Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Safeguards

On August 11, 1995, when President Clinton announced U.S. support for a "zero yield" Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the President established concrete, specific safeguards that define the conditions under which the United States can enter into a CTBT. These safeguards will strengthen our commitments 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 would be prepared, in consultation with Congress, to exercise our supreme national interest rights under a CTBT to conduct necessary testing if the safety or reliability of our nuclear deterrent could no longer be certified. The President also directed the establishment of a new annual reporting and certification requirement that will ensure that our nuclear weapons remain safe and reliable under a CTBT. The safeguards that were established are as follows:

  • A: The conduct of a Science Based Stockpile Stewardship program to ensure a high level of confidence in the safety and reliability of nuclear weapons in the active stockpile, including the conduct of a broad range of effective and continuing experimental programs.

  • B: The maintenance of modern nuclear laboratory facilities and programs in theoretical and exploratory nuclear technology which will attract, retain, and ensure the continued application of our human scientific resources to those programs on which continued progress in nuclear technology depends.

  • C: The maintenance of the basic capability to resume nuclear test activities prohibited by the CTBT should the United States cease to be bound to adhere to this treaty.

  • D: Continuation of a comprehensive research and development program to improve our treaty monitoring capabilities and operations.

  • E: The continuing development of a broad range of intelligence gathering and analytical capabilities and operations to ensure accurate and comprehensive information on worldwide nuclear arsenals, nuclear weapons development programs, and related nuclear programs.

  • F: The understanding that if the President of the United States is informed by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy (DOE) -- advised by the Nuclear Weapons Council, the Directors of DOE's nuclear weapons laboratories and the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command -- that a high level of confidence in the safety or reliability of a nuclear weapon type which the two Secretaries consider to be critical to our nuclear deterrent could no longer be certified, the President, in consultation with Congress, would be prepared to withdraw from the CTBT under the standard "supreme national interests" clause in order to conduct whatever testing might be required.

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