Foreign Policy Blogs

More on CTBT: Page Van Der Linden Interviews Linton Brooks and Daryl Kimball

Now that the Administration has begun to re-fulminate over the possibility of getting the CTBT ratified, Arms Control Wonk contributor Page Van Der Linden has begun posting a multi-part series on the subject. Her aim, in her words, is to present “the treaty from the points of view of people who were around the last time it went through — and failed to pass — the Senate.” What I am most interested to find out is how the changed political circumstances and technical advances could help/hinder ratification this time around.

Page begins with an interview with Ambassador Linton Brooks, former under-secretary of nuclear security, administrator of the NNSA, and chief negotiator on START I, and Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the Arms Control Association. Her post is titled "Secrets In the Sand". Daryl has been leading the charge in the NGO world for CTBT ratification. Brooks opposed ratification last time around but his views have since changed. He explains why in this interview.

In her second post, at Brooks’ suggestion, Page interviews a CTBT skeptic – Tom Scheber, Vice President of the National Institute for Public Policy, and former OSD and LANL guy. Her piece, which quotes Scheber, is entitled “"We Should Retain the Option To Test". Of note is that, in the previous interview with Ambassador Brooks, she confirms with him that “the only reason you test a weapon is when it is a brand new design, and you detonate it to gather data and to make sure it works.” To which Brooks responds: “I think that’s right. I mean, we did do so-called ‘stockpile confidence tests’, where we pulled a weapon from the stockpile and made it go ‘bang’, but we never did enough of them for any statistical validity, so all it proved was that that particular weapon worked.”

Ergo, if you support the option to test, you basically support the design and deployment of new nuclear weapons designs. Not exactly the way to get to zero, eh?



Jodi Lieberman
Jodi Lieberman

Jodi Lieberman is a veteran of the arms control, nonproliferation, nuclear terrorism and nuclear safety trenches, having worked at the Departments of State, Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She has also served in an advisory capacity and as professional staff for several members of Congress in both the House and Senate as well as the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Jodi currently spends her time advocating for science issues and funding as the Senior Government Affairs Specialist at the American Physical Society. The views expressed in her posts are her views based on her professional experience but in way should be construed to represent those of her employer.

Great Decisions Discussion group