From Reykjavik to New START: Science Diplomacy for Nuclear Security in the 21st Century
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
Thank you very much for inviting me to join you today. Working at the intersection of policy and science is where I have spent much of my career so a symposium like this is right up my alley. Science diplomacy is critical to the work that lies ahead and this symposium no doubt will generate valuable ideas for moving the nuclear security agenda forward.
I would like to commend the excellent work of USIP, and also the Committees on International Security and Arms Control of both the U.S. National and Russian Academies of Science. For over 30 years, you have had an impact on U.S. and Soviet, now Russian, nuclear security policy.
I have to say I miss my time on the Committee and the opportunity to participate in not just the highly technical discussions but also the more informal interactions.
I would like to compliment Raymond Jeanloz on his leadership of CISAC and also extend my welcome to the prominent Russian experts who have participated in the work of the Committee or consulted on its work over the years—here present today Yevgeny Avrorin, Nikolai Ponomarev-Stepnoi, Roald Sagdeev, Viktor Yesin and Viktor Firsov.
There have been many joint activities over the years and as we look to the future, we are reflecting very strongly on past government-to-government projects like the Joint Verification Experiments.
The “JVE” was pathbreaking at its time and it set the gold standard for government-to-government efforts. My compliments to Evgeny Avrorin, who along with Victor Mikhailov, Director of the Institute of Strategic Stability and past Minister of Atomic Energy, and Paul Robinson, were responsible for directing the JVE. You set a strong example of scientist-to-scientist cooperation in the government sphere.
When I was head of the Carnegie Moscow Center, it was always extremely valuable to have the opportunity to hear firsthand the views of eminent Russian experts, many of whom had enormous experience in leadership of the Strategic Rocket Forces or the nuclear energy establishment. I would like to show my appreciation to Viktor Yesin, to whom I always look for useful and interesting analyses of nuclear force issues between Russia and the United States; and also to Nikolai Ponomarev-Stepnoi, Deputy Director of the Kurchatov Institute, who was one of the most active and effective figures in U.S.-Russia cooperation in the Cooperative Threat Reduction program.
Just this past week, I hosted a conference, the purpose of which was to continue thinking about the verification and monitoring challenges we will face as we work toward a world free of nuclear weapons. I say “continue thinking about” because this is a problem with which we have wrestled for decades, and will continue to wrestle for decades to come. We must always be thinking about ways to improve our capacity in these areas, building on the work of the past as we take advantage of new and emerging technologies. This essential work will inform our approach to future arms control agreements.
It will not surprise you that I want to make some remarks today about the New START Treaty and our efforts to get ready for entry into force of the Treaty. I also want to make note of another very important agreement between the United States and Russia on Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, referred to as the “123 Agreement.” While New START promotes nuclear security by reducing U.S. and Russian strategic forces, the 123 Agreement with Russia, for the first time, normalizes and expands our civil nuclear relationship with Russia and will facilitate expanded cooperation on nuclear energy, as well as joint efforts relevant to non-proliferation such as nuclear forensics.
I will also address other critical areas on the nuclear arms control agenda including further nuclear weapons reductions, the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
On December 22 the United States Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty – New START – by a strong bipartisan vote of 71 to 26.
The next step will be approval by the Russian Legislature – the Duma and Federation Council – followed by an exchange of Instruments of Ratification which will bring the Treaty into force.
New START is the most significant nuclear arms control agreement in nearly two decades. It provides for limits on the number of strategic nuclear weapons and launchers that the United States and Russia can deploy, while maintaining the effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
The Treaty will put in place an effective verification regime to confirm Russian and U.S. compliance with the Treaty, including data exchanges on strategic offensive arms, notifications of changes to that data, and on-site inspections to confirm that data. None of these activities have been occurring since the original START Treaty expired over a year ago.
We are preparing for entry into force of New START, including for the exchange of Treaty-required notifications that begins immediately upon entry into force and the initial exchange of data on missiles, launchers, heavy bombers and warheads subject to the Treaty, which is required 45 days after entry into force. And much work is taking place to prepare for the first on-site inspections. The right to conduct on-site inspections begins 60 days after entry into force.
The New START Treaty sets the stage for further limits on and reductions in nuclear arms. As President Obama stated when he signed the New START Treaty in Prague on April 8th of last year, once the Treaty enters into force, the United States intends to pursue with Russia further reductions in strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons, including non-deployed nuclear weapons.
During the ratification process, the Senate made clear its strong interest in addressing the disparity in tactical nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia. The Resolution of Advice and Consent calls for the United States to seek to initiate negotiations with Russia on non-strategic nuclear weapons within a year of entry into force of the Treaty.
Work is underway, and is intensifying, to prepare for dialogue with Russia on non-strategic nuclear weapons. I would also note the significant work the non-governmental community both here and in Russia has already undertaken in studying and writing about these issues, providing much and very welcome food for thought for those of us working these matters in the government.
As I mentioned earlier, another major step forward was taken in our relationship with Russia last week when Ambassador Beyrle and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov exchanged diplomatic notes to bring the so-called “123 Agreement” into force. This is an agreement for nuclear cooperation which both sides have been intent on bringing into force for some time.
The agreement provides several areas of benefit, but the one I would like to mention here pertains to enhancing cooperation on important global nonproliferation goals. The 123 Agreement will create the conditions for improved cooperation on joint technology development to support arms control and nonproliferation activities. It will also provide the necessary legal framework for joint efforts to convert research reactors from highly-enriched uranium to low enriched uranium fuel. The 123 Agreement will aid cooperation on forensic analysis, allowing us to better identify nuclear material and prevent it from getting into the hands of terrorists, and it will set the stage for expanded joint technical cooperation on next generation international safeguards.
This brings me to two additional and critical elements of the President’s arms control agenda. First, the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty – FMCT. Secretary Clinton reemphasized at the NPT Review Conference in May that we stand ready to begin multilateral negotiations immediately on a verifiable FMCT at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
This set of Treaty negotiations is long overdue and it is an important step on the international arms control agenda. The United States is deeply disappointed over the Conference on Disarmament’s failure to begin negotiations. The next session of the CD begins next week and I plan to be in Geneva to join our Representative, Ambassador Laura Kennedy, in working with the incoming President of the Conference on Disarmament, Canadian CD Ambassador Grinius and other interested states on ways to move the FMCT agenda forward.
Also at the NPT Review Conference, Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. Commitment to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty – CTBT. The entry into force of the CTBT remains an important element of the President’s strategy to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation regime and create the conditions for a nuclear free world.
Much has changed since the U.S. Senate declined to provide its consent to ratification of the CTBT in 1999. At that time the Senate expressed concerns, in particular, regarding verifiability of the Treaty and the reliability of America’s nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing. With regard to the first concern, the CTBT’s Preparatory Commission has made great progress in the last decade toward establishing the Treaty’s verification regime and the United States has enhanced its National Technical Means of monitoring nuclear tests. For example, the International Monitoring System is now more than 80 percent complete. At the time of the initial Senate vote on the Treaty in 1999, none of the IMS stations had been certified as meeting approved technical specifications and operational requirements.
With regard to the concerns about stockpile reliability, it is now clear that we can continue to ensure the reliability of our nuclear weapons and the viability of our nuclear complex without resorting to explosive nuclear testing. Moreover, the Administration has committed to substantial investments to maintain our deterrent and to modernize the nuclear weapons complex over the next decade.
For some time, we have been doing our essential “homework” necessary for a successful CTBT ratification effort. This includes an updated National Intelligence Estimate and an independent study by the National Academy of Sciences on verification of the Treaty.
The administration will consult with the Senate Leadership, including Senators Kerry and Lugar, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, regarding the Treaty.
While the Administration prepares for U.S. Senate reconsideration of the Treaty, the United States has increased its level of participation in all of the activities of the CTBT Organization’s Preparatory Commission, especially with respect to the Treaty’s verification regime.
After an absence of eight years, U.S. experts are fully engaged in preparatory work to establish the On-Site Inspection element of the verification regime, as part of the U.S. contribution to the work of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization.
These actions demonstrate the commitment of the United States to prepare for the entry into force of this Treaty. We will continue to take additional steps to reinforce the norm against nuclear testing in the months ahead.
The nuclear arms control agenda holds opportunities and challenges ahead. The monitoring, transparency, and verification challenges alone are daunting, but we have talent available to address those challenges that is also quite formidable and a welcome partnership with the scientific community in the U.S., Russia and elsewhere to tackle these challenges. Conferences like this one provide an important and welcome opportunity to exchange ideas and expand horizons. I appreciate the opportunity to address you today and I look forward to your questions, ideas and discussion.