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I salute the Arms Control Association … for its keen vision of the goals ahead and for its many efforts to identify and to promote practical measures that are so vitally needed to achieve them. -

– Amb. Nobuyasu Abe
Former UN Undersecretary General for Disarmament Affairs
January 28, 2004
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Updating Nonproliferation Criteria for U.S. Nuclear Trade

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By Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director Arms Control Association

Prepared Comments for Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and the Foreign Policy Initiative Forum on
“Tightening Nuclear Nonproliferation Rules: What Congress’ Role Should Be”
May 16, 2012

Since the beginning of the nuclear age, efforts to exploit nuclear technology for energy and for profit have complicated the task of reducing the nuclear weapons threat.

The 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) grants states the “right” to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, so long as states forswear nuclear weapons and comply with safeguards against the diversion of nuclear technology and materials for weapons purposes. The NPT also obliges the nuclear weapon states not to assist—directly or indirectly—other states’ with the pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The United States has long sought to improve international safeguards standards and prevent the spread of the most sensitive dual-use nuclear technologies—particularly enrichment and reprocessing technologies.

The U.S. Atomic Energy Act (AEA) and the 1978 amendments have set an important global benchmarks for the terms under the United States and others should enter into peaceful nuclear cooperation agreements. And as matter of policy, the United States has sought to prevent the transfer of enrichment or reprocessing technology, which can be used to make nuclear bomb material.

With renewed interest in nuclear energy and the possibility that still more states may wish to pursue enrichment or reprocessing capabilities, it is time to:

  • update the U.S. standards for civil nuclear trade to raise the barriers against proliferation, and
  • ensure that those standards apply to all states with whom we negotiate or renegotiate so-called 123 agreements.

The current policies of the Barack Obama administration to pursue nuclear cooperation agreement on a case-by-case basis creates an uneven set of standards and a mixed-message that undermines the administration’s own efforts to establish tougher nonproliferation rules that apply to all states.

The administration is currently engaged in discussions with several states on possible bilateral nuclear cooperation agreements, seeking somewhat different nonproliferation standards and guarantees with each. That is a mistake.

With the ill-conceived U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation deal, we have already seen how the exemption created for India from the global nonproliferation rules has given others a cynical excuse to break the rules and lobby for their own exemptions. And we have seen no new action by India to improve its nonproliferation and disarmament record as a result.

It is time to reconsider and pursue a better way for future nuclear cooperation deals.

H.R. 1280, authored by Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Howard Berman, Brad Sherman and others, offers a very useful way forward.

It is not perfect, but it is something the administration should support and work with Congress to improve.

The bill would add several new requirements to the nine key requirements already in Section 123 of the AEA.[i] Among the most important new requirements that would be added are:

  • the application of the IAEA additional protocol. Dozens of states have not yet approved an additional protocol, including Algeria, Egypt, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, whose ambassador to Washington recently threatened that his country would build nuclear weapons if Iran does; and
  • a pledge not to acquire enrichment or reprocessing capabilities/facilities.

I would also suggest that the bill should be strengthened by:

  • clarifying that the recipient state must allow for the application of its Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) under the terms of the most up-to-date IAEA revisions, which today are known as code 3.1. Why is this important? Some states, including Iran, have a CSA in place but don’t allow IAEA to operate under the updated code 3.1 revisions;
  • requiring termination of U.S. nuclear cooperation in the event the recipient state conducts a nuclear test explosion, is found to be in violation of its IAEA safeguards obligations, or acquires enrichment or reprocessing equipment from sources other than the United States.

H.R. 1280 would not require that states renounce their option to pursue enrichment or reprocessing—which some refuse to do because they claim it is their right under the NPT to do so—but would incentivize those that do by “fast tracking” the Congressional review and approval process for civil nuclear cooperation agreements with countries that meet the new and higher set of standards, including a no enrichment or reprocessing pledge, as the United Arab Emirates has done.

Agreements with states that cannot meet the higher set of standards would be subject to a more rigorous process requiring affirmative Congressional approval.

Article IV of the NPT may, in the view of some states, give them a “right” to pursue peaceful nuclear technology, but the United States also has a right, an NPT responsibility, and an interest not to engage in civil nuclear trade that don’t meet a higher set of standards than those spelled out in the 1968 NPT.

Some nuclear energy industry lobbyists suggest that because states will not want to give up their option to pursue enrichment or reprocessing in the future, H.R. 1280, if enacted, would drive these countries seek nuclear commerce from other nuclear suppliers and put U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage.

That’s farfetched and it suggests that we should lower the bar against proliferation in order to simply give them a perceived competitive edge.

H.R. 1280 is a very reasonable and common sense approach that would simply put into U.S. law the standards that all nuclear supplier states have already agreed are essential to preventing future proliferation.

In addition, the new and important NSG rule adopted in June 2011—that bars enrichment and reporcessing technology transfers to states without CSAs, have not joined the NPT, do not have an additional protocol in force, or to states in proliferation sensitive regions—makes it highly unlikely that other nuclear suppliers can even offer to transfer enrichment or reprocessing technology or equipment to these states.

For instance even in the case of India, which is actively seeking more advanced enrichment and reprocessing technology and which could use it for its nuclear weapons program, cannot obtain such technology from the U.S., France or Russia under the new NSG rule.

If we are to succeed in limiting the number of states capable of producing nuclear bomb material, all states must be willing to provide responsible leadership and restraint. In the near future, there is no economic rationale for new states to enter the civil uranium-enrichment or plutonium-separation arena.

It is time for the Congress to act and for the Obama administration to provide pragmatic input rather than stiff resistance to this bill, which is fully consistent with the President’s broader nonproliferation strategy and goals.

 


 

ENDNOTE

[i] Section 123(a) lists nine criteria that an agreement must meet unless the President determines an exemption is necessary. These include guarantees that:

  • Safeguards on transferred nuclear material and equipment continue in perpetuity;
  • Full-scope IAEA safeguards are applied in non-nuclear weapon states;
  • Nothing transferred is used for any nuclear explosive device or for any other military purpose, except in the case of cooperation agreements with nuclear weapon states, in which the United States has the right to demand the return of transferred nuclear materials and equipment, as well as any special nuclear material produced through their use, if the cooperating state detonates a nuclear explosive device, or terminates or abrogates its IAEA safeguards agreement;
  • There is no retransfer of material or classified data without U.S. consent;
  • Physical security on nuclear material is maintained;
  • There is no enrichment or reprocessing by the recipient state of transferred nuclear material or nuclear material produced with materials or facilities transferred pursuant to the agreement without prior approval;
  • Storage for transferred plutonium and highly enriched uranium is approved in advance by the United States; and
  • Any material or facility produced or constructed through use of special nuclear technology transferred under the cooperation agreement is subject to all of the above requirements.
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Prepared Comments by Daryl G. Kimball for Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and the Foreign Policy Initiative Forum on “Tightening Nuclear Nonproliferation Rules: What Congress’ Role Should Be”
May 16, 2012

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ACA Senior Fellow speaks about Territorial Missile Defense at Paris Conference

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Territorial Missile Defense and
Reassurance of Flank States

Prepared Remarks by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association

IFSH/IRIS/BASIC/ACA Conference
“NATO’s Future Deterrence Posture: What Can Nuclear Weapons Contribute?”
Paris, France
March 6, 2012

The Lisbon Summit Declaration of November 2010 included a decision “to develop a NATO missile defence capability to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces…”  And it invited Russian cooperation in this task.  The stated target of these systems was “the increasing threats posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles.”

Evolution of U.S. Missile Defense Objectives

I am going to begin with some blunt talk about the achievability of territorial defense against ballistic missile attack, based on the American experience.  The United States has, at various points, vigorously pursued such defenses.

Missile defense was first directed against Soviet attack; then it was reoriented as a defense against a much smaller Chinese attack; then population defense was dropped, in favor of defending ICBM fields.  The U.S.-Soviet ABM Treaty, signed in 1972, limited the number and location of such defenses and specifically prohibited deployments designed to provide defense of the national territory.   Although the U.S. “Safeguard” strategic missile defense system was compliant with that treaty, it was scrapped for cost-effectiveness reasons only nine months after becoming operational.

During his two terms as president, Ronald Reagan revived America’s interest in missile defense with his dream of “rendering ballistic missiles impotent and obsolete.”   Reagan launched his “Strategic Defense Initiative” in 1983 and promised the exploitation of new technologies, including the use of exotic space-based weapons.

His administration buttressed its case for the weapons by pointing to Soviet violations of the ABM Treaty and by portraying Soviet missile defense research and development efforts as evidence that the Soviets were themselves preparing to break out of the treaty.

Soviet Missile Defenses

For their part, the Soviets had long sought to defend their capital and national leadership against U.S. air attack – targeting first bombers, and later ballistic missiles.  In the 1960s, they began deploying a ring of strategic missile interceptors with nuclear warheads around Moscow.  Yet they never succeeded in creating a reliable and effective missile defense; U.S. warheads and the options for countermeasures were too numerous and the radars on which the Moscow system relied too vulnerable.  The Reagan administration’s depiction of Soviet R&D development efforts on energy weapons turned out to be greatly exaggerated.  Moreover, when the Soviets were caught building the Krasnoyarsk radar – a major, albeit technical, treaty violation – they were ultimately forced to dismantle it.

A vestige of Moscow’s ABM system remains to this day, but the Russian Federation is now far behind in strategic missile defense technology and harbors few illusions about the feasibility of territorial defense against ballistic missile attack.

America Keeping the Faith

Not so the United States.  America retains its faith-based approach to strategic missile defense.  Having invested well over $100 billion since Reagan launched what critics dubbed “Star Wars,” total expenditures for missile defenses over the last decade have been running roughly $10 billion per year, even though the stated mission objective is now confined to dealing with “simple” ballistic threats from newly emerging, nuclear weapons states.  The Reagan era program was downgraded under the presidencies of the elder George (H.W.) Bush, and Bill Clinton, who limited yearly expenditures to around $1 billion.

But an alarmist report by the Rumsfeld Commission on ballistic missile threats in 1998 and an attempted satellite launch by North Korea using a three-staged rocket a few months later had a huge impact on public and congressional perceptions.  By March 1999, the U.S. Congress had passed a bill by large margins in both houses, declaring it to be the policy of the United States “to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack.”  Three consecutive U.S. presidents have now embraced this policy.

In the year 2000, President Clinton judged the technology not sufficiently ripe for deployment, but that turned out to be merely a bump in the road toward implementation of a territorial missile defense policy.  Ready or not, the new administration of George W. Bush wasted no time in withdrawing from the ABM Treaty and deploying the first strategic missile defense interceptors in Alaska and California by the fall of 2004.

It is important to note that the threat against which these strategic missile defenses were developed has not materialized.  The Rumsfeld Commission predicted that Iraq, North Korea, and Iran could each have ICBMs by 2003, but nine years later, none of them do.

Where are the ICBMs? -- In Russia and China, of course!

Not in Iraq.  Saddam’s ballistic missile threat had already been cut short by the First Gulf War.  Even before the March 2003 invasion, Saddam was being forced to destroy the most capable ballistic missiles left in his inventory – the short-range  al-Samouds.

Not in North Korea.  The DPRK has conducted two flight tests of the Taepo Dong 2 ICBM class system.  The first flight in 2006 failed shortly after launch.  An attempt to launch a satellite with the same booster rockets failed in 2009.  Last week, North Korea announced agreement to a moratorium on further long-range missile launches.

Not in Iran. The Islamic Republic has not yet conducted any flight tests of an ICBM.  Senior U.S. military officials have indicated Iran is currently concentrating on development and deployment of medium-range ballistic missiles with ranges of roughly 2,000 km.  Iran’s last MRBM test occurred more than one year ago.

Current ballistic missile threats from hostile proliferants come not from long-range systems, but from those with ranges below 3,000 km.  Theater ballistic missile defenses are potentially useful against such shorter-range missiles topped with high explosives – to mitigate losses to civilian populations, military forces, and infrastructure – but they do not affect the strategic balance.

Opportunity Costs

Unfortunately, U.S. determination to protect the option of deploying strategic ballistic missile defenses of the national territory, has not only diverted attention from acute threats to U.S. forces and regional allies, it has also carried heavy opportunity costs.  The United States missed two chances to negotiate significant cuts in strategic offensive arms – with the Soviet Union at Reykjavik in 1987 and, with Russia in the late 1990s during efforts to bring START II into effect.  Depending on how we handle missile defenses in the months ahead, we may be on the verge of missing a third chance.

I’ve tried to be frank in describing the nature of the ballistic missile threat we face, taking note of the exaggerations that plague our public discussion of the issue.  I must be equally frank in acknowledging that delusional thinking about strategic missile defense is now deeply engrained in U.S. declaratory policy and public consciousness.

Articles of Faith

The Missile Defense Act of 1999 remains our political charter, even if its evidentiary foundations are built on sand.  Domestic political dynamics are conspiring against rational course correction.

Opponents of New START ratification found missile defense an effective line of attack against the treaty.  Even the treaty’s recognition of “the interrelationship between strategic offensive and strategic defensive arms,” was depicted as a shameful concession to Russian negotiators.

Every defense policy shift or budget reduction is now judged by according to whether it implies a failure of commitment to the cause of strategic missile defense.  Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney last week accused President Obama of just such a failure.

But would they work?

Last October, Secretary of Defense Panetta referred to the existing strategic missile defense system as “very remarkable.”  Senior military figures have joined the official chorus attesting to its effectiveness against future Iranian or North Korean missiles.

Yet none of the ongoing tests of these systems have occurred under operationally realistic conditions. U.S. intelligence officials have acknowledged that any state capable of building an ICBM can also build simple decoys to spoof missile defenses.  But U.S. strategic missile defenses have never demonstrated the ability to discriminate decoys and other clutter.  The Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation reported in January: “To date [the system] has demonstrated a limited capability against a simple threat.”  He also noted that the last two flight tests had failed.  The last successful test under carefully controlled conditions was in 2008; the next test has been postponed to allow for causes of the last failure to be addressed.

Russian Concerns

Moscow does not seem particularly troubled by the 30 U.S.-based strategic interceptors.  However, the advanced Aegis systems planned for the later phases of Obama’s European Phased Adaptive Approach have caused acute concerns.  Whether real or feigned, Russia has reacted with alarm to the prospect of seeing European-based and highly mobile strategic interceptors on its periphery by the end of the decade.

Moscow has demanded legal assurances that U.S. missile defenses are not intended to threaten Russia’s strategic deterrent.  For the reasons to which I alluded, such formal assurances have not been forthcoming, and if they were, they would probably be rejected by the Senate.

Presidential campaigns in the United States and Russia have not created a propitious climate for reaching political compromise.  But it may yet be possible to secure agreement on a blueprint for cooperation prior to NATO’s Chicago Summit in May.  The more cooperation that can be achieved, the less threatening U.S. missile defenses will seem to the Russians.

DDPR

NATO’s upcoming Deterrence and Defense Posture Review provides an opportunity for progress.  Several of you were involved in drafting a joint letter to NATO Secretary General Rasmussen last July.  Among other things, the letter suggested the DDPR reiterate NATO’s assurance that its current and future missile defense capabilities are not “targeted” at Russia’s strategic forces and that NATO member state missile interceptor deployments would be designed and configured to address third party missile threats as they emerge.  Such a written assurance could form the basis of a missile defense cooperation framework.

There have been a number of creative ideas for making cooperation concrete.  A Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative (EASI) Working Group chaired by former senior officials of the United States, Russia, and Germany, have recommended pooling and sharing data and information from early-warning radars and satellites in Cooperation Centers staffed by U.S., NATO, and Russian officers working together.  The latest issue of Arms Control Today features in its cover story a proposal by Dean Wilkening to build a joint ballistic missile early warning radar in central Russia.

Guidelines to Consider

Let me end by listing my own conclusions on the subject of our panel.

All NATO states have enormous stakes in the success of U.S.-Russian negotiations to further reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles.  U.S. missile defense forces are more likely to be an obstacle rather than an inducement to Russian movement in the desired direction.

Russia’s attitude is not pathological.  Russia is doing what the United States did when the tables were reversed.  During the Cold War, U.S. fears about Soviet ABM systems helped stoke the large increase in U.S. ballistic missile warheads.  It was only after the 1972 ABM Treaty capped strategic missile defenses that the path was opened toward eventual reductions in deployed offensive warheads.

Russia responded favorably to Obama’s European Phased Adaptive Approach as a substitute for Bush’s “Third Site” plan.  Future deployments were tied to actual rather than theoretical ballistic missile threats and strategic missile defenses in Europe were not anticipated before the end of the decade.

But if phases 3 and 4 of Obama’s plan are truly “adaptive,” then they must be contingent on the actual progress and intent of Iran’s ballistic missile program.  This link must be made convincing and explicit to the Russians. Moscow must be able to see something other than immovable dates for the deployments and vague place-holders in the matrix showing the number of interceptors to be deployed.  As it is, Moscow sees the quantity of advanced SM-3 interceptors as infinitely expandable and NATO’s “territorial defense” language as pointing toward Russia’s strategic forces – not those coming from Iran during the next 6-8 years.

If U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe are tied to the level of threats from the Middle East, then they should not be expected to address other security concerns.  European flank states should enhance their security through other measures, which do not gratuitously provoke their large eastern neighbor.

Alternative ways to strengthen the alliance bond might include: periodic presence of U.S. and other NATO troops for training purposes; active participation in alliance institutions and activities; and greater political integration within the EU.

Reasons for Hope

U.S. missile defense efforts have the potential of derailing continued progress in reducing the bloated nuclear arsenals of the Cold War.  But I see two reasons to hope for a different outcome:

-- First, fiscal pressures on the U.S. defense budget will force the Administration and the Congress to get off the Cold War autopilot.  They will create strong incentives for the U.S. military to shift resources away from political programs like strategic missile defense toward those, which can increase military capabilities that count in the real world.

-- Second, Europe is now a player at the missile defense table.  NATO has offered political support, real estate, and financial resources for the Phased Adaptive Approach.  Europe therefore has a new ability to tame some ill-considered American instincts.   I hope it will actively seek to influence U.S. policy when that policy veers in a direction, which provides a net loss to the security of the alliance.

I’ve seen it happen before with regard to INF in the 1980s.  The Europeans – particularly the basing countries (Germany, the UK, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands) – made it very clear to a reluctant Reagan administration that it could not have one part of the Dual-Track Decision (deploying new weapons) without the other (seeking to reduce that category of weapons through arms control).

I think we need Europe’s help again.

Thank you for your attention.

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Prepared Remarks by Greg Thielmann, Senior Fellow, Arms Control Association, delivered March 6, 2012 at the Salle de la Commission de la Defense in Paris at a conference sponsored by the: Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg; Institut de Relations Internationales et Strategiques; British American Security Information Council; and Arms Control Association.

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Diplomatic Strategies for Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran

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Thursday, February 9, 2012
9:30am to 11:00am

The Henry L. Stimson Center Conference Room
1111 19th St, NW, 12th Floor
Washington, D.C.

Amid rising tensions over Iran's nuclear program, the key parties engaged in the issue have all said they are interested in a diplomatic solution to the current impasse. In a letter on behalf of the P5+1 last October, European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton called on Iran to return to serious talks on the nuclear file. Iranian officials have said they are ready for talks and are preparing a formal response.

With the possibility that the seven countries will meet once again in Istanbul, the site of their last unproductive meeting one year ago, what are the prospects for progress? What are the two sides likely to propose and how would such proposals address concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions?

Please join the Arms Control Association and guests for a discussion of these and other critical questions related to diplomatic efforts to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Speakers:

Ambassador James Dobbins is the director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center. Dobbins has held State Department and White House posts including Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President, and Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans. He represented the United States at the Bonn Conference in 2001, which involved negotiating with Iranian officials on establishing a new Afghan government.

Peter Crail is a Nonproliferation Analyst with ACA focusing on nuclear and missile proliferation. He has been following arms control and nonproliferation-related issues since 2004, working at the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and the Center for Nonproliferation Studies before joining ACA in 2007. His recent essay, "Charting a Diplomatic Path on the Iran Nuclear Challenge," is available online here.

Dr. Jim Walsh is an expert in international security and a Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Security Studies Program (SSP).  Dr. Walsh's work on international security focuses primarily on nuclear weapons and terrorism, and he is one of a handful of Americans who has traveled to both Iran and North Korea for talks with officials about nuclear issues.

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of ACA.

 


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL:  Good morning, everyone.  Grab your seats.  Close the door in the back.  Thank you.

I’m Daryl Kimball, the director of the Arms Control Association.  I want to welcome you here to the Henry L. Stimson Center.  Thank you to the Stimson Center for the facilities here today.

The Arms Control Association is an independent, membership-based organization and our goal, our mission, is to provide information about weapons-related threats and practical policy options to deal with those threats.  And we’re here today for a briefing on diplomatic strategies for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.

And, as you all know, we’re here this morning at a very critical juncture.  We’re deeply concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the rising tensions over its nuclear program, and the absence of progress toward sustained negotiations on the confidence-building steps that are necessary to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

The latest IAEA report that was issued in November underscores that Iran was engaged in a comprehensive nuclear weapons-related research program which was halted in 2003 after being exposed, but since then some weaponization-related activities have resumed.

And also, as we know, the IAEA and U.S. intelligence findings show that Iran is steadily improving its uranium enrichment capabilities and already has some of the expertise needed to build nuclear weapons.  But those same assessments also make it clear that a nuclear-armed Iran is neither imminent nor is it inevitable.  Sanctions on Iran’s nuclear missile sectors have helped slow progress, buy time, and helped improve negotiating leverage, but sanctions alone are not going to turn – change Tehran’s behavior.

Military strikes against Iranian nuclear targets – which is not the subject specifically of this session – widely believed and known not to be able to permanently halt Iran’s nuclear program and prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, which is why responsible leaders in Washington, in Paris – Nicolas Sarkozy made a statement yesterday – and elsewhere continue to underscore the importance of a diplomatic solution to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

And we meet here also on potentially the eve of another round of P5+1 talks with Iran.  As you all know, back in October there was a letter sent on behalf of the P5+1 group – the U.S., the U.K., France, China, Russia, Germany – on behalf of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, inviting Iran to another round of serious talks on the nuclear issue.  Iranian officials have said they’re ready for talks on numerous occasions in the last few weeks, but a formal written response is still – has still not arrived, apparently.

So, with that as backdrop, we’ve got three very expert speakers today who are going to address some key issues related to the diplomatic situation, both in terms of the substance and the process.

And some of the questions that we’re going to address are:  What are the two sides likely to propose in another round of talks, and how would such proposals address concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions?  How should the P5+1 prioritize the confidence-building steps necessary to address the most urgent proliferation problems?  How can we increase the chances for progress in a sustained negotiation, not just a one-off meeting?  And what incentives would move Iran to take the nuclear confidence-building steps that we’re seeking to deal with our concerns?

So, to address these and other issues we’ve got three great folks.  Leading off is the Arms Control Association’s very own Peter Crail, who is our nonproliferation analyst and Iran nuclear specialist.  I’d also note that out on the table, if you haven’t picked it up already, is his recent essay, “Charting a Diplomatic Path on the Iran Nuclear Challenge.”  That’s a very useful review of where we’ve been and where we might go on the topic.

We also have with us Ambassador James Dobbins, who is currently the director of the RAND International and Defense Policy Center.  RAND and Jim Dobbins and several of his colleagues just issued a very good report on the Iranian issue that I would recommend to you.

Jim has held State Department and White House posts, including assistant secretary of state for Europe, special assistant to the president, and special advisor to the president and secretary of state for the Balkans.  And he represented the United States at the 2001 meeting that involved negotiations with Iranian officials, on establishing a new Afghan government.  So he’s one of the few people with direct experience negotiating with the Iranians that you’ll find on the Washington think tank circuit today.

And last but not least is Dr. Jim Walsh, who’s a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the security studies program there, and his work focuses on nuclear weapons and terrorism.  And he has also had numerous interactions with Iranian officials on the nuclear issue.

So each of our speakers is going to take about eight, nine, 10 minutes or so, and then we’ll turn to you for your questions and we’ll get into discussion.

So, with that I’ll turn it over to Peter.  Do you want to come up here or you want to – you might want to come up here.

PETER CRAIL:  Thank you, Daryl.

Thanks, everyone, for coming this morning.  I wanted to start off with a bit of a scene-setter, discussing proposals that have been offered and might be floated in the future to address the Iran nuclear issue.

The starting point for this discussion is the fact that both sides say that they are willing to talk.  As Daryl had mentioned, we did have a letter delivered on behalf of the P5+1 by Lady Ashton last year, and we are awaiting a formal response from the Iranians, who have said that they are in the middle of sending a letter.  And while we are still waiting for that, it would seem difficult for them to back away from that position at this point.  So I think we can expect a response in the near future.

Now, President Obama had also said recently that his focus is on resolving the nuclear issue diplomatically because, quote, “The only way over the long term we can assure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon is by getting them to understand that it’s not in their interest.”  And I think that’s important because we aren’t just talking about the best way or the most peaceable way, but really the only way.  And that’s because other methods won’t resolve the issue.

As we’ve heard from the U.S. intelligence community, Iran already has the technical capacity to build a nuclear weapon if it decided to do so.  So even an effort to eliminate a few of Iran’s existing nuclear facilities doesn’t deal with that overall technical capability.

So it’s likely in the coming weeks that we’ll see new talks in Istanbul, and the question is, what are they going to talk about?

Ashton’s letter said that the P5+1 is still open to prior proposals that have been issued on the Iran nuclear issue.  And what she’s referring to is a set of proposals that were initially offered in 2006 and updated in 2008.  And while it’s been four years since there have been any serious discussions on these proposals, they have remained on the table during that time.

Now, if there is going to be any diplomatic resolution of the issue, it’s ultimately – these proposals are ultimately going to be a starting point for some kind of resolution.  And the proposals essentially involve three basic elements.

First, Iran is required to suspend enrichment and other sensitive nuclear fuel activities, Iran is also supposed to adopt the IAEA’s additional protocol to provide expanded access to the agency, and last, Iran must cooperate with the IAEA to resolve outstanding concerns, which essentially means work that Iran has done and may continue to be doing related to nuclear warhead development.

Now, suspension is the issue that gets the most attention, but it also seems to be the issue that creates the most confusion.  And it’s also been deliberately misconstrued by Iranian officials.  It’s intended to be a confidence-building measure for Iran to demonstrate that it will not misuse its enrichment capability, but also to allow negotiations to proceed without Iran escalating the situation during the time that – until a long-term solution is reached.

It’s not intended to be a permanent halt to Iran’s enrichment program.  In fact, the proposal includes a review mechanism to determine when Iran has taken enough steps to provide confidence that its nuclear program isn’t going to be misused and complied with all of its obligations so that Iran can enrich again.  I think it’s important to note that these proposals were agreed by all P5+1 countries, including in 2006 and 2008 by the Bush administration as well.

Secretary Clinton had recently made this clear last year when she told a House Foreign Affairs panel that Iran could enrich again, quote, “under very strict conditions and having responded to the international community’s concerns.”

The IAEA additional protocol is important because it provides the agency with expanded access to a full range of Iranian nuclear activities, or most of Iran’s nuclear activities.  The additional protocol alone probably won’t be enough, and there will likely have to be some additional measures taken, at least on a temporary basis, by Iran to provide greater assurance that its nuclear activities will not be misused.  But the additional protocol is going to be essential to any long-term resolution.

And, finally, in terms of Iran’s nuclear warhead work, as the U.S. intelligence community and as the IAEA has stated, it was mostly halted in 2003 but some elements may have continued since then.  Iran needs to cooperate with the IAEA’s investigation, and I think the most important thing here is that the investigation makes sure that whatever activity had gone on in the past and may be occurring now will not occur in the future.

In return for these steps, the P5+1 have said that they are prepared to discuss a broad range of benefits and areas of cooperation with Iran, and these include things like a full suite of nuclear cooperation, including guarantees to provide nuclear fuel for Iranian nuclear reactors, cooperative efforts on Afghanistan and drug trafficking, WTO membership, a regional security dialogue, and of course a lifting of sanctions.

Now, it may take some time to convince Iran that this kind of arrangement is a better path than a path towards nuclear weapons, and it may be that it will not be possible to convince Iran of that.  But it still has to be a key part of a strategy to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, for the very reason that the president mentioned.

Aston’s letter had also said that the initial objectives of the P5+1 is to engage in a confidence-building exercise that could help lead to a longer-term negotiation.  And that exercise right now is focused on halting Iran’s enrichment of to 20 percent.

Why is this important?  Enriching uranium to 20 percent carries out about 90 percent of the work that you need to do to create weapons-grade material.  And that means that the timeframe for Iran to produce nuclear weapons would be significantly shortened the more it stockpiles a level at 20 percent.

Now, Iran says that it’s doing this to make fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes, and they do need fuel for that reactor.  The problem is they can’t make it themselves safely.  And they’re also making far more 20 percent material than they need for that reactor, supposedly for reactors they plan to build in the future but likely cannot build.

Iran’s effort to carry out this work at the Fordo facility, which was revealed in 2009, appears to be – also appears to be moving forward the Israel clock towards military action.  So, we are risking a situation – the situation coming to a head in short order, and finding a way to back away from that and to buy time to avoid a catastrophe is becoming increasingly important.

The P5+1 are reportedly preparing to offer Iran a proposal to provide Tehran’s Research Reactor with fuel and also to hold off on any additional sanctions, in return for Iran halting 20 percent enrichment and exporting the 20 percent material that it’s already produced.

On the Iranian side, senior officials including Iranian President Ahmadinejad have said that they’d be willing to stop 20 percent enrichment if they received fuel for the reactor, even calling enriching to 20 percent uneconomical for them.  That’s a pretty serious admission and it does suggest that there could be room for an opening if Iran can deliver and if Iran believes that we can deliver, but there’s only one way to find out.

To finish off, the proposals that have been put on the table and maybe floated in the future will naturally require some back and forth and can’t be take-it-or-leave-it propositions.  That’s what a negotiation is about.  But what’s important is that there is some engagement in the first place and that the proposals include essential elements that will severely limit Iran’s ability to misuse its nuclear program, while also demonstrating to Iran that it stands more to benefit from cooperation than continuing on a path towards nuclear weapons.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Peter.

And now we’ll turn to Ambassador Dobbins.  And I’ll try to pull the microphone as close as I can.

JAMES DOBBINS:  OK.  It’s such a small room, I think people can hear.

Well, my expertise is more on the process of negotiating, including negotiating with Iran, than with the details of the current nuclear talks, and so I will concentrate a bit on the context rather than the content of these talks on which both of my colleagues here – all three of my colleagues here – are more expert.

I think that there’s – looking at what we want from Iran, what we might get from Iran, you have a range that ranges from what we’d really like to see, which is Iran abandoning its effort to achieve a full nuclear fuel cycle at the top.  That’s what we’d like to see.  A minimum that we absolutely need to see is that Iran does not actually build, test and deploy nuclear weapons.  And in between is a median point, which is that Iran is fully in compliance with the NPT in all respects, which doesn’t require it to abandon the nuclear fuel cycle, but still is more than just not building and deploying nuclear weapons.

My colleagues and I at RAND have released a couple of studies in the last few weeks.  One looks at the Iranian-Israeli relationship and concludes, not surprisingly, that it’s very dangerous.  And the second looks at American policy toward Iran, and it suggests that, given the current political configuration in Iran, the lowest of those is the most you’re likely to achieve over the next year or two.

That is, actually dissuading them from crossing the nuclear threshold and building, testing and deploying nuclear weapons; that over a longer timeframe, with a change to some degree in the political constitution in Iran, that you may be able to bring them into full conformity with the NPT.  And that should certainly be our objective, and we certainly shouldn’t dismantle the regime of sticks mostly, but also carrots, that we’re using to induce them to do that.

And we also conclude that the highest of those thresholds is unlikely to be achieved under any regime since even the democratic opposition in the country strongly supports Iran’s right to achieve a full nuclear fuel cycle.

Now, what are our concerns about Iran?  Why are we worried about their nuclear program?  I’d say that there are three levels of concern, three things we’re concerned about.  One is the proliferation, the example they’re setting, and the possibility that a number of other countries in that region, countries that see themselves as peers and competitors with Iran, would feel compelled to do the same.

The second is that the possession of a nuclear weapon would embolden them to be even more provocative, not so much in terms of conventional aggression as in terms of the kind of subversive support for Hezbollah and Hamas and terrorist attacks and other kinds of activities in which they’ve sought to destabilize the Middle East for the last 30 years.

And then the third level would be that they would actually use nuclear weapons.  I think this is actually the least of our concerns, although it would be the most serious if it occurred.  And although it’s not quite admitted, it’s probably the least of Israel’s concerns that they would actually use a nuclear weapon against either the United States or Israel, or indeed anyone else.

Now, as has been mentioned, there is – you know, the United States and Israel have both made clear that the military option is not off the table.  And, again, I think we need to examine the utility both of the threat of force and the actual use of force.

What’s called coercive diplomacy – that is, explicitly threatening to use force in order to achieve some diplomatic objective – has a poor record, that the usual response of the recipient of that threat is to get their back up and to make it more difficult for them to accommodate whatever it is that you desire.  And I think we only have to look at our recent history in this regard:

In 1990 we told Saddam Hussein that if he didn’t evacuate Kuwait we would expel him.  He didn’t.  We had to deliver on the threat.  In 1999 we told the president of Serbia, Milosevic, that if he didn’t evacuate Kosovo, we would bomb him and his – bomb him and his country indefinitely until he did.  He didn’t do what we asked him and we were compelled to deliver on that threat.

Just two years later we told Mullah Omar that if he didn’t give up bin Laden we would invade and overthrow his government.  He didn’t comply with our request and we had to deliver on that threat.

Two years after that we went back to Saddam Hussein and told him that if he didn’t demonstrate to us that he’d abandoned his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons program we would invade and overthrow his government.  By then it must have been a pretty credible threat, given his experience and his observation of other experiences, and yet he didn’t comply and we had to deliver on that threat.

So I think the argument that we need to threaten force in order to achieve our objectives is flawed, and that it actually has a counterproductive purpose.  Now, I think the threat of force is absolutely legitimate in order to give fair warning and sustain public and international support.  If you attack, that you haven’t attacked out of the blue; you gave warning; you gave your opponent an opportunity to avoid it.  If that’s the intent, then it’s perfectly sensible.  But one shouldn’t anticipate that it actually helps achieve your diplomatic objective.

In terms of the utility of the use of force, I think we have to ask what it is we fear from Iran.  And this goes back to what I said about the consequences of the Iranian nuclear program.  It’s not that we feel that Iran is going to engaged in conventional aggression, either using nuclear weapons or backing up invasion of neighboring countries with the threat of nuclear arms.  Iran hasn’t engaged in conventional aggression, cross-border aggression, for several hundred years.  And it doesn’t have any serious territorial claims.  And none of its neighbors, with the exception of Abu Dhabi and a few islands in the Gulf, has any serious concern that they’re going to be invaded and overrun by Iran.

What Iran has done, and is continuing to do, and does pose a serious threat, is the threat of subversion, its appeal to disgruntled elements of regional populations – Shia minorities, rejectionists in the Palestinian population – its ability to fund them, to influence them, to arm them.  That’s what Israel fears, principally.  That’s what most of the other states that neighbor Iran fear, principally.

And so, I think – and the U.S. policy since 1979 has been a policy of containment, of containing Iranian influence.  And I think one has to question whether, in the aftermath of a military strike – which would presumably set back the Iranian nuclear program for a few years – whether they would be more difficult or less difficult to contain.

Would an Iran that had suffered what most of the world would regard as an unprovoked military strike from either Israel or the United States be more difficult for the United States to contain or less difficult?  I think it would probably be more difficult as they gain sympathy with neighboring populations.

And if they played their cards carefully and didn’t over-respond to that, they could well break up the international coalition which the Bush and then Obama administrations have been successful in forming an international coalition that has mounted a very serious and still escalating set of sanctions.

So I think that one has to question the utility of force, not just in terms of how many months or years it set backs the Iranian program, but whether it harms or hurts our ability to continue to contain Iranian influence in the region.

Now, in terms of the negotiating process, I mean, my experience is based on a career in government in which I had numerous occasions to negotiate, including arms control negotiations with Soviet apparatchiks, Somali warlords, Caribbean dictators, Balkan war criminals, Afghan mujahedeen, and, incidentally, Iranians, who I negotiated with quite intensively and, to my own surprise, quite successfully in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and the establishment of the government in Iran – I mean government in Kabul.

It’s my judgment that the kind of single-event, high-profile annual diplomatic confrontation of the sort we’re now going to see the latest repetition, you know, are unlikely to make substantial progress.  They’re simply exposed to too much scrutiny, too much press attention, too much media attention, too much political attention for either side to move very much or very significantly.

In my judgment, and in my experience, these kinds of talks aren’t going to make much progress until the press loses interest in them.  That’s certainly what happened in the arms control negotiations.  They met.  They met for several years.  You know, after every meeting they’d say what happened, and eventually, you know, you didn’t hear about it anymore until you’d actually achieved something, and then it became news again when the sides revealed that they had achieved something.

And so, I do believe that one of the – the most productive things that could come out of the current session would be an agreement to meet more frequently, to meet very frequently, to meet every week until we’d solved the problem, and have a frequency of such meetings – bilateral meetings as well as multilateral meetings – in a context where eventually they would become routine.

They would be subject to less scrutiny, pressure, and where the two sides could begin to explore possible accommodations in a way that’s virtually impossible to do in sessions of the sort that we’re going to see where three-quarters of it is – consists of mutual recriminations before they even seriously turn to the business of the day.  It’s a rehearsal of everything the other side has done to demonstrate its bad faith.

And so, I would hope that there would be some kind of commitment to meet more frequently and more regularly.  And I think that alone would be a step in the right direction, although I believe there are offers and possibilities on the table which, as was earlier suggested, might have some confidence-building content and also some de-escalation of the tension content, and it’s not impossible that something like that might be achieved, although I’m not all that optimistic.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much for that reality check.

Now to Jim Walsh.

JIM WALSH:  So I’m sitting in my hotel room last night and I’m watching Fox News, and who do I see on the big screen in my hotel room but Donald Trump—he of the art of the deal and Romney endorser.  And he’s talking about Iran, and what is he saying?  I think it’s pretty noteworthy.  He’s saying:  We can get a deal with Iran.  Now is the time for diplomacy.  We have the leverage.  We’ve got the cards.  Iran is weak.  Now is the time to deal.

Now, you know, as someone who has personally sat across the table from Iranians discussing nuclear issues, I thought that this was noteworthy and, you know, it presented a delicious moment in my mind imagining a row of Iranian clerics sitting across from Donald Trump – (laughter) – negotiating.

And it also occurred to me that this is an opportunity for even additional U.S. leverage, that President Obama should threaten to appoint Donald Trump – (laughter) – as lead negotiator at the P5+1.  And that may, you know, expedite and take advantage of opportunities that I actually do believe that we have now.

But I raised “The Donald” because I want to talk about the larger context of diplomacy here.  And I must say, you know, I don’t live in D.C. but I am struck by the fact that we currently live in a bizarre world where it is commonly, commonly believed that Iran has a full-blown weaponization program, that an Iranian bomb is inevitable and that it’s coming to a theater near you very soon – all three propositions that are directly contradicted by the last threat assessment offered by the DNI, Mr. Clapper.

It is also a world in which when we talk about diplomacy, a world in which the only choices being actively discussed are sanctions and military attack and diplomacy is redefined as nothing more than sanctions.  I think this is dangerous and unhelpfully narrow, and that we need to revisit what it means to have diplomacy.

There is no – there’s going to be no resolution of this problem, of the Iranian nuclear threat, without diplomacy.  It is the only solution.  And I say that not as some lefty dove but based on what I know about international relations and the history of dealing with adversaries.

Sanctions alone are not going to achieve our purpose here.  They’re not designed to achieve that.  Sanctions are a means to an end, and that end is a political settlement that gets us what we need, gets the Iranians what they need, but where both sides are able to live with something in a more peaceful environment.

You know, it is rare in modern history that states, particularly states like Iran, say:  Oh, you know, you’re right.  I’m terrible.  I shouldn’t be doing any of this stuff.  You know, the pressure is too much.  I give up.  You know, very, very rarely in international relations do you see that.  More common is pressure is applied as a means to achieve a diplomatic settlement, as in the case of Libya.

Libya was sanctioned for decades, but in the end it was a political settlement that led to the removal of their nuclear program.  We had political settlements with Ukraine, with Kazakhstan, Belarus, other countries that went from having nuclear assets or nuclear programs that were of concern to a point where they were no longer a concern.

And, frankly, short of invading Iran and putting hundreds of thousands of troops on the ground, making it the 52nd state and murdering every physicist and scientist in Iran, you are not going to be able to change the fact that Iran knows how to make a centrifuge and will make centrifuges if they want to.

The only way they’re going to not continue down a path towards a – you know, towards a nuclear weapon, if that’s where they’re headed – and, by the way, that remains unknown – is if they themselves decide to make that decision as an act of national self-interest where they see that they have benefits from that, and they end up in a happier, better place.  The only way you do that is through a political settlement, and that requires diplomacy.

You know, and I believe personally that this is the right time.  I and Donald Trump – (laughter) – believe that this is the right time for diplomacy.  Iran has been under pressure.  It is weakened both regionally with the problems in Syria and its economy, and its own domestic contestation problems that, again, the intelligence community referred to in its most recent report.  So now is the time to cash in on that situation to use that leverage to get a deal that satisfies U.S. concerns and satisfies Iranian concerns.

Now, we can continue down this path and just pressure, pressure, pressure and not actually do anything, and that risks that at some point the circle turns and Iran is in a better position, we are in a weaker position, and that’s the wrong time to negotiate.  Now is the time to have meaningful diplomacy to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

And as I look out across the range of options, you know, obviously we’re in a very difficult circumstance.  We’re entering a presidential election year.  The Iranian regime is under its own domestic pressures.  It is weakened.  Countries tend to be cautious in both these circumstances when there are elections, and they have Majlis elections in March and they’re under some pressure.

So the question is, what can be done?  What, in the words of Tom Donilon, is an effective, pragmatic choice that can be made to advance the cause of nonproliferation?  It seems to me, ironically, the best thing that could be done most quickly to point this in a different direction is to being to talk to Iran about its fall offer to cap enrichment at 3 (percent) to 5 percent, that it would no longer engage in enriching uranium to a level of 20 percent.

Now, a lot of people are going to have an allergic reaction to that, primarily because it’s Iran’s proposal, and therefore if it’s Iran’s proposal it must be problematic or it must be rejected.  But I think there are strong nonproliferation arguments for taking a strong look at this, both because of its feasibility, its practicality, and its downstream implications.

And, now, some may wonder – well, Ahmadinejad mentioned this before coming to the U.N. Security – not the Security Council – General Assembly meeting last September – is it really a deal; is it really a sincere offer?  You know, he’s mercurial and who knows what his standing is?

It’s my understanding, based on discussions with Iranians who have direct knowledge of these events and who have proven reliable sources in the past, that the proposal that Iran no longer engage in 20 percent enrichment and to limit enrichment to 3 (percent) to 5 percent, which cannot be used for a nuclear weapon directly, that that proposal was voted on and accepted by the Supreme National Security Committee in Iran, of which the supreme leader is the chair.

So I don’t think this is Ahmadinejad shooting off his mouth.  I think the fact that he, the foreign minister and the Supreme National Security Committee have signed off on this means that there is a real possibility.

And let’s be clear about what that represents.  Iran is saying, we will limit our enrichment to 3 (percent) to 5 percent, at least in principle.  That’s what is to be discussed.  You know, in my world, in the nonproliferation and arms control world, we call that a cap, you know, like the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is a cap, like the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty is a cap, like the way in which you achieve arms control over time is you cap, freeze and roll back.

And I won’t go into it now – I don’t want to take up a lot of time; I want to go into question and answer – but I think that’s a very powerful tool.  It has a proven track record.  It puts Iran in a very difficult situation where it would be crossing its own line that it established and therefore could expect significant consequences if it did so.

So I think this is a very interesting idea.  I know there’s going to be an allergic reaction to it because they proposed it rather than us, and of course everything they propose – we propose they have an allergic reaction to.

But I think if we’re going to be grownups about this and if we’re going to head off what is one can only see a worsening set of situations regionally, then we better sit down and begin to talk and take advantage of all the investment and pressure and all the things that we’ve done for the past decade while we have this window and opportunity to do so.  So let me stop there.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much.

Let me thank all three of you for being very disciplined in the time amount.  I think it’s unprecedented at an Arms Control Association event.  (Laughter.)  So that’s a good sign.

So, with that let me just stop and invite you all to ask your questions.  If you could identify yourself, ask a question, not make a 10-minute speech.  We already had those.  And let’s start with Howard.

Q:  Howard Morland.  Is this on?

MR. KIMBALL:  That is on.

Q:  I tried to get Greg (sp) to ask my usual question about U.S. and Israeli nuclear weapons in the region and he turned me down, so I’ll ask my second question instead.

I agree with Dr. Walsh.  The only way to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons by force is invasion and occupation – regime change like what we imposed on Iraq and Afghanistan.

With all the talk of, you know, all options being on the table, and the saber-rattling by Israel, it seems to me that Israel, by attacking Iran, could draw the United States into the same kind of war we were in with Iraq.  If we didn’t want them to do that, we could make it clear that we will shoot down their planes and other things: cut off aid, stop vetoing the Security Council things.

If we don’t do that, I think that sends a message that if Israel starts the war, we will, in fact, finish it the way we finished it in Iraq with invasion and conquest.

MR. KIMBALL:  So, your question –

Q:  My question is, if you want a diplomatic solution, you’ve got to stop Israel from attacking.  What leverage do we have over Israel to prevent Israel from attacking Iran?

MR. KIMBALL:  Ambassador Dobbins, Jim, do you want to take this on?

MR. DOBBINS:  Well, I think Israel’s threats have little effect on Iranian behavior.  They do have an effect on American and European and other behavior.  They’re in effect threatening us and others to embroil us in a war we don’t want.

And that’s a rather effective threat, which I think in part explains the degree to which the international community has been willing to pile on sanctions, including sanctions that directly affect commerce and economic activity in some countries – not the United States particularly, but others.

So in this case the threat has some utility, from Israel’s standpoint, and is unlikely to be abandoned.  Whether they, in fact, believe that an attack on Iran would be in their interest is unknown.  There appears to be a substantial division in Israel with much of the military and intelligence establishment believing an attack on Iran by Israel would be counterproductive.

So I don’t think we should assume that these threats necessarily preview an attack, but it’s a serious concern.  I think the Bush administration gave Israel a straight and clear directive not to attack, and I think that had an effect several years ago.  I think the Obama administration is discouraging Israel from doing this, in part by explaining the alternatives that the administration is pursuing.

I do believe that in the end, if the Iranian political establishment in the end concludes that an attack would serve some useful purpose from their standpoint, there does need to be a clearer signal that they’re doing it at their own risk and they can’t expect us to indemnify them from the consequences.

MR. KIMBALL:  And, Jim, if you could also address, you know, the question of how these implied and direct threats affect the negotiating – potential negotiating dynamics.

MR. WALSH:  Yeah.  Well, I think they cut both ways.  You know, threats can motivate the mind, focus the mind for those who would rather think about other things.  That can be a positive effect.

It can also have a negative effect in that it can – it reinforces those who will be arguing for pursuing nuclear weapons development in Iran, the nasty elements.  They can turn to the supreme leader and say, I told you so.  We better do this faster rather than sooner.  We better cross – you know, we better make a decision.

Iran has not yet made a decision to develop nuclear weapons.  That is what, with high confidence, the U.S. intelligence community has concluded, that Iran has yet to decide to become and – build nuclear weapons and become a nuclear weapons state.  It’s keeping that option open but it hasn’t made that decision yet.  And so, one has to be careful that threats and other actions don’t produce the very outcome you seek to avoid.

And if I can just for one moment more – when people talk about the consequences of military strikes on Iran, they talk about the price of oil, regional instability, Iranian retaliation.  As a very narrow-minded nonproliferation guy, that’s not what I most fear about a military strike, regardless of who carries it out against Iran.  It seems to me that the biggest danger – and you look at this historically and with an evidence-based approach – is that you will produce a decision to go for the bomb.  Following an attack, Iran will definitely decide to pursue a nuclear weapons capability.

You saw, as a consequence of the 1981 Osirak attack Israel took against Iraq, that prior to 1981 Iraq’s nuclear program was one of several exotic weapons programs.  It wasn’t doing so well.  It was mismanaged.  Israel attacks Iraq.  Saddam releases scientists who had previously been in prison, makes it job one, and then starts, you know, going for it.  And I fear that a military attack against Iran, when it has not yet made a determination about its nuclear future – wants to be in the game, hasn’t decided – well, then they’ll decide and it will produce the very thing we seek to avoid.

And it’s not just me saying that, and it’s not just the historical evidence.  If you look – you know, the most important journal on security studies among academics is the Journal of International Security, a referee journal.  And the summer issue had an article that evaluated the 1981 Osirak attack and its consequences.  And I think, you know, for those of you who can stand footnotes and obtuse academic language, I recommend that summer edition, to take a look at it.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, thank you.

Other questions?  Yes, Harry?

Q:  Harry Blaney, Center for International Policy.

It seems to me that the crux and the key element of all of this debate is essentially trying to find a way in which the Iranians make a decision that building a nuclear weapon is not in their interest, let’s say, absent an attack on them, which is a game-changer certainly.

The issue that seems to me to be at work is how can we convince them, or have them convince themselves, either by actions or diplomacy like Jim talked about, that that is more dangerous for them and their long-term interests, and for their own stability in the region and other reasons to make that – to make that a conclusion of their own?  Thank you.

MR. DOBBINS:  I’ll take a try.  I mean, the Iranians have a nuclear program with a weapons potential for some combination of a desire for influence, prestige and security.  And so I think that they can only be persuaded to abandon that objective by persuading them that they will have less influence, less prestige and more insecurity if they cross the threshold.

In other words, telling them that they can’t cross the threshold really doesn’t persuade them that crossing the threshold is a bad idea; it just concentrates them on how to do it.  Telling them that if they cross the threshold they will be further isolated, further penalized and further subject to domestically based upheaval is the best way of dissuading them from doing that.

In a sense, by saying that it’s unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons, we deny ourselves the ability to make the argument that if they actually had nuclear weapons they will find themselves more isolated, more penalized, and more vulnerable to domestic regime change.  And so I think that we need to begin making that case.

Now, we are doing some things that are clearly premised on them having a nuclear weapon.  I mean, the decision to put an immense amount of money into building a ballistic missile shield for Europe is clearly linked to nothing but an Iranian nuclear weapon.  We’re certainly not trying to defend Europe from Iranian conventional missiles, and the system won’t work against the Russians.  So it’s only directed toward that.

So we’re putting a lot of money into deterring a threat that we’re currently saying is unacceptable.  We’re beginning to do the same thing with the Gulf States, offering them ballistic missile defense.  We’re doing the same with Israel.

But being somewhat more explicit about the consequences of crossing that threshold in terms of would it lead to an oil embargo, would it lead to a blockade – I mean, those are the potential steps that the international community could take.  And it might be worthwhile starting to talk about those steps as consequences of an Iranian explicit decision to build and test a nuclear weapon.

MR. CRAIL:  Just to add to what Ambassador Dobbins said, I think this is where the sanctions regime does have some utility in that it shows Iran that if it’s facing the serious pressure that it’s facing now before they make a decision, to think of the consequences – the pressure that they’d face if they were to actually pursue nuclear weapons.

I’d also say, in terms of convincing Iran not to make the decision to pursue nuclear weapons, I think we also have to look at the decision that Iran has made and the decision that Iran hasn’t yet made.

The decision that it has made is to have a fairly robust nuclear program, including specifically enrichment.  And, you know, I’d say from a nonproliferation standpoint, someone that doesn’t want to see enrichment technology maybe, you know, spread, it’s quite unfortunate, but Iran has been fairly successful in framing the issue, enrichment, as a – you know, as a right, and that’s something that has gotten quite a bit of sympathy within the international community.

So, efforts to try and prevent Iran from having any nuclear capability at all, or any nuclear fuel capability, is not likely to be successful because that is something that is not only the decision that the Iranian leadership has made but is also something that has quite a bit of support within the Iranian population.  What doesn’t seem to have the same degree of support is preventing an actual nuclear-armed Iran.  So I think that that’s a clear line that has to be drawn.

MR. WALSH:  Can I just add, briefly, two points?

One is to underline Jim’s point.  And here I’m going to read the one sentence from – I wish everyone would read it – you know, the latest report by the DNI threat assessments.  And they say:

We judge Iran’s nuclear decision-making is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran.  Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran’s security, prestige and influence, as well as international and political security environment when making decisions about the nuclear program.

Again, this is something to be decided.  It’s subject to their own aims and interests.

Secondly, I want to underline the importance of prestige and domestic politics going forward.  Jim mentioned it.  My own experience in Iran and with Iranians, they think of themselves as the center of Southwest Asia.  They don’t have a lot of patience for others in the region.  They think they have a special place there.

And so, I think prestige is very important, and I think domestic politics is very important.  And so, as much as some people – understandably, given Iran’s human rights records and its other behaviors – would like to lecture Iran and like to have it cry uncle before arriving at some political agreement, that is exactly the approach that is likely to fail.

Iran – if we’re going to have a successful deal – you know, we’ve had deals with the Soviets, deals with the Chinese, deals with all sorts of unsavory types.  The way those deals work is people walk out.  Your adversary walks out of that deal and is able to turn back to its own people and say, we won, just like we turn to our own people and say, we won.

So, for a country that is very status conscious, a country that is under political challenge at home, we cannot take an approach that we’re going to grind their face into it.  We need to be pragmatic and focus on the bottom line and achieve our objectives and let people – let the atmospherics and the cosmetics be what they want to be, because the most important thing is getting a result at the end of the day, but we’re not going to get a result if we try to embarrass or otherwise show up a regime that is fragile and seeks status.

MR. KIMBALL:  Let me ask each of you a question about this particular facet.

Jim Walsh, as you said, Iran is taking a cost-benefit approach, and we’ve talked about the costs.  There have been some benefits that have been outlined in the P5+1 offer, though obviously those have not been sufficient.

So my question is, maybe to Jim Dobbins, how does one arrive at a point where you understand your negotiating adversarial partner’s interests, and what it is that can get them to yes, because sometimes that’s not always apparent.

And to what extent could positive security guarantees be part of a package in the long run?  What other kinds of incentives might be helpful in order to lead the Iranians to take at least some of the basic confidence-building steps from a nonproliferation hawk’s point of view that are important?  And maybe that’s for Jim Walsh and Jim Dobbins.

MR. DOBBINS:  Well, I mean, the fact that we don’t actually know what the Iranians want is a reflection of the fact that we’re not talking to them.  Now, by that I don’t mean that if we asked them they’d necessarily tell us.  But what I mean by that is that countries don’t make up their mind what they want until they have to.  And it’s only through a process of intense, iterative, repeated negotiation, discussion, that countries make up their mind what they really want.

So you won’t get the Iranians to tell us that here’s their, you know, rank, ordered set of objectives, and here are the things they’re prepared to give up to achieve those objectives, until you put them in a situation where they’ve thought through that themselves and understand the benefit of communicating it and make the decisions that would be necessary to articulate it.  And you’re not going to do that with one meeting a year and trading press statements in the intervening 364 days.

You know, so a process of negotiation may not yield agreement.  It always yields information.  Engagement will yield information even if it’s completely sterile in terms of achieving accommodation.  And more information leads to better policy, and better policy leads to better results.  So I’d support engagement even if I didn’t believe it would have the slightest chance of succeeding in achieving an agreement simply because both sides would be operating on the basis of better information.

But I also believe that the process of negotiation can bring countries to make decisions which they’re not – haven’t currently made and may not even be currently inclined to make through that process of narrowing down their objectives as they engage in an iterative mutual process.

MR. WALSH:  I think that’s brilliant.  I couldn’t add anything to it if I wanted to.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.

OK, we have some other questions.  Here in the middle, please?  Jackie (sp), if you could –

Q:  Hi.  Raymond Parham (ph) from the – (inaudible) – Institute.  I just want to follow up on Daryl’s point, the point that both Ambassador Dobbins and Dr. Walsh made, that Iran does want influence and prestige and security.

You know, most probably the 2003 proposal that came through the Swiss ambassador in Tehran detailed what Iran wants.  How can we – what can we offer the Iranians in terms of increased influence, because that’s what they want in the region – increased prestige and increased security – to get them to, you know, give up potentially wanting – (inaudible) – nuclear weapons?

MR. WALSH:  Well, I don’t know about increased influence.  I mean, that’s for the countries in the region to work out amongst themselves.  But certainly with regard to prestige and security, those are more tractable elements that the U.S. and the international community can have.

Now, I’m going to give an example.  It’s a bad example, as it turns out.  But early in U.S. proposals they mentioned entering into the WTO, all right?  That’s sort of both an economic thing but it’s also a matter of prestige.

You know, I think we have to look – we have to brainstorm and think creatively about ways which we can take a country that has been internationally isolated, diplomatically isolated, and then provide them opportunities to show leadership on the international stage and in the regional stage so that they can enjoy the benefits of the spotlight and the prestige and reinforcement that comes from that.

You know, and that’s pretty cheap.  You know, as far as cutting a deal goes, it’s not, you know – it’s not money, it’s not – the U.S. and all countries in the world over time cut deals all the time where there’s money and there’s guns and there’s this and there’s that.

Sort of throwing people a bone and allowing them to take the spotlight and feel good about their place in the region, and to be able to communicate to their domestic constituencies that they’re an important country, you know, that’s relatively cheap, I think.  And so, I think there are lots of ways to be creative about that.

And on security, in terms of improving their security, whether it’s negative or positive security assurances, creating regional architectures, security architectures, I’m still a big fan of when it comes to the nuclear problem of multilateralization of Iran’s nuclear program, where they’re still an owner – a leader in that program but there are other countries that participate in that, you know.

And I’m in favor of that both because I think that’s a doable deal at some level, and I’m in favor of it because it puts eyes and ears on the ground and we can know better what’s going on in Iran, if it’s internationalized.  I like it, and Iran should like it, because it reduces the chance that third parties are going to execute military strikes.  You know, if there are French and British and American engineers on the ground working at sites, I think others are going to be loath to bomb them.

So I think, you know, there are different ways to get at different pieces of this, some of which we can have influence on and others, you know, less so, and that will be determined by the parties in the region.

But, you know, so far I would say 90 percent of our effort has gone into sanctions.  Ninety percent of the talk has gone into sanctions – understandable, but this is not a sanctions-only problem and we’re going to have to devote some mental and other resources to the other pieces of this, and now, to be ready down the line, to be able to execute something that would be effective.

MR. DOBBINS:  Now, what country – what Middle Eastern country currently has the most prestige and the most influence?  Turkey.  Why?  Because it has the most successful economy in the region and because it has the most successful polity, because it’s been able to bring together democracy and religion in a way that appeals both to its own population and to the populations of the region.

I think it’s demonstrable and, indeed, clear that if Iran – that a prosperous, politically attractive Iran that was in conformity with its international obligations and was not a threat to its neighbors would almost certainly enjoy more influence and more prestige than does an isolated, penalized pariah state.

MR. KIMBALL:  I think we had a question right behind you.  Speak up.

Q:  You mentioned – somebody mentioned the domestic situation in Iran and how that affects their motivations.  And given the divisions in Iran right now, and based on your knowledge of those processes, how do you assess the actual ability of Iran to negotiate the deal, keeping in mind that there are experiences where the deal was made and then it was just slapped back at home for reasons having nothing to do with – (inaudible)?

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah.

Q:  And my second question has to do with the regime change, because in addition to talking about sanctions and military attack of nuclear facilities, what happens a lot in Washington is senior officials or others dropping lines about the desirability or either possibility of regime change, given the Arab Spring.  How do you think that affects Iranian threat perception and what should be done to sort of improve – (inaudible)?

MR. WALSH:  I can take the one on domestic division.

You know, we talk a lot about domestic divisions in Iran here.  I think we – many people who read the newspaper have in their minds that the domestic divisions are the Greens versus the government, and really – I mean, the Greens, wherever they are, whatever their status, certainly disagree with the government.  But the core fissures in the government are among the leadership, among the conservative leadership at the top of the pyramid.

But even though those exist, just like they exist in Washington today between certain parties, nevertheless – and, in fact, you could argue more so in the case of Iran because it’s a semi-authoritarian state – the supreme leader is, in George Bush’s words, “the decider.”  And if the Supreme Leader gives his imprimatur and says yes to something, then those who are battling below him – Rafsanjani, Ahmadinejad, those who want to run for president in 2013 – they’re going to fall in line if the supreme leader gives the OK.

And so, what you have with the Tehran Research Reactor deal in the fall of 2009 is you have Jalili going, appearing to sign off on an agreement with Bill Burns, but without having gotten prior approval from the supreme leader.  And then when that got back to Tehran, you had Kayhan newspaper and conservative elements attack it, and then the thing fell apart.

And remember, so just like here – not exactly like here but somewhat like here – they come back from that meeting with a deal, and who’s going to benefit from that deal politically, domestically in Iran?  Well, it’s Ahmadinejad.  So who’s the number one – you know, what’s going to happen?  All of Ahmadinejad’s opponents pull out the knives.  They want to deny him a victory, a political victory, just like Congress and the president do that to each other here.  But I am told by my Iranian colleagues that as a consequence of that fiasco, now they’ve formalized and regularized the process.

Remember before I mentioned that this – this 3 (percent) to 5 percent cap, no more 20 percent enrichment, was approved by the Supreme National Security Committee?  It’s my – I am told – I haven’t sat in on any of these meetings, but I am told that that now is the formal regular process, that when it comes to negotiations with the P5+1, that before Iran signs off, it’s got to go through the committee and receive its approval, which gives the implicit approval, and perhaps in some cases the explicit approval, of the supreme leader.

So, I think if the supreme leader signs on to something – and of course he’s suspicious about the U.S. and all the rest, so that’s no easy task, but if one were able to achieve that, he certainly has the wherewithal to ensure that Iran follows on on its commitments.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  On this area an unrelated question.  I mean, Peter, perhaps you can elaborate a little bit on our understanding.

But, you know, as you said, and I said at the outset, the Ashton letter was sent in October.  The P5+1 are waiting for a formal written response.  The foreign minister of Iran and others have said we are interested in talks and – I’m paraphrasing – a response is forthcoming.  What – you know, why might that response be delayed, and what kind of response is necessary in order to get that next round of talks going?

MR. CRAIL:  To address that quickly, what the P5+1 seem to be seeking is simply a formal response on behalf of the supreme leader in particular to say that they are seriously interested in holding talks on the nuclear issues, and that’s essentially it.  You know, after the latest round of talks in Istanbul in which Iran had come with preconditions about lifting sanctions and recognizing an explicit right to enrichment, which were not helpful to negotiations.

I get the impression that, you know, those involved in the negotiations were very disillusioned with the whole prospect and were not willing to – what they want to do, you know, by all means, is to avoid another repeat of that.

And so the idea is to seek from Iran to make sure that when the Iranians say that they’re interested in negotiating, that’s not just something that’s being said by some officials here and there, that it is something that has the blessing of the supreme leader.  But I don’t sense that there are any necessary preconditions beyond simply saying that they want to talk about the nuclear issue.

I did want to address the question about regime change, though, in that I think it’s important that, particularly when we’re talking about the sanctions that we’re putting in place, that there are, especially in Washington, competing aims for the sanctions.  You have many members of Congress saying, well, the aim of sanctions is regime change.  We’re trying to, you know, suffocate the regime to such an extent that it’s ultimately going to fall.

On the other hand, I think you have a far more helpful message saying we’re out for – we’re not out for regime change specifically; we’re out for behavior change.  And that is exactly what the role of sanctions are.  The sanctions are being put in place because of the violations that Iran has committed regarding its nuclear program, regarding human rights and a whole host of things.

And if you want to show that the sanctions are genuinely tied to that behavior, then you can’t go and say, well, we’re out to change your regime, because then there’s no incentive for Iran to change its behavior in the first place.  They’re going to say, whatever it is that we do, you’re going to be after us anyway, so why should we change our behaviors or engage in negotiations?

Now no one should be under any illusions that even if there was a deal on Iran’s nuclear program, that the U.S. and Iran are going to be buddy-buddy friends again.  You know, there are a host of concerns that we have and that many other countries have regarding Iran’s activities, including human rights, including terrorism and many other things.

So we don’t necessarily have to say that we are we’re now comfortable with this regime.  I think what is what we say is that any change in regime is ultimately up to the Iranian people, it’s not up to us, and that we aren’t going to take proactive steps to try and make that happen.  We are going to continue to voice the legitimate concerns that we do have about Iranian activities, but if Iran is willing to change its behavior, we’re willing to work with them in those areas.

MR. WALSH:  Let me dot that “i” and say that when people on the Hill say our policy should be regime change, that plays into the hands of the hardliners.

They are doing a favor to the hardliners in Tehran, and they’re calling – they make a negotiated settlement far more difficult because then the supreme leader, who is already skeptical based on his experience of U.S. relations, as we are skeptical about Iran – both parties have reason for doubting the other – when they read in a newspaper our folks saying – and they’re, you know, chairman of a committee or whatever, and they say, our policy is regime change, then they say to themselves, well, these offers of negotiations are a trick.  This is just meant to play us.

And it makes it even more difficult to have a direct and real conversation about substance and, you know, one where each party, though suspicious, would have enough confidence to actually do something.  So I think those are very unhelpful.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, we’ve got folks around the horn here.  Yep, go ahead.

Q:  Thank you.  You talked about – (off mic).  I was wondering if you expect anything to happen in the WMD-free zone.  Do you think Iran and Israel might show up and could there be any result – (off mic)?

MR. KIMBALL:  OK, why don’t we take one more question and then we’ll deal with both questions?  Right here.

Q:  To continue –

MR. KIMBALL:  And if you could just identify yourself, please.

Q:  I’m Rex (ph) – (off mic).

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you.

Q:  To continue that conversation you just had on U.S. domestic forces, for the last 30 years there have been institutions and careers created to overthrow Iran.  And I completely believe – I agree that these people have disrupted any kind of negotiations.

So my question is, to what extent can institutions and people who are, I think, dedicated to the overthrow of the regime – to what extent can they disrupt these ideas of negotiation that we’ve seen?

MR. WALSH:  I’ll probably let Jim take that one.  I’ll take the first one on WMD-free zone.

You know, the WMD-free zone in the Middle East is the “little engine that could.”  You know, I’ve actually been involved in this somewhat and, you know, it comes out of – partly out of, what, the 1995 NPT Extension Review Conference, and I was there for that.

And when people passed it at the urging of Egypt, people thought, you know, Iran and Israel aren’t going to participate in this baby.  But they have not exercised any sort of veto.  They have participated in the preliminary stages.  So it’s actually gotten farther along than people expected.

Do I expect this to make great and rapid progress?  No, I don’t.  But I look at it like the movie, “A Field of Dreams,” which is, you know, “Build it and they will come.”  You know, it’s not going to happen today, it’s not going to happen tomorrow, but these people should be meeting and they should be working.

Believe me, there’s a tremendous amount of work that you would have to do.  We are so far from having any sort of real agreement.  You know, all sorts of instrumentalities and understandings have to be worked out and, you know, a ton of stuff.

So it’s a good thing we have a lot of time.  It’s a good thing this thing isn’t going to happen overnight because there’s a lot of stuff to work out.  But I give credit to Israel and Iran and to the other parties in the region for continuing this process.  And we should just let it bubble along.  And each year that it moves forward I think is a victory, and then hopefully somewhere down the line, if we’re able to resolve some of these other problems, it will actually turn out to be a useful institution.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.

Jim, do you want to try to take –

(Cross talk.)

MR. DOBBINS:  Well, on the WMD-free zone, my understanding is the Israeli position is that they’re prepared to consider a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the context of a comprehensive Middle East peace, and that if a comprehensive Middle East peace can be achieved, that this is something they’re willing to consider.

So, my guess is they’ll come and they’ll express that and say, you know, our conditions are we’re not going to have a free zone when half the countries in the region are still theoretically at war with us.  Now, whether they would actually deliver on that, even in the context of Middle East peace, is another question, but I don’t think the U.S. is going to press them to do so, other than in that kind of context.

You know, on regime change, I mean, I don’t think we can guarantee the Iranian regime against internally generated demands for reform of a sort that would, in fact, change the nature of the regime anymore than we could protect Mubarak.  And I don’t think we can protect them against legitimate, overt and legal activity in the United States on the part of people who advocate that sort of thing.

I think what we could do, and probably would do in the context of an Iran that otherwise ceased to seriously threaten our interests in the region, would be to back off from any official activities of a covert or even overt nature that were designed to destabilize the regime.  And I think we probably would do that.

And I think that in the context of an Iran that abandoned its nuclear program and its support for terrorist regimes in the region, we would probably cease whatever support – and I don’t believe we’re actually providing support to violent groups that seek the overthrow of the Iranian regime.  I think, in fact, we’ve quite resisted efforts by some rather prestigious Americans to embrace rather than to – rather than to castigate and limit the activities of those kinds of groups.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right, I think we’ve got a couple of other questions that we can fit in here in the time we have.  Up front, Jackie.  And was there another – OK.

Q:  I’m Jim Finucane from Georgetown University.  In following up on Professor Walsh’s comments about more meetings, I’d like to ask a question about costs and benefits to the U.S. of formally establishing diplomatic relations with Iran.

MR. KIMBALL:  So, how might we create a pathway to do that, Mr. Dobbins and Jim?

MR. DOBBINS:  Well, you know, I mean, Iran has a mission in Washington, and of course they have a mission in New York, so mere parity would suggest that there would be advantages to us to have some kind of diplomatic outpost in Tehran for intelligence collection if nothing else.

If you’re talking about diplomatic recognition, I mean, the main obstacle to it is that the Iranians would refuse it under current circumstances since the legitimacy of the regime is largely based on their opposition to the, you know, Grand Satan.  So there would have to be a significant change in the nature of the relationship, and probably in the nature of the regime before they would be prepared for full diplomatic relations.

And there are obstacles in the United States, too.  There are a number of unresolved issues dating from the seizure of our embassy that would need to be addressed in some fashion.  But I think it indubitably would be in the U.S.’ interest to have the kind of outpost and communications we had with the Soviet Union throughout its existence, and with China after Nixon’s opening with China, even though under Mao and Stalin those were far more erratic, far more irrational, and far, far more dangerous regimes than Iran.

MR. WALSH:  I agree totally with Jim, both the last point about relative danger.  I mean, China under Mao with nuclear weapons – wow, I think that was arguably the most dangerous regime in human history, or modern history.

And I agree with the first point that Iranians aren’t ready for that now.  That’s part of where they are in terms of their domestic politics.  But you raised an important issue that we will turn to again, because eventually the Iranians are going to change their mind or something, and then this issue is going to come up again:  Do we recognize them?

And I get this when I work – in my work on North Korea all the time:  Should we have formal recognitions?  And, you know, then there’s this debate about is it something you do out of the box to help create, both for crisis management reasons but also to create a condition where you can pursue strong negotiations – you know, we have formal diplomatic relationships with every other tyrant and dictator in the world, you know – or is it a reward, you know, something you give at the end of a process?

And we’re going to have that – whenever this becomes a live possibility, we’re going to have that debate here about whether to do it or not.  In the meantime, I would like to see us – you know, this is at such modest cost – at least consider some of the proposals that have been made – for example, to allow direct flights between Tehran and New York from Washington.  Yes, it’s going to be a headache for, you know, the Department of Homeland Security, blah, blah, blah, blah, but, you know, I consider that an administrative problem, not a national security problem, and the details can be worked out.

So I think there are some steps along the way that we could take now until such time as both the Iranians and the United States are in a position to be able to address that.

MR. KIMBALL:  But, all that said, that’s not necessary to put into place the sustained negotiations that Ambassador Dobbins was talking about that are going to be necessary to –

MR. WALSH:  Not at all.  I mean –

MR. KIMBALL:  – begin to resolve the –

MR. WALSH:  In 2003, Iran suspended its enrichment program.  We didn’t have relations with them then.

MR. KIMBALL:  Exactly.  Right.

All right, final questions and then we’re going to wrap up.  So, right here, please, and then –

Q:  Thank you.  My name is J.D. (ph).  I’m with the Osgood Center for International Studies.  The question is, so does it ultimately fall down to the threat of Iran having nuclear weapons is its legitimate – its influence in the region versus Israel?  Is that what it comes down to?

MR. KIMBALL:  And then, Tim, why don’t you bring it over here to this gentleman?

Q:  Thank you.  (Inaudible).  I’m a retired foreign service officer.  Turning back to the issue of kind of formal relations, we do have an interests section in Tehran, but there are no Americans there –

MR. KIMBALL:  Right.

Q:  It’s apparently a unit – I forget which country, Kuwait or Dubai, something like that –

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah, it’s the Swiss.

Q:  – where there are Americans who would be ready to just come right in there –

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah.

Q:  – Farsi speakers and so on.  And I’m a little perplexed as to why it hasn’t happened.  The Bush administration floated the idea.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah.

Q:  I understand that some – the Obama administration looked at this fairly carefully and so on, and nothing happened.  Ambassador Dobbins has referred to the same problem.

But you would think that the advantages would overcome every qualm.  So why isn’t it happening?  It would be so easy and so much to our advantage in really helping people who were, from time to time, captured and detained by the Iranians.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Just very quickly, yeah.

MR. DOBBINS:  Well, I think it’s a good question.

I think the Bush administration inched up to this, apparently were in conversations with the Russians, who were prepared to broker an agreement.  I mean, the Iranians would have to agree, so they would have to issue visas for the people to come, and it’s not certain that they would although there were signals that they would.  There were statements suggesting that they would.

And then, as I understand it, the Russians invaded Georgia.  Our relations with Russia collapsed.  And it was late in the Bush administration and they didn’t feel like, you know, pursuing a controversial issue.

I think it’s disappointing that the Obama administration didn’t pursue this.  I think in its early years it was sincere in a desire to engage Tehran, but it was inept and it missed several opportunities, and this would have been one of them.

MR. KIMBALL:  Peter, Jim, do you want to –

MR. WALSH:  Yeah, on this issue, you know, that’s not the frame I look at it through.  I’m a simple, narrow academic who focuses on nonproliferation.  So I don’t – I don’t want to see a situation somewhere down the road where Iran becomes a nuclear weapons state.  It’s as simple as that.

And I don’t want to see the other countries in the region get nuclear weapons, and I don’t want to see other countries in other regions acquire nuclear weapons, and I want the countries that already have nuclear weapons to stay on a glide path to fewer and fewer.

So, I’ve really got tunnel vision on this one.  So I – you know, there are other reasons to want better relations with Iran, but I really look at it through the nuclear prism, and so my first concern is preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and having those nuclear weapons states that maintain arsenals to give those arsenals up.

MR. DOBBINS:  I think Israeli concerns are driving the American debate, clearly, but the concerns of the Gulf States is driving a lot of the regional debate.  The solidarity of the Arab League in wanting to overthrow the regime in Syria, the Assad regime, is almost entirely a function of their antipathy towards Iran, and Israel has nothing to do with that.

But the fact that the entire Arab League is supporting regime change in Syria is a reflection of their concerns about not just the Iranian nuclear program but that among other things.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, to wrap up, I mean, let me just underscore some of the points that the speakers made earlier that I think bear emphasizing, which is that – I mean, the reason why we pulled this event together, we’re speaking out about this right now, is we are deeply concerned about the path that Iran is on.

A nuclear-armed Iran is not inevitable, it’s not imminent, but we need to act with greater urgency.  And you know, as we’ve outlined, the limits of sanctions, the counterproductive effects of military strikes and the fact that they won’t ultimately stop a nuclear-armed Iran, we see sustained diplomacy as the essential strategy that needs to be deployed here.

And we are deeply concerned about the fact that it has been over a year now since the last P5+1 meeting in Istanbul.  And that meeting itself, as Jim Dobbins said, was not only not successful but it was not designed for success.  We need sustained diplomacy.

And most urgently, you know, as Peter Crail and Jim Walsh were outlining, given that Iran is now enriching uranium to near 20-percent levels, ostensibly for the Tehran Research Reactor, it brings it that much closer to a so-called breakout scenario.

And so that really does need to be the focus for U.S. strategy and diplomacy, and that should be one of the reasons why we act with greater urgency.  And that requires that the president speak out more frequently, that, in my view, the administration not wait for the Iranians but to seek out every opportunity to engage on these issues, on the nuclear issue with the Iranians.

And that’s why Congress also needs to do much more to support the diplomatic track and avoid unhelpful actions that simply emphasize the punitive side, because in order to make the pressure work, we actually need to have the negotiations begin.

So those are some – my summary points.  I want to thank each of our speakers for their great presentations and everyone for your attention.  We will have, next week sometime, a transcript of this event for those of you who want to –

MR. WALSH:  Can I sanitize my part?

MR. KIMBALL:  You can – we can go back and revise your remarks, Jim – (laughter) – but I think you were quite clean in your remarks.

So I want to thank everyone.  Have a good week, and we will see you once again at another Arms Control Association event.  (Applause.)

(END)

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.

Description: 

Amid rising tensions over Iran's nuclear program, the key parties engaged in the issue have all said they are interested in a diplomatic solution to the current impasse. In a letter on behalf of the P5+1 last October, European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton called on Iran to return to serious talks on the nuclear file. Iranian officials have said they are ready for talks and are preparing a formal response.

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Briefing on the Future of the U.S. Nuclear Arsenal: Issues and Policy Options

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Friday, January 20, 2012
9:30am to 11:00am

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.
Choate Room

The Pentagon's new strategic guidance released on Jan. 5 by President Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta said: "It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy."

In the coming weeks, President Obama will review options for revising the presidential guidance that determines the U.S. nuclear force structure and nuclear employment policy.

The process creates an opportunity for the president to fulfill his April 2009 pledge to "put an end to outdated Cold War thinking," reduce the enormous cost of maintaining and modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and open the way for deeper U.S.-Russian nuclear weapons reductions.

Please join ACA for presentations from three leading experts on the issues and the options for the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Speakers:

Morton Halperin served served in the Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton administrations working on nuclear policy and arms control and was a member of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, which released its report in 2009.

Hans Kristensen is director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists and co-author of "Reviewing Nuclear Guidance: Putting Obama's Words Into Action," in the November issue of Arms Control Today.

Amy F. Woolf is a specialist in nuclear weapons policy at the Congressional Research Service. She is the author of "Modernizing the Triad on a Tight Budget," which will appear in the Jan./Feb. issue of Arms Control Today.

Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of ACA.

To RSVP contact Tim Farnsworth at [email protected] or call 202-463-8270, ext. 105

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The Arms Control Association (ACA) is an independent nongovernmental organization dedicated to addressing the challenges posed by the world's most dangerous weapons.


 

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

DARYL KIMBALL: Well, good morning and happy New Year.  I’m Daryl Kimball.  I’m executive director of the Arms Control Association.  We’re an independent membership-based organization.  We’ve been around since 1971.  We’re dedicated to providing information about the risks posed by the world’s most dangerous weapons – and nuclear weapons are among those most dangerous weapons, if you didn’t notice already.  And we’re also dedicated to offering practical policy options for reducing and eliminating those risks.

Welcome this morning to our briefing on the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  We’re going to be discussing a number of timely issues, but to start let me just bring you back to April 2009, when President Obama spoke in Prague about his vision and the steps for a world without nuclear weapons.  And he said in that speech that he would put an end to Cold War thinking by reducing the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.

And a year later, in the administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, that report outlined the national security rationale for U.S. nuclear weapons.  And that document, among other things clarifies that, quote, “The fundamental role of U.S. nuclear forces is to deter nuclear attacks against the U.S. and our allies and partners,” unquote.

Now, in the next few weeks President Obama, his national security staff, with support from the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, are engaged in a so-called post-NPR analysis – post Nuclear Posture Review analysis – a classified review of the requirements for how the military should plan for the potential use of nuclear weapons, the requirements for the number of nuclear weapons, and the requirements for the strategic forces that carry those weapons.

And earlier this month, the administration offered a tantalizing clue about what might be in the works in this review when the president and Secretary of Defense Panetta released the Pentagon’s new strategy for United States defense on January 5th.  And that document says, quote, “It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory, as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy.”

So this is an important juncture in the president’s and the nation’s decision process about the future of U.S. nuclear weapons.  And we’ve organized this event to help explain some of the issues and choices before the president and, to some extent, before the Congress on these matters.  And we’ve got a great set of people who’ve got vast experience on this issue.  Very glad all of them are with us this cold, January morning.

And to start us off, we’ll hear from Hans Kristensen who’s the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.  He is the co-author of an article in the Arms Control Association journal, Arms Control Today titled “Reviewing Nuclear Guidance:  Putting Obama’s Words into Action,” which is out on the table outside, which lays out a number of these issues very, very well.  Hans is going to explain why the presidential nuclear guidance process is so important and what it involves.

Next we’ll be hearing from Mort Halperin, who many of you know.  He has served in the Johnson, Nixon and Clinton administrations, working in nuclear policy and arms control issues, and was a member of the congressional commission on the strategic posture of the United States, which released its report in 2009, I believe.  Mort is going to be outlining several steps that the president could take to rethink and revise Cold War nuclear weapons strategy in the weeks and months ahead.

And because all of this involves decisions about the future force structure and the costs related to the nuclear weapons force structure, we’ve asked Amy Woolf from the Congressional Research Service to provide us with an explanation of the current plans for maintaining U.S. strategic submarines, ICBMs and strategic bombers, and to explain some of the policy implications of the likely downsizing or the deferral of modernization programs as the Pentagon and the Congress face important budget decisions in the coming year and in years ahead.

And then after all of that, I’m going to be offering a few brief thoughts on how the administration could – if it makes the right policy choices on nuclear weapons strategy – can reduce the cost of maintaining our stockpile of nuclear weapons while still maintaining a formidable nuclear deterrent.

So each of our speakers is going to have about 10 minutes and they’ve defied my request to come up here to the podium.  They’re each going to be speaking from their seats, which is actually fine.  And then we’re going to take your questions, I’m sure we’ll have a lively discussion because we’ve got a very knowledgeable and expert audience here today.  So with that, Hans, the floor is yours.  Please start us off.

HANS KRISTENSEN:  Thank you and thanks very much for the invitation to come and talk about this – what’s so important and what’s at stake.  Yes, this is where the – potentially the rubber meets the road here in terms of the president setting his guidance, his ideas for what – how the military should plan for the potential use of nuclear weapons, and then it goes through a long and complicated process, obviously, to get from his desk to the war planners who are – that are actually drawing up the designs, so to speak, for the – for the various plans.

And we have a couple of indicators.  Obviously National Security Adviser Donilon and STRATCOM Commander Kehler, they’ve both spoken early on to this particular process.  Donilon talked about potential changes in targeting requirements and alert postures.  And General Kehler talked about a review – how to review and revise the nation’s nuclear strategy and the guidance on the roles and missions of nuclear weapons.

And so before I go into it, it’s important to think about two things going on right now.  I think there is one element of all this implementation stuff and analysis that has to do with implementing the NPR, the Nuclear Posture Review, a finished product, so to speak, that they’re now producing what’s called an NRP implementer – an actual document that will tell the military, the various services, what has to be implemented out of that document and when. That is one particular plan.

Back in 2001, that particular document took about 14-or-so months to produce from the point that the NPR was completed to the point it was distributed to the services.  So we’re about at the time where that document should be finished now.  And the other one has to do with additional reductions beyond the NPR and New START, if you will, horizon, in addition to what we have already agreed to.  And it seems to me that that’s where most of the targeting review that we’ve been hearing so much about is relevant.

And as Daryl said, we’re now at the end of a 90-day analysis of options.  It’s a very much smaller process than we saw during the Nuclear Posture Review, involving much fewer people.  But as far as I understand, the president now – or the National Security Council has now been given these options.  And they’re reviewing it, preparing for the president to see.  I haven’t heard that he has seen, but it’s very close.

And based on that, obviously, he will decide – choose among some of these options.  And back to the National Security Council, I assume it will go for some form of rewrite or maybe a new presidential guidance to the military for the mission.  And there’s several steps it has to go through and it’ll take a long time, but it’ll go through a lot of interpretation.  The president’s guidance will go through a lot of interpretations.  It’ll be analyzed.  Some people cynically say once in a while it’ll be watered down.

And the first step is the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where they used to produce this document that was called the Nuclear Weapons Employment Plan.  It’s now a different document.  They have merged about half-a-dozen different, previous forms of guidance documents into one that’s called “The Guidance for the Employment of the Force.”  Once that document is complete, it includes a wide variety of options, scenarios that the war planners have to plan for, objectives of particular strike plans.

There is actually one document that has been released in full from the past of this process, back from 1974 – one of these documents that you can go in and you can see in enormous details what kind of categories of targets in which country would have to be struck for what purpose, et cetera; what are the rules and principles for doing it and withholding forces, et cetera.

Once that document is complete, it’ll go to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and they will, based on that and the presidential guidance, build what’s called the Nuclear Supplement to this Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan.  That’s a document that allocates the forces, so to speak, to the services to carry out the mission.  And with that in hand, the commander of STRATCOM, he issues his guidance to what’s known as the Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike.  That’s the unit at STRATCOM of 400 people or so that are actually building the nuclear strike plan and maintaining the strike plan.

That is now known as Strategic Deterrence and Global Strike.  It’s operations plan 8010.  It was first published in 2008.  And the current version that is in effect is a change to that plan that was issued in February 2009.  Now, this document, even though it came in 2009 – or this plan, it’s based on previous guidance – guidance for the employment of the force that was issued in May 2008, I think it was.  And also it actually goes all the way back to the presidential guidance that was issued by George Bush in 2002.  So we still have to see the visions and the policies, if you will, of Obama administration policies make their mark on the strategic war planning.

Now, there are a couple of issues of how that review can – some of the considerations, for example, how can they reduce the role of nuclear weapons?  I mean, we know about slashing warheads and delivery systems here and there, but there are other drivers that determine requirements, both the number of warheads and characteristics of delivery systems, et cetera.  And for example, one is how many target categories do they have to aim at.  How many target categories of what kind do they have to hold at risk, so to speak, or be able to hold at risk with nuclear forces?

If you choose to launch nuclear weapons, what kind of damage expectancy are you required to achieve with a strike?  It can be greater or lower, it will affect the requirements to force capabilities, et cetera.  What degree of alert posture do you need to have?  How great a portion of the forces will have to be able to launch on prompt notice?  Can you live with less?  We’ve already taken a lot of nuclear weapons off the force over the last decade and a half.  Can you go lower?  How low?  Can you even take entire groups of weapons out of the alert posture?

Can you relax the counterforce focus in the war plan?  It’s very much sort of force-on-force planning, if you will, using nukes to hunt down nukes and other military forces, of course.  But can you relax that drive in the force, so there is less war fighting, if you will, force-on-force planning, and come up with some other form of how to define a sufficient deterrent posture.

And then, of course, how many options do you need to offer the president?  I mean, there seems to be this drive after the end of the Cold War here that, because of the concern of proliferation, the number of options that the president has to be offered seems to have proliferated.  And so the question is, can you reduce that – how many things we’re asking the military to be able to do with the nuclear forces?

And then, of course, as was embedded in the Nuclear Posture Review itself, the discussion about how can you reduce the role of nuclear weapons?  Can we move toward a sole purpose of nuclear forces?  Can you reduce the requirement for the portion of the nuclear posture that has to deal with conventional, chemical, biological scenarios and just focus entirely on just responding or deterring to a nuclear attack?  It’s clearly the intention described in the Nuclear Posture Review that the United States should move in that direction.

And then, of course, there is the issue of the forces themselves.  How will this drive back and affect the force posture?  Amy will talk a lot more about that.  You know, we’ve already heard a little about it in the news.

Does the U.S. still need a triad?  The NPR says it does.  Others have been saying that as we go to lower numbers, we might have to re-evaluate the need for a triad; and in which case, what legs should be cut?  Most people sort of automatically tend to say, oh, the bombers.  How would an all-ballistic missile nuclear-posture look and how would it function, et cetera?  These are thoughts that have to be entertained during this process.

Does the U.S. still need to keep upward toward 800 warheads on alert, which is an enormous force given what’s out there.  And what kind of modernizations will be necessary or what is appropriate, if you will?  No other nation is building more than 8 ballistic missile submarines, so why do we need to build 12?  The Brits have some; the French have some.  Russia’s ICBM forces is declining toward somewhere near the range of 200 by the early 2020s.  So why do we need to keep up to 420?  So these are some of the thoughts that have to be worked through on this.

And then, of course, finishing on what Daryl mentioned from the Prague speech, how does this new review match the pledge in Prague to put an end to Cold War thinking?  That’s a high bar.  And nobody really has defined what that means.  But with that, I’ll pass it on to Mort and I look forward to your questions.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Hans.

Mort Halperin.

MORTON HALPERIN:  Good morning.  Exactly the question I want to talk about:  What does it mean to put an end to Cold War thinking about the kind of nuclear force that we need?  Because I want to suggest that the answer to that is really the answer to only one question, which is:  What kind of force do we need to be able to deter a large-scale surprise Russian attack?

You may remember during the Clinton administration, President Clinton had a line in his speeches that said:  And we no longer target Russia with our nuclear forces.  And I was talking to a political guy in the White House and he said, you know, that’s the biggest applause line in all of Clinton’s speeches.  And I said, well, think of how much applause you would get if you actually did it.  (Laughter.)  And he was actually quite startled by that and said, but, haven’t we done it?  And I said, no, we haven’t done it.

And I want to suggest we still have not done it; that is, the size of the force is utterly unaffected – the need for how big it has to be is utterly unaffected by the purposes of nuclear weapons, because even if we think we’re going to use them first in certain scenarios, that requires a force far smaller than what we think we need to deter a surprise attack.  And even if you went to no first use, a sole purpose, the force size would still be guided by this single requirement, which reduces the largest size force, which is a force sufficient to deter a large-scale Russian surprise attack on the United States.

The Nuclear Posture Review deliberately did not answer that question.  Because they wanted to get on with the [New] START negotiations, they took the answer from the Bush administration, which produced a number small enough that they could negotiate the START treaty.  So that was literally not analyzed and, in my view, is what we need to come to grips with now, because until we change that requirement, we will not get agreement on the possibility of going below the New START numbers.  And of course, even if we did go to agreement on that number, we would still have the question of whether we can do it without the Russians.  But it would certainly make it possible to propose to the Russians to negotiate a lower number, and I want to come back to that at the end.

Now, what I’ve said is that we have not in fact changed that requirement at all.  It is still done the same way – and you had a little bit of it explained to you.  We now have one of the documents which shows it.  What it says is that in order to deter a Russian surprise attack, we need to be able to absorb that attack and respond by destroying targets in Russia.  And it then lays out a set of targets that we need to destroy, none of which are, quote, “cities,” in the sense that we don’t target cities, and I think that’s an issue we don’t have to deal with.

We never will target cities and it makes no difference, because many of the things we target are in cities.  And so if you think destruction of population is what’s important to deter, we get that by targeting these targets.  But it specifies, as was suggested, what kind of targets we need to hit, with what degree of destruction of the set.  If there are 2,000 bridges, do we have to destroy 2,000 or only half?  And with what confidence do we need to have that we will destroy each bridge; and what level of destruction of each bridge or other target will we have; and whether we need to put two different warheads on it – that is, one from one part of the troika [ie, triad] and a second one from another part of the troika.

The nuclear guidance that the military has answers all of those questions.  And it has not been changed since the end of the Cold War.  The basic structure and the basic answers are the answers that we gave when the Soviet Union existed and Russian troops were in Berlin.  Now we have made some changes in those numbers, but we’ve made them incrementally.

There is a famous story – maybe apocryphal, but I think real – of Cheney, when he was secretary of defense, wanting to make some change in the nuclear force structure; I think it was taking some bombers out of the strategic war plan.  And he was told that he couldn’t do that because then we could not re-meet the requirements for deterring a Russian nuclear attack on the United States.  And he said, what do you mean?  And they explained it to him.  And he said, well, what if I take this category – I think it was bridges – and say, you only have to destroy them with one strategic system and not two?  And they said, well, that’s fine.  If you do that, then we can go to this lower number.  And he said, OK fine, I will make that change in the nuclear force posture.

The changes have all been made that way, incrementally, when the purpose was to be able to justify a particular reduction.  I would argue that we need to start from scratch.  We need to ask ourselves the question:  Under what circumstances might the Russian leadership wake up and say, oh, it’s Easter Sunday; the Americans are at rest; we can launch a surprise attack and it will be successful?  What would have to be going on in the world that would make that even conceivable?  And how much certainty of how much destruction of Russia would the Russian leadership have to have in order to not be tempted to launch that attack?

I think if we ask that question and we really ask it over again – not say, what can we change in the current posture – but asking that question.  Given the current state of Russia, given the state of our relationship, given the places where we confront them, we would come up with a substantially lower number as a requirement for strategic nuclear forces.  And I think that’s what we need to do.  I hope that’s what we are now in the process of doing.  But I am skeptical that that is what we are doing.

Now we also need to confront one other question, which is in the presidential guidance.  Presidents, beginning I think back in Roosevelt’s time, have told the military that there needs to be a requirement for prompt launch.  Now prompt launch is a euphemism for going, if not a close second, to going first – that is, to launch when we believe there is a Russian attack coming, or at least as soon as bombs start to land.  There is presidential guidance that the United States needs to have a capacity for prompt launch, which drives a number of factors in the kind of forces we need and how much they need to be on alert.

I would suggest that the president ought to tell the military that not only there is no requirement for prompt launch, but he does not intend to do prompt launch; that he intends, if there is a threat of a nuclear attack, to make sure there actually is an attack; and even if there is an attack, that he wants the time to assess it and decide how he will respond in kind.  That will probably produce more requirements for commander control and for survival – particularly survival of the president, which is the hardest piece of this – but it will also make changes in the kind of strategic nuclear forces that we need.

Now, if we engage in this kind of exercise, which I think is the most important one that we could do, then I think we will reach the conclusion that we need a substantially lower number of deployed nuclear weapons than the 1,500 in the [New] START treaty.  I think we easily could conclude that the number could be a thousand or even lower than a thousand weapons.  And I think we could then propose to the Russians an amendment to the New START treaty which doesn’t change anything but the number of deployed strategic weapons.  And I think we could go to a thousand without worrying about China – and without worrying about the Russian tac nukes, because we would still leave in place the U.S. nondeployed weapons, which numerically roughly balance out the Russian tac nukes.

I think also, just to make sure I say something controversial, that we ought to agree that, if we go to a thousand, we will leave the troika intact, because I believe the major bar for the U.S. going to a thousand is not these actual calculations, but the fear that everybody has who is interested in a particular part of the troika – that if we go to a thousand, their part of the troika will come under threat.  So everybody opposes it, fearing their part would be attacked.  I think with a thousand we still could and should have the troika, and agreeing to that in advance – I think it would make it possible to go through this exercise I’ve described in a real way and come out with new numbers.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thanks very much, Mort.  That’s very helpful.  And now Amy Woolf, on the triad – or the troika, as Mort has been referring to it – and the questions therein.

AMY F. WOOLF:  Good morning.  Thank you, Daryl.  My goal, contrary to what Mort just said, is to not say something controversial.  (Laughter.)  For those of you who don’t know, I work for the Congressional Research Service, and we are nonpartisan, unbiased, required to be so by law.  And therefore – and we provide analysis and information to Congress; we don’t offer opinions or advocate outcomes.

So I’m going to start with a disclaimer:  If I happen to let an opinion or an advocacy point slip out, do not attribute it to CRS.  CRS does not support that.  That’s me personally, and I’m in a bit of a box here, because you have something that I wrote personally in front of you.  So you’ll evidently be aware of the fact that I have opinions.  But I’m going to try not to say something controversial.

As Daryl said, I’m going to talk primarily about the triad, and its aging, and the modernization programs that are planned for it and some specifics on the programs – not deep details on the budget; you can look those up, and I’ll tell you who actually knows them – so not me.  But I’m going to talk about the programs and how much they cost, and then weave in a little bit of how you should think about saving money on those programs.

I’m not going to tell you, you should save money; that’s an opinion.  I’m not going to tell you how to save money – but the sorts of things you should think about if you’re trying to save money.  And I’ll wrap up with some of the policy issues that you ought to think about if you want to change the force to save money.  And both Mort and Hans addressed those policy issues, so I’m again just going to give you a way to think about it, rather than answers to the questions.

First I’m going to start by talking about the triad.  And I know everybody here knows what the triad is.  We have ICBMs, land-based long-range ballistic missiles; SLBMs, submarine-launched long-range ballistic missiles; and heavy bombers based in the continental United States that can reach anywhere around the world.  During the Cold War, analysts agreed that each leg was recognized to have strengths and weaknesses, and argued that we should keep the triad so that we could offer redundancy, maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses across the force – complicate attack planning, enhanced deterrence, all those phrases that were used to justify keeping three legs of the triad during the Cold War.

At the end of the Cold War in the ‘90s, we started to hear another justification for keeping the triad as we were reducing our forces.  And that justification was a hedge:  If something should go wrong in any one leg of the triad, as we were bringing the redundancy down by reducing numbers and reducing systems – and if anything should go wrong in one leg of the triad, we had a hedge of having another leg of the triad that could fill in while we fixed the problem.  If we found cracks in the fuel on D5 missiles, we could replace those, repair those while the ICBMs could hold up the deterrent for the time being.  That’s the hedge.

Both of those arguments are still made today:  the redundancy, the synergy, the strengths-and-weaknesses argument and the hedge argument.  The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review re-affirmed that the United States intended to maintain a triad for those two reasons.  And the New START treaty was written with the maintenance of the triad in mind.  In other words, the Pentagon decided we should maintain a triad early in the NPR process; told the New START negotiators, make sure the treaty is written so we can maintain the triad; and when the president submitted his report and officials testified on how the United States would size and structure its force under the New START treaty, top line:  We will maintain the triad.

Now, the problem is, all three legs of the triad are aging.  They can be extended; they have been extended.  You know, you like to hear that the B-52 bombers are older than the pilots.  As a matter of fact, they’re older than the pilots’ fathers.  They’re probably as old as the pilots’ grandfathers.  We can maintain these systems to a certain degree – less true for the submarines than for the bombers or the ICBMs, but we stretch them out.

The fact that they are aging means that the Pentagon, in each of the services, is individually deciding on ways to replace each leg of the triad.  This is not seen as a broad strategic goal, although some would argue it should be.  It is seen as something each service needs to do to replace its aging leg of the triad.

The Navy is replacing the ballistic missile submarines because, at 42 years, they will fall out of the water.  You can’t fall out of the water; they will have to come out of the water.  (Laughter.)  And that’s based on the reactor age.  Each submarine goes through an engineering and reactor overhaul, and at the end of the second 20-year cycle you’re done.  They have to come out.  The bombers have been upgraded, maintained, extended.  The ICBMs just went through a major life extension program where all the rocket motors were repoured and the guidance packages were repaired.  Everything has been upgraded.  But at some point in time, the services all expect them to collapse, and you need new ones.

So let me talk specifically about the modernization programs for each leg of the triad.  And then, as I said, I’ll talk about what you might want to think about if you want to cut these.  First, the submarines:  Currently we have 14 Ohio-class submarines.  They will start coming out of the fleet in 2029 because of this aging problem with the reactor cores.  The current plan is to build 12 of a new class of submarine, and each of the 12 new submarines will have 16 launch tubes on it.  The current submarines have 24 launch tubes, but under New START we’re only going to use 20 launch tubes per submarine.  So we’ll have 12 new submarines with 16 launch tubes per submarine.

The FY 2012 budget contains just over a billion dollars in research and development funding for the new submarine.  If you look at the out-years of the budget, that number for research and development ranges from about 1 billion (dollars) to about 1.15 billion (dollars) or 1.2 billion (dollars), for a total of about 10 (billion dollars) to $11 billion in research and development over the planning years of the submarine.  The procurement funding – the long lead time procurement funding for the submarine – starts coming in in about 2015 or 2016, at about 700 (million dollars) to 800 (million dollars).  It will ramp up eventually, but the long lead time funding comes in.

In FY 2010, the Navy thought that each of these 12 submarines would cost, on average – not including the first submarine, which has to carry the cost of the research and development and design money – about 6 (billion dollars) to $7 billion – way too expensive.  So they’re trying to bring down the cost to about 4.9 (billion dollars) to $5 billion on average for submarines two through 12.

They’re succeeding; they’re down to about 5.7 billion (dollars) for the second submarine and hope to bring it down further.  And they’re doing that with design changes and by using technologies off the shelf rather than newly developed.  One thing they’re doing is building a reactor that can live through the whole life of the submarine, which would again be 40 years.  And therefore you don’t need the reactor overhaul in the middle, which can be expensive.

So they’re trying to bring down the cost, but you’re still looking at a submarine program that, as the arms control community likes to say, will cost $350 billion over the life of the submarine – which, by the way, is 50 years – 50 to 70 years, depending on – from the first boat going in the water to the last boat coming out of the water.  So that 350 billion (dollars) is not in the next 10 years.  In the next 10 years we’re looking at about 10 (billion dollars) to 12 billion (dollars) in R&D costs and some procurement costs.

This program of 12 submarines would allow the Navy to continue to deploy their submarines in two oceans – we have a base in the Pacific and a base in the Atlantic – and to maintain what is referred to as continuous at-sea deterrence, with two to three submarines on station in the Pacific and two submarines on station in the Atlantic.

To maintain that operational deployment pattern, you need 12 submarines, or the Navy would tell you, you need 12 submarines – because at any given time, you have those submarines on station – which means they’re in range of the targets they’re supposed to shoot at and ready to shoot; prompt response – that you would have that, you’d have some submarines going out to be on station, some submarines coming back in, and some submarines in port for restocking and crew rest.  Ohio-class submarines currently spend about 70 out of 90 days at sea.  So if you do the math – and the Navy does the math – to maintain the current kind of deployment pattern we have, with the three submarines on station in the Pacific and two in the Atlantic, you need about 12 submarines.

Cost reduction proposals for this program include both delaying the advent of the first submarine in a fleet – as I said, you need to start buying the new submarine, building the new submarine, about 2019 to bring it in in 2029 when the first Ohio-class comes out.  But if you delayed it a couple of years, the first Ohio-class could come out in 2029, and the new one would not go in until 2030 or 2031 or a little later.  That would bring your fleet down below the 12 at sea, but they think they might be able to manage with a two-year delay.  That’ll save you some money in the next 10 years by allowing you to slow down the R&D and delay the long lead time procurement.

You could also reduce the number of submarines in the long run.  That won’t save you any money in the near term, because you still have the R&D and the design money.  For the near term, it doesn’t matter how many submarines you buy in the long term.  It’s like putting an addition on your house; the cost of the architect is the same whether or not you put on three rooms or five rooms.  So it doesn’t matter.  But that’s a decision you could make later to save money in the life-cycle cost of the program, to have fewer submarines.

Let me turn now to the next-generation bomber.  Right now we have, under New START, planned 60 bombers in the fleet under New START; that would be 20 B-2s and 40 B-52s.  The Air Force plans to procure between 80 and 100 new – what they call next-generation bombers, first expected to enter into service in the middle of the next decade, 2025 or thereabouts.  Now, the current bombers are likely to remain in the force to between 2030 and 2040.  So, you ask, why do they need a new bomber in 2025?  Has nothing to do with the nuclear mission.  Bombers are what is known as the long-range strike force for the long-range strike mission, of which they are looking at a family of systems.

Right now there’s $197 million in the FY 2012 budget for R&D on the new bomber.  That’s not very much.  But they expect the new bomber – depending on how it’s designed, whether it’s manned, unmanned, nuclear or not nuclear – 550 million (dollars) per copy, which could bring it to 60 (billion dollars) to $70 billion for the fleet – depending, again, on how many they buy and how they design it.

Now it’s important to note that the Air Force really, really, really, really wants this bomber for conventional missions.  And the Air Force has already said that, in an effort to save some money in the early years, it’s not going to put the nuclear capability on the bomber right away.  That means hardware and software to be able to carry, communicate and launch nuclear weapons.  It’s possible the Air Force could delay this problem to save some money in the near term.  It’s possible it could never put nuclear capability on this bomber.  We’d then, as Hans said, go to a dyad.  Or we could keep the old bombers for a long time.

But it’s also worth remembering that any effort you make to save money in the bomber as a way to save money on nuclear weapons really messes with the Air Force’s plan to build – (chuckles) – a conventional bomber.  And, therefore, anything that you might do on the nuclear side bothers them on the conventional side.  And anything that you might do on the conventional side doesn’t really save you money on the nuclear side.

Finally, the ICBM modernization program:  As I said, over the last 15 years, the Air Force has done a lot of work to refurbish, rebuild and extend the life of the Minuteman III ICBM.  Originally it planned to replace that in about 2020; now we’re looking at 2030.  One could argue they could stretch it even further.  If they don’t, they’re going to be buying new ICBMs about the same time they’re buying new submarines and buying new bombers, and that’s unaffordable.  There really is no cost estimate on how much a new ICBM would cost because they’re still studying what a new ICBM would look like.  But if one wants to save money on ICBMs, one would either stretch the program or buy fewer.

But that’s what you need to think about, as I said – I’m going to talk about how you think about this.  If you want to reduce the amount of money you put into the budget in the next year – or the next five years or the next 10 years – on any of these modernization programs, you’re talking generally about slowing them down, stretching them out.  The budget funding – the money in the budget for the next several years is all R&D and design money.  You don’t start procurement money until the next FYDP, which is five to seven years out.

If you do that, if you slow them down, you don’t actually save money on nuclear weapons.  You may actually cost more money in the long run; you just do it later.  But if you’re trying to reduce the amount of funding in the budget – the budget request, which is what everybody seems to be trying to do in the Pentagon right now – you want to bring down the budget request – you stretch the nuclear programs.

One reason you stretch nuclear programs, beyond saving money in the near-term budget, is because eventually you may decide you don’t need them as much, and you buy fewer of them in the long run.  And that’s where you reduce the cost of nuclear weapons in the long run.  But again, how many you buy in the long run is not a decision you need to make now.

I could remind you that, at one point in time, we were going to buy over a hundred B-2 bombers –132; dropped to 75; dropped to 21.  We were going to buy 200 peacekeeper ICBMs; dropped to a hundred; dropped to 50; stopped there.  We were going to buy 24 Ohio-class submarines; dropped to 21; dropped to 18.  We did buy 18, took four out, made them conventional cruise missile carriers; now at 14, dropping the next submarine to 12.  It does seem that the longer you wait, the less you need.

So that may be one – (chuckles) – benefit if you’re looking for a way to reduce long-term costs:  Drag it out now, and eventually you buy less.  But if you’re looking to save money in the budget request now, the number that you eventually buy isn’t going to change that.  It’s whether or not you buy it sooner or buy it later.  And you can be pretty certain that in the budget debates they’re having in the Pentagon, they are talking about delaying some of these programs to reduce the amount of money you need in the budget request.

Finally, I’d like to conclude with some policy issues.  As both Hans and Mort talked about, the size of our force is strongly driven by the presidential guidance on how we need to operate and execute that force.  A lot of people like to think about nuclear weapons as an arithmetic game.  The treaty allows us to have 1,550 warheads.  How can we allocate those warheads across a smaller force – fewer ICBMs, fewer submarines – so that we don’t have to spend all the money on the ICBMs and the submarines and the bombers?

We can have those warheads and concentrate them on a smaller number of systems.  But that’s not how we operate our nuclear force.  We don’t operate our nuclear force based on arithmetic; we operate it based on guidance.  And the guidance says we need to be able to launch promptly against a wide range of targets.

As Hans said, the range of targets – the geographic spread of them – has probably increased in the last 20 years, not just looking at Russia, or Russia and China, but looking at a greater number of countries for counterproliferation reasons.  If you decide that you don’t need to spread your force and operate it the way we operate it, with a prompt response requirement, with keeping the submarines on station requirement, with other requirements that lead to keeping weapons on a wider number of ICBMs and bombers – if you change those requirements, you may be able to change how you operate the force.

If you change how you operate the force, you may be able to reduce the number of delivery systems that you purchase, with or without reducing the warhead numbers.  But wouldn’t it make sense – and this is an opinion – to make the decision about changing how you operate the force before the budget forces you to do it, because the budget has forced you to reduce the number of delivery systems?

Right now, we’re kind of in that crossover point.  The administration is looking at changes in the guidance that might allow you to change how you operate the force and, therefore, buy fewer systems.  But the budget pressures, which may win the day, are putting a lot of pressure to buy fewer systems or buy them later, which may then force you to change how you operate the force.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you very much, Amy.  That was a very helpful overview of the many issues and considerations.  And I just wanted to offer some thoughts about how, with respect to the policy issues and the budget decisions, the president and the Congress might go about doing this.  And there’s an op-ed by my research director Tom Collina and I in the Christian Science Monitor that outlines some of these ideas.

But let me just say, in taking all this into consideration – if as Mort Halperin suggested, the president does indeed undertake a zero-based review of targeting requirements, starting from scratch, and looks again at the old Cold War requirements for prompt launch, it’s pretty clear that the United States could significantly reduce the number of targets and, therefore, reduce the number of deployed U.S. nuclear warheads to – as he said and I agree – 1,000 or below.

And we’ve got to keep in mind that no other county has any more than – other than the U.S. and Russia – 300 strategic warheads.  And that country is France, by the way.  And China possesses no more than, maybe, 50 nuclear warheads on long-range ballistic missiles.  So even at these lower force levels, there’s still more than enough firepower to deter a nuclear attack, or perhaps other types of attacks by potential adversaries.

So in our view, the view of the Arms Control Association, I mean, these changes are prudent and they’re long overdue.  And I would agree with Amy that, ideally, the policy should be adjusted before the budget, rather than having the budget drive the policy.  But as we said at the outset, the process that is now entering the post-NPR analysis should be concluded this year.  And the budget decisions that the Pentagon, the White House, OMB and Congress need to make will be made this year, and next year, and the year after, because these weapons systems are not built in a single fiscal year.

So let me just outline an illustrative scenario.  And there are six ways to Sunday to reconfigure the strategic forces and save, in the many ways that Amy outlined.  But if the president and the Congress did just three things, we could save at least $45 billion over the next 10 years and still maintain a strategic deployed nuclear force of over a thousand nuclear weapons.

First step would be to downsize the number of nuclear-armed submarines by reducing the overall fleet from 14 to eight or fewer boats, and building no more than eight new Ohio-class submarines.  That would save roughly $27 billion over the next 10 years, and as much as $120 billion out of the total estimated cost, $350 billion, over the life of the program.

Secondly, we could and should delay the new strategic bomber program.  As we heard, the B-52s, the venerable B-52s, and the B-2s will be in service for several decades more.  There is no rush to pursue this new bomber, at least for nuclear warfighting and deterrence purposes.  And by doing so, according to the Pentagon, we could save $18 billion over the next decade.  So 27 plus 18, that’s 45.

Additionally, third, we could and should reduce the number of land-based nuclear-armed Minuteman III three missiles.  That would achieve some marginal operating and maintenance savings.  Just, for instance, one squadron could be retired or removed from each of the three missile bases, and we would have a force, instead of 420, to 300.  And this would more reasonably align the size of the U.S. ICBM force with that of Russia, and save hundreds of millions of dollars in operations costs.

So those are just three ways to do this, and we think that the president and the Congress need to take a hard look at these options as they connect up with the nuclear policy decisions that the president is going to be making in the next few weeks.

So with that, let me stop.  And I hope that you have enough information and provocative ideas to stimulate your questions and suggestions.  We’ve got a very well informed audience here, so let me open up the floor to your questions.  We have a microphone here.  If you could raise your hands, identify yourself, ask your question, we’ll try to answer it and have a discussion.  So why don’t we start over here?  Kelsey, with –

Q:  Yeah, hi.  I’m Susan Cornwell with Reuters.  There wasn’t any discussion of missile defense, and I just wondered if you deliberately left that out.  If – you know, but as a potential point for cost savings, do you want to make any comments on that?

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, we didn’t include it because we’d have to have a two-and-a-half hour session, and perhaps longer.  Well, I mean, obviously the U.S. missile defense programs are another huge cost element in the defense budget, consuming close to $10 billion if you calculate all the different programs together.  There are some in there that are clearly ripe for removal, like the MEADS program, which is a technically troubled and slightly unpopular program at this stage.

And I’m not sure off the top of my head what the exact figure is, but I think there are billions that could be saved over the next decade if that program is phased out.  But I think we’ll save our fire and our critique about missile defense programs for another day.  But that’s obviously another key part of the Defense Department’s calculations about how to save hundreds of billions over the next decade.  Does anybody else want to weigh in on that?

MR. KRISTENSEN:  I just, perhaps, want to remark that it does, obviously, have an effect on the type of nuclear relationship, as well, we’re trying to establish both with Russia, but also China – because those two countries look at missile defense capabilities – growing missile defense capabilities – as something that have an effect on what kind of nuclear forces they think they need.  So it does have an effect on their long-term planning as well, just to remark there.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, right up here?

Q:  Hi, I’m Sameera Daniels, of Ramsey Decision.  I come at this from a lay perspective, because I don’t consider myself an expert.  But there’s a broader question as it relates to Hans Kristensen’s question posed about Cold War thinking.  And I’m wondering to what extent – and this is for any of you – whether you think that we’ve been able to distinguish what this Cold War thinking is.

And, you know, it’s set off in some of the reports – you know, we have to get beyond Cold War thinking.  Have we really identified, you know, the distinctions in a way that is coherent, and then translated that into a practical – I don’t see that.  And I actually do read the reports.  So this is a persistent question that I’ve had.

MR. KIMBALL:  So what is Cold War thinking and how do we move beyond it?  And it depends a lot on what it is.

MR. HALPERIN:  Well, I think it’s two things, one which I discussed, which is the notion that there is a serious possibility of a surprise Russian attack and that we need to design our force to deter the Russians from deliberately deciding to launch an attack on the United States.  That is clearly, in my view, Cold War thinking.  And it is the thing, as I’ve suggested, that drives the whole process.  So changing that would be enormously important.

The other form of Cold War thinking was the notion that we had a conventional deficit, and therefore we needed to use, or threaten to use nuclear weapons first in various scenarios involving conventional attacks and biological and chemical weapons.  And there the administration has moved very far by saying that our goal is to get the sole purpose.  They should get the sole purpose.  We should understand that nuclear weapons have the sole function of deterring their use by others.  So those are, I think, the two dominant elements of Cold War thinking which we need to change.  And if we did change, we’d make a big difference.

MS. WOOLF:  There’s also the problem that Cold War thinking in the rhetoric, versus Cold War thinking in the planning, are two very different things.

The Bush administration went a long way in its rhetoric to get past Cold War thinking.  In their Nuclear Posture Review in 2001, they specifically said, Russia is not an enemy.  We are no longer going to size and structure our nuclear force as if Russia were a smaller version of the Soviet Union.  Instead, we’re going to size and structure our force so that it can address the capabilities of anybody who might have capabilities that can threaten us.

Q:  But that doesn’t change –

MS. WOOLF:  Now, yeah, two things happened after that.  If you’re – when they did that – when they said anybody could be a threat, and we’re going to make our capabilities responsive to their capabilities, all of the sudden you’re not reducing your own capabilities.  You just have a different excuse for maintaining your capabilities.

Also, they said that Russia was not a threat and we weren’t going to structure our force and size our force as if Russia were the Soviet Union – but if you added up the warhead numbers, you could not imagine using 2,000 – 2,200 warheads against anybody except Russia.  So there’s a disconnect between the rhetoric of changing Cold War thinking and the planning of changing Cold War thinking.

And what Hans has been struggling with, in describing this to you, is how do you make that connection and go from changing your rhetoric, which this administration is trying to change as well, to actually changing your planning?  And lots of people have lots of reasons why we don’t make that leap very well, and I’m not going to offer an opinion.

MR. KRISTENSEN:  Yeah, I just wanted to say that one big problem, of course, is that the way it is – as many people in Congress have experienced on many occasions, is that it is very, very hard to get any insight to how the actual planning, on the planning level, is taking place, and how the presidential guidance is being interpreted in terms of the actual strike plan.  And it’s a very, very small group of people that are actually allowed to see the war plan, for that matter.  And so it’s hard to get a detailed critique going on of the requirements and the principles in that type of planning.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, I would posit that there’s a kind of cultural concept of what Cold War thinking is.  And part of it is the concept that we might be willing to engage in an actual nuclear war, and wage a nuclear war.  Deterring a nuclear attack is one thing, waging a nuclear war is another thing.

And that is actually still part of the plan.  And I think what we have to recognize here, in early 2012, is that Dmitri Medvedev is not Josef Stalin, and Dmitri Medvedev is not going to countenance the possible annihilation of tens of millions of Russian citizens, let alone hundreds.  And the same for the United States president.  So, I mean, it is a different day and age in that sense.  But the war plan is still, on a technical level, a plan for possibly waging a nuclear exchange between these two superpowers.

MR. HALPERIN:  I want to make the distinction, which I think is very important and often overlooked, between the war plan and the requirements of the forces that we need to deter.  They’re entirely different things.  The war plan is developed from the forces we have at every – in any given moment.  And it’s developed against the potential targets that potential adversaries have at that moment.  And you simply use the forces in the most effective way.

What drives back to the requirements is this requirement for prompt launch.  But the question of what size force we need and what targets we need to be confident that we could destroy is a question of what deters the enemy, and is entirely separate from the question of what the war plan is doing with the weapons.  So you don’t actually have to see the war plans to come to grips with this question of what kind of force, with what capability to destroy what targets, do we need to deter a Russian attack.

MR. KIMBALL:  Other questions?  David?  Here it comes.

Q:  My name is David Hoffman, with Foreign Policy magazine.  I’d like to ask all of the panel – you know, sort of the theme of today is, Obama’s got some new decisions to make.  And if you look back at the last couple of years, you know, in his campaign he promised to do something about alert status and then he decided not to.

Amy mentioned the strategic reserve.  And if you look back really far, you know, half of that reserve was created for geopolitical uncertainty, Bill Perry said in 1994 – even if you look even further back, at all of the SIOP plans that predate the present one and how little presidents have actually been able to change them.

My question to you is, does President Obama have a lot of room – the willpower or the inclination to make change here?  Or is he going to be carried along by the same sort of inertia that’s characterized the past?  And should he have more unilateral action?

And I mention this because one of the reasons not to move unilaterally, it’s always posited that we have to move bilaterally.  And so I ask all of you, should Obama’s decisions wait for some kind of bilateral arrangements with the Russians?  Or are there things that he can do unilaterally, or should do, in alert status, in strategic reserves, or in force structure or in targeting?  Is there any room for him to move?

MR. KIMBALL:  Mort and Hans, you want to –

MR. HALPERIN:  Sure.

MR. KRISTENSEN:  Go ahead.  I’ll go after you.

MR. HALPERIN:  I think that the move he has to make unilaterally is on what, roughly, is alert status, which is the requirement for prompt launch.  That’s not something you negotiate with the Russians.  You can’t.  I think the president needs to say to the military, I do not have a requirement for prompt launch – which does not mean that some of the forces won’t be capable of prompt launch.  They obviously will be.

But the requirement for a large-scale prompt launch drives a good deal about the question of how many submarines need to be on station at any given moment, for one example, describes – it affects a lot of things.  That has to be changed unilaterally.  The president ought to do it.  I do not believe that would be a major political issue in the United States.  He’s not telling the military to change anything.  He’s just saying don’t do the alert status because you have a presidential requirement.

On the strategic reserve, what I think we’ve said, which I think is right, is that the strategic reserve has two purposes.  One is geopolitical and the other is for massive failure.  But it turns out, since one of those requirements comes from the Department of Energy and the other comes from the Department of Defense, we have the same number to do both tasks.  So we don’t have some number in the strategic reserve for geopolitical changes and some number for catastrophic failure.  It’s the same number.

And each department has said it’s enough because they’re assuming it would all be used for their purpose.  So you’d have to change both to change the number.  Now, I think we can change it.  But what we’ve said is, when the modernization of the nuclear production facilities is moving along and has reached a certain point, then we can reduce that number.

I don’t think it’s urgent, in my view, because the other role of that force is that it balances, in numbers, the Soviet tactical nuclear forces.  And if we’re ever going to get agreement on the Russians to reduce their tactical nuclear forces, we need, I think, to say we will reduce that force at the same time.  In terms of moving bilaterally, what I’ve suggested is, once the president decides we can do the deterrent function with a thousand and not 1500, which was the conclusion that came out of accepting the Bush rationale, then I think we should negotiate that with the Russians.  And I think we could negotiate with the Russians one more agreement before we get to all these complicated issues, which, as I said, leave the treaty exactly the way it is, just change the number of overt weapons to a thousand from 1500.

And whether the president will do it or not, you know, I wouldn’t bet on it.  But I think if he understands what the precise issues are and how little cost it would be to him politically to do it, he would do it at least in December, if not in October.

MR. KRISTENSEN:  I just – if the past is any experience or any guidance, I think, you know, what he decides will be modest.  I mean, it’s just always the way that it had been in the nuclear business.  Nobody goes in and makes giant, huge, fast decisions.  But I think, looking to the future – the future horizon, I think it’s very important that what he does do is something that puts down the stakes for the road that he is signaling that we’re interested in traveling.

And so I think it’s important that what comes out of it is not sort of a signal to other nuclear powers that now for the next couple of decades, you know, it’s going to be the same as we’ve done in the past, just as – just at lower numbers.  We’ll slice a little here, slice a little there, relax this requirement here, but the thrust of it is the same.  It seems to me that if putting it into Cold War thinking has to have any meaning on, yes, we have not defined it, and nobody has a good explanation or probably, more importantly, everybody has their own opinion about what it means.  But if you – if that sentence means anything, it seems to me that there has to be something more than just slicing a little here and slicing a little there.

MS. WOOLF:  I agree with Hans that any changes you see now are going to be modest.  They were modest in 2001.  They were modest in 1994.  But modesty adds up.  When you ask if the president can do this unilaterally or bilaterally, I know you meant, does he have to do this by negotiating with the Russians?  I think if you’re doing – waiting for a bilateral agreement with the Russians, you’re going to be waiting a long time.  When I heard bilaterally, I think does he – can he do this alone, or can he – does he have to wait and do this with the Pentagon?   Can he do this alone, or does he have to wait and do this with the Congress?

Does he have to wait and do this with the Pentagon, and there are some things he can do unilaterally and require that the Pentagon follow along?  I think he would be very, very cautious in doing that.  Just historically, the president has always, in these Nuclear Posture Review situations, taken a lot of guidance from the Pentagon.  But as Hans said, you kind of need to push forward and stop just slicing at the edges.

Now, unilaterally or bilaterally with Congress is a whole different issue.  And in the current political environment, I would be very, very surprised to see the president do anything more than modest, because of the political pushback and because of the makeup of the debate in Congress.  There aren’t a lot of members of Congress who pay attention to these issues, but those who do have very strong opinions.  And I’m not certain he wants to get into that debate with Congress right now.

MR. KIMBALL:  Well, I would just quickly add that – I mean, while – in my observation of President Obama and the White House and their work on nuclear weapons policy issues, in talking with some of the people who advise him, he is very engaged on these issues.  He’s very knowledgeable, I think probably more so historically than most American presidents.  So I think, you know, he will have – when the time comes to make these decisions about the nuclear weapons guidance, he will have the tools to make what I would consider to be the right decisions and to unpack some of these issues.

And I would just add, with respect to, you know, your unilateral – can he do this unilaterally question, David, that, you know, these decisions are unilateral decisions, in the sense that these are presidential decisions about the purpose of nuclear weapons, the employment policy, the conditions under which we would.  They’re influenced, of course, by all these different factors, but these are his decisions.  And how the decisions are implemented in arms control strategy or how the force is structured are decisions, perhaps, for later.

And I would just add to one of the things that Mort said, which is that, you know, if the president decides that U.S. defense requirements do not – defense needs don’t require such a large force or such a large force on prompt launch status, he can decide in this classified process that we can go lower.  And that will set up a formal negotiation with Russia in later in 2012 or 2013.  Or the other thing he could do very easily, and I would propose, is that he invite the Russian leadership to reciprocally reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads within the New START framework, below the 1550 ceiling that New START establishes.  And that would be a way in which to accelerate the process.  We would still have the transparency and monitoring and verification benefits of New START.  And even as they do that, there could be a formal negotiation involving all types of nuclear weapons – deployed and nondeployed, strategic, nonstrategic.

The next negotiation with Russia, involving all those different types of nuclear weapons, is going to be much more time-consuming than New START.  The process for ratifying that treaty is going to be equally complicated.  And in my view, there’s no reason to wait another 5, 6 years to take another cut from what is, you know, by any reasonable definition, a Cold War-sized U.S. and Russian nuclear force.

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, Paul.  And then, we’ll go back around the horn.

Q:  Yeah.  Paul Walker with Global Green USA.  Thank you all for a very interesting discussion.  All of us – I’m sure for most of us in the audience, it’s kind of déjà vu, too, because we’ve being doing these angel – angel with devil counting on the head of a pin sort of calculations, you know, for several decades now.

But I wanted to ask you a question about the triad or the troika, Mort as you say, versus a dyad.  I mean, we all know that we’ve thought about going to a dyad for, at least, 20 years since the end of the Cold War.  And I know the Department of Defense, in their first Nuclear Posture Review, was challenged a bit back in the early 90s to do this and potentially recommend going to a dyad.  In the end, they didn’t.  And in the discussions, I think probably a lot of us had, we realized that it was the political pressures that were really brought to bear – the ICBM caucus, the sub and shipbuilding caucus, and the Air Force, you know, bomber caucus.  If we didn’t have those political pressures up on Capitol Hill and all the domestic constituencies for sort of nukes for jobs, you know, in bringing the bacon back home in the districts, would any of you think, at this point, it might be worthwhile to go to a dyad?  And if so – or even a single – a single nuclear force – and if so, which one would you choose to give up?

MS. WOOLF:  If they were not told to do so, the services would gladly give up some of their nuclear capabilities.  Over the years, the services have gladly given up their nuclear capabilities.  Nuclear weapons, for portions of the corporate Navy and the corporate Air Force, are a pain in the neck.  They take time, money, resources, training, crews, people.  They would probably gladly, at this point in time, reduce their roles.  Top of the list would – not my choice, but I think what the Air Force has already said would be to not have to exercise the bombers in a nuclear mission, but they are told otherwise by the Pentagon, by the Office of Secretary of Defense, by the civilians.  So if it were up to the Air Force, it is highly – it’s highly likely – it is possible that we would lose the bombers from the nuclear mission.  They’ve never considered them – the nuclear mission to be critical to their desire to have lots of bombers, and that would probably go.

Second, although I don’t think the Air Force would choose to get out of the ICBM business, if they were required to find the money to buy a new ICBM, they may buy too few of them to sustain a fleet.  So that might be the second to go, if the Air Force were put in the position of having to pay lots and lots of money and not having the money.  The ICBM fleet also cost them lots of human beings.  And they are under severe personnel restrictions right now.  The Navy – the submarine fleet is somewhat protected in the Navy.  It’s – they’ve taken nuclear weapons off the surface fleet and off the attack submarines.  The ballistic missile submarine fleet is somewhat protected by having its own protectorate strategic programs office.  So I think if we left it up to the services over the next 50 years and the budgets got really tight, we’d have all-SLBM fleet.  But I have no personal opinion on which way we should go.

MR. HALPERIN:  Yeah.  I have a different view of this.  First of all, my view is that you do not save any money by cutting out a weapons system, that the amount of money the Pentagon wants to spend is infinite.  And it is determined by the political process of what number they can get and not by adding up the weapons systems that they say you want.  So I think it is a false notion to say if we cut out the submarines or the bombers or the missiles, we save so much money.  What we do is make that same amount of money available to the Pentagon for other purposes, which, in my view, are much less valuable than these weapons.

I would not get rid of the triad even if you could get rid of this political pressure, which of course is you can’t, and therefore is, in my view, a sufficient reason to keep it, because it keeps – what happens is, as I’ve said, people fight going to lower numbers because they fear they’ll lose their leg of the triad, and there’s no way to get rid of that.  But also, my view is the most important thing is to get to lower numbers and to get off the requirement for prompt launch and the notion that we need to do prompt launch because otherwise we don’t have a survivable force.  And I think having the triad makes it easier to argue that we can go to lower numbers and that we can come off prompt alert and not worry about being able to do prompt alert.

So I would never get rid of the triad, myself.  I think it helps us get to lower numbers, which is, in my view, the important thing.  It helps us to get off the requirement for prompt launch.  Those are two important values.  And no matter what size the Pentagon budget is, I would still rather spend the money on the triad.  There are lots of different ways that the services would want to send their money.  I would trade the submarines for aircraft carriers in a minute.  I would trade the nuclear capability of a small number of bombers for this overall size of the bomber force in a second.  And the ICBM force, simply not expensive.  We can extend the life of it.  So my view is there’s not big money here.  And the triad makes it easier to argue to go to a smaller force less required to be on alert, and those are the important values.

MR. KIMBALL:  I would agree with Mort, that one can make the prudent, necessary changes to nuclear policy and reduce the number of forces, get rid of prompt launch, and have a triad.  The Arms Control Association produced a report in 2005 that outlined a force of 500 deployed strategic warheads on a triad.  So, I mean, that’s possible.  Getting rid of a leg of the triad is not necessary or even preferable in order to get to that point.

But I would say, Mort, that, you know, it – from a broader defense strategy standpoint, it does matter whether we spend $45 billion on pursuing a new bomber and a new fleet of nuclear arms submarines, because that’s $45 billion that might not be spent on destroyers that the Navy wants to build or flak jackets for the troops we want in the field.  I mean, there are some Hobbesian choices that the Pentagon is facing and, of course, Hobbesian choices that the federal government as a whole are facing about how to spend federal tax dollars.  So you know, $45 billion that’s not necessary to achieve the goal of maintaining a formidable deterrent is $45 billion that we ought to save over the next decade, in my view.

MR. KRISTENSEN:  I just want to remark, also, that I think it’s – rather than – I’m less interested in the issue of whether to continue a triad or not, than trying to reduce the requirements to the forces that are on the three legs.  And think hard about, how do you, in those three legs, reduce Cold War thinking.  And so I think that’s kind of where we are – we’re at now.  But I do think it’s interesting that we’ve seen, within the last year, two senior officials – one from the White House and one from the Pentagon – both say that if you reduce to certain levels, at some point, you will have to make a decision about a triad.  I don’t personally know whether that’s true or not, but I think it’s very interesting that they say it.

MR. KIMBALL:  All right.  I think we still have a lot of questions.  Why don’t we go over here, and then we’ll come to front.  And then, we’ll try to get folks in the peanut gallery.  Thank you.

Q:  Howard Morland.  I understand that deterrence requires the credible threat of actually detonating a nuclear weapon in enemy territory, and that for credibility, you would have to have some practical goal that would be accomplished by doing this.  So can anybody describe the situation in which the detonation of a U.S. nuclear weapon in foreign territory would improve that situation?  And what would the target set be?  Why would it have to be nuclear weapons to destroy the target set?  And how would the situation be improved after we detonated these weapons?

MR. KIMBALL:  It’s a philosophical question.  Mort, you’re best at those I think.

MR. HALPERIN:  Yeah, I actually believe we need to start having a debate about precisely this question, and that what we ought to say is that we deter a nuclear attack on the United States or its allies or those we offer our nuclear protection to by the – by the certainty of a prompt and decisive military attack on the country that launches the attack, and that we ought to get away from saying that at least initially that would certainly be a nuclear attack.

I mean, for example, if the North Koreans dropped a nuclear weapon on South Korea, it is hard to imagine a nuclear attack on North Korea that would in the interest of South Korea or the United States or anybody else, including the people of North Korea, who obviously will have had nothing to do with that decision.  And so the response to that, in my view, I think needs to be a prompt conventional attack, which removes the leadership of the country, which holds them accountable for it, and which destroys all of their nuclear capability – none of which you need nuclear weapons for, and none of which would nuclear weapons be particularly good at.

Now that’s a radical change in our thinking, because it says not only should we not respond to conventional attacks with nuclear weapons, but we shouldn’t necessarily respond to nuclear attacks with nuclear weapons.  But I think, given our overwhelming conventional forces, and given the countries that are likely to use nuclear weapons against us, that we need to start having that debate.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Let’s take three or four questions at once then we’ll try to answer them.  If could try to be brief because we’re running out of time.

Q:  Thank you, yes.  Francesco Fabian (sp), I’m a – (inaudible) – diplomat.  I am interested in knowing your thoughts about this withdrawal – the B-61 – I mean, the nonstrategic nuclear weapons that are in Europe – 200 more or less – that are, frankly, to my view, they seem to be absolutely obsolete in a way.  They do not guarantee any deterrence for European countries.  Deterrence is guaranteed more by their alliance with the United States and the old system of weapons, as Mr. Halperin was saying.

So what are you doing to – and it seems to me that everyone is convinced in America to withdraw those weapons, by the way.  There – and there’s no objection to that.  So what are you doing in order to get that moving?  Because it seems that it is – it’s happening very, very slow, and is expensive, makes no sense.  We – (inaudible) – modified to transport those weapons that are obsolete.  I mean, is a ridiculous situation, frankly.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Let’s take a couple more questions – then Bruce.

Q:  Tom Callan (sp) with Defense Group Incorporated.  Got a question or two on China, and with their heavy increase in their research and develop and military, and their open-source stated comments that the use of a high-level nuclear explosion for an EMP does not, in their opinion or definition, cross the nuclear threshold, why is China being summarily dismissed in virtually all the discussions this morning?

MR. KIMBALL:  And Bruce.

Q:  Bruce MacDonald, U.S. Institute of Peace.  I – there have been some defense commentators who have pointed out that the – Russia’s strategic nuclear forces have been declining – were declining regardless because of age and maintenance issues and that sort of thing.  My question is, what is the – do we know what the projection is for a continued decline in Russians’ nuclear forces, sort of regardless of negotiations, and what options or opportunities might that present?

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Those are good questions.  Hans, why don’t you take a whack at the Russia’s future forces and maybe China, and then we’ll come around.

MR. KRISTENSEN:  Well, Russia is in the middle of an overhaul, obviously, of its nuclear force structure – mostly important emphasized by the withdrawal within the next 10 years of all the old ICBMs, including SS-18 and SS-19.  So by the early ’20s we’re going to have a force on land that’s entirely of the new Topol-M and the RS-24.  There’s no way that Russia’s production as planned of ICBMs can offset that withdrawal – that reduction.  So we’re going to see the Russian ICBM force go significantly down, probably to around 200 I think, within that time frame.

They’re thinking about building a new heavy ICBM, liquid fuel, to replace the SS-18 on the other side of the mid-’20s – perhaps earlier, but we’ll see what they can do.  But that’s sort of what’s on the pipeline on that.  On the sub force, they’re basically replacing the old Delta III with a new Borei class and the Bulava ballistic missile, which eventually will also replace the Delta IV.  So they’re going toward some form of sub force that will probably dwindle to about eight or so in the long term.

On attack nukes, there’s a lot of focus on disparity.  Much of the Russian attack nuke force is very, very, very old.  And I think a significant portion of it will be withdrawn, not only because the systems are too old but also because some of the surface ships and even submarines that are currently equipped with nuclear will be converted to non-nuclear, more capable systems, for the kind of scenarios that they will do.  So I think we’ll see a significant reduction in that over the next decade or so.

Oh China – there was a question about China as well.  Why has it been omitted?  I didn’t intend to omit it, but it’s a factor in the U.S. planning, absolutely, and it has been increasingly so over the last decade and a half.  The U.S. is very focused right now, of course, on the general, overall, military modernization but also of what the impact will be of them modernizing of their longer-range forces.  But whatever they do, it is a significantly smaller force than we even have after the Russian nuclear forces will decline to where we can foresee them going in the foreseeable future.  So it’s just a very, very different factor to plan for.

On the B-61s in Europe, well, I’m for withdrawing them.  I don’t think that’s a secret.  But – and I think they’re – you know, the end of a posture that used to be there and serve a purpose but doesn’t anymore.  And now we just have a lot of officials and some departments of defense who can’t get over it and sort of decide where we move now.  And – but I understand it will take some time.  There are people who are concerned about the effect that it will have.  And so there’s a transition process, I guess.

But it comes back to another issue also – which was mentioned also, about the – where are we going in terms of reducing the triad or what have you.  And it is clear in the Nuclear Posture Review that at least, in the way I read it, that part of the thinking of what are bomber – long – the heavy bombers, the purpose they serve, partly, is also in the form of extended deterrence missions, if you will.  So there is some sort of a mission there that is related to the future of nuclear weapons in Europe as well, but I certainly do not think it requires deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe anymore.

MR. KIMBALL:  OK.  Mort, on China and Amy and –

MR. HALPERIN:  Let me just say one quick thing on Russia.  At the risk of Cold War thinking, I think it is important to try to prevent the Russians from building the new, large, liquid fuel, strategic missile which would have multiple warheads on it, and which would – is not a good weapons systems to have.  And that’s one of the reasons I think it’s urgent to try to get a proposal with the Russians, whether we do it by a treaty amendment or by unilateral steps, to go down below a thousand deployed warheads, because I think it would make it more likely that the Russians would not deploy the new missile.

On China I think it’s clear that whatever number of nuclear weapons you think we need to deter China, it’s a far smaller subset of what we need to deter Russia.  So the problem of China does not really come into this kind of discussion until we get to much lower numbers.  When we start getting to 500, then we need to bring the Chinese in, get them to be transparent, get them at least to agree not to increase beyond their numbers.

As far as Europe, it’s clear those weapons are militarily irrelevant.  We ought to say that publicly, and then be guided by our European allies as to what to do.  But I think – the U.S. has sort of said it publicly if you hunt, but if we say that publicly, clearly and loudly, the political situation in Europe will make it, I think, impossible for the Europeans not to say, well, then please take them out, which is clearly what we should do.

MS. WOOLF:  On the B-61s in Europe, although the United States over the years has had several rounds of reducing nuclear weapons in Europe unilaterally, this administration and every other administration has said that a decision on whether or not to keep those weapons there is an alliance decision, a NATO decision, not a U.S. decision.  And to say that everybody agrees that they should go home is not true in alliance circles.  There are some who would like to keep them, so the – keep them in Europe.

So the alliance decision and the strategic concept was that although NATO remains a nuclear alliance, it would further consider how many and what types of weapons to keep as a deterrent, and it’s in the middle of doing that right now in the Defense and Deterrence Posture Review.  The other thing the alliance said that it would look for opportunities for arms controls reductions with Russia, to bring down both the Russian numbers and the U.S. – NATO numbers of nonstrategic nuclear weapons.

Given the disparity in numbers, that’s hard to imagine how it would happen.  So NATO has kind of put itself into a box that would make it very hard to make a decision to take them out, but that decision could come.  It’s a NATO decision, though, not a U.S. decision, even though the U.S. has made that decision in the past.  This time around we’re waiting on NATO.

MR. KIMBALL:  Those are all very good answers.  I’ll just add that the Arms Control Association, the British-American Security Information Council, will be coming back to you with further information, ideas, analysis on the tactical nuclear weapons issue as that DDPR, as it’s called, decision point approaches just before the NATO summit in Chicago.

We are at the end of our time here.  I want to thank all of our speakers for some great presentations about a very important issue.  I want to thank the audience for your rapt attention.  And I want to encourage you to continue to check in to the Arms Control Association about these issues.  There will be a transcript of this session out on our website, armscontrol.org, in several days.

Thanks and have a good morning. (Applause.)

 

(END)

Description: 

The Pentagon's new strategic guidance released on Jan. 5 by President Obama and Defense Secretary Panetta said: "It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy."

Country Resources:

Subject Resources:

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty at 15: A Status Update

Sections:

Body: 

Sponsored by the Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung North America 

Monday, November 28, 2011
2:00 to 3:30

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Mass. Ave., NW
Choate Room


The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature in September 1996, and the United States was the first nation to sign. As a direct result of the CTBT and the end of nuclear explosive tests, the United States instituted the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program to maintain U.S. weapons, and the international community created the International Monitoring System to verify compliance with the treaty.

Fifteen years after the Treaty's conclusion, the Stewardship Program has matured into an effective enterprise to maintain U.S. nuclear weapons without explosive tests. The U.S. nuclear stockpile is annually certified as safe and reliable, and the National Nuclear Security Administration states that it knows more about nuclear weapons today than it did in the days of explosions under the Nevada desert.

Similarly, the International Monitoring System is now 85 percent complete, with almost 300 seismic and other detection facilities operating across the globe. This system is now up and running and was able to identify the North Korean nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 and track radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan earlier this year.

Speakers:
Linton F. Brooks served in the George W. Bush administration from 2002 to 2007 as administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, where he was responsible for the U.S. Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program. He is currently an advisor to the Department of Energy's national laboratories.

Marvin L. Adams is the HTRI Professor of nuclear engineering at Texas A&M University, where he directs the Institute for National Security Education and Research.  He chairs the Weapons Science Review Committee at Los Alamos National Laboratory, chairs the Predictive Science Panel at both Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, and serves as consultant and advisor in several areas related to the nuclear weapons stockpile.

Jenifer Mackby is a fellow in the International Security Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She served as a senior political affairs officer for the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, where she worked on the CTBT negotiations, and then worked on verification for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission in Vienna.

Daryl G. Kimball is executive director at the Arms Control Association and coordinator for the Project on the CTBT. He previously worked for the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers and Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Tom Z. Collina, ACA Research Director, will serve as moderator.

 


 

Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

SEBASTIAN GRÄFE:  Welcome, everyone here this afternoon to this joint event by the Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America.  My name is Sebastian Gräfe.  I’m with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, one of the German political foundations headquartered in Berlin, but we have an office here in Washington, D.C.

This event today – today’s event concludes a series of activities, joint activities by the Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Böll Foundation this year on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and I’m happy that we can welcome you here today to today’s discussion.

We want to take a look at two instruments, which are part of the framework of test ban regimes:  the Stockpile Steward Program on the national level and the International Monitoring System of the CTBT.

I want to thank Daryl and Tom and this whole team for having organized this event.  I think at times when the CFE is about to collapse, maybe to collapse at times when – just last Friday an attempt to undermine the cluster munition agreement could have prevented, at times when Russia threatens to withdraw from New START and also threatens or – actually threat to stop the negotiations about missile defense, I think there is a lot of food for our both organizations also in 2012.  And I’m really looking forward for that cooperation.

Last – I mean, before I hand over to Daryl, let me also point to a study we recently released.  Today’s discussion is – takes also place in a political environment of tight budgets.  And you might have heard that also Europe is in a similar situation as the U.S., and therefore we commissioned a study to three European think tanks, a consortium of three European think tanks, to take a look at how Europe can pool and share its defense capabilities.  It’s done by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and a Polish and a French think tank.  So go on our website, or the cooperating think tanks’ in Europe.

With that, I hand it over to Daryl.

DARYL KIMBALL:  And I’m going to turn it over to Tom Collina, our research director.

TOM COLLINA:  Sebastian, thank you very much.  Welcome, everyone.  I’m Tom Collina.  I’m the research director at the Arms Control Association.  Welcome back from what I hope was a very nice, restful Thanksgiving break.  We will not be serving turkey at this event, so you won’t have to worry about any more of that.

And again, many thanks to the Böll Foundation for helping support these events and our work this year on the test ban treaty.

We’re now about 15 years after the test ban treaty was opened for signature in 1996, and of course the United States was the first nation to sign that treaty.  And as a direct result of the end of U.S. nuclear testing in 1992 and the signature of the test ban treaty, two separate but related programs were established, one here in the U.S., the Stockpile Stewardship Program; and then internationally, the International Monitoring System.  And so we figured 15 years after that, it’s a good time to take a status check of where we are with these programs, and that’s what we’re here to do.

So as we’re here today, the Stockpile Stewardship Program has over the last 15 years matured into an effective enterprise to maintain U.S. nuclear weapons without testing.  And as you probably know, the stockpile is annually certified to be safe and reliable.  And the National Nuclear Security Administration states that we know more about nuclear weapons today than we did in the days of blowing them up under the Nevada desert.

Similarly, the International Monitoring System is now about 85 percent complete, has come a long way, with almost 300 seismic and other facilities operating across the globe.  And the system is really up and running, having been able to identify the North Korean tests in 2006 and 2009 and to track radiation from the Fukushima nuclear accident earlier this year.

So to more fully explore these issues and give you a deeper sense of the progress that’s been made on these two programs, we have four excellent speakers.  Four more excellent speakers I don’t think we could possibly assemble for such a panel.  I’m going to introduce them all in a row, and then I’ll let them make their presentations, and then we’ll do Q-and-A altogether after they’re done.

First up is Marvin Adams.  He is the HTRI professor of nuclear engineering at Texas A&M University, and he directs the Institute for National Security Education and Research.  Now, he also chairs the Weapons Science Review Committee at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Predictive Science Panel at both Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore; and serves as a consultant and adviser in several areas related to nuclear weapons.  And we’re very happy to have him here.

Second will be Linton Brooks, who from 2002 to 2007 was the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, where he was responsible for the entire U.S. Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program, and he’s currently an adviser to the Department of Energy national laboratories.

And then we’re going to shift to the verification side with Jenifer Mackby.  She is an adjunct fellow and consultant in the International Security Program of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  She has some viewgraphs that she’s going to show us.  She serves as a senior political affairs officer for the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, where she worked on CTBT negotiations, and then worked on verification for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission in Vienna.

And wrapping it up will be Daryl Kimball, who is the executive director of the Arms Control Association, and he also serves as coordinator for the Project on the CTBT.  And he previously worked for the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers and for Physicians for Social Responsibility.

And with that, thank you again for being here. Professor Adams, the floor is yours.

MARVIN ADAMS:  Thank you very much.  I’ll start with some preliminaries.  There is a write-up of some remarks and details behind the remarks that’s, I think, floating around somewhere, right?

STAFF:  It’s on the front table.

MR. ADAMS:  Out there on the front table – I’ll point out that that has my email address on it.  If anybody wants to follow up with questions or wants to get into a discussion, I’d be happy to entertain that.

More preliminaries:  I’m representing myself.  I’m talking about my own views, not representing any organization here.  In the document there is a list of the experiences that have informed my views, some of which were mentioned in the introduction.

I am assuming some things in my remarks.  One is that the U.S. will continue to require a safe, secure and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile for the foreseeable future.  Second is that we will continue to avoid nuclear explosion testing into the indefinite future.  Third is that requirements placed on our nuclear weapons may change with time; I’ll talk a little bit about that.  And finally, that both for our own stockpile and to be able to assess and counter threats, we will in this country require nuclear weapons expertise for the indefinite future.  All of this that I’m going to say applies with or without a CTBT.

If I were to summarize what the aim of Stockpile Stewardship is succinctly, it is to maintain a safe, secure and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile while at the same time, importantly, developing and maintaining the capability to meet all the challenges that we’re going to have in the future.  So that develop-and-maintain part is very important.

Summary point number one:  To date, stockpile stewardship has been quite successful in maintaining a safe, secure and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile without testing.  It’s been almost 20 years.  It’s been more than 19 years since we tested.  There’s a lot of evidence for that, and I can go into that in Q-and-A if anybody wants to.

Second, in spite of the outstanding success to date, a lot of people have raised concerns about the ability of Stockpile Stewardship to continue to be successful into the future.  These concerns have been raised both by officials within the chain of command, including secretaries, commander of STRATCOM and lab directors, and also by outside groups, and I share those concerns.

The difficulty of the issues that Stockpile Stewardship has to address is not going to get – it’s not going to lessen and will likely increase.  We’re going to need to deepen our scientific understanding to be able to address some of these things.  We’re going to need to continue to develop technologies to address some of these things.  And most importantly, we’re going to need to maintain expert personnel into the indefinite future, and that’s not necessarily an easy thing to do.

As I look to the challenges, I can break down the components of a successful Stockpile Stewardship Program into the following four:  Number one, we need an outstanding workforce.  Number two, we need a robust experimental program that helps to advance our scientific understanding.  Number three, a surveillance program that provides data of adequate quality and quantity to meet the needs of stockpile stewardship.  And finally, a production complex that simultaneously meets the needs of dismantlement programs and life extension programs.  And I’ll just remark that there are legitimate causes for concern in each of those components and in their quality, going into the future.

If the causes of concern are not addressed, then I may lose confidence in the ability of the Stewardship Program to meet the challenges ahead.  And I’ll give you one thing that I worry about a lot, and that is, suppose that the expertise of our people in the program erodes over time.  How will we know?  OK?  If the people in the program just become mediocre instead of outstanding, how will we know?  So that’s an interesting question – and again, if – in Q-and-A I can go into that in more detail if anybody’s interested.

OK, so those are summary remarks, and now I want to go into a little bit of detail about some of the challenges that Stockpile Stewardship faces.  And I’ll start with talking about changes.  You hear a lot of talk about the weapons changing, and often you’ll hear talk about the fact that the weapons are aging.  You’ll also hear that we are tinkering with them, and I want to separate some things out.

There are really four distinct kinds of changes that we have to worry about, and they are different in the way you address them.  Each of them is different.  So let’s talk about aging first.

And of course the weapons are aging.  There are chemical and nuclear reactions going on in them all the time, things like corrosion and gas buildup from alpha decay.  These are gradual changes and they do happen over time.  They’re long-term kinds of things.  It can be difficult to assess the impact of age-induced changes to weapons, but that’s part of the job of Stockpile Stewardship.

Second is what I’ll call manufacturing error.  So this is a change between the specifications for the way the thing was supposed to be built and the way it was actually built.  Occasionally during surveillance we’ll find such things.  Those are rare.

Changes in understanding:  As Stockpile Stewardship has progressed, our understanding of the way these weapons work has deepened.  It has gotten better, and now we look back and assess some of the weapons that we put into the stockpile many years ago and we have assessed now that some of them don’t work the way we thought they did, or thought they would, at least under certain circumstances.

And sometimes a change in understanding like that will cause us to reevaluate the way something is deployed, and we may have to change military requirements and that sort of thing to maintain certification of a weapon.  That has happened in the past.  Again, that’s rare.  It’s rare that a change in understanding about some aspect of weapon science and analysis will actually make a significant change in the way we think something would perform.

And then finally there are deliberate physical changes that we make to the weapons, and those also are rare.  For a given weapon system, that sort of thing happens once every several decades.  That’s where the life extension programs or significant alterations come into play.  Those usually are to address something like aging.  When age-related changes get to the point where we assess that they’re impacting reliability, then we go in and make these life-extension changes.  So those are deliberate physical changes.  Again, those happen on decadal-type time scales for a given weapon system.

So one challenge of Stockpile Stewardship is to manage and deal with those kinds of changes.  There are other kinds of challenges as well.  I’ve already mentioned a time or two the expert personnel that are needed.  I want to make a strong point that yes, our understanding has gotten better; yes, our computational capability is amazing.  It’s really quite remarkable what the computers and computer codes can do these days.

Nevertheless, it still requires a deep nuclear weapons expertise to put the pieces together and make an assessment of any weapon.  For any particular question that is posed to the Stockpile Stewardship Program, deep nuclear weapons expertise will be required for the foreseeable future.  We’re not going to have any magic predictive capability.  Predictive capability’s increasing, but we won’t achieve some magic thing so that you can show a blueprint to a computer and it will give you the right answer.  That’s not going to happen.  We’re going to need these experts.

You don’t learn nuclear weapons expertise in graduate school.  You learn it on the job from other nuclear weapons experts.  There’s a chain of custody of knowledge, and if that chain is broken, it’s very difficult to get it back.  And that worries me a bit.

Changing requirements:  That’s another challenge for Stockpile Stewardship.  You might think, well, why don’t we just keep building them according to their original – rebuilding them according to their original specifications.  Well, there are a few reasons for that, but one is that requirements may change, and we may be seeing that now.

There’s a desire that you’ve probably heard about for increased safety and security of nuclear weapons and in some cases a desire to put features into the weapon that enhance safety and security.  Another possible change in requirement is that as our delivery systems have evolved and gotten more accurate, we – there may be a requirement to reduce the yield on some weapons as we go to life-extension programs.  So those are examples of changing requirements.

The final point I’d like to make is that – I’ve mentioned a time or two that one of the challenges of the stewardship program is to assess how a weapon will perform, a given weapon under a given circumstances.  For example, say, an aged weapon in a – in what is known as a hostile environment, in which another nuclear weapon has gone off nearby.  So that’s the kind of question that the Stockpile Stewardship Program has to answer.  How is that done?

Assessments are always founded on the following:  number one, scientific understanding; number two, linkage to our past test history – absolutely important; and number three, results from ongoing experiments that inform us on the way certain things evolve under certain circumstances.

So to put those three pillars together and assimilate what comes out of those three pillars into an answer to a specific question requires this deep nuclear weapons expertise that I was talking about.

So that’s my opening remarks, and we can move on from there.

LINTON BROOKS:  I’m going to cover the same broad area that Marv did but from the perspective of a policy official, or a government official.

Now, on a CTBT panel, Marv and I have an advantage over our colleagues.  Because everything we say is completely the same, whether you’re for or against the CTBT.  And that is because as a practical matter, it is almost certain that the United States will not test again.  The political bar against testing is extremely high.  I have been in and out of government for a long time.  And in recent years I never met anybody who advocated that we seek authorization to return to testing.

Some of it was because of the success of Stockpile Stewardship, which makes it unnecessary; and much of it was because of a belief that it was just not a good use of our time, because there was very little chance.  The Congress of the United States, for example, in the early ‘90s, passed an amendment called Hatfield-Exon-Mitchell which precipitated the decision of the administration to impose what has turned out to be a permanent moratorium on nuclear testing.  The Congress, in the time that I was the NSA administrator, consistently declined to fund a very small line to maintain readiness in case we had to test in the future.  So we just aren’t going to test.

And therefore the question is not, should you support Stockpile Stewardship because you like the CTBT.  The question is, should you support Stockpile Stewardship because think that it’s important that nuclear weapons remain safe, secure, reliable and effective.

If you look at the Cold War, the way we did testing – and I apologize.  There are many of you in the room who understand this very well, but it’s important to start from the fundamentals occasionally.  Do not think of nuclear testing during the Cold War as somehow validating deployed systems.  This was not like you pull every 18th device off an assembly line and test it to make sure it works.

We did do some stockpile competence tests, but they were never large enough to be statistically significant, and they provided at the absolute most a psychological confidence for the nonexpert.

What nuclear weapons testing during the Cold War did was it gathered data.  It was a tool of scientific exploration, and the question therefore for the Stockpile Stewardship is, can we replace that tool with another.

In the Cold War, we had what I think it is fair to call an empirical science.  We ultimately devised computer codes, but they had what were inelegantly called knobs, which is to say constants inserted to make the answer come out comparable to observation, for reasons we didn’t always fully understand.

So what Stockpile Stewardship has done is it’s taken a series of tools, first some very high-tech, expensive, investigative tools like the National Ignition Facility, like the Dual-Axis Hydrographic and Radio – DAHRT – (laughter) – that takes a picture of an imploding weapon from two axes so you can study implosions.  And we’ve coupled those tools with a deep look at the test base, as Marv said, and with, as Marv also said, phenomenal improvements in computational capability.  And so we are much closer to understanding nuclear weapons functioning from first principles.

At the same time, what we did was we established a more formalized process for looking at the stockpile.  That process is called the Annual Assessment Process, and it works like this:  The three weapons labs directors – Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia – Los Alamos and Livermore are each responsible for a certain number of weapons, certain number of weapon systems.  Sandia, which is the engineering lab, is responsible for both.

The directors of those labs provide a very detailed, classified, science-based assessment of how well their weapons are functioning and what problems exist.  They subject that to internal peer review, and then there are a variety of mechanisms for external peer review.  For example, there is a panel that works for the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command that reviews and provides independent advice to the commander of the Strategic Command.

These reports are then reviewed by the Department of Defense and Energy through the mechanism of the Nuclear Weapons Council, ultimately sent to the president by the two secretaries, and importantly, sent to the Congress by law without any change so that whatever the lab director writes, I, as an NSA administrator, can’t change.  And what that does is it gives the Congress the confidence that they are getting a true, intellectually valid report of the health of the stockpile each year.

Now, that process is important because those reports have consistently said that the stockpile is safe, secure and reliable and that there’s no need – they are explicitly charged with saying, is there a need to return to underground nuclear testing.  And each of those reports from each of those three lab directors in each of the last however many years it’s been since we formalized this process – 18, I think – has made that statement.

We talk to the laboratory leadership here privately.  They don’t call for a return to nuclear testing.  They don’t wring their hands about, when are you going to be able to find a way – (inaudible).  And a single personal anecdote:  We had a major stockpile confidence conference at Omaha in the early part of the first term of the Bush administration.  And the press characterized this as, were we going to return to nuclear testing.  And they kept calling me and asking me to – what the results were.  We spent, I’m pretty sure, four minutes on that subject, in a day-long conference, because you only have a discussion if there are two sides.  And for the nuclear weapons community, there aren’t two sides.  They are comfortable, generally.

Now, if you say will we go back to the days of 12 tests a year for the rest of the century, I think there’d be some people who’d say, boy, that would let you do some very interesting exploration.  But that’s not what’s on.  What’s on, at the very most, even from enthusiasts for testing outside the government, is two or three tests.  And nobody is prepared to divert the funds from Stockpile Stewardship into the two or three tests.

So what that suggests to me is that the fear that a lot of us had – full disclosure, including me – in 1992 when it looked like this moratorium was going to be indefinite, haven’t come to pass.  Now, is past prologue?  Can we continue to depend on this to obviate the need for testing?

Marv listed a series of things.  I would add one more, and that is surveillance.  Surveillance is a process by which we examine in detail different aspects of nuclear weapons, including through complete disassembly of a certain number.

And surveillance is designed to give us a very high probability that if there is a problem, we will have a broad enough sample that we will know about it.  Surveillance costs money and it has, from time to time, been underfunded.  So one thing, if you want to continue this, you have to make sure that things like surveillance are funded.

The second thing you have to do is what Marv suggested, and that is people.  In the military we used to have a saying that if you wanted a good battalion commander or a good destroyer commanding officer, step one was to start 15 years ago.  And if you want a good, broad scientist with judgment to make technical, competent evaluations of nuclear weapons, you don’t just go take some random even very smart person from a university; you take someone who has a lot of time and experience.

That means it’s important that the labs continue to attract the very best people.  There are a large number of dimensions to that, and all I want to do is stress the absolute importance of pulling in the best people, because great weapons science grows out of great science, and great understanding of nuclear weapons grows out of great weapons science.

Now, suppose I’m wrong.  Suppose Marv’s wrong.  Suppose there are insurmountable problems.  There are people who will tell you there will be.  I’ll give you three names: Paul Robinson, former director of Sandia National Lab; Steve Younger, who is now running the National Security Site, used to run the Defense Threat Reduction Agency; and I won’t give you the third name, but a former head of the Strategic Command Stockpile Assessment Group.  They all think sooner or later we’re going to have to test.

Well, what do people like that have in mind?  What are the scenarios that might cause the conclusions that Marv and I have suggested to change?  I think there are three.  One is that the United States decides that it is going to need to develop a fundamentally new type of weapon.  Second is the United States decides that it’s going to need to improve safety and security, as Marv suggested, including changes within the weapons, even if the only way to do it is through testing.  And third is the fear that we’re going to find a problem with a weapon and the only way to verify the problem or certify that we fixed it is through testing.

Now, let’s just talk about that.  Let’s start with new weaponry.  First of all, a new weapon is against the announced policy of this administration and the practical policy of the last administration and the consistent view of the Congress, which has to fund it.  Further, I have been in and out of discussions at both unclassified and classified levels, and over the last 25 years – last 20 years, I’m sorry – I cannot recall anything in which anybody suggested a new weapon that might actually be useful to the United States.

The one exception is an earth penetrator.  An earth penetrator – for which I will show you my scars for a small fee – whatever else its merits, does not require nuclear testing.  So it’s not just that it’s against our current policy; it’s that it is solving a problem that we don’t appear to have.

What about intrinsic safety and security?  There are things we probably know how to do that would fundamentally change a weapon, and you would have to decide, do you understand that weapon well enough to make those changes without testing?  The answer is probably yes for the ones that are likely to happen, but you would have to decide.

But the real question is, can you conceive of a security problem – these weapons are extraordinarily safe, even in abnormal environments – can you think of a safety or security problem that is so great that if the only way you could fix it was to involve nuclear testing?  And I have challenged technical experts who oppose the CTBT to give me an example of what it is that they are preserving, and they can’t.  It doesn’t mean there isn’t one; I’m just saying they can’t.

Third, there is a group of people, including me when I was in government – full disclosure – who say we need to preserve the ability to test in case we have to diagnose a problem or certify a fix.  It is extremely difficult to come up with such a problem.  I mean, think through a problem and say, if I had this kind of problem, the only thing I could do is test – but probably not a bad idea that we maintain the Nevada National Security Site capable of resuming a test if we ever needed to.

But it’s important to remember this is one of the reasons why we have multiple weapons systems.  We have two warheads for our ICBMs.  If there’s a serious question about one of them, the issue is not, gee, should we go do a test series?  The issue is, let’s put more of the other one on the ICBMs.  We’ve got two bombs so we’ve got the same sort of situation.  Only the W-76 warhead for the Trident II missile has no numerical backup.  So now it’s not just that you have to have an unusual and difficult-to-conceive problem, but you have to have it for a very specific weapons system.

So what this suggests to me is that there is no plausible situation in which current stockpile stewardship and the deep scientific understanding that Marv emphasized will not be enough to insure the safety, security and reliability of our nuclear weapons for the indefinite future.  Thank you.

MR. KIMBALL:  Jenifer?

MS. MACKBY:  Well, thank you very much.  I’m going to get you to look at something other than me.  But thank you to the Arms Control Association and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung  for having me. It’s an honor to be on a panel with such eminent personalities.

I’ll briefly go through the basics of a verification regime of the CTBT and then point out some of the developments since the treaty was signed in 1996.  This will based in part on the book that I have just coauthored with past and present chairmen of the CTBT verification work.  They direct the work of the state’s parties – states members in Vienna.  And I worked with them in Geneva on the negotiations as well as in Vienna.

This is the room where the treaty was negotiated from ’94 to ’96 in Geneva.  I should mention, some copies of this book are available if anybody wants.  I’ll start by noting how much more far-reaching the verification provisions of the CTBT are than those of other treaties such as the PTBT, Biological Weapons Convention, SORT or Moscow Treaty, the five nuclear-weapon-free zones, and the NPT.  The treaty was negotiated in the CD, as I just showed you, and that’s where the League of Nations has also met.

The verification provisions include three basic components: the International Monitoring System, the International Data Center and onsite inspections.

The International Monitoring System is comprised of 321 stations and 16 laboratories.  There are 170 seismic stations to cover the underground; 80 radionuclide stations to cover radioactive particles and gases from atmospheric explosions, or vented by underground or underwater explosions.

And 40 of these will detect noble gases, 16 laboratories to detect particles from the radionuclide stations, and 11 hydroacoustic stations to detect explosions in the oceans.  There’s also a network of 60 infrasound, which detect explosions in the atmosphere by low frequency.

I think a number of the people in this room know all of this already, but I’ll go through it briefly just for those who don’t.

So here you see a map of the 337 stations and labs.  They’re located in 89 countries and meant to cover the globe evenly.  More than 85 percent of them have been installed, as Daryl and Tom noted.  The global networks of radionuclide infrasound and hydroacoustic stations are unique, and few such stations exist outside of the IMS.

The seismological component provides detection capabilities beyond what was foreseen by the negotiators.  The array stations in particular are among the world’s most capable, and they hardly exist outside of the IMS.

So the International Monitoring System was designed to provide a good and equal coverage for all states parties.  It is an important tool for all countries, including those that have extensive monitoring assets, because these stations provide data from areas of the world where it is difficult for them to obtain it.

The stations send their data via satellite and other means of communication in real time to an international data center in Vienna.  It’s located in the same building as the IAEA.  And the data from the individual stations is authenticated to ensure that they are not manipulated.  The IDC processes and analyzes the data to produce bulletins that contain information about the origin time, location and strength of detected events.  The bulletins are sent to the member states for their evaluation and judgment.

And here I should emphasize an important point that many people don’t realize:  The task of verifying compliance with the CTBT rests with the states parties to the treaty, not with the technical secretariat.  So, contrary to the IAEA, under the CTBT the technical secretariat is not permitted to make a judgment about possible noncompliance.  This is a key difference.

The key verification issue is monitoring and identification of underground explosions.  And here we focus on seismological and xenon observations as well as the synergy between the two.  This is because there is a high monitoring capability in the atmosphere and in the oceans, so the possibility of a clandestine test occurring there is unlikely.

The hydroacoustic monitoring is so efficient that the oceans can be monitored with only 11 stations of the IMS.  So, as an example, hydroacoustic signals from 20 kilograms of TNT off the coast of Japan sent signals that were detected by the IMS hydrophone sensors off of Chile, which is 16,000 kilometers away.  And just to show you what it looks like briefly, here is a picture of a hydroacoustic station.

Radionuclides are harder to decipher as much depends on meteorological conditions – so that’s wind – as well as the containment of an explosion.  The CTBTO uses information from the World Meteorological Organization to backtrack or forward-model in order to decipher where the wind patterns might carry radioactive material.  This can be useful, for example, in the case of the North Korean test of 2006 when xenon was discovered at the Chalk River facility in Canada.

So here is a photo of a radionuclide station that went to Argentina.  And here is a photo of some of the stations that detected the North Korean test in 2009.

Onsite inspections are an essential part of the verification regime in both political and technical aspects.  The CTBT contains the most far-reaching inspection regime of any international arms control treaty.  This is still being developed in the CTBT prep com, and it’s taking longer than expected, for various reasons we can go into in the Q&A session.

A state can request an OSI based on IMS information or from national technical means.  Again, it is important to note that the technical secretariat may not call for an OSI.  Only states may do so.  So a request for an OSI must be approved by 30 out of 50 members of the executive council.  This means that it’s important that countries send experts with sufficient technological expertise to the executive council in order to be able to assess the information presented so that consideration of an OSI will not become purely political.

Opponents of the treaty believe that it will not be possible to gain enough votes to conduct an OSI, but this remains to be seen as the five nuclear weapons states are virtually assured of seats on the council, and of course they have allies.

Inspectors may use a wide range of technologies, from visual observation to geophysical means to drilling over an area of up to a thousand square kilometers.  And so far a number of OSI field tests and workshops have been carried out by the Provisional Technical Secretariat, in particular one in Kazakhstan in 2008, and another one will be taking place in 2013.

This involves sending, you know, tons of equipment and inspection teams and everything from portable toilets to tents to equipment of all kinds to the site.  It’s a major operational procedure.  And there have been a lot of lessons that were learned from the experiment in 2008.

So what are the significant developments?  The International Monitoring System has gone basically from 0 to 85 percent complete.  There is an improved capability in readiness.  As an example, 22 seismic stations registered the DPRK nuclear explosion in 2006, where 61 stations detected the explosion there three years later.  The stations are operating better than expected by the designers of the system, and particularly in synergy with each other.  There is increased preparation to conduct an OSI.

Dramatic developments have taken place in science and technology in the verification field.  For example, satellite monitoring was not included in the treaty because it was considered too expensive at the time of the negotiations.  Since then there’s been an enormous development in overhead satellite observations with several observations per day of a particular location.

Optical satellite photos can provide resolution as high as 1 meter and radar which can see through clouds and all weather down to 10 meters.  Synthetic aperture radar satellites, or InSAR, can detect small changes in the ground level that could occur as a result of tests.  Some report that it can locate events within a hundred meters.

Satellite monitoring provides information on the logistics of the explosion and can observe preparations for nuclear testing.  This can be seen with satellite photos readily available at low costs, contrary to 1996 when the treaty was negotiated.  And these can be presented to the executive council for an OSI request, among other things.

In addition, the U.S. – and possibly other countries – has national satellite-based systems to monitor atmospheric explosions.  The U.S. systems include instruments to detect features such as optical flash, electromagnetic pulse, initial nuclear radiation, and distinguish between lightning and nuclear explosions, et cetera.

The U.S. has – and other countries are likely to have – aircraft that collect radioactive debris and gasses in the air.  The planes can fly into the plume and observe the highest concentrations available with the least amount of decay.  When one analyzes detection and deterrence from a state perspective, it is clear that states can build on what the IMS provides and go further.  And I should stress this for a bit.

You must understand that the CTBTO is limited to the use of IMS data only, whereas states can use things outside of that.  A country is likely to be interested only in specific areas of concern and not the whole globe, as the CTBTO is obliged to focus on.  So a state can use additional available information and analyze it the way it sees fit, and a state can make political priorities and focus efforts on specific areas of concern, which the CTBTO cannot do.

There are now different kinds of additional information that states can use.  There’s data from an additional 16,000 seismological stations that are outside of the IMS, and for mobile radio nuclide monitors.

In most parts of the world there are many seismological stations operating from which a country can select a specific set optimal for the monitoring task at hand.  Many are likely to be at a site close to the area of interest.  The many non-IMS seismological stations, taken together, can provide detection and location capabilities significantly beyond those of the IMS in many parts of the world.  As noted, the possibility to use satellite observations to monitor the CTBT has increased significantly since the treaty was negotiated.  States can use whatever additional national technical means they may possess if they decide to request an OSI as well.

Further, while the CTBTO International Data Center is constrained in the way it analyzes data, countries are not.  They can make use of the data in any way they feel like and focus it on the areas they select.  They can fully utilize the new developments in data analysis and data mining and draw on, for example, IMS auxiliary and non-IMS data for event detection and tune them to give the best possible capability for events in selected areas.  Thus, a state can choose an area of concern and choose the stations both from within the IMS and outside the IMS to use for an event and apply the data analysis methods it wants.

Using all of these advanced technological developments together can provide what we call in the book “precision monitoring.”  Such precision monitoring would greatly improve the capabilities to detect, locate and interpret events.  It is likely that the seismological detection capability can be improved by an order of magnitude, depending on available stations and on efforts made.

Further, precise location of event of concern is of critical importance for a successful OSI, and precision monitoring would reduce the present uncertainty using carefully located reference events in the area.  Under the treaty, states may present such information as mentioned, including the national technical means, in such a request.

Using primary seismological data from 80 percent of the stations, the detection capability is significantly better than 1 kiloton globally and is below .1 kiloton in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere.  These numbers refer to explosions conducted in hard rock.  With precision monitoring, this number could be improved substantially.

An evader who would like to test clandestinely is not likely to test if the probability of detection is so high.  Thus, the system provides deterrence down to a very low magnitude.  So, I mean, we’ve gone into quite a bit of more technical detail in the book, and I’m sure you can find it elsewhere as well, on how low the system can go in terms of detection.

To conduct precision monitoring would require considerable resources that many individual states might not be able or willing to commit, so we suggest in the book that regional cooperation among states would be possible.  Those who have the same political priorities might share the burden and they could cooperate within different frames, such as the EU or the nuclear-weapon-free zones on a regional basis.

Countries having similar political priorities regarding CTBT might create joint verification centers.  And this is because most states don’t have the means or the ability to do this on their own.  To engage states globally in the technical monitoring is one way to increase the understanding of technical material presented to the executive council in connection with a request for an OSI.  So, as noted, this is important to keep an eventual vote in the executive council tied to technical evidence rather than becoming a purely political procedure.

As of November 2011, 182 countries have signed and 155 have ratified the treaty.  Nevertheless, in order to enter into force, the treaty requires 44 specified countries that negotiated the treaty and possess nuclear power or research reactors at the time of the negotiations in 1996.  The withholders that still need to ratify for the treaty to enter into force are shown in this slide.

And I think that this is a good place for me to end because I think Daryl will take it from this moment.

MR. KIMBALL:  Thank you, Jenifer.  And thank you, everyone, for your presentations.

My task on this panel is to address the challenging question of the future prospects for the test ban treaty, and I’d like to begin with just remarking on some observations about where we are today 15 years after the test ban treaty negotiations were concluded, and actually to go back a bit further and to note that, you know, this fall marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the end of U.S. and Soviet nuclear testing, with the Soviet nuclear test moratorium that was announced on October 5th and the legislation introduced by a bipartisan group of members of Congress in the fall of 1991 that eventually led to the nine-month moratorium that was extended by Bill Clinton that began the test ban treaty negotiations in 1993.

That was the beginning of the end of the U.S. nuclear testing era.  And now the question is whether we can close the door permanently on nuclear testing by other countries, and that requires, once again, U.S. leadership on moving forward with ratification of the treaty itself and encouraging the other holdout states to sign and to ratify the treaty.

As we’ve heard already this afternoon, a lot has changed in the 15 years since the treaty was negotiated and in the 10 years since the Senate last looked at this issue in a very serious way.  One thing that hasn’t changed is that – and these are the words of former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili from his 2001 report on the test ban treaty – that, “It would be unforgivable to neglect any reasonable action that can help prevent nuclear proliferation as the test ban treaty would.”

So, in other words, the testing era of the United States is over but the challenge of preventing others from using nuclear test explosions to improve their arsenals still remains.  For these reasons I think many of us here on this podium see this as one of the central reasons why the United States owes it to itself – the Senate owes it to the nation, the president owes it to the nation to revisit and reconsider and ratify the test ban treaty.

And you know, as we heard this morning, another look at the treaty is going to show that more is known today than ever before about the nuclear weapons arsenal.  There will continue to be challenges, as Professor Adams said, in maintaining an effective stockpile, but overcoming those challenges does not depend on a regular program of nuclear test explosions.  It depends upon executing the stockpile stewardship program in the most effective and efficient way possible.

National and international test ban monitoring capabilities have greatly improved.  And if you take what Jenifer just said, altogether, I mean, it is really remarkable what has been accomplished over the last 15 years in terms of setting up the international monitoring system.  It’s quite impressive.

And what does that mean?  It means that the combined capabilities of the national and technical systems and the civilian seismic networks mean that no potential CTB violator can be confident that a nuclear test explosion, or especially a series of explosions, of any military utility would escape detection.

So, another thing I think is worth observing – and Linton Brooks mentioned this at the very beginning, and I think he’s right – the United States is simply not every likely going to conduct a nuclear test explosion, and we need to think about, going forward, how the United States makes it more difficult for other countries that could benefit from nuclear test explosions to do so.  How do we better detect and deter them from doing that?

So that’s going to require that the United States – as it did 20 years ago with the nuclear test moratorium, as it did with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty negotiations, the United States is going to have to take the lead.  What are the prospects going forward and what needs to be done to secure Senate ratification of – Senate approval of ratification of the CTB?

President Obama started off very well in April 2009 when he pledged to “immediately and aggressively” pursue efforts to win Senate support for the treaty.  You recall that shortly thereafter, in May 2009, Vice President Biden was tapped to play a lead role in that effort, and the Obama administration put into motion technical studies by the National Academies of Science and the intelligence community to help build the technical case for the treaty to update the information that was originally transmitted to the Senate in the fall of 1997 by President Clinton on the subject.

Shortly thereafter, in September 2009, the United States returns to the meeting of CTB states parties that takes place every two years, the Article XIV conference, on facilitating and training the force.  And the United States has restored its full financial support for the completion of the international monitoring system, for the preparation of the on-site inspection system.

However, through 2010, the administration's focus was on the negotiation and ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, and quite understandably.  The administration was also – and the team that deals with nuclear policy was occupied with the completion of the nuclear posture review, the nuclear security summit, the NPT review conference in May of 2010, and the weekly, daily, challenges of dealing with the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

So for understandable but unfortunate reasons, the administration's CTB effort since the president's April 2009 call to action has not been immediate or aggressive.  The administration has not launched what could be called a systematic, high-level political effort, the one that will be necessary to eventually win the support of key senators for the test ban treaty.

Thankfully, in March, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon once again reiterated the president's commitment to securing CTB approval.  And two months later, in May, Undersecretary of State Ellen Tauscher, from this particular podium, said that the administration will take the time necessary to brief senators on the key technical and scientific issues that gave some senators reason for pause during the debate on the treaty in 1999 through a quiet process of briefings in the coming months.

And I think she had it right then in that speech, and the administration has begun to quietly engage with the Senate.

But obviously with the presidential election less than a year away and given that a successful treaty approval process requires months of hearings, thousands of questions and answers to those questions, the time necessary for a serious debate and a vote on the treaty is not available befor November 2012.  And so it's clear that the next opportunity for the Senate to look at the CTBT will be in 2013 or after.

That's the obvious part.  The question is what can be done and should be done in order to set up the right climate, the right understanding among senators and staff about the issues surrounding the test ban treaty, some of which we've been talking about here today.

I think it is important for the administration to use the time in the next 12 months or so to step up its CTB outreach work and to pursue a fact-based, quiet discussion with Senate offices and staff about the issues that are at the center of the CTB discussion.

We have to remember that, since 1999, 59 senators have left the Senate, so only 41 senators who were there in 1999 and voted on the treaty still remain.  The Senate has not looked at this.  Staff have not seriously looked at this, though there was some discussion about the stockpile stewardship issues and the requirements for the program in the context of the New START debate.

So what kinds of things can be done?  Just as it did with New START, I think the administration needs to consider appointing a senior high-level White House coordinator to ensure that the CTBT does not get lost in the shuffle of the many nuclear nonproliferation issues that they have to deal with on a regular basis.  This has been a recommendation that many of us in the nongovernmental community have been making since the beginning of the Obama administration.

Why is that necessary?  Because key committees and senators will need to be briefed in detail on the results of the new National Academies of Science report.  It will – there will need to be briefings on the results of the National Intelligence Estimate on test ban monitoring and verification that was completed back in August of 2010.  And one of the other things that will need to be done, I should mention, is that that National Academies of Science report, which is still in declassification review, needs to get out of declassification review if the Senate is going to utilize it to help improve its understanding of the technical issues relating to the treaty.

And there's others here on the panel who are more familiar with that situation than I am.

The Obama administration also needs to regularly and systematically continue to address known questions that have been raised about the treaty that, if left unaddressed, could lead to misconceptions and misinformation taking hold.

For instance, some critics have erroneously claimed, in my view, that the CTBT does not define what a nuclear test explosion is, though it's a legitimate question to ask.  And some charge that states such as Russia believe that low-yield nuclear test explosions are permitted.

The negotiating record in the view of those who have looked at it is quite clear.  And Article I of the treaty clearly bans any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.  But this issue does need to be addressed, and senators and their staff who have questions about this need good information about this from the administration.

The administration has put together a fact sheet on this issue, which is very helpful that recounts some of the public statements about this particular question.  But fact sheets alone, I don't think, are going to do the job.  And I think a much more proactive effort is required.

Now, no matter who is in the White House after January 2013, it is clear that building sufficient support for reconsideration and ratification is going to require a full-tilt campaign that involves a growing number of Republicans and Democrats in the national security community who believe the U.S. should reconsider the CTBT for many of the reasons that we've discussed here today.

Now, is this even possible in the current climate?  I think we do have to be careful – and Linton will remind me of this – that we draw too many conclusions from the New START debate and try to extrapolate those for what might happen on the CTBT.  But I think one thing that's clear about the New START debate in 2010 is that even a controversial nuclear arms control agreement can be approved in a tough political climate if the executive branch exerts sufficient energy, time; and pays high-level attention on a consistent basis and when key senators, particularly Republicans, take the time to ask good questions and seriously consider the issues.

The New START process, to some, seemed like a very difficult ratification process.  If you look at the history of treaty debates, it was rather par for the course in many ways.  I mean, this is how treaty debates and discussions need to take place.  It takes time.

In addition, what New START tells us is that, when the national security establishment weighs in – and on New START, it did weigh in almost universally in favor of the treaty – Republicans and Democrats can overcome their political differences and come together and decide to ratify a treaty.

Until the process – a process like that on the CTBT is completed, it would, of course, be imprudent and, I think, irresponsible for senators, their staff, candidates to rush to judgment about the CTBT.  We're in a very precarious time over the next year ahead of the election.  It's important that everyone, no matter where they stand on this, no matter what their questions are, take the time necessary to review the facts and the latest information on the subject.

And I think it's also important to consider a few other things about the test ban treaty 15 years after it was concluded, the negotiations were concluded.  It's important to remember that the United States currently bears all the responsibilities of a CTBT signatory state, but because we haven't ratified, we do not enjoy the considerable benefits of the legally binding global ban.

It's also important to recognize that rejection of the CTBT or further indecision about the CTBT does not make it any easier to maintain the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  As Linton said, the challenges facing the stockpile stewardship program will exist regardless of whether the Senate rejects or supports or doesn't act on a comprehensive test ban treaty.

And the other thing that's clear is that, by ignoring the CTBT, it is harder – we can debate about how much harder – to detect, deter and respond to nuclear testing by other states.  And it's also clear that 19 years after the last U.S. nuclear test, our friends and foes have little doubt the United States arsenal is effective and reliable.  And it's also clear that all of our allies strongly support U.S. ratification of the CTBT.

So these are other things I would offer for consideration regarding the status of the treaty, the prospects in the future and issues that decision-makers in the Senate have to consider as the next opportunity to seriously debate the treaty approaches.

With that, I will stop.  And I think we've got plenty of time for some questions and discussion.  Thank you.

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you all very much.  We're right on schedule.  And we now have about 20 or 25 minutes to take your questions.  Please raise your hand, wait for the mic to come around and tell us who you are, and of course please ask questions rather than make statements.

Yes, sir?  The mic is coming around.

Q:  Yeah, thank you.  Todd Jacobson with Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor.

I'm curious, the current debate over modernization funding, obviously that's a big part of this that wasn't really touched on.  What impact do you think that has on the prospects for CTBT ratification, specifically the bargain that was made during New START, whether you know, enough is being done to push for the modernization funding by the administration to kind of convince senators, specifically Republicans, that that funding will, I guess, exist out into the future for stockpile stewardship, you know, when it's needed for CTBT as well?

And I guess that could be addressed by anyone on the panel, I guess.

MR. BROOKS:  All right.  I don't think we know yet.  In principle, it shouldn't matter at all.  I mean, the CTBT, as we suggest, and the maintenance of the stockpile, are important questions, but they really are separate questions.

You know, if CTBT vanishes, what would you change in the modernization funding we sought?  And the answer is nothing.

It is widely assumed, however, that politically there will be a link; that the – those who are skeptical of arms control generally will want to be assured that there is a commitment on behalf of the administration to move forward with their modernization.

You know, it just depends.  I think the administration has been pretty clear in both its actions and its rhetoric that it is committed.  The problems that we have had since the so-called grand bargain of last year have been between authorizers and appropriators.  They have not been between executive branch and legislative branch.

The budget is going to go down.  It will depend on how – on how we manage it.  I think this reinforces Daryl's point that you have to reach out.  But I would point out that it also reinforces what I would say is a generalizable lesson from New START, and that is you work very hard between Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats and the administration.  But whenever you make a promise that involves money, you've left out the House.

And in the weapons business, the wildcard has disproportionately been the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee in the House which has, regardless of which party is running it, a view of nuclear weapons programs and their funding needs that is somewhat different than my own.

And so I mean, I don't know, Todd.  I don't think that the connection is logical, but the political connection may be there.  It'll depend.  On the other hand, as far as I can tell, the administration really is committed.  I mean, I don't purport to be an intimate of the president's because I'm not, but I know most of the subcabinet level people who are working on this, and they all seem genuinely committed, quite apart from the kind of need to be supportive in the context of ratifying New START or what have you.

So I think that this – there are issues – Daryl's more upbeat than I.  But I think this should be overcomable, if that were a word.  (Laughter.)

MR. KIMBALL:  Let me just quickly say I think Linton – I would agree with everything that Linton said.  I would just turn the question around.  As I said in my remarks, you know, those who are concerned about the adequacy of funding for the stockpile stewardship program have to ask the question:  What good does it do to reject the CTBT in order to address whatever their question is, whatever their concern is about the program?  It has absolutely no bearing on that.

So you know, I think, you know, going forward, we need to think about how, in principle, these are separate issues.  And we need to think about, you know, how we best deal with the proliferation dangers of today and tomorrow and whether we want to continue to deny ourselves the benefits of a legally binding global test ban treaty that gives us the option for on-site inspections and puts all this into force and puts pressure on the other hold-out states to finally sign and ratify.

And if we do, I think several of them will.  And that has an important nonproliferation value, particularly in South Asia and in Asia as a whole.

MR. COLLINA:  Anyone else?

Another question.  Greg?

Q:  Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association.

Daryl just mentioned the proliferation dangers of today, and I wondered if I could encourage the panelists to address one of the most acute dangers, which is Iran in two respects.  First, if Iran decided to develop and deploy nuclear weapons, would they have to actually test?  And then secondly, if they did want to pursue a clandestine test, what would the prospects be for the IMS to detect it or if the treaty were in force to actually have an on-site inspection?

MR. COLLINA:  Who would like that one?

MR. BROOKS:  I can take part of it, and Jenifer should take part of it.

First of all, the public position of Iran is that they are not seeking nuclear weapons.  A package deal in which Israel and Egypt said they would ratify the CTBT if Iran did, too, would put the government of Iran in a very interesting position.

Now, I believe that they have not yet made the decision as to whether they are seeking nuclear weapons, and I also believe they're sufficiently cynical that, whether they are seeking and whether they ratify is a separate question.

But what we know is that everybody's first test of the uranium-based weapon has worked.  So the CTBT doesn't prevent people from developing nuclear weapons.

What we know is that at least one state, South Africa, developed a modest arsenal without testing depending on your view of an event called the South Atlantic Clash in 1979.

What we know is – as a former government official I want to phrase this very carefully – if Israel has nuclear weapons, which many believe it does, that that arsenal, which many of those who believe it does believe it's fairly good, was developed without testing, once again, assuming what you believe about the South Atlantic Clash in 1979.

So there is a possibility that Iran could develop something without testing it.  Now, you have to say to yourself, you know, is that an argument – my flu shot doesn't cure cancer; that doesn't mean my flu shot isn't a good idea – is that an argument against banning testing – because truth is we don't care nearly as much about Iran developing a nuclear weapon militarily as we do about them developing a deliverable nuclear weapon.

And the delivery vehicle of choice for most people is ballistic missiles.  And to get a nuclear weapon that fits on the – on the top of a ballistic missile, that is – that requires greater sophistication.  Whether Iran can do that without nuclear testing I don't know.

And so I think that preventing Iranian testing clearly has some benefits even if there is a clandestine – the question of whether we could detect nuclear testing – a test by Iran if they tried to hide it will be answered by a verification expert.

Ms. Mackby?  (Laughter.)

MS. MACKBY:  Most of this – I cannot pretend to be a nuclear physicist.  On the other hand, I think that we've seen that the system is extremely effective.  And anybody who wanted to clandestinely test, as I mentioned, would have a hard time doing so.  Even though no radio nuclides were caught from the North Korean test of 2009, the seismic stations still picked up quite a bit of information.

I think quite a number of radio nuclide portable devices would have been deployed, and more could be deployed to find the gases and so forth.

Your second part – I think Linton answered most of your question, but the second part is whether or not an OSI would be – what will be the prospects for an OSI assuming the treaty had entered into force.

Well, I don't know that Iran has enough friends to keep an OSI from taking place because, as I said, you need 30 members to vote for such an inspection.  So I think, as we've seen in many other international bodies, you could probably gather enough in the international community to vote for an OSI.

I hope that answers the question.  I mean, you know Iran has signed the treaty.  It has also put up quite a few stations, but they're not sending all their data to the international data center in Vienna.

Thanks.

MR. BROOKS:  The 2002 national academy of science report, which unlike the one Marvin and I are working on that's actually published, says that the countries that have the sophistication to use some of the more elaborate means of concealing nuclear tests are the countries – it doesn't say Russia and China, but it describes them in a way that it means Russia, China and the United States.

And so it is not clear to me that Iran would be willing to gamble on having that kind of sophisticated ability to do something when, you know, the ability of Russia to do it is disputed in the community, as you know, somewhat surely.

So I think the Iranian government has a different value system than we appear to have but I cannot believe that they would assume that they could pull off an undetected test sort of with or without the treaty entering into force because, remember, the international monitoring system is functioning now, and the U.S. national capabilities, which are quite good, is functioning now.

MR. ADAMS:  I'm going throw in my 2 cents on the question of whether or not they could develop a weapon and, in particular, a deliverable weapon without testing.

I think they would have less confidence, but I believe they would have sufficient confidence to go forward and would have to be taken seriously if they claimed they had done it.

MR. COLLINA:  Any other questions before we wrap it up?  Yes?

Q:  Viola Gienger from Bloomberg News.

I want to sort of go back – Viola Gienger from Bloomberg News.

I want to go back just a few more steps, and that is:  What were the ramifications for North Korea in conducting its nuclear test?  And regardless of whether the CTBT goes into force, what are realistically the ramifications for conducting a nuclear test today?

MR. KIMBALL:  North Korea you're talking about specifically?  North Korea, I think, faced greater international criticism and isolation after their two tests as a result of the fact that there is a de facto global taboo on nuclear test explosions.

North Korea is the only country in the 21st century that's conducted a nuclear test explosion.  Does that mean that North Korea cares what the rest of the world thinks?  I can't say they do.  They are a unique case in that – in that sense.

But you know, so North Korea – you know, it, I think, it would be one of the last countries that ever signs and ratifies the CTBT.  But does that mean that there isn't value in China and the United States, India, Pakistan formally legalizing their de facto moratorium?  No.

And one of the other things that I think that the leadership on the CTBT by the Chinese, the United States, the Russians and others can do is over the very long term.  And I'm talking 10, 15, 20 years that can help check the North Korean policy with respect to how many nuclear test explosions it might conduct in the future.

So, you know, I think I like – your analogy, Linton, just because a flu shot doesn't cure cancer doesn't mean you shouldn't go get your flu shot, I think, applies in this – in this case.  I think, you know, North Korea is a country that requires a much more robust nonproliferation strategy than the pursuit of ratification of the test ban treaty by the leading testing countries.

I don't – yes?

Q:  I mean, isn't the more specific analogy is whether the flu shot actually prevents the flu?  I mean, if, you know, the major countries have committed unilaterally not to test, so what's the point?

MR. BROOKS:  I think this is an example of the general problem of arms control.  If you look back at Senator Dick Lugar's statement when he voted against the CTBT in the '90s, one of his objections, which has gotten very little attention, is enforcement.

But in fact we don't have in the Security Council a mechanism for enforcing international treaties.  We just don't.  We have decided in other areas that they're still worth having because they regularize things.  But we don't have an enforcement mechanism.

And frankly, I would be leading the charge against a binding enforcement mechanism that didn't give a U.S. veto.  And there are guys like me in most other countries.

So you have to look at North Korea and you say, what do we do about that.  My view – an administration that I was very proud to serve in – was that our strategy was to draw a redline, say there would be consequences if they crossed it; and when they crossed it, to draw another redline.  I don't think that was a helpful strategy.

I think states look, for example, at the fact that we were going to isolate Pakistan forever after their test.  We were going to isolate India.  And you may have noticed the latest unpleasantness; those policies have not proven hugely enduring.

I think there's an inherent problem with arms control.  The question is not, does a CTBT solve the North Korean problem.  The question is, are we better off overall with or without a CTBT.

Some will argue – and I think this is an argument that assumes facts that are not yet in evidence but may be true.  Some will argue that U.S. ratification of CTBT will make it easier to assemble coalitions to provide things like economic sanctions because we will be seen as upholding our end of the so-called Article XI bargain of the nonproliferation treaty.

That is an eloquent argument, and it is held by many immensely smart and knowledgeable people.  I don't think there's any evidence one way or the other about whether it's true.  But once again, you have to say North Korea is a problem.  Does it get worse if there's a CTBT ratified so that they are now both in custom and in fact a pariah state?  Or does it get better if we reject the CTBT?

And I think, you know, you can argue both sides of that question, but I think that's the right question.  What we do about North Korea right now we don't know.  The truth is we don't know.  We don't have any good options.  Our option, as far as I can tell right now, is to wait for the dear leader to die and see if we get a better deal next time.  And that may work.

But I don't think that you should reject the notion of international norms being turned into binding regimes just because there will always be some states that will defy them.

I mean, does the BW convention do us any good when we're pretty sure there are a couple of countries that still have BW programs?  Well, I don't know.  But I think most people believe that it helps.

Now, CTBT is vastly more – vastly more verifiable than the biological weapons convention.  I don't want to draw the analogy too closely.  But I think that you want to be a little careful about assuming that, if it doesn't solve all of the difficult problems, it's not worth having.

Not a very satisfactory answer, but I think that's a hard question.

MR. COLLINA:  Well, I just – Jenifer, I wanted to add one more thing.  Why don't you go ahead?

MS. MACKBY:  Sure.  I just wanted to add one quick thing.  The North Koreans were part of the negotiations in the conference on disarmament, which is kind of interesting.  They participated and they did not vote against the treaty at the U.N.

Since then, of course, there's been a lot of water under the bridge, and the sanctions regarding IAEA and so forth, I think, have certainly taken their toll in North Korea.

I mean, presumably, one could link CTBT ratification to some kind of six-party talks somewhere down the road if those were to resume.  But that's just a thought.

MR. KIMBALL:  I mean, one thing I wanted to mention, Viola, is that, you know, those of – those of us who argue that the CTBT is on balance in the interest of the United States and our national security do not argue that the CTBT solves every proliferation problem.

Some people suggest that that's what many of us are saying.  That's not – that's not the case.

But one other area that is important to look at in Asia where the CTBT, I think, has had a demonstrable effect is with respect to India and Pakistan.  And as everybody knows, India and Pakistan conducted nuclear test explosions – tit-for-tat nuclear test explosions in May of 1998 after the CTBT entered into force.

But it was the fact that the international community had concluded the CTBT that helped force both of those countries to declare a parallel moratoria on nuclear testing.  That's held up to this day.

Now, both countries remain outside the CTBT for now, but I think that would change if the United States and China ratified the treaty.  It would lead the Indians to reconsider.  And if the Indians reconsider, the Pakistanis will reconsider.

So I mean, there is, I think, a strong case and there is evidence that can be identified that suggests that the CTBT has had a moderating effect on the policies of these two South Asian nations, which are the two countries in the world that are producing more fissile material and, you could say, pose a greater danger of a nuclear conflict than even North Korea.

MR. COLLINA:  Thank you.  We are at our allotted end time.  Were there other questions?  One last question and then we'll wrap it up.

Yes, sir?  Microphone, please.

Q:  I'm – (inaudible).  I'm a technical person.  So I just ask a technical question probably for Jenifer.

InSAR has been cited many times by many people as the technology – some technical improvement over the past decade.  I'd like to know if there is any documented success with respect to the two North Korean nuclear tests using InSAR.  One nightmare I would have is that maybe I'm missing some wonderful paper in this – in this field.

MS. MACKBY:  I have to confess I'm not sure if that – if that happened or not.  I know we have something about InSAR in there.

Q:  I guarantee you there is no paper published today about the success of InSAR with respect to the North Korean test.

MS. MACKBY:  OK.

Q:  I guarantee you no.  So very often, I see people cite InSAR.  Well, I feel, well, very often people –

MR.     :  (Inaudible) – InSAR?

MS. MACKBY:  Interformetric Satellite Aperture Radar.

Q:  Synthetic.

MS. MACKBY:  Synthetic, sorry.  What did I say?

MR.     :  Satellite.

MS. MACKBY:  OK.  Sorry.

MR.     :  All right.

MR.     :  But there is satellite imagery of the North Korean test.

MR.     :  I would just note in – I mean, one reason why it is mentioned very often is that it is a new technology that people are offering as a potential new tool to increase the existing robust capabilities to monitor.

All right.  What do we know?  I would acknowledge that I'm not aware of a professionally peer-reviewed paper on the subject.  That doesn't mean that this is not something that can and should be pursued as a potential new tool.

MS. MACKBY:  Yes.  You can get in touch with Mr. David Hafemeister out in California.

Q:  I know.  He's the one.

MS. MACKBY:  OK.  So he and others are developing it, but I agree it's a relatively new field.

MR. COLLINA:  All right.  Well, we'll take that one home and try to get back to you.

Just a couple of words in wrap-up as we try to land this airplane – 18 years now of experience with the stockpile stewardship program, and I think we've heard today pretty strong evidence that it works.  It should likely continue to work if it gets the right care and feeding, and we hope that it will.

Fifteen years since the international monitoring system was set up – it's now 85 percent complete.  It, too, works and will continue on to work even better.

And broad agreement across the board that the United States is not likely to test ever again, and therefore the United States Senate should move on and ratify the test ban treaty.

I'll just leave you with one factoid.  There were over 2,000 nuclear explosive tests conducted before the test ban treaty was concluded in 1996, and there have only been 10 since – or less than 10, depending on how you count them.  So I think that's a pretty impressive statistic in terms of thinking about the world before the test ban and the world after.

So in conclusion, I want to thank again the Böll Foundation for helping support these events.  I want to thank all of our speakers for doing a fabulous job, particularly Professor Adams for coming all the way from Texas.  We really appreciate his travel and miles logged.

And, finally, thank you all for coming.  And please join me in thanking our speakers.  (Applause.)

(END)

Description: 

The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature in September 1996, and the United States was the first nation to sign. As a direct result of the CTBT and the end of nuclear explosive tests, the United States instituted the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program to maintain U.S. weapons, and the international community created the International Monitoring System to verify compliance with the treaty.

Subject Resources:

Article XIV Conference on Facilitating CTBT Entry Into Force

Sections:

Body: 

Time to Translate Words Into Action
Statement of Nongovernmental Organization Representatives
(AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY)
September 23, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accelerating Entry Into Force

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

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

The United States and China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India and Pakistan

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Middle East

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

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

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

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

North Korea

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

Addressing the Damage Caused by Nuclear Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reinforcing the Test Ban

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

Endorsers:

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

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

Paul Ingram,
Executive Director,
British American Security Information Council

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

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

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

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

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

Mary Dickson,
Downwinders United (United States)

Charles D. Ferguson,
President,
Federation of American Scientists

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

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

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

Dr. Kathleen Sullivan,
Program Director,
Hibakusha Stories

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

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

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

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

Ambassador Richard Butler,
Chairman,
Middle Powers Initiative

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

David Krieger,
President,
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

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

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

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

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

Ichiro Yuasa,
President,
Peace Depot (Japan)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Statement Coordinator

**Institution listed for identification purposes only.

Description: 

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

Briefing - Iran's Nuclear Program: Status and Prospects

Sections:

Body: 

An Arms Control Association Press Briefing

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

Featuring:

Former Congressman and Admiral Joe Sestak

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

Greg Thielmann, Arms Control Association Senior Fellow

Moderated by Daryl Kimball, Arms Control Association Executive Director

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

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

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


Transcript by
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR. KIMBALL:  So your question is?

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

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

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

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

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

Q:  (Off mic.)

ADM. SESTAK:  I didn’t say threaten.

Q:  (Off mic.)

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

Q:  (Off mic.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR. KIMBALL:  Mark?

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

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

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

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

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

ADM. SESTAK:  I had a comment, please?

MR. KIMBALL:  Yeah.

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

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

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

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, sir?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q:  (Off mic.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes, sir?

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

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

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

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

MR. THIELMANN:  Go ahead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR. KIMBALL:  Greg?

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

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

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

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

MR. KIMBALL:  Yes?

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

MR. FITZPATRICK:  Yeah.

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

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

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

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

Q:  (Off mic.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(END)

 

(END)

    Description: 

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

    Country Resources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Description: 

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

    International Day Against Nuclear Tests: Translating Words Into Action

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Tasks Ahead

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

    We representatives of civil society call upon leading governments to:

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

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

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

    The International Security Value of the CTBT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Accelerating Entry Into Force

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Addressing the Damage Caused by Nuclear Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reinforcing the Test Ban

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you.

     

    Endorsers:

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

    Dominique Lalanne,
    Co-Chair,
    Armes Nucléaires STOP (France)

    Daryl G. Kimball,
    Executive Director,
    Arms Control Association

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

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

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

    Jonathan Granoff,
    President,
    Global Security Institute

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

    Dr. Kathleen Sullivan,
    Program Director,
    Hibakusha Stories

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

    John Burroughs,
    Executive Director,
    Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy

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

    Roland Pouira Oldham,
    President,
    Moruroa e tatou (French Polynesia)

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

    David Krieger,
    President,
    Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

    Patrice Bouveret,
    Directeur
    Observatoire des Armements/CDRPC (France)

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

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

    Ichiro Yuasa,
    President,
    Peace Depot (Japan)

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

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

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

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

    Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

     

    Description: 

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

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

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    International Day Against Nuclear Tests:
    Translating Words Into Action

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Indeed, the treaty is more important today than ever.

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

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

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

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

    How can we Accelerate Entry Into Force?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you.

     

     

    Description: 

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

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