are new and who haven’t really engaged, in a meaningful way, in this debate, who still have questions about the New START treaty. And I also think – so I think our effort ought to be focused on educating people and also on trying to build support in the country for the need to address nonproliferation.
You know, I was having a conversation earlier with somebody here – we were talking about working for Gary Hart back in the ’80s when Alan Cranston and the nuclear freeze movement and Gary Hart and all of the other people running for president were making that an issue. And it’s not an issue right now. It’s not an issue for the public. And one of the things we’ve got to do is to help people understand why this is so important.
I mean, the idea of a nuclear weapon in the hands of a terrorist ought to scare all of us and we all ought to be very interested in what we can do to try and reduce that threat, but most people, whether it’s we can’t bear to think about it or whether people just don’t know about the threat , clearly it’s not an issue for people. And it needs to be.
MS. WING: Other questions? Yes?
Q: My name is Norman Wulf. I’m retired State Department. My question, Senator, is, as part of the ratification of just about any arms control, including the New START agreement, certain reassurances were necessary to persuade some senators to vote, such as the nuclear infrastructure. Could you speculate with us what type of reassurances may have to be considered in the context of a CTBT ratification? Thank you.
SEN. SHAHEEN: I can’t even speculate, unfortunately. Again, partly because I think it’s just – we’re so far from the point where people are prepared to actually negotiate and we have an interest in even negotiating around that issue that it’s hard to think about what it would take to convince people.
Q: I’m Richard Garwin. I’ve worked with nuclear weapons and arms control for 60 years and I have what may be a rather impolite question. This is a public session so you may not want to answer it.
SEN. SHAHEEN: I’m used to impolite questions. (Laughter.)
Q: Okay. So suppose you have a new senator coming in and they don’t have any understanding or opinion on this and they hear from all sides. Now, somehow, it seems that people with totally extraneous views and interests influence those elected representatives. They may want jobs in the state; they may want something else – you know, people who really know their business. They’re very intelligent, paid lobbyists.
And so they provide some arguments and you don’t get the vote until those people get what they’re interested in getting, which may be couched as jobs or whatever. So my not-too-impolite question is, does this pressure come from your state – a person’s state – or does it come in general? And is this a reasonable understanding of the problem of getting people to look at the issues?
SEN. SHAHEEN: I think it is. I think there are two issues there. One is, as you identify, there are powerful lobbying interests who may not be supportive of an agenda that moves the country in the direction of arms reduction. So that’s one challenge and that is related, often, both to an individual elected official’s constituencies, but it’s also related to money.
The reality is that what drives so much of the debate that we have in the United States Senate has to do with money in campaigns. And that was made worse last year by the Supreme Court decision, which basically said there are no longer limits on who can spend money in campaigns.
So that’s why I said I think, as we’re thinking about how do you move an agenda – a nonproliferation agenda in Congress, one of the things we need to do is to think about how to move it in the public because, ultimately, we respond, as elected officials, to our constituents. And it’s those constituents who need to begin – we need to help them make the case about why this is so important.
MS. WING: I think we’re going to take one more question. Yes, right in the middle of the room.
Q: Thank you. Charlie Day from the Project for Nuclear Awareness in Philadelphia. Senator, sometimes unpredictable events have a way of impacting what happens in public policy. And I’m thinking of one unpredictable event right now – Fukushima, the nuclear plant. It seems that it’s put the words nuclear and the words radiation back in the public awareness. And I wonder if you see any carryover into other nuclear issues, such as weapons and our nuclear future – nuclear security?
SEN. SHAHEEN: Seabrook, you’re right. Some of you may remember that the last power plant licensed in the U.S. was Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant on the coast of New Hampshire. And there was quite a debate about that. And whether or not it was going to go forward was impacted dramatically by Chernobyl and what happened at Chernobyl because that happened at a critical time in the opening of Seabrook. So I personally very much appreciate the impact of those kinds of events.
Unfortunately, I think most of the discussion around Fukushima and what happened in Japan has been around nuclear power and it has not gotten translated into how – nuclear issues, in general, and the fact that, you know, it can be damaging, both as nuclear power, but it can be even worse as nuclear weapons.
MS. WING: Thank you very much. (Applause.)
SEN. SHAHEEN: Thank you all very much.
MS. WING: I’m going to hand this over to Daryl to close, but before doing that, I just wanted to take the opportunity, since I got here at the podium, to thank Daryl and the incredible staff of the Arms Control Association. It’s a privilege to serve on the board. I’ve known these folks for a while. They do really good work. We’re lucky we’ve got them. (Applause.)
DARYL KIMBALL: And since – (inaudible, off mic) – Chris is the treasurer of our board – (laughter) – she would not be happy if I didn’t remind you all that, you know, the work that the Arms Control Association does, does depend on your contributions, the large and the small. There is a donation box outside and there are donation cards here. I know many of you have already given once or twice or many more times, but please keep that in mind.
And I just want to really pay tribute to the staff and remind everybody about the volume of the work that this little staff does. I think of it as the little engine that could, you know. Just in the last 18 months, the organization has produced six major staff reports. One of the latest was co-written by our Scoville Peace Fellow Rob Golan-Vilella. That is – the cover is outside – it’s online on the nuclear security summit goals.
As I said before, we’ve got a new report on the European debate about tactical nuclear weapons and NATO nuclear policy. Last year, in 2010, the staff produced, through Arms Control Today, 42 feature articles by leading experts, which takes a little bit of work editing and refining and making it better. So thanks to Dan Horner [our editor] and to Farrah [Zughni], our managing editor. And thanks to the rest of our staff – those are the people who have produced 145 original news articles in Arms Control Today. So just with the magazine, there’s an incredible output with reports.
And then on top of that, last year, we produced 41 rapid-reaction issue briefs on hot-button topics, many of those about the New START treaty. So the staff works very hard. I want to thank all of them and I want to ask you to join me in thanking all of them for their hard work, please. (Applause.)
And we are at the end of the public program, but for those of you who are dues-paying members of the Arms Control Association, or are thinking about it, I just want to let you know that we are going to give you an opportunity to have an informal discussion with the staff right after this session downstairs in the Butler Room, which is downstairs and to the rear, to have an informal conversation about the year ahead, some of the things that we’re doing on the issues that you’ve heard about and to give us your ideas about what we ought to be doing that we’re not already doing.
So on behalf of the staff and the board, thanks for coming. It’s been a great day. All of the proceedings have been recorded. The video and a transcript will be available in just a couple of days. So thanks again, and have a good day. (Applause.)
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