Statement of the United States to the CTBTO Preparatory Commission

Rose Gottemoeller
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
Vienna, Austria
June 14, 2011

As delivered

Mr. Chairman:

Date: 06/14/2011 Description: Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller delivers statement to the CTBTO Preparatory Commission in Vienna. - State Dept ImageI am pleased to have the opportunity to join you in Vienna for this important meeting. I would like to congratulate you, Ambassador Davidovic, as you begin your tenure as Chairman of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, and to thank you in advance for your efforts. The U.S. delegation looks forward to working closely with you. I would also like to thank your predecessor, Ambassador Mabhongo, for his hard and capable work during his tenure. As I begin my remarks, I would like to congratulate this organization for the Science and Technology Conference, held June 8-10 at the Hofburg in Vienna. I have heard both in Washington and here in Vienna how useful it was.

Before addressing some of the programmatic and budgetary issues before this Commission, I would like to assure you of President Obama’s unshakeable commitment to ratification of the CTBT by the United States and its entry into force at the earliest possible date. Entry into force of the CTBT is an essential step toward the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons, a vision articulated by the President when he spoke in Prague in 2009. Secretary Clinton reaffirmed our commitment to the CTBT at both the Conference on Facilitating Entry into Force of the CTBT in September 2009 and at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May 2010. More recently, the President’s National Security Advisor, Thomas Donilon, said in March that “We are committed to working with members of both parties in the Senate to ratify the CTBT, just as we did for New START,” a commitment that was echoed last month by Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher at the annual meeting of the Arms Control Association in Washington.

Our recent experience working with the U.S. Senate to gain their advice and consent to ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty – New START – with the Russian Federation has prepared us for what is expected to be an equally thorough and robust debate over the CTBT. We do not expect it will be easy or happen quickly, but we will work hard to make it happen.

In anticipation of the ratification effort, the Administration commissioned a number of reports, including an updated National Intelligence Estimate and an independent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report to assess the ability of the United States to monitor compliance with the Treaty and the ability of the United States to maintain, in the absence of nuclear explosive testing, a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal so long as these weapons exist. A public version of the NAS report is expected to be released soon. These authoritative reports, together with others, will give the U.S. Senate a wealth of information to assist them in making a determination on the merits of ratification of the CTBT.

In addition, we have begun a process of engaging the Senate and the American public on the national security benefits of the CTBT. While we have no date in mind for a ratification vote, we will work to engage members of the Senate on the national security rationale behind our support for the CTBT.

Mr. Chairman, as you are well aware, the U.S. Senate declined to provide its consent to ratification of the CTBT in 1999. At that time, the Senate expressed concerns about whether the Treaty could be effectively verified. Today, we have a much stronger case in that regard. It is thanks to the hard work of this Commission, its member States, and the staff of the Provisional Technical Secretariat that great progress toward establishing the Treaty’s verification regime has been made in the last decade.

In 1999, the International Monitoring System (IMS) existed only on paper. Today, the IMS is roughly 85 percent complete and, when completed, there will be IMS facilities in 89 countries spanning the globe. At entry into force of the Treaty, the full body of technical data gathered via the IMS will be available to all States Parties. This will enable us to fulfill our shared obligation to enforce the global ban on nuclear explosive testing, a nonproliferation goal we all seek. Even now, very useful data is available to States Signatories and those states hosting IMS facilities.

As the Administration engages the U.S. Senate the United States has increased its participation in all of the Preparatory Commission's activities in preparation for the entry into force of the CTBT, especially with respect to the effective implementation of the Treaty’s verification regime. U.S. technical experts are working closely with their counterparts from the Provisional Technical Secretariat and with other experts from many Signatory States represented here today in collaborative efforts to improve the capabilities of the global International Monitoring System and the International Data Centre.

After an eight-year absence, U.S. experts since 2009 have been fully engaged in further developing the On-Site Inspection element of the verification regime, both from policy and technical perspectives. The United States has also continued to bear the full costs of operating, maintaining, and sustaining the 31 stations of the International Monitoring System assigned by the Treaty to the United States. These actions tangibly demonstrate the commitment of the United States to prepare for the entry into force of this Treaty.

While much has been accomplished, more hard work lies ahead. We need to maintain the momentum towards completion and maintenance of a fully functioning verification system. Such a system, meeting the requirements established by the PrepCom, serves as a strong deterrent for any State Party contemplating a nuclear test. Demonstrating that the Treaty can be verified also supports the argument that it should be ratified, and helps build further momentum for the Treaty’s entry into force.

Turning from political issues to more practical ones, I would like to express our gratitude to the Provisional Technical Secretariat for preparing the initial draft 2012 Program and Budget, and I would like now to share with you our views on it.

The United States supports realistic and program-driven budgets. In the current budget climate, we must be judicious in differentiating between essential tasks and ones we would undertake under ideal conditions, but which are not exigent. Assessments as to which efforts to fund should be made by the Commission based on clear information from the Provisional Technical Secretariat (PTS) about the resources needed to carry out those tasks.

We well understand and appreciate that budget strictures have sharpened the need to identify savings and limit budget growth, but we frankly do not believe a zero-real-growth budget is a tenable option. We cannot effectively maintain existing IMS facilities and continue the build-out of additional stations within the constraints of a zero-real-growth budget. There is a point at which seeking ever greater cost efficiencies from the PTS becomes counter-productive to the health of the organization and the verification regime.

In addition, we are skeptical about the proposed shift of resources from the International Data Centre (IDC) and International Monitoring System Divisions to the On-Site Inspection Division as a long-term approach to funding the OSI regime. As affirmed in previous statements by the PrepCom and Working Group B, development of the OSI regime represents a core activity of the PTS. The OSI Division should be supported in its own right – out of the regular budget – without taking away resources from the IDC and the IMS Divisions.

The United States is frankly disappointed that the initial draft 2012 Program and Budget provides no regular budget funding for the two core Directed Exercises in the approved OSI Action Plan, or for the Integrated Field Exercise scheduled for 2014 (IFE14). These exercises are necessary for the further development and refinement of the On-Site Inspection regime preparatory to entry into force. Like the rest of the OSI Division's activities, IFE14 and the build-up exercises should be viewed as part of the essential work of the Provisional Technical Secretariat, and should accordingly be funded out of the regular budget, not out of supplementary appropriations.

Consistent with the views expressed by a number of States Signatories at both the May 5 briefing on IFE funding and the recent meeting of Working Group A, the United States would urge the PTS to identify alternative funding modalities, including the incorporation of some costs for the build-up exercises and IFE14 into the regular budget.

By including some of the IFE14 costs in the regular budget, a more accurate picture of the CTBTO’s funding needs will be presented, affording States Signatories a better sense of the trade-offs between competing requirements.

Before concluding, I would like to comment on two personnel appointments, that is, the new Director of Administration for the PTS, and the new Director of the International Monitoring System Division. I would like to note that for the United States of America, attention to gender balance in professional and technical personnel appointments is of utmost importance. And I know that if my boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was here, she would strongly underscore that message.

Mr. Chairman, I wish to thank you for your work in leading the efforts of the Commission. The United States wishes you, the members of the Commission, and the staff of the Provisional Technical Secretariat success in the days and months ahead.