About the Author: Ellen Tauscher serves as the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
Last month, the United States delivered a $30 million payment to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Preparatory Commission, the entity responsible for developing the organizational framework to administer the global nuclear test ban treaty once CTBT enters into force.
This payment for 2009 and 2010 enhances our national security.
More than half of the $30 million will be used to build additional International Monitoring System (IMS) stations, which supplement our ability to detect a nuclear explosion around the world. The rest of the money will sustain the day-to-day operations of existing IMS stations, support analysis of seismological and other data collected by the IMS network, and further develop the organization's ability to field inspectors when the Treaty enters into force.
While the Obama Administration is committed to securing the Senate's advice and consent to ratify the CTBT, the IMS continues to provide real time benefits even in the absence of the Treaty's entry into force.
Within hours in 2006 and 2009, the IMS detected North Korea's nuclear test explosions. IMS data validated independent assessments and provided a basis for the international community to take firm action in the United Nations against North Korea.
In addition, the CTBTO's work to develop the Treaty's on-site inspection mechanism ensures that, once the Treaty enters into force, the United States and others will have the leverage to draw upon this tool to detect cheating -- a benefit denied us so long as the United States refuses to ratify this Treaty.
Finally, the CTBTO can contribute to purposes apart from detecting possible nuclear weapons explosions. Following the devastating earthquake in Chile early Saturday morning, real time data from approximately 20 seismic and hydroacoustic IMS stations enabled a series of rapid alerts to provide advance warning to affected nations. IMS stations played a similar role immediately following the earthquake in Haiti.
America's involvement in, and support for, the CTBTO is another example of how international engagement can serve our own national interests.