CTBT Preparatory Commission

U.S. Statement

Madame Chair:

My delegation is pleased to take the floor under your leadership of this meeting of the Preparatory Commission (PrepCom).  We assure you of our full cooperation and support as this body moves forward to complete the preparations necessary for the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

President Obama has made clear that the CTBT is integral to the U.S. nonproliferation and arms control agenda, and his Administration is committed to seeking the advice and consent of the United States Senate to ratify the treaty, and to secure the ratifications by the other remaining Annex 2 States necessary to bring the treaty into force at an early date.

In May, I was part of the U.S. delegation to the 2010 Review Conference for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).    The participants in that Conference demonstrated a clear recognition of the importance of the CTBT to the non-proliferation regime and agreed to five action items related to the CTBT.  The prospects for entry into force of the CTBT received an additional boost from Indonesia’s welcome announcement that it would now move forward with its ratification efforts.

I would call the Commission’s attention to an action item from the consensus final document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference, which is directed explicitly to this body:

“Action 14: The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization is to be encouraged to fully develop (emphasis added) the verification regime for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, including early (emphasis added) completion and provisional operationalization of the international monitoring system in accordance with the mandate of the Preparatory Commission, which should, upon entry into force of that Treaty, serve as an effective, reliable, participatory and non-discriminatory verification system with global reach, and provide assurance of compliance with that Treaty.”

We can all be proud of the accomplishments of the Preparatory Commission to date toward meeting the goals laid out in the action item.  We have installed the vast majority of the International Monitoring System (IMS); the International Data Centre (IDC) routinely receives and processes vast amounts of monitoring data and forwards on a regular basis its products and the raw IMS data to the members of this Commission; and we have taken initial steps toward establishing an operational on-site inspection (OSI) program.

Yet much work remains.  Some of the IMS stations awaiting installation are in difficult locations, where accessibility and terrain will be a challenge.  Nonetheless, these stations must be installed to complete the system and ensure the global reach called for in the RevCon Final Document.  We are still coming to grips with the challenges of maintaining a worldwide network of monitoring stations covering the full spectrum of the world’s climates – from arid deserts to rainforest; from tropical islands to frozen tundra.   IDC analysts are continuing the techniques to efficiently and accurately process the IMS data within very short timelines.  OSI experts are busy converting their knowledge about what the inspection team will need into: (1) training materials to pass that information on to future inspectors,  (2) equipment best suited to making the needed measurements in the field, and (3) procedures and techniques that will draw them all together.  The OSI that the Treaty describes is a multi-faceted jewel of capability; we are just now finishing a rough cut.

Significant policy and technical challenges remain, requiring our attention.  The United States wishes to thank the Chairman of Working Group B and the participating Signatory States for focusing our attention on a few of these challenges during the Working Group B informal consultations held this past May.  While the utility of such discussions can only be determined during the 35th session of Working Group B, I think it fair to say that such consultations can augment but not substitute for the regularly scheduled May/June session of Working Group B.  It is our hope that those States that choose not to fully participate or who cannot fully participate in all meetings of the Policy Making Organs do not allow their absence to become an impediment to progress by the PrepCom.

The PMOs have other tasks:  we need to complete the work of revamping the procurement system, from one oriented to building the verification regime to one oriented to operations and maintenance of that regime.  The PTS and external consultants carried out an excellent review of these matters, and we need to consider and take action on those recommendations.  When regulations and rules are established, they must be followed.

This body is grappling with how to pay the costs of the tsunami damage to our monitoring facilities on Juan Fernandez.  This also reminds us that this organization must provide the future CTBTO with the mechanisms – both financial and technical – to maintain the verification capability in the face of such disasters without requiring sudden huge spikes in the budget.  Further, as with any infrastructure, the installations wear out or become obsolete, requiring significant costs to “refresh” – to use the currently popular term – the system so that it remains reliable and effective.  Using a tool like the Sustainment element of the Capital Investment Fund to accumulate monies gradually to meet both these predictable large lifecycle replacement costs and the sudden costs of catastrophic repairs will enable us and the future CTBTO to maintain smooth and predictable budget profiles.

Moving forward, our program and budget needs to focus on four realities: (1) the requirement that we establish and operationalize an effective and reliable verification regime by entry into force; (2) the need to focus on building the capability of the organization; (3) the likely unsuitability of zero real growth budgets for accomplishing these tasks; and (4) the increasing momentum toward entry into force.

First, we have an obligation to deliver a reliable and effective operational verification regime at Entry Into Force.  This requires continued system-wide testing to develop the skills, knowledge, and techniques required for the system to be operational and capable of sustained reliable operations.  In August of 2009, the Chairs of Working Groups A and B presented an outline of a work plan to make the verification regime operational and to bring it to a level adequate for entry into force within three years.  The PrepCom should use this document, together with the PTS Medium Term Plan, as our roadmap to fulfill our mandate with respect to readiness for entry into force of the treaty.  Further, the United States reiterates its request, made during the 34th session of Working Group B, for an assessment of the tasks to bring the IMS and IDC from provisional operations to full operations, to include identification of the financial and personnel resources needed to achieve this during the 180 days between the deposit of the final Annex 2 ratification and entry into force, as well as identifying those tasks that cannot be completed in such a time frame.

Second, we must be focused on the capability of this organization.  It will do us all little good to expend a great deal of effort to help Member States develop the capacity to make use of the data and products of this organization if we do not invest in and sustain the means of collecting the data and producing the products in a timely manner.  A National Data Center, no matter how capable, is of no benefit if there are no data for it to receive, or if quality IDC products are not produced in a timely manner.  We also must spend considerable effort to put in place the necessary procedures, infrastructure, and arrangements to stage effective on site inspections.

Third, we need to realize that this organization has not achieved a steady state situation, complicating efforts to achieve zero real growth budgeting.  The system is incomplete, and funds must be budgeted for capital investment necessary to build and certify the remaining stations.  Work continues on fleshing out the OSI processes and infrastructure, and, while we have fine IDC analysts, we have too few to achieve production of IDC products at the rates we desire without pushing the staff to a near breaking point.  We do not have the track record of operations and sustainment needed to realistically plan on zero real growth budgets.  If we had a fully-established verification regime — IMS, IDC, OSI – fully capitalized, fully staffed, and fully tested, and had an established and lengthy track record of operations, maintenance, and sustainment – we would be able to know reliably what level of purchasing power is needed for our budget and whether or not a zero growth budget is a realistic aspiration.

And yes, we need to consider the prospects for entry into force.  President Obama has been clear about our commitment to seeing the CTBT enter into force as soon as possible.  Indonesia’s announcement at the NPT Review Conference in May has added to this momentum.  The PrepCom cannot afford to consider entry into force as something far off and improbable; instead, we should ensure we are ready for the endgame.

Madame Chair, as I said at the beginning of my statement, the United States is ready and eager to provide its cooperation and support to the important work of this body.  We are optimistic about the prospects for CTBT entry into force, although it will not be easy and will require the efforts of all.  Let us all work together to turn momentum into action and finally reality.

Thank you, Madame Chair