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Former IAEA Director-General

Kimball and Rademaker Debate the CTBT at CSIS



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

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

May 13, 2009


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

Realizing the Promise of the CTBT



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

May 5, 2009

Distinguished delegates,

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

Now is such a time.

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

By banning all nuclear weapon test explosions, including very low-yield hydronuclear explosions, the CTBT limits the ability of established nuclear-weapon states to field more sophisticated warheads and makes it far more difficult for newer members of the club to perfect smaller, more easily deliverable warheads. For this reason, CTBT ratification has long been considered essential to the fulfillment of Article VI of the NPT and the goal of "effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament."

The CTBT also serves to reinforce the nonproliferation system by acting as a downstream confidence-building measure about a state's nuclear intentions and, in this regard, it can help head-off and de-escalate regional tensions. With no shortage of conflict and hostility in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt and Iran would reduce nuclear-weapons-related security concerns in the region. It would also help create the conditions necessary for the realization of a zone free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, as called for in the Middle East Resolution adopted by the 1995 NPT Review Conference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For years, Chinese government representatives have reported that the CTBT is before the National People's Congress for consideration but has apparently taken no action to win legislative approval needed for ratification.

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

If Israel were to ratify the CTBT, it would bring that nation closer to the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and help encourage other states in the region to do so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Hallam, Coordinator, Nuclear Flashpoints (Australia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lawrence Scheinman, Distinguished Professor, Monterey Institute of International Studies

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

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

Hiromichi Umebayashi, Special Adviser, Peace Depot (Japan)

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

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

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


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

Country Resources:

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


















Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

From the 2009 Carnegie Endowment Nonproliferation Conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you.

Tibor? Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ambassador Goodby?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

We'll begin with you, sir.

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

Weapons Complex Consolidation Policy Network.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next question, Bruce McDonald.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next question. Jennifer?

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

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

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

MR. KIMBALL: All right.

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

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

Larry, your question.

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

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

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

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

MR. KIMBALL: Thank you, Larry Weiler.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR. KIMBALL: Excellent points. Sid?

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

That's changed the context. Everything is open.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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



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

Country Resources:

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


Arms Control Association Press Briefing

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

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

Click here for the transcript.

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

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

The panelists are:

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

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

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

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


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

Country Resources:

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



Oct. 21, 2008

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


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

Country Resources:

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







Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

Edited by the Arms Control Association

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Country Resources:

The Enduring Value of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and Prospects for Its Entry Into Force



By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director(1)

Presentation Delivered at the Ettore Majorana Centre, Erice, Sicily
August 22, 2008

"The one major area ... where the end is in sight, yet where a fresh start is badly needed, is in a treaty to outlaw nuclear tests. The conclusion of such a treaty, so near and yet so far, would check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces ... the further spread of nuclear arms. It would increase our security. It would decrease the prospects of war. Surely this goal is sufficiently important to require our steady pursuit ...."

-- President John F. Kennedy, June 10, 1963

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

In 1958 and again in 1963, U.S. and Soviet leaders attempted to negotiate a comprehensive ban on all nuclear test explosions. They came close but failed to seal the deal. While the latter effort led to the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty, it took another three decades of on-and-off efforts to conclude negotiations on a comprehensive test ban treaty. During that time, hundreds more underground tests propelled further arms racing and proliferation.

Today, the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) remains a vital disarmament and nonproliferation instrument. By prohibiting all nuclear test explosions it impedes the ability of states possessing nuclear weapons to field new and more deadly types of warheads, while also helping to prevent the emergence of new nuclear-armed states.

Moving forward quickly on the CTBT is also an essential step towards restoring confidence in the beleaguered Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) regime. The nuclear-weapon states’ commitment to achieve the CTBT was a crucial part of the bargain that won the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995 and the 2000 NPT Review Conference document.

U.S. Senate’s Untimely Rejection of the CTBT in 1999

Over the years, the importance of the Treaty to global security has only increased and international support has grown. Today, 179 countries have signed the CTBT, and 144 countries have ratified. Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate’s brief debate and untimely rejection of the CTBT in October 1999, coupled with the George W. Bush administration’s opposition to the Treaty, has slowed the momentum. Nine key states must still ratify to achieve entry into force.

Partially in response to U.S policy on the CTBT, some countries that have signed the CTBT, such as China and Israel, have delayed their ratification processes. Others, including India and Pakistan, have yet to sign the Treaty and are unlikely to do so unless the United States, China, and perhaps other hold-outs, finally ratify.

The situation is self-defeating and counterproductive. Given the U.S. signature of the CTBT and its test moratorium policy, the United States bears most CTBT-related responsibilities. Yet Washington’s failure to ratify has diminished its ability to prod other nations to join the Treaty and refrain from testing. At the same time, there is no need—nor is there any political support—for renewed U.S. testing for new nuclear warheads or for any other reason.

CTBT Helps Prevent Regional Conflicts and Avert Nuclear Arms Race

The CTBT is also needed to help head-off and deescalate regional tensions. With no shortage of conflict and hostility in the Middle East, ratification by Israel, Egypt, and Iran would reduce nuclear weapons-related security concerns and bring those states further into the nuclear nonproliferation mainstream. Action by Israel to ratify could put pressure on other states in the regions to do so. Iranian ratification would help address concerns that its nuclear program could be used to develop and deploy deliverable nuclear warheads.

Likewise, North Korean accession to the CTBT would help demonstrate the seriousness of its commitment to verifiably dismantle its nuclear weapons program through the Six-Party process. The ongoing India-Pakistan nuclear arms race could be substantially slowed to the benefit of both countries if they signed and ratified the CTBT or agreed to an equivalent legal instrument.

The CTBT would help limit the nuclear-weapons development capabilities of the established nuclear-weapon states. For instance, in the absence of a permanent CTBT:

  • China and Russia might test in order to make certain refinements in their nuclear arsenals. With further nuclear testing China might be able to reduce the size and weight of its nuclear warheads, which would make it easier for China to expand and add multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRV) to its strategic arsenal if it wanted to do so. This could dramatically increase the number of nuclear warheads China could deliver; and
  • India and Pakistan could use further testing to perfect boosted fission weapons and thermonuclear warhead designs, greatly increasing the destructive power of their arsenals.

The global norm against testing remains strong, for now. Yet the absence of CTBT entry into force also means that the full range of verification and monitoring tools, confidence building measures, and the option of on-site inspections, are not available to help strengthen the international community’s ability to detect, deter, and if necessary respond to possible nuclear testing.

Moving forward – Prospects for CTBT Entry Into Force

To begin to break the ratification logjam and pave the way for entry into force, leaders in key states must make the right choices in three key areas.

First, it is essential that the next occupant of the White House builds upon growing bipartisan calls for U.S. reconsideration of the CTBT and initiates a serious effort to engage the new Senate on the issue with the goal of winning two-thirds support for ratification by the end of 2010. This is a difficult – but attainable – task requiring favorable political conditions, strong presidential leadership, and a well-executed ratification campaign.

Today, of course, these conditions do not all exist but the prospects and pressure for U.S. action on the CTBT are increasing. A growing array of Republican and Democratic national security opinion-leaders recognize the value of the CTBT and are calling for its reconsideration. (2)

In addition, the presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees for the presidency have, to varying degrees, expressed their support for reconsideration of the CTBT. On May 27, 2008, the presumptive Republican nominee, Senator John McCain, delivered a speech on “nuclear security” in which he said:

“As president I will pledge to continue America’s current moratorium on testing, but also begin a dialogue with our allies, and with the U.S. Senate, to identify ways we can move forward to limit testing in a verifiable manner that does not undermine the security or viability of our nuclear deterrent. This would include taking another look at the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty…”

Whether McCain is interested in some new initiative to “limit testing in a verifiable manner” or will eventually find a way to endorse the CTBT itself is not clear at this point.

The presumptive Democratic nominee for president, Senator Barack Obama (Ill.) is on record in support of U.S. ratification of the CTBT. Obama said in a major foreign policy speech on 16 July 2008 that:

“…we’ll work with the Senate to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and then seek its earliest possible entry into force.”

Whoever wins can at least be expected to take a fresh and early look at the CTBT – and perhaps do much more.

Implementing a Bipartisan Process to Achieve Ratification

Translating pro-CTBT statements into winning over skeptical Senators and amassing a two-thirds majority in favor of ratification will take strong leadership and the commitment of significant political capital.

One factor working in favor of a successful second CTBT ratification campaign is the fact that the current and future U.S. Senate is somewhat different from the one that rejected the CTBT in 1999. The number of new Senators is significant because it means that many who voted against the CTBT are no longer in office.

Nevertheless, Senators will need to be briefed on the issue and their questions and concerns addressed thoroughly, respectfully, and consistently.

If the new U.S. president is fully committed to the CTBT, he should consider appoint a special, senior CTBT coordinator, backed with substantial interagency support and resources, who is solely focused on winning necessary support in the Senate. The administration will have to map out a step-by-step process for laying out the case for why the treaty is in U.S. national security interests through public speeches, expert reports, and hearings on Capitol Hill.

An administration seeking Senate support for the CTBT will likely find it necessary at some point to offer or consider understandings and/or conditions that help address the concerns of some senators who might not otherwise support the CTBT. Conditions that contradict the definitions and requirements of the Treaty or that undermine support for the CTBT by other states should be avoided. Under no circumstances should such end-game bargaining be initiated early in the process of winning the Senate’s support.

A well-prepared ratification effort will have to focus on delivering more persuasive answers on key issues that were at the center of the 1999 debate, particularly:

  • verification of the zero-yield CTBT; and
  • the maintenance of the U.S. stockpile in the absence of testing.

On verification, the 2002 National Academy of Sciences report stated:

“The capabilities to detect and identify nuclear explosions without special efforts at evasion are considerably better than the “one kiloton worldwide” characterization that has often been stated for the IMS. If deemed necessary, these capabilities could be further improved by increasing the number of stations in networks whose data streams are continuously searched for signals. Underground explosions can be reliably detected and can be identified as explosions, using IMS data, down to a yield of 0.1 kt (100 tons) in hard rock if conducted anywhere in Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America. In some locations of interest such as Novaya Zemlya, this capability extends down to 0.01 kt (10 tons) or less.”

Since the 1999 Senate vote and the 2002 National Academy of Sciences report, the International Monitoring System has only grown in size and sophistication. For example, more than 10 of the IMS primary seismic stations detected the ground tremors produced by the relatively small yield, Oct. 9, 2006 North Korean underground nuclear test explosion near P’unggye, according to the January 2007 newsletter of the CTBTO, Spectrum. The North Korean test blast was estimated by various national, international, and scientific monitors to be less than 1 kiloton (TNT equivalent) in yield.

More significantly, one of 10 experimental “noble gas” monitoring stations that are to be part of the IMS detected trace amounts of unique radioactive material that confirmed the explosion was nuclear. The station, which is located near Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, detected two spikes in xenon gas readings, on Oct. 22 and 25, which, on the basis of atmospheric modeling, were consistent with the North Korean test.

When the combination of existing national means of intelligence, as well as world’s network of tens of thousands of civilian seismic monitoring stations, plus the option of on-site inspections are taken into account, no would-be cheater could conduct a nuclear weapon test explosion in underground, underwater, or in the atmosphere without a very high risk of detection.

The other key issue is whether the United States can continue to rely on its stockpile stewardship program to maintain its arsenal under a permanent CTBT? The short answer is: yes.

As the U.S. National Academy of Sciences reported in July 2002, the United States "has the technical capabilities to maintain confidence in the safety and reliability of its existing nuclear-weapon stockpile under [a test ban], provided that adequate resources are made available to the Department of Energy's nuclear-weapons complex and are properly focused on this task."

Though the Energy Department has determined each year for the last decade that the U.S. nuclear arsenal remains safe and reliable without nuclear testing, some claim—as they did in 1999—that as time goes on there may be age-related problems in the nuclear stockpile. (3)

The good news is that all of the technical evidence available shows that such concerns are greatly overstated. New government studies on plutonium longevity completed in 2006 have found that the plutonium primaries of most U.S. nuclear weapons have a minimum lifetime of 85 years, which is twice as long as previous estimates.

According to the National Academy panel, which included three former lab directors, age-related defects mainly related to non-nuclear components can be expected, but nuclear test explosions “are not needed to discover these problems and is not likely to be needed to address them.”

Rather, the panel says, the key to the stewardship of the arsenal is a rigorous stockpile surveillance program, the ability to remanufacture nuclear components to original specifications, minimizing changes to existing warheads, and non-explosive testing and repair of non-nuclear components.

Thomas D’Agostino, acting National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) administrator said in March 2007 that “stockpile stewardship is working. This program has proven its ability to successfully sustain the safety, security and reliability of the stockpile without the need to conduct an underground test for well over a decade.”

Nevertheless, the Bush administration has initiated a new and poorly defined program to design and build new warheads to “replace” certain warhead types already in the arsenal. A chief selling point for the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program is unsubstantiated assertion that the current approach to stockpile stewardship is unsustainable and unreliable and that RRW will reduce the likelihood that the United States will need to resume testing. The Department of Energy said in 2005 that the goal of the RRW program is to produce a small quantity of new replacement warheads by 2012-2015 for the W-76 warhead.

The W-76 was originally designed to minimize size and weight and maximize the explosive yield. According to a small minority of U.S. nuclear weapons scientists, this might make its nuclear components more sensitive to aging effects. In theory, the RRW is supposed to increase design margins (by using more fissile material) to maximize reliability.

But rather than build new replacement warheads at great cost, the United States could increase confidence in certain warheads by other methods, such as adding more boost gas to increase the explosive energy of the primary stage of the weapon well above the minimum needed to ignite the secondary or main stage.

NNSA officials also argue they can build replacement warheads without nuclear explosive proof testing. However, a recent report by an independent group of nuclear weapons scientists known as JASON found that it is by no means certain that the proposed RRW design can be validated as “reliable.” While many legislators have their doubts, some believe that if the new warheads are indeed more reliable, then test ban skeptics in the Senate should be more willing to support CTBT ratification.

It is doubtful that new warheads would be enough to convince the skeptics and may be more risky for the CTBT. Given that the new replacement warheads are years and billions of dollars away from reality, many CTBT skeptics might argue, as they did in 1999, that it is too early to tell whether the new warheads will work reliably and without proof testing. Furthermore, if Congress once again acts to cut or eliminate the Bush administration’s request for funding the RRW program (which is highly likely), RRW may be a non-factor in any future discussion about the CTBT.

It is also important to consider the fact that building a new generation of nuclear weapons to win support for a global test ban is contrary to the spirit of the CTBT, a chief aim of which is to end qualitative nuclear arms competition.

2. High-Level Diplomatic Pressure Must Continue on “Hold-Out” States

Not only must the next U.S. president and Senate act favorably on the CTBT, but the leaders of states committed to the CTBT must exercise much more consistent, top-level diplomacy in support of entry into force. The numerous statements by individual governments and regional groupings of states are essential but are not sufficient. Too often, they fail to press their counterparts in the nine CTBT hold-out states.

One important opportunity will arrive this September when foreign ministers from CTBT ratifying states will gather to issue their biennial joint statement calling for the Treaty’s entry into force. Another is the next Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the CTBT, likely to take place in the fall of 2009, to help prod the U.S. president and other hold-outs to approve the Treaty.

China merits special attention. For years, Beijing has reported that the Treaty is before the National People’s Congress for consideration but has apparently taken no action to win legislative approval.

3. The Test Ban and Civil Nuclear Trade with India

There is another equally important test of leadership on the CTBT: this week’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) debate on the Bush administration proposal for an India-specific exemption from NSG guidelines that restrict trade with states that do not accept full-scope safeguards. The United States’ August 6 proposal to exempt India from NSG rules should be rejected, in part because it establishes no meaningful response or mechanism if India tests again.(4)

It would be highly irresponsible for CTBT signatories in the NSG not to establish CTBT signature as a condition of nuclear trade. If, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in July 2005, India is prepared to take on the responsibilities expected of other advanced nuclear nations, it is reasonable to expect that India should agree to a legally-binding test moratorium, as the five original nuclear-weapon states have all done.

Incredibly, Indian officials also want terms of trade that would allow supplier states to provide India with a strategic fuel reserve that could be used to outlast any fuel supply cut off or sanctions that may be imposed if it resumes nuclear testing.

The U.S. proposal flatly contradicts provisions in the 2006 U.S. implementing legislation that define the terms of U.S. nuclear trade with India. If NSG supplier states do agree to supply fuel to India, they must avoid actions that might enable or encourage Indian nuclear testing. At the very least, they should establish that, if India were to resume nuclear testing, all NSG nuclear cooperation with India would be terminated immediately and unused fuel supplies from NSG states would be returned.


CTBT entry into force is within reach. With the 2008 U.S. election and the 2010 NPT Review Conference approaching, it is vital to redouble efforts to secure ratification by key CTBT hold-out states, accelerate work to complete the International Monitoring System, and avoid developments that would damage the CTBT regime. The next one to two years may represent the best opportunity to secure the future of this long-awaited and much-needed Treaty.

1. The Arms Control Association (ACA) is a non-governmental organization established in 1971 to promote public understanding of arms control issues and to advocate effective nuclear, biological, chemical, and conventional arms control solutions. ACA publishes the monthly journal, Arms Control Today. Daryl G. Kimball has served as ACA’s executive director since 2001. He previously served as security programs director for Physicians for Social Responsibility (1989-1997) where he helped lobby for the U.S. nuclear test moratorium legislation of 1992 and negotiation of a zero-yield CTBT. Kimball was executive director of the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers (1997-2001) where he led a group of NGOs in their efforts to win support for U.S. CTBT ratification.

2. “Toward a nuclear weapons free world,” George Shultz,  Henry Kissinger, William Perry, and Sam Nunn, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 4, 2007.

3. “It’s because of the Stockpile Stewardship Program that I can stand before you today and tell you our current stockpile is reliable and safe today. So, what I fear most is not the reliability of the systems today.  I think they are reliable today.  I sense there’s a cliff out there some place and I don’t know how close I am to the edge of that cliff,” Gen. Henry Chilton, Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, in a speech in Washington, D.C., July 22, 2008.

4. See “U.S. Proposal for India-Specific Exemption to Nuclear Supplier Group Guidelines Circulated August 2008,” an Arms Control Association Note for Reporters by Daryl G. Kimball < http://www.armscontrol.org/node/3274>.

Presentation by Daryl G. Kimball delivered at the Ettore Majorana Centre, Erice, Sicily.




Friday, January 19, 2007
11:45 A.M. – 1 P.M.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Washington, D.C.

Transcript by
Federal News Service,
Washington, D.C.

DARYL G. KIMBALL: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. If I could ask you to give me your attention. Thank you very much.

Welcome to the second part of today’s program. It’s an honor to have so many friends and colleagues with us here today for ACA’s annual membership luncheon. I hope those of you who were downstairs enjoyed the morning session which was certainly a full meal in of itself and I hope you’re enjoying our California-style lunch.

We have a California-style speaker today, who I’m pleased to introduce to you. Howard Berman, congressman from California’s 28th District, is a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. I think you’re the second ranking Democrat right now, correct? Since he joined the House in the 1980s, he’s been one of the leading, though I think unsung, heroes for nonproliferation in the Congress. As the Almanac of American Politics put it—always good to quote the Almanac of American Politics—“There are few House members who’ve made such an imprint on legislation in so many areas as Howard Berman.”

I know that from personal experience; working with his office last year on the much discussed and debated Indian nuclear legislation that he took the lead and offered some alternative legislation to the president’s proposal. He pursued this in a quiet and steady fashion. In the end, if you scrutinize the 50-page or so long piece of legislation, you’ll notice that there are important elements from Congressman Berman’s alternative bill that were eventually incorporated into the final bill that could be the saving grace of our effort to turn this nonproliferation lemon into some lemonade.

In 2005, Howard Berman also was the cosponsor of a bipartisan resolution, H. Con. Res. 133, which we’ve discussed at Arms Control Association events before. This was a vision for how the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) could be strengthened that was put forward just before the 2005 NPT Review Conference. That resolution was unfortunately not adopted by the full House and Senate. But some of the recommendations of that resolution appear in the op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that we’ve discussed at this morning’s panel that was written by Bill Perry, Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Sam Nunn, and others.  I think Congressman Berman is going to be making some reference to that op-ed today and what it means for what the United States and the Congress should do to strengthen the U.S. government’s nuclear nonproliferation approach.

We thank you, Congressman Berman, for coming to address us and we look forward to your thoughts about what this new Congress can do to lead us forward and to provide some new vision and ideas for dealing with the multiple proliferation threats that we have today. We look forward to your comments. Thank you for being here. (Applause.)

REP. HOWARD BERMAN (D-Calif.): Well, thanks very much, Daryl. Your reference to being second in line reminds me of Tom Foley’s old story that when you’re in Congress and you hear that a member of your party, on your committee, more senior than you, has gotten sick, your first question is, is it serious? (Laughter.)

I’m happy to be here today, particularly because the Arms Control Association has a wonderful reputation. I have great respect for it, particularly because I used it so extensively in dealing with Daryl on the Indian nuclear cooperation legislation. You were part of the group that helped play an important role in educating me and other members and staff on a variety of very complex issues. While the legislation didn’t exactly end the way you wanted—my guess is you didn’t want it—your efforts helped make a bad bill better. Although, on balance, I think it’s still probably a bit of a lemon.

Unlike the administration’s initial proposal to implement the deal, the version enacted into law requires Congress to approve the final nuclear cooperation agreement with India by an affirmative majority vote. Before that vote takes place, the Nuclear Suppliers Group must approve an exemption for India, and India and the IAEA must complete a safeguards agreement.

The bill now includes language that prevents the president from waiving key portions of the Atomic Energy Act and includes a provision that terminates nuclear cooperation if India transfers nuclear or missile technology in violation of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) guidelines.

Finally, we got 184 votes—far more than I ever expected—for an amendment I offered to condition the exports of nuclear fuel on India’s willingness to halt production of fissile material. Given the strong opposition of the administration, given the tremendous investment by the Indian-American community in passing the legislation and keeping that kind of an amendment out, we really did much better than I think almost anyone thought. Based on my observation of the administration’s negotiating strategy with the Indian government, I think we might want to consider negotiations as an additional outsourcing opportunity, or that’s what we did in this case.

But as a result of this deal, India will be able to increase the size of its nuclear arsenal, since it will no longer be forced to use its scarce domestic uranium reserves to generate electricity. In response, China may push to cut a similar deal with Pakistan, which could further destabilize South Asia. But those are only two of the many nonproliferation challenges we face today and some of them are much more urgent.

North Korea’s launched nuclear-capable missiles, withdrawn from the NPT, conducted a nuclear test, and, some believe, may test again soon. Iran continues to enrich uranium in defiance of the international community and, if it continues on its current course, could have the capability to build a bomb in just a few short years.

Deeply concerned about the prospect of Iran becoming a nuclear power, other countries in the volatile Middle East, including Turkey, Egypt, and the Gulf States, have expressed interest in nuclear technology. Tom Friedman sort of crudely says, if there’s going to be a Shiite bomb, there’s going to be a Sunni bomb.

A. Q. Khan's nuclear black market opened up a whole new dimension of nuclear proliferation. Most troubling of all, the same terrorists that attacked us on 9/11 are dedicated to acquiring WMD and, unlike a state, can’t be deterred. Many of the people who have been dealing with these issues for a long time warn that the nonproliferation regime is teetering on the brink. Jessica Matthews, I think this is her base, recently remarked that the nonproliferation regime that has served us extremely well for years is today on the verge of collapse. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists just announced that they’re moving their hands on their doomsday clock two minutes closer to midnight.

But for me, the stunning development, which has been referenced already by Daryl, was the recent statement by Henry Kissinger, Bill Perry, George Shultz, and Sam Nunn in The Wall Street Journal, arguing for a totally new paradigm. They urge us to transform our entire way of thinking about nuclear weapons. They call for a rekindling of the vision of Reagan and Gorbachev at Reykjavik. I’m just going to quote it because before I knew we were going to talk about it, I had decided to quote it: “Nuclear weapons today present tremendous dangers, but also an historic opportunity. U.S. leadership will be required to take the world to the next stage, to a solid consensus for reversing reliance on nuclear weapons globally as a vital contribution to preventing their proliferation into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately ending them as a threat to the world. Nuclear weapons were essential to maintaining international security during the Cold War because they were a means of deterrence. The end of the Cold War made the doctrine of mutual Soviet-American deterrence obsolete. Deterrence continues to be a relevant consideration for many states with regard to threats from other states. But reliance on nuclear weapons for this purpose is becoming increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective.”

They end by saying, “reassertion of the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons and practical measures toward achieving that goal would be, and would be perceived as, a bold initiative consistent with America's moral heritage. The effort could have a profoundly positive impact on the security of future generations. Without the bold vision, the actions will not be perceived as fair or urgent. Without the actions, the vision will not be perceived as realistic or possible. We endorse setting the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons and working energetically on the actions required to achieve that goal.”

More astounding than what they said is who said it. Kissinger, I remember him as a college student and I always assumed that Dr. Strangelove was some composite of Henry Kissinger and Herman Kahn. (Laughter.) George Schultz, I still have an image of George Schultz that’s probably an apocryphal one, but he and Reagan’s other advisors grabbing Reagan by the shoulders as he left that room in Reykjavik exclaiming, you’ve agreed to what? (Laughter.) Go back in there and tell Gorbachev your fingers were crossed. As I recall it, Sam Nunn in the 1980s was closer to build up to build-down than to a nuclear freeze.

Everything we do on nonproliferation, it seems to me and what it seems to me they are saying is, would be more effective if we fundamentally change our perspective. If we continue on our current course, we may be able to delay the complete erosion of the nonproliferation regime, but unless we come to grips with this new paradigm, I think our efforts will ultimately fail. In that context, there are some critical things we should do to shore up the global nonproliferation system.

First, we must dedicate ourselves to the goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons, as we are obliged to do under Article VI of the NPT. While achieving this goal is not feasible in the short run, there’s no reason why we can’t start moving in that direction right away. Under the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, SORT, concluded with Russia in 2002, the number of our deployed strategic warheads will drop from about 10,000 in 1990 to less than 2,200 by 2012, a reduction of 80 percent.

But it’s clear we can live with even fewer weapons as we pursue our goal. An Arms Control Association report from 2005 recommends that 500 operationally deployed weapons and 500 more in ready reserve are enough. Within the next couple of years we need to start thinking seriously about extending the verification mechanism for SORT, which is currently set to expire in 2009 along with the START Treaty. That would be an excellent opportunity to focus on further reductions.

Second, the United States should take the leadership role on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). As you know, the Senate rejected the treaty in 1999, but since that time, we’ve become much more confident in the ability of our scientific establishment to maintain the safety and reliability of what will remain of our nuclear stockpile. With Democrats back controlling the Senate, though by a very small margin, we should diligently pursue the political feasibility of reconsidering the treaty.

With folks like Kissinger and Shultz on our side, perhaps the Bush administration will add this issue to the list of mistakes they are willing to remedy. The CTBT can’t enter into force until it is signed and ratified by 44 specific countries, including India and Pakistan. Strong U.S. support for the treaty and the ultimate goal may persuade those countries to get onboard. But if it doesn’t, we might want to consider the possibility of working with the P-5 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and other like-minded states to propose a new test ban treaty that doesn’t have such rigid requirements.

Third, the United States should lead a major push for negotiation of a fissile material cutoff treaty (FMCT). Since the United States, Russia, Britain, and France have stopped production of fissile materials for weapons purposes as a matter of policy, and China’s also believed to have ceased production, this one should be a no-brainer. As you know, the Bush administration has tabled a draft at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) last May. That draft was criticized by many for not including any verification mechanism, but on balance I think it’s a step in the right direction.

I was interested to read Steve Rademaker’s piece in the December edition of Arms Control Today. Citing the conclusions of the congressionally mandated Gingrich-Mitchell Task Force on the United Nations, he makes a pretty persuasive case that the CD has become largely dysfunctional.

The fissile material cutoff treaty has been held up almost a decade by certain members of that Geneva-based body that seek to force negotiations on other proposals, like the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space, which has been opposed by successive American administrations. Rademaker argues that the real motivation underlying these efforts to block an FMCT is not a sincere desire to achieve a so-called balanced program of work, but a desire to essentially kill the FMCT. Whether or not you think an outer space treaty is a good idea, one has to agree that it takes some nerve on the part of certain countries to criticize the United States for not working to eliminate nuclear weapons and at the same time preventing consideration of the treaty that would end the production of fissile material for weapons.

To get around this stalemate in the CD, it might make sense to take the same approach as one might for an alternative to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty: assemble a coalition willing outside the confines of the CD to negotiate an FMCT and then open it up for the world to sign. If all the members of the P-5 were involved in such an effort, then you could gain some sort of endorsement from the Security Council, giving it added international legitimacy. Would this approach work? I don’t know, but we ought to consider trying it.

Fourth, we should abandon once and for all the Bush administration’s efforts to design new nuclear weapons, including the so-called Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, the bunker buster. At a time when we’re trying to convince other nations to abandon their bomb-making activities, these efforts to make nuclear weapons more usable strike many as the height of hypocrisy. We should be doing exactly the opposite: trying to devalue the currency of nuclear weapons and making the argument that their use, under any circumstances, has become unthinkable.

Fifth, the United States should be more aggressive in pushing for the creation of an international fuel bank. There are a variety of proposals on the table for the creation of such a bank, all of which would provide a guaranteed source of civilian nuclear fuel for countries willing to forgo the acquisition of enrichment and reprocessing technology.

This concept has been criticized by some as yet another effort to create nuclear haves and have-nots, but I think it could quickly win broad acceptance if it were implemented in a neutral fashion, understanding that the United States is taking a new approach to the ultimate goal of obligations under the NPT. Perhaps it could be done under the auspices of the IAEA. This should be a very good way for the United States to demonstrate that we are not seeking to limit the ability of countries, even Iran, from enjoying the benefits of a peaceful nuclear technology.

A few months ago, I would have mentioned the additional protocol as a sixth area for the United States to demonstrate leadership, but thanks to the efforts of Senator Lugar, the implementing legislation was passed as part of the India nuclear cooperation bill, albeit in an imperfect form. That process is moving forward.

Finally, in the context of these major nonproliferation initiatives, I’d like to commend Daryl and others at the association for their work on H. Con. Res. 133, the Nonproliferation Treaty Enhancement Act of 2005, introduced by one of the really smart and sensible people in our body, John Spratt. This resolution, which I co-sponsored along with 41 of my colleagues, reaffirmed the critical importance of NPT as the cornerstone of the global nonproliferation regime and urged support for both of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the fissile material cutoff treaty. I look forward to working with you on an updated version of this legislation in the new Congress.

Let me turn to some rather specific programs and then sort of bring this to a halt. Then I’d love to hear your comments because I am a little embarrassed talking about these issues to a group of people, some of whom I’ve known a long time, who know so much more and spend so much time focusing on these kinds of issues. But the House did pass, as part of our “six for ’06,” first 100 hours, however you count them, program, having met in January for the first time in 12 years. I mean, there are bad sides to winning as well as good sides.  (Laughter.)

We passed legislation to implement recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. That bill, which passed the House, includes a number of meaningful nonproliferation provisions, one of which is intended to strengthen the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). As you know, the PSI is the Bush administration’s signature effort to combat proliferation through the interdiction of weapons of mass destruction. The PSI is a useful innovation. But with no underlying treaties, secretariat, or formal obligations for participating governments, it’s now running up against the limits of its effectiveness. So in HR1 we urge the president to establish a defined annual budget for the PSI, clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Departments of State and Defense, and increase PSI cooperation with non-NATO countries. We also recommended that he seek a Security Council resolution to authorize the PSI under international law. We now have a majority who believe there is international law. (Laughter.) And we authorized expanding and formalizing PSI into a multilateral regime to increase coordination, cooperation, and compliance among its participating states in interdiction activities.

HR1 also creates a U.S. coordinator for the prevention of WMD and terrorism in the Executive Office of the President. It’s a great idea; it’s been kicking around for far too long. We’re not that happy with some of the provisions because it doesn’t give the coordinator any budget or personnel authority like that provided to the director of national intelligence. Hopefully, we can beef up this language in conference with the Senate.

Another provision of that 9/11 bill that passed last week removes some of the legal restrictions placed on the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. If enacted, the president will no longer have to make a series of certifications before those funds are spent. Of course, we want Russia to comply with all the relevant arms control agreements, make a substantial investment of its own growing, considerable resources to dismantle weapons, and observe internationally recognized human rights. But our highest priority must be to keep nuclear materials and other WMD out of the hands of terrorists. The CTR program is critical to those efforts.

According to the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s latest issue of Securing the Bomb, 2005 was a relatively productive year in terms of securing nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union. But 15 years after the inception of CTR, much more remains to be done. Only 54 percent of former Soviet buildings with nuclear materials and 40 percent of sites containing Russian nuclear warheads have received security upgrades, only 40 percent of key border posts in the post Soviet space are equipped to detect nuclear smuggling, and only 35 percent of former Soviet weapon scientists or workers have sustainable civilian employment. Hopefully, the CTR provision in HR1 will play some role in accelerating this vital work.

I won’t take the time out to get into details of another provision of that bill, the Nuclear Black Market Elimination Act, that seeks to deal with underground nuclear networks like the one created by A. Q. Khan.

It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of many nonproliferation challenges we face today but as Nunn, Kissinger, Perry, and Shultz argue so persuasively, we’ve got to focus on changing our fundamental assumptions. None of the major proliferation initiatives that I suggested we pursue are in lieu of diligently working to stop the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs or preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear weapons. On the contrary, they just might make those efforts more effective. Even if they don’t, what do we lose by trying?

Tony Billings would probably remember and probably some of you were part of it, in the 1980s we tended to spend some time focusing sort of on these broader questions of arms control and proliferation. Really since the end of the Cold War, since the Republican takeover of the House—at least this member; I have a sense it’s a generally felt thing—believes we get very absorbed in very specific issues; we spend incredible amounts of time. I’m a member of the Iran working group and this caucus and all, and I have a lot of meetings and discussions about specific issues. But there is very little institutional framework for talking about the larger questions that are raised by that article and I think they are very important.

We used to have a breakfast that had outside groups and members who were interested coming together and talking about some strategies, but in a larger context. We don’t do that now. I’m wondering if in the wake of this article, which I think is very important because it has a crossover appeal, of finding a way to get some people to spend more time trying to get those of us who are in Congress, in the House and the Senate, thinking more about these issues. I have no doubt that there are people like Senator Lugar and others who do think a lot about it, but I think the larger issue has gotten lost for the very understandable obsession with trying to deal with these specific issues on a sort of case-by-case basis. With that I’ll stop. Thank you again for inviting me and I’d be interested in your comments about what we might be doing or any questions. (Applause.)

Let me do one thing, though, and that is introduce somebody who’s been a very valuable staff member for me. Many of you have interacted with him and that’s Doug Campbell, who works with me on these issues. (Applause.) He’s my legislative director.

KIMBALL: Comments or questions from the floor?

QUESTION: Congressman, my name is Norman Wulf. You have mentioned just at the end of your comments a lack of institutional structures in the Congress. I’m going to be so brave as to suggest there’s probably a lack of institutional structures in the executive branch as well.

When I first got into this business there was a vast network solely on nonproliferation. There was an assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency that worked solely on arms nonproliferation. In the first of this administration’s terms, there was an assistant secretary whose sole responsibility was nonproliferation. Now the most senior person in the State Department whose sole responsibility is nonproliferation is a deputy assistant secretary. I’m wondering is there anything that Congress can do to help the executive branch have its rhetorical priorities also reflected in the administrative structures. Thank you.

BERMAN: Well, Congress helped to create the situation you are now bemoaning. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I wasn’t going to say that. (Laughter.)

BERMAN: For very different reasons, those who were in control in Congress and the Clinton administration, and my friend Madeleine Albright, wanted to bring things more under the State Department. I think the Republican majority didn’t like the idea of an agency called Arms Control and Disarmament, and we eliminated that. I always thought, apart from any other reasons, just the notion of somebody who doesn’t have to go through somebody else to get something to the White House on charge with these issues had a beneficial effect. I was against that merger but it occurred. We’re not going to undo that now.

I noticed in the context of the India negotiations, those people who were most responsible and interested in nonproliferation issues, it seemed to me, by the end were totally frozen out of the final negotiations. There are different reasons to be for the agreement and then some strong nonproliferation reasons not to be, but you didn’t get that mix into the final negotiations. It was as if people with nonproliferation interests enters, they would just be impediments to reaching the deal we have got to reach in the time we have got to reach it. I guess I want to think more about how to recreate—we mentioned a couple of things in the 9/11 bill—that institutional framework because I think you’re right. Yes?

QUESTION: My name’s Jim Lenard. There was a fair amount of discussion this morning downstairs on the danger of an American military attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. I think a pretty general agreement was that the consequences would be very far-reaching and utterly disastrous. I wonder if there’s anything the Congress could do to deter that possibility in the remaining two years of this administration?

BERMAN: We were talking about this at lunch just a few minutes ago. I told this story, which I guess I can tell again, about Brzezinski writing an op-ed piece maybe six months ago. Yes, it was in July in the L.A. Times. I’m sorry. My friend from The Daily News in Los Angeles is here. (Laughter.) That rapidly shrinking paper, the L.A. Times, that essentially said, this looks like Iraq—talking about Iran—it looks like Iraq, smells like Iraq, it feels like Iraq all over again. They’re going to do it, and here’s what happens if they do it, and then he lists a series of somewhat frightening and very negative consequences that would happen.

I happened to be going to the White House on one of those rare occasions where I get invited to go to the White House the next morning and I took a copy of that article with me.  At the meeting, Steve Hadley was there. I mentioned earlier this Iran Working Group that I go to the meetings of and Hadley was going to come over that afternoon and talk to them. I said, read this piece if you would between now and this afternoon when you come over to the Hill to talk to the Iran Working Group. I would be interested in your reaction. He came that afternoon and he basically said, well, other than the snide comments about the administration in the piece, he said, I have to tell you, I think Brzezinski underestimates the negative consequences of that kind of an attack. From that I took a sense that, notwithstanding some of the alarms, this administration really had no short-term intention of doing anything like that.

But then, as we were having lunch now, I’m thinking, but wait a second, in November a memo leaked that Steve Hadley wrote talking about why Maliki wouldn’t be somebody you’d want to trust with any particularly important mission, whether it was a matter of will or a matter of ability. This very lengthy memo was leaked into the press. Two months later, we are going to be the spine behind Maliki’s effort to put down all the Shiite militias. I guess things can change. But is there anything Congress can do? No, if they’re intent on doing it.

My guess is if it’s kind of a specific, targeted attack as opposed to an invasion, which I just don’t see that in the cards as realistic and possible, they won’t even think of it as something for which they have to come to Congress for an authorization for the use of force resolution. Look, right off the bat, I can’t see what we could do realistically to stop that from happening if that were going to happen. I’m not so sure it’s going to happen.

QUESTION: Jan Lodal. Congressman, given the president’s veto power, the Democratic majority in the Senate, and the next two years and so forth, and the president’s general authority over foreign policy and defense matters, could you sort of sketch a roadmap for how you see getting part at least of this wonderful agenda that you’ve set forth implemented in the next couple of years? How are you and your colleagues thinking about it in terms of what is both important and doable in the next couple of years?

BERMAN: Well, it assumes that me and my colleagues sit around and think. (Laughter.) But it’s things like that article that gets you thinking. I didn’t read it when it came out. I keep forgetting to read the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal (laughter). I’m just throwing out the idea that is there something about people like George Shultz and Henry Kissinger coming out for this that constitutes something? If it’s built on and Congress can bring people in for hearings and circulate it and distribute it and organize and channel it somewhat, can we get people to think about it or at least lay the foundation for reassessing what we’re doing in this area? I don’t want to give you a better answer off the top of my head. I’m still getting over the shock of reading the article.

I’ve talked about some things. It’s certainly something to say as we push some of these initiatives. It’s really something to talk about it. But part of the point of the article is the initiatives we want to push are more likely to be effective if we have gone back to fundamental assumptions and reassess those. It seems to me that was the key part of this. I’m supportive of many things the administration is trying to do. We want to push them harder, we want them not to get caught up in it, but they do seem to be changing. North Korea; that article yesterday was interesting. I want them to be successful in this. I’m just wondering to what extent this article raises the possibility that at least over the long term these efforts will be more effective. Yes?

QUESTION: Randy Rydell. Many issues that come to the attention of senators and congressmen have a high technical and scientific component to them; not just in the national security area, but across the board. Congress decided many years ago to abolish the Office of Technology Assessment. Do you expect that there will be an effort to bring it back and are you satisfied with the current level of technical advice that you receive?

BERMAN: I have a hard time understanding the technical advice that I receive. (Laughter.) There’s an internal process here. I had forgotten; your mentioning it just reminds me that they did that, and why aren’t we thinking about doing this? One of my many different hats, if we ever constitute ourselves, will be chairman of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee. There we’re dealing with this whole issue of what you can patent? Talk about things that get technical. Bluffing is a very good trait.

You just gave me an idea because I know that Speaker Pelosi is very interested and seriously wants to pursue an “innovation agenda.” The Office of Technology Assessment; I don’t know if that reeks for some of an inappropriate government role. I guess it did. That’s why they eliminated it. But we’re not sensitive to that reek so I think this is something I’m going to take from this lunch and bring back.

QUESTION: I want to ask a little bit more on Jan’s roadmap question. You mentioned the 9/11 Commission nonproliferation bill. My name is Paul Walker from Global Green, U.S.A. The 9/11 Commission bill was excellent, particularly Title XII, which dealt with nonproliferation issues that you talked about, congressman. But there doesn’t appear to be any money, as we would say not much horse power, behind the bill. It’s good rhetoric, but we’ve yet to see what’s going to result from this. I wondered if you would tell us what you think the prospects of a large bill like this, 270-odd pages, might be in the Senate, and then actually getting signed or making it’s way through conference and getting signed by the president and putting some money behind some of the measures?

BERMAN: Well, we have been there only two weeks so there is a huge amount of work. You’re absolutely right. My guess is there’s next to zero chance that that bill that we passed will pass the Senate in that form. But there are dozens of ideas just in that title that you mentioned, as well as other things, that are going to become part of an agenda. In part because we were out of power for so long and because we lost, we understand that our majority is no longer an entitlement program. There is a much greater level of contact and communication between House and Senate committees.

I’m starting to see it already in staffers; how they squeeze in and fit in different kinds of things in different ways. The package may not look anything like that in the appropriations process, not for the rest to this fiscal year but for the ’08 fiscal year, in some of the legislation that does pass in homeland security areas. I think there are great opportunities to get different parts of that through, not looking exactly like H.R.1. But I wouldn’t discount or lose hope that we can actually do things. Many of the things we will do, I don’t think necessarily will be the things that get vetoes from the administration.

QUESTION: Matthew Bunn from Harvard University. Thanks for that very interesting talk. Following up on Paul’s thought, I think you shouldn’t write off this year’s appropriations in that there will be a large supplemental request coming up for the president’s budget and I would urge you to look at some supplemental appropriations for certain particular programs. Most of the programs to secure nuclear material and so on aren’t in fact largely money constrained. They’re constrained by limited cooperation with other countries and so on. But there are a few areas where a couple of hundred million more would make a big difference. I’d be happy to talk about that more specifically. You sort of glided over the part in HR1 about black-market networks and I’ll say candidly that I found a little of that provision a little disappointing, because it was essentially –

BERMAN: That’s why I glided over it. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: …a sanctions-only approach. I think there’s only so much you can do about the black market networks through sanctions. As I was saying this morning, I think we need a much more focused approach to helping countries around the world put in place effective export controls, effective transshipment controls, more intelligence sharing on what’s going on with individual brokers and technology marketers, and so on. I think there are opportunities for legislation to put those kinds of things in place, especially since we now have UN Security Council Resolution 1540 that legally mandates that every country in the world has to have these effective controls in place. We’ve done essentially zip so far to actually make sure that that actually happens. I think there are a lot of opportunities there to do more to prevent a recurrence of the A. Q. Khan network.

BERMAN: Yes. I agree. I assume a sanction on some shady Malaysian businessman that he’s not going to be able to do business with U.S. companies or get export licenses is going to have a major impact. We’ve talked about how do we create export regimes in individual countries and some multilateral programs to incentivize those kinds of regimes that distinguish the important from the unimportant, facilitate export of the things that aren’t risky, and then really clamp down on the dangerous stuff. We have done nothing on that whole world of export controls for years because it was such a fundamental conflict really between people like Henry Hyde and Duncan Hunter on one hand and the business community on the other hand. No one made an effort to reconcile those different views, both of which had some legitimate basis, and to produce something. This would be something we should look at. We’re getting too much work from this luncheon. (Laughter.)

KIMBALL: That’s the idea.

QUESTION: Thank you, Congressman. I’m Carol Kalinoski, a consultant here in town working on export controls and nonproliferation. With respect to HR1, especially the section B that proposes various sanctions, I would like to propose that the Congress be mindful that success in export controls only occurs is if we have multilateral agreement. If we have unilateral sanctions, the way it’s currently drafted, there is a large contingent in the industry exporting community that is concerned that the reach to foreign persons and corporations is an extraterritoriality issue that may call out what we call these blocking statutes amongst our allies. Unless we can get multilateral agreement, hopefully at the UN, so that it strengthens the work of the 1540, it’s going to cause more problems for the United States and its trade position than attack the illicit nuclear trafficking network.

BERMAN: Well, I’m not familiar with this blocking provision you’re talking about. I certainly agree generally. First of all, in sanctions, I think we are as extraterritorial as we can be. We’re up to the limit on sanctions and with marginal effects. There’s probably been some disincentives for some investment in Iran, but some consequences that’s hard to quantify. It sure seems to me that ultimately if export controls are not multilateral, they’re not going to work.

QUESTION: But just a point on the blocking statutes. It arises especially with the application of the U.S.-Cuba embargo. There are states, for example Canada, which have passed legislation making it a crime for Canadian companies to comply with the U.S. statute.

BERMAN: But that’s extraterritorial. How can they do that?

QUESTION: Well, the point is that if you were a U.S. company with a subsidiary in Canada, you have to choose which criminal law you’re going to violate.

BERMAN: Right. Yes. Plus it affects Bacardi rum or something. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: I have one more idea for you. This is actually an old idea. One of the problems we face in the House is the jurisdiction on nonproliferation is split between Armed Services and Foreign Affairs. There’s a lot more creativity by the people in your committee, but at least the last several Congresses you’ve not passed an authorization.

BERMAN: An authorization on?

QUESTION: State Department.


QUESTION: The old idea was to have a specific title dealing with nonproliferation issues that came out of the Foreign Affairs committee and was attached on the floor to the annual defense authorization bill, which is going to get through the two Houses and will be signed by the president. I think there will be some interest on the part of the House Armed Services Committee of also doing that. The problem that we’ve got is the jurisdiction is between the two committees.

BERMAN: Explain to me when you say when—for instance the Export Control Act—we try to change the role of the Defense Department export controls, it gets sequentially referred to Armed Services. It’s basically a Foreign Affairs Committee jurisdiction.

QUESTION: Well, if you talk to them, they think differently. But all I’m suggesting is that a nonproliferation bill that was reported out of your committee that included many of the points that you’re talking about and that was offered on the floor with the support of Mr. Skelton, I think, would have a real opportunity of being adopted.

BERMAN: In the old days, Henry Hyde and Duncan Hunter saw things much the same way so it didn’t matter where the jurisdiction was because they agreed on where they didn’t want to go.

QUESTION: You got a good list of things. The question is how we get this signed into law, and I would be thinking about a specific title for the defense authorization bill that comes out of your committee and is offered on the floor.

BERMAN: A title to be added as an amendment to the defense authorization bill?


BERMAN: Which is a good bill to add it too because that bill usually gets signed.

QUESTION: That’s right. That’s exactly right. The defense authorization bill is going to get passed and signed by the president and it’s a good vehicle. Thanks.


QUESTION: Hi. Bill Courtney. The Reliable Replacement Warhead issue. Proponents say that if the United States were to go to a Reliable Replacement Warhead this would enable significant reductions in the stockpile that the United States would have to retain and could end a need for nuclear testing. Opponents say that plutonium primaries may last longer than previously thought, and so that doesn’t need to be done now. Do you have a view on that?

BERMAN: Yes. I’d go to the Arms Control Association, to the people I respect, and say, “What do you think of these arguments?” (Laughter.) Or to the Office of Technology Assessment. (Laughter.) But this is what the labs are pushing, right? So just one degree of skepticism, but I’ll be open. Yes?

QUESTION: Herbert Levin. Could you recall the extremely high vote in the House for the agreement with India, and give us some understanding of the motivations of the people who voted for that, putting aside administration stalwarts who would go for anything the president asked for?

BERMAN: Yes. Well, I could start with the people who did it for benign reasons. That’s me. (Laughs.) And then the others. No. (Laughter.) Look, we’re extraordinarily unpopular throughout the world right now. The notion of having a positive relationship with an important growing developing country has a certain appeal when you have hardly any other friends. (Laughs.) I’m serious in a way. People think that the U.S.-Indian relationship, and I think, it’s an important one.

There were other arguments made in favor of it involving energy, although I’m somewhat skeptical on just how much nuclear energy benefits India for environmental and energy purposes. But I think more importantly was the political relationship with India. To be honest with you, even people who were very stalwart nonproliferation people said, at this particular point, that that was very important.

There were two aspects for my decision. One was hearing some people I respect in the nonproliferation community saying, at this particular point, the downsides—once they’ve signed this agreement and pushed it up here—of killing the agreement mean you probably shouldn’t do that. You should try to make it better, you should try to improve it, but at this point, we would be far worse off having agreed to it, proposed it, and killed it than we would if we had never gotten into it in the first place. So that was part of it.

The second part of it just from my own point of view was this is a very different bill—whether it’s ultimately a critical difference, we’ll find out—than it was. It’s very hard to get them to make changes when you say, no matter what you do I’m going to oppose whatever. In other words, in many cases I didn’t get changes and people like me didn’t get changes because we ran over them on amendments. We persuaded them to accept a number of changes. We raised a lot of issues. But the implicit part of that deal, at least because of my role, was in the end that I was going to have to support the final product. Sometimes it’s good to have both. Ed Markey plays a wonderful role, I think, in raising these issues very strongly and passionately. But I also think there’s a role to try and get some substantive improvements in these things that you are pretty sure are going to pass anyway. You’re not going to make a critical difference, but you have to be part of that bargain. I think there’s a role for both and that was the role I decided to play here.

The other part of this is this became a matter of tremendous pride for the Indian-American community in this country. They were activated. They have extensive networks. They worked it very hard and promoted it. I’ve seen it in the context of other issues and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s politics in America. But it played a huge role for a lot of Democrats who had no interest in the issue, who didn’t know what we were talking about, and who were not on the committees. Oh, so and so wants it or this group of folks came? Sure I’ll vote for it. That also was a big part of this.

At the very end, just on the little provision regarding what happens if the Indian government re-exports? I got very upset because there’s this Iran Nonproliferation Act. We were supposed to get a report on it about proliferation incidents to Iran and the administration wasn’t doing it. We had a hearing. We asked them, and I said, are there Indian proliferation things? I don’t know what’s in it was the reply. The next day after we passed the bill, they certified their report which showed that there were Indian entities that have proliferated. The picture is, oh, India never proliferates. Well, there’s some serious stuff from back in the 1970s, but there also are these ongoing problems. People came to me from the administration and said please, in the conference committee, make your provision sense of the Congress; get rid of this because this will kill the whole deal.

They’re going to get nuclear cooperation. All we’re saying is if they re-export missile or nuclear technology to somebody else [cooperation is terminated.] Are they going to walk away from an agreement which allows them to get nuclear cooperation over that? Oh, that’s what they’re saying, that’s what they’re saying, the administration told us. That was what they were saying, but they didn’t mean it. It was absurd on its face. My problem with our negotiators is that I don’t think we played out this string long enough. When you force yourselves to do something by a certain deadline, the other side hangs tough. They’re going to win. So I refused to change it. They kept it in the bill and the next day the Indians praised the agreement, never mentioned that provision, and they did a 180-degree turnaround. Yes?

QUESTION: Ali, Voice of America. Congressman, in your view, just slightly expanding the focus of the discussion, how significant is the threat of nuclear, chemical, or biological terrorism and what is it that the current administration is doing and in your view needs to be done?

BERMAN: Look, I’m going to assume the threat is quite serious because it seems to me that’s a better assumption than the opposite assumption. Without being a total expert on all that’s being done, I’m going to say I’m sure we’re not doing enough. I’m not quite familiar with what’s in place and what could be easily in place in terms of protecting reactors and in terms of detection machinery at ports and entry points. I’m not really that competent to speak in great detail on this, but I’ll start out with the assumption that it’s a serious threat and we’re not doing enough and sort of go from there.

QUESTION: Is there anything that you think needs to be done?

BERMAN: I’m trying to get out of a specific answer. Yes, I want to see more. I can think of all kinds of things we want to see done. I want to see us deal with the Russians in a different way. I want to see more Nunn-Lugar programs. I want to see greater rigor in our domestic inspection programs and security protection programs. I want national healthcare. (Laughter.) I’ve got a lot of things I want.

KIMBALL: Thank you very much. (Applause.)

BERMAN: Thank you very much.

KIMBALL: Ladies and gentlemen, please consider yourselves participants in one very large meeting with a member of Congress providing ideas. We’ll pursue many of these things with Congressman Berman and I hope our discussions will continue. I ask that all of you who have suggestions about how ACA can advance this big agenda that Congressman Berman talked about talk to our staff and our office, our board members, and I look forward to seeing you in the coming year. I hope you enjoyed your afternoon. Thank you. (Applause.)

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What's Next for India's Nuclear Trade Future: Key Issues before the IAEA, NSG and U.S. Congress



Fresh off the heels of a vote of confidence from parliament, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has renewed a push for nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and India. Late next week, the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors will meet to consider an unprecedented safeguards agreement for India. Soon thereafter, the 45 member states of the Nuclear Suppliers Group will consider an India-specific exemption to allow civil nuclear trade for the first time in 30 years. The NSG has restricted trade with India and other states that have not signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Only then would the U.S. Congress consider a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement between the U.S. and India. As these events unfold, a number of experts are raising alarms about the implications of this agreement on global stability.

Click here for a transcript of this event.


Press briefing to address key issues before the international community on the controversial proposal and outline key conditions and restrictions that would reduce the adverse impacts on nonproliferation.

Panelists include:

  • Ambassador Robert T. Grey, Jr., Director, Bipartisan Security Group, former U.S. Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament
  • Sharon Squassoni, Senior Associate, Nonproliferation Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director, Arms Control Association
WHEN: Wednesday, July 30, 2008, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

National Press Club
Murrow Room, 13th Floor
529 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20045

RSVP Meri Lugo 202-463-8270 x100; [email protected]
Press briefing to address key issues before the international community on the controversial proposal and outline key conditions and restrictions that would reduce the adverse impacts on nonproliferation.

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Israel's Airstrike on Syria's Nuclear Reactor: Preventive War and the Nonproliferation Regime



A public event co-sponsored by the United States Institute for Peace, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Arms Control Association

On July 14, 2008, USIP, along with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation and Studies and the Arms Control Association, co-sponsored an event to examine the nuclear nonproliferation implications of Israel’s September 2007 attack on a Syrian facility believed to have been a clandestine nuclear reactor under construction with North Korean assistance. The panel of speakers included David Albright, Institute for Science and International Security; Avner Cohen, USIP; Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr., Cypress Fund; Dr. Fiona Simpson, New York University; Leonard S. Spector, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies; and Robin Wright, noted journalist. Daryl Kimball, of the Arms Control Association, moderated.

The speakers addressed various aspects of the Israeli airstrike and Syria’s secret nuclear activities, including Israel’s rationale for taking military action against the facility, the implications of the airstrike, Syria’s actions with respect to the International Atomic Energy Agency and what the IAEA might uncover in relation to the facility.

Albright pointed out the significant evidence that the facility was a nuclear reactor under construction. However, he said, there is little indication of other aspects of a nuclear weapons program in the country. He also argued that Syria’s nuclear proliferation highlighted the need to pay greater attention to the global illicit nuclear trade.

Cohen contrasted the September 2007 airstrike to Israel’s 1981 attack on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, noting the differences in the nature of and international reactions to each attack. Spector called the muted reaction of the international community to the event “quite striking.” He speculated that the silence was because observers worldwide were “recalibrating” their reactions to such attacks in light of the Bush doctrine of preemptive warfare.

Wright discussed the Middle Eastern political dynamics behind Israel’s strike and suggested that Syria and North Korea did not protest the attack because of their fear of publicity about their own illicit nuclear activities. She also surmised that knowledge of the facility was closely guarded, and that many elements of the Syrian leadership, as well as other states in the region, were unaware of its existence prior to its destruction.

Simpson highlighted the differences between preventive and pre-emptive military action and noted the limitations of the IAEA inspection regime with respect to cases in which evidence of noncompliance is unclear. Finally, Graham discussed the roles of two different types of IAEA states—nuclear-weapon and non-nuclear-weapon states, with respect to the attack.

Cohen said, “It was a perhaps the first public discussion in town of an event which is still so publicly obscure. There are still many questions that need to be answered before we can fully evaluate the impact that the attack and Syria’s activities had on efforts to deal with nuclear proliferation.”

For more detailed information, transcripts and audio, go to the USIP Webpage.


A public event co-sponsored by the United States Institute for Peace, the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and the Arms Control Association.

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