Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization Enhances Our National Security

March 2, 2010
Test Missile Launch

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.



Donald M.
Virginia, USA
March 2, 2010

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

@ Ellen Tauscher


I read your article and agree 100 percent a world without Nuclear Power or Weapons, or even the Nuclear Waste will be a Godsend. I totally agree and look foward to day when even God can smile at the world when all the Nuclear devices on earth are vanished. The world would be a safer place for all our kids, GrandKids and safe for all Nations. One can almost ponder in 1945, what the pilot who flew the flight over Japan carrying the Nuclear Weapons. I understand that had it not happened the reverse would of happened. The bottom line is what did the pilot say to God when hundreds of thousand of people were destroyed by a Nuclear bomb? I would not have wanted to be there for that Judgement.

Godbless and keep up the good work!!!

March 3, 2010

Steve writes:

They should have ban the nuclear test forever. It is not going to benefits the mankind.

South Korea
March 3, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Want to Succeeds.

New Mexico, USA
March 3, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"March madness" nuclear diplomacy in the wild, wild West)

Fellow draws a line in the sand and says to his adversary, "Don't cross this line or I'll shoot."
So the other promptly obliges him by stepping over it.
The fellow takes a few steps back, draws another line in the sand and repeats himself.
To which his adversary marches roboticly across it.
The good and patient fellow does this time after time until backed up to oblivion's cliff, stating once again,
"Don't cross this line or I'll shoot."
Marching blindly forward with all the confidence of repetition, the other goes over the edge as the fellow steps aside to let him make his final mistake.
Pulls his pistol out, shouts " Que vida loca! Vamos Fiesta!" and fires off a few rounds in celebration.
Well, this CTBT isn't exactly like a proposed script for the next "Cheech and Chong" movie, but I fail to see how nations will effectively enforce it if folks keep the official line of reasoning, "...the ball is in North Korea's court."...or Iran's or Syria..or any single nation's.

It is one thing to state correctly "we await an official response to our offer." or to negotiation.
But where does the nuclear ball really bounce, eh?
Is it not in the court of world public opinion as codified and condenced into the UN Security Council?
IAEA determining foul lines and making calls?
Let's be completely accurate about this shall we?
It's no game one dribbles in lay-up
"He shoots, he scores!"
What political point are we keeping score on?
Or saying such is simply "off the glove" rather than "off the cuff"? Mixing political and sports metaphor.
The problem with determining the peaceful use of anything is akin to determining state sponsors of terrorism, actions speak louder than their denials.

So let's face the core of the issue.
It's not about equipment, capability, or technology, tested or not.
But methodology of determination should have everything to do with national agenda and intent of those who seek these things.

If those two are not peaceful in nature, then nothing else can be seen to be. Nor can the rights of soveregnity be respected if solutions are to be enforced.
So it is those who would push buttons political and otherwise who pose the risk of implementing the golden rule in reverse.
Mutually assured destruction ain't the way.
Call me an optimist, but if the people of these nations get our full support, then just maybe they'll have enough to eat, speak freely on the street, but only after they solve their problems and the international community's, in a process of regime replacement therapy.
Then we can go to the party and celebrate.

March 4, 2010

D.L. writes:

I have mixed feelings about the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. It is evident to the world that it is needed, but it seems as if the IAEA could play this role, rather than creating a whole new organization. Though when you look at the big picture I suppose that $30 million is not a whole lot money when it comes down to national and really global security. The creation of this organization and the passage of this treaty is essential to help make the world a safer place, because it is basic knowledge that when nuclear bombs are detonated it causes a series of problems not only for people, but for the environment as well.

This has become a hot topic ever since the testing performed by North Korea over the past couple years and it seems that with Iran developing the materials of a nuclear warhead that testing will only increase over the next couple of years. It is instrumental that this treaty be ratified for it to be effective. Without the United States endorsement of this treaty it will be a lot more difficult for the global effort to cease nuclear testing globally. One reason we have not ratified is the question of how will it be enforced? I mean let us face it the sanctions placed on Iran by the United Nations has done very little to stop them from proliferating nuclear material. So what use is it to create another organization to try and create oversight over an issue when it has no enforcement?

Though in this instance something must be done countries, such as North Korea and Iran, cannot go unchecked in their procurement and testing of nuclear bombs. Some steps need to be taken to prevent fear, human lose, and environmental degradation.

Bobbie P.
Georgia, USA
March 4, 2010

Bobbie P. in Georgia writes:

Thank you for this important update. The scientific advancements are impressive. Using technology to inform and detect instead of to destroy! I think this hefty investment in advanced technology monitoring systems will greatly enhance our efforts for precaution and diplomacy and will produce a sizable yield of peace.

Laural P.
California, USA
April 14, 2010

Laural P. in California writes:

Dear Ellen Tauscher,

Thank you for your explanation of the work being done toward the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty as observed on The News Hour last night on television. You clearly spelled out how the participating countries are working toward this shared goal. Your pronouncination of nuclear is incorrect however, and stands out like an improper tense used in a sentence. You are pronouncing it "nuk-u-lur" but should be pronounced "new-clear". Unfortunately George Bush perpetuated this mispronunciation so it's just one more thing we have to clean up after him. Thank you and keep up the great work.

Laural P.


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