General Henry H. Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
underscored JCS support for prompt U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive
Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty in appearances before the House and Senate Armed Services
Committees on February 2 and 3. In doing so, Shelton reinforced endorsements that
the Treaty had received previously from Generals John Shalikashvili, Colin Powell,
and David Jones, and from Admiral William Crowe, all former JCS chairmen under
Presidents Clinton, Bush, Reagan, and Carter respectively.
The JCS posture statement declares that:
In a very real sense, one of the best ways to protect our troops and our
interests is to promote arms control in its many different forms. In both the
conventional and nuclear realms, arms control can reduce the chances of conflict,
lower tensions, generate cost savings, and encourage peaceful solutions to
international and intrastate disputes.
.....Our efforts to lower the numbers of strategic nuclear weapons
coincide with efforts to control testing of nuclear weapons. In the 1999
State of the Union Address, the President asked the Senate to approve the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, now, to make it harder for other nations to
develop nuclear arms. To date, 152 nations have signed the Treaty and 27
have ratified it. The Joint Chiefs of Staff support the ratification of this
Treaty, with the safeguards package that establishes the conditions under
which the United States would adhere to the Treaty.
These safeguards were announced by President Clinton in August 1995, when
he decided to pursue a true zero-yield Treaty. They will strengthen our commitment in the areas of intelligence, monitoring and
verification, stockpile stewardship, maintenance of our nuclear laboratories,
and test readiness. They also specify the circumstances under which the President,
in consultation with Congress, would be prepared to withdraw from the CTBT under
the standard “supreme national interest” provision in the unlikely event that
further testing might be required.