Mr. President, I rise today to express my opposition to the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. This multilateral treaty is intended to ban all nuclear explosions and is of unlimited duration. CTBT was signed by President Clinton on September 24, 1996, and transmitted to the Senate in 1997. The CTBT, signed by 152 nations, will enter into force if and only if 44 specified countries ratify it - including Iran, North Korea, India, Pakistan, China, and Russia. As of July 1999, 21 of these 44 countries have ratified. The prospects for Iran and North Korea doing so are highly uncertain; both have active nuclear weapons programs. Since they have now conducted initial testing, India and Pakistan may sign and ratify the treaty; however, it has been speculated that the two countries are unlikely to sign any time soon. Russia and China have signed the treaty, but they have NOT ratified it, and have announced test moratoria. The United States has NOT tested nuclear weapons since 1992.
To date, CTBT has NOT been ratified by the United States and TODAY is NOT the day for the United States Senate to do so. Ratifying CTBT will undermine confidence in our nuclear deterrence capability by making it impossible to confirm the reliability of our nuclear stockpile or to make improvements, including upgrades in weapons safety. Ratification of this treaty also would make the United States military increasingly vulnerable to foreign nuclear programs.
The CTBT will jeopardize nuclear deterrence by undermining the reliability of our nuclear weapons and by foreclosing the addition of advanced safety measures to our warheads. To deter aggression, our adversaries and allies alike must consider the United States nuclear arsenal to be reliable. Reliability comes from having high confidence that weapons will work as intended.
From 1945 to 1992, the United States used explosive testing of nuclear weapons to assure confidence in our weapons' reliability. The need to validate the reliability of the United States nuclear arsenal is becoming even more critical because the size of the United States' stockpile is declining, as is the mix of weapons designs within it. By preventing the United States from testing, the CTBT will erode our ability to discover and fix problems with the nuclear stockpile and to make safety improvements. One-third of all weapon designs placed in the stockpile since 1958 have required and received post-deployment nuclear tests to resolve problems. In three quarters of these cases, the problems were identified and assessed only as a result of nuclear testing, and these problems could only be fixed through testing. Without testing, the United States will become increasingly unsure whether the weapons would perform if they are ever needed.
The Administration argues that the United States can maintain the requisite level of safety and reliability without nuclear explosions through the science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP). The stockpile program relies on many new diagnostic tools, most of them still unbuilt and unproven. These scientific methods are to culminate in computerized simulations of nuclear explosions. This computer-generated information would then be used to judge weapon safety, security, and reliability. However, many critical components of the stockpile program are years away from being operational. Even if the SSP becomes operational in 2005, United States weapons will have been untested for 13 years. With each passing year, as we await this program coming on-line, confidence in our deterrent can only decline. And applying the stockpile program to weapons after 13 years of dormancy becomes increasingly problematic since the weapon may not have aged as we might have anticipated.
Contrary to the Administration's arguments, United States nuclear weapons are not as safe as they could be, because integrating advanced safety measures requires nuclear testing. Critical safety improvements to United States nuclear weapons, therefore, CANNOT be made without testing. Testing allows us to detect technical or safety problems and to ensure the proper improvements are built into a warhead. Eight of the nine weapons in the current stockpile are not as safe and secure as they could be made. Only the W84 nuclear warhead is equipped with all of the safety and surety features available. The other eight designs do NOT incorporate all of the safety and surety features that are available. The W62, in fact, does NOT have any safety features.
The bottom line is that too many United States nuclear warheads do NOT incorporate the most modern safety features available. Several of these weapons, were they to be involved in an accident, might not detonate but certainly could explode, scattering radioactive plutonium everywhere. The weapons laboratories know how to fix this problem, but cannot under the CTBT because the incorporation of such technologies might alter the fundamental performance of the weapon. Testing IS essential.
Further, the CTBT is NOT verifiable. U.S. adherence to the CTBT will do nothing to prevent proliferation. History has shown us that nations can, and have, acquired nuclear weapons without testing them. Effective verification requires high confidence that militarily significant cheating will be detected in a timely manner. The United States CANNOT detect low-yield tests. The United States cannot now, and will not in the foreseeable future, be able to confidently detect and identify militarily significant nuclear tests of one kiloton or less. Evasion techniques of varying complexity and cost are possible that would make it very unlikely that nuclear test with yields as large as ten kilotons (Hiroshima size) would be confidently detected and identified. There are several ways, used singly or in combination, to minimize the prospect of detection. Moreover, a country determined to develop a nuclear arsenal can do so without testing.
Many suspect other countries will cheat on the treaty to develop new weapons while the United States scrupulously adheres to yet another treaty, thereby losing confidence in its nuclear deterrent. As President Clinton's first Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, James Woolsey, has noted in testimony to the Senate, "I believe that a zero-yield CTBT is extraordinarily difficult, to the point of near impossibility -- and possibly to the point of impossibility -- to verify from afar." The Cox Committee has stated that it believes nuclear tests related to the development of China's next generation warheads may be continuing underground at its Lop Nur test site even after signing the CTBT. There are also reports that Russia has conducted tests since its announced test moratorium in 1996.
As stated previously, effective verification requires that cheating be detected in a timely manner, but very small tests - under half a kiloton - can be very useful to bomb-builders and usually cannot be detected reliably. Larger tests can be muffled by placing the bomb in a large underground cavity or masking it with a conventional mining explosion. And cheaters could test anonymously, for example, in remote ocean areas. We do NOT have the capability to reliably detect such cheating. A determined country has several means to conceal its weapons tests if it feels the need to test at all. It can test with minimal risk of detection and even less risk of effective sanctions at fairly high yields using well-established techniques, and can gain a wealth of useful information for various weapons design purposes. The CTBT's verification regime depends on the goodwill and cooperative access of those with something to hide.
In addition, the treaty will NOT stop countries, such as China, from improving its weapons designs with the secrets it has stolen from the United States weapons labs even if it honors the treaty. The Cox Committee report concluded that China has stolen classified design information on the United States' most advanced thermonuclear weapons. These thefts of nuclear secret from our national weapons laboratories enabled the People's Republic of China to design, develop, and successfully test modern strategic nuclear weapons sooner than would otherwise have been possible. The stolen United States nuclear secrets give the People's Republic of China design information on thermonuclear weapons on a par with our own. By this prolonged theft, China has dramatically reduced our military edge.
The erosion of United States military strength in this way will only tempt other would-be proliferators. As a result, the CTBT at the present time would NOT serve the cause of peace. In reality, by undermining the United States deterrent, this treaty is a threat to peace.
This erosion of the United States military strength is especially troubling to me and residents in my state. Wyoming is the home to F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne. Home of the Air Force's 20th Missile Command and 90th Space Wing, F.E. Warren Air Force Base also is the home of the United States' 50 Peacekeeper missiles as well as several of the country's Minuteman missiles. As stated before, ratification of this treaty would make the United States military, such as the operations at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, increasingly vulnerable to foreign nuclear programs.
Americans strongly support nuclear deterrence and will question the wisdom of this treaty as they begin to learn more about it. The American people rightly want to reduce the risks of nuclear proliferation, but are appropriately cautious about grandiose global treaties. While numerous groups and individuals support the ratification of CTBT, comparable majorities believe it is important for the United States to retain nuclear weapons, that nuclear weapons are important in deterring attack, and are prepared to support increased spending for nuclear weapons as means of maintaining international security and peace. Further, Americans believe a CTBT should be verifiable and would support testing to fix problems with our arsenal.
BOTTOM LINE: The CTBT will HARM America's national security by reducing confidence in our nuclear deterrent, will NOT halt nuclear proliferation, and is NOT verifiable. What America needs is serious leadership that will rebuild our defenses, repair our tattered alliances, isolate rogue states, and deploy effective measures against countries that could threaten us with nuclear weapons.
Because I do not believe the treaty before us will further America's vital national security interests and will not make the world a safer place for our children and grandchildren as we head into the 21st century, I must oppose the ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.