Assertions that the CTBT amounts to “unilateral nuclear disarmament” misrepresent what the CTBT is and what impact it will have on the United States. The CTBT is a multilateral treaty that will ban completely nuclear explosive testing. The United States ceased testing nuclear weapons in 1992. The CTBT, therefore, is a legally-binding way to hold others to the same standard that we have already adopted.
The CTBT will constrain the ability of other countries to acquire nuclear capabilities, and it will constrain the programs of countries that currently have nuclear weapon programs. As the most advanced nuclear weapon state, it is in the U.S. interest to cap in further advances among nuclear capable states.
The CTBT would not undermine the safety, reliability, or effectiveness of our deterrent. In fact, USG willingness to support the negotiation of a CTBT was contingent on its being able to preserve its nuclear deterrent through establishing with confidence a means to maintain the safety and reliability of its nuclear arsenal without testing nuclear weapons.
This is the case today. The United States is currently spending billions of dollars on a comprehensive, science-based “stockpile stewardship” program to ensure that its nuclear weapon arsenal remain safe and reliable in the absence of nuclear testing.
In sum, the contribution the CTBT would make to nonproliferation and to constraining advances in other countries’ nuclear weapon programs makes it an essential and positive step.
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