Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Updated 'Safeguards' and Net Assessments [June 3, 2009]   [open pdf - 727KB]

"In 1996, [the United States] signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban all nuclear explosions. The Senate rejected the CTBT in 1999. [...] [One] aspect to past debates was 'Safeguards,' measures that this nation can take unilaterally within the treaty to protect its nuclear security. To compensate for 'disadvantages and risk' they saw in the treaty regime, the Joint Chiefs of Staff conditioned their support for the 1963 treaty on four Safeguards: an aggressive nuclear test program, maintaining nuclear weapon laboratories, maintaining the ability to resume atmospheric tests promptly, and improving intelligence and nuclear explosion monitoring capabilities. Safeguards were key to securing Senate ratification of the 1963 treaty. Updated Safeguards have been part of subsequent treaty ratification efforts. In April 2009, President Obama pledged to pursue U.S. CTBT ratification 'immediately and aggressively.' [...] Safeguards could affect Senators' net assessment of the treaty [and] are amenable to legislative bargaining and compromise. As such, they may play a key role in a CTBT debate. To that end, Safeguards could be updated, such as by adding Safeguards for the nuclear weapon production plants and strategic forces, and could be augmented with implementation measures. While Safeguards may be part of a future CTBT debate, both supporters and opponents of the treaty could criticize them." This report examines potential arguments.

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CRS Report for Congress, R40612
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