A number of senior statesmen, politicians and internationally recognized experts have congregated in Stockholm, Sweden, to promote the CTBT’s entry into force. Through their expertise in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and their political standing, members of this Group of Eminent Persons – commonly known as the GEM – will inject new energy and dynamics into the entry-into-force process. Click  here.. to read about the GEM-members meeting in Stockholm.

 GEM-members are meeting in Stockholm at the invitation of Foreign Minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt,  for new steps to advance the CTBT’s entryinto-force by the remaining eight States. The Treaty has been signed by 183 States and ratified by 162, but 8 named States still have to join in order for the CTBT to enter into force.

It is officially known as the treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water, but is often abbreviated as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), or Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (NTBT) – although the latter also refers to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

  • The CTBT will enter into force when China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States have also ratified it.
  • The Treaty will apply to all States – nuclear weapon States and non-nuclear weapon States – equally.
  • The first article of the Treaty requires that “each State Party undertakes not to carry out any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion.” The ban is comprehensive: all nuclear tests are prohibited, no matter what yield

The origins of the treaty lay in worldwide public concern over the danger posed by atmospheric radioactive fallout produced by the aboveground testing of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear operations research and systems analysis was and is a knowledge-making process that began to make its won “reality” more than the reality that was uncovered through the techniques of nuclear modeling.

Systems analysis was intended to help policy makers understand the complex and essentially unknown nuclear world and assist them in making the policy process more rational. It was intended to produce usable knowledge, to quantify and model the nuclear world. Despite all its pretensions of rationality, the formal discourse of systems analysis is neither rational nor irrational. Systems analysis is a “belief system” (on belief systems, see Little and Smith 1988) that depends on and functions within larger “foreign policy and scientific belief systems”.

The engaging in the formal part of strategic nuclear discourse is even more so. The linguistic and mathematical abstractions used by weapons planners remove them from the reality of their plans and practices and thus allow them to think the unthinkable and perhaps do the unthinkable.

Thus, Security became a site of creativity after the Second world war and during the height of the cold war. Four years after the end of World War II, America saw another critical intelligence failure. The Soviets tested an atomic bomb in 1949, considerably sooner than U.S. experts had estimated. Three years later, President Harry Truman created the NSA. Its mandate was to eavesdrop on foreign governments and their agents, particularly those in the Communist world, because the cold war, which was fought in the shadows rather than on battlefields and the high seas, put a premium on covert means of offense and defense.

The CIA, by contrast, specialized in “human intelligence,” i.e., information gathered by American agents and moles inside foreign governments.

In other works, when analysts talk and reason abstractly about nuclear weapons through their nuclear models, they are not simply reporting in a precise way, the realities of the nuclear world as they find it. Nor are they simply using abstraction and models as a veil to hide the nuclear world from plain view by non-experts, though that might be a consequence of their discourse. Nor are they simply using abstraction, metaphor, models, and math.

The instrumental beliefs and logic of systems analysis show how those beliefs and models helped structure the emerging nuclear world and were used in arguments within the US foreign policy decision-making community during the cold war to develop the strategic nuclear arsenal.

Policy modelers are always responding to a problem. In the case of nuclear weapons and nuclear war, the problem is typically understood as a scenario. In this case War scenarios are the political and military conditions in which the system under analysis is assumed to be operating. The policy process can be conceived of as a flow: where U.S nuclear weapons policy and forces are determined in broad outline by presidential, National Security Council (NSC), and Defense Security directives. The president and NSC also direct policy analysts to study alternative options. Presidential and NSC directives are then fleshed out and implemented by planners and analysts with the Defense Department and the military services.

In both official and public discourse, the lingua franca of nuclear arguments was of course deterrence theory, but arguments rested on nuclear modeling operation research and systems analysis techniques.

Deterrence theory gained increased prominence as a military strategy during the Cold War with regard to the use of nuclear weapons. The dominant logic of deterrence theory is based on the idea of keeping someone from acting by threatening them with painful punishment if they do act (Freedman 200; Eden and Miller 1989). The Soviet Union, it was supposed, would be deterred from attacking the United States, or its more distant interests, if they knew the United States would attack them in return. The logic of deterrence and credibility is embedded in other intersubjectively held philosophical, instrumental, normative and identity beliefs. The core beliefs of nuclear rationality. The project of constructing a nuclear arsenal for the United States in part consisted of meeting the requirements of deterrence in a nuclear world. Part of the requirement for deterrence during the cold war was to acquire a secure second strike capability.

A credible nuclear deterrent, Bernard Brodie wrote in 1959, must be always at the ready, yet never used. In Thomas Schelling’s (1966) classic work on deterrence, the concept that military strategy can no longer be defined as the science of military victory is presented. Instead, it is argued that military strategy was now equally, if not more, the art of coercion, of intimidation and deterrence. The advent of nuclear weapons changed the course of the world as well as the war.

Since that time, all mankind has been struggling to escape from the darkening prospect of mass destruction on earth. In an age when both sides (the United States and the Soviet Union) have come to possess enough nuclear power to destroy the human race several times over, the world of communism and the world of free choice have been caught up in a vicious circle of conflicting ideology and interest. “Each increase of tension has produced an increase of arms; each increase of arms has produced an increase of tension.

In these years, the United States and the Soviet Union have frequently communicated suspicion and warnings to each other, but very rarely hope”. This problem had become an important public issue by 1955, but the first negotiations to ban nuclear tests foundered on differing proposals and counterproposals made by the United States and the Soviet Union, which were the two dominant nuclear powers at the time. The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs marked the end of World War II and the beginning of the nuclear age. As tensions between East and West settled into a Cold War, scientists in the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union conducted tests and developed more powerful nuclear weapons.

In May 1955, the United Nations Disarmament Commission brought together the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, and the Soviet Union to began negotiations on ending nuclear weapons testing.

Conflict soon arose over inspections to verify underground testing. The Soviet Union feared that on-site inspections could lead to spying that might expose the Soviets’ vastly exaggerated claims of the number of deliverable nuclear weapons. As negotiators struggled over differences, the Soviet Union and the United States suspended nuclear tests—a moratorium that lasted from November 1958 to September 1961.

Early on Tuesday 16 October 1962, John F Kennedy’s national security assistant, McGeorge Bundy, brought to the President’s bedroom some high-altitude photographs taken from U-2 planes flying over Cuba. They showed Soviet soldiers hurriedly and secretly setting up nuclear-armed missiles.

Soviets had openly been sending weaponry to Cuba, including surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles (SAMs). To deflect any criticism about this from the Republicans, who were busy campaigning for the November congressional elections. Kennedy had said he would not protest about such defensive weaponry being installed in Cuba, but warned that if the Soviets ever introduced offensive weapons, ‘the gravest issues would arise. The United States at the time had more than 25,000 nuclear weapons in their arsenal. The Soviet Union had not quite half as many. Kennedy’s predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, had calculated in 1960 that, if a crisis led either side to fire nuclear weapons, all humans in the northern hemisphere could perish. ‘Gravest issues’ indeed.

John F. Kennedy had supported a ban on nuclear weapons testing since 1956. He believed a ban would prevent other countries from obtaining nuclear weapons, and took a strong stand on the issue in the 1960 presidential campaign.

Once elected, President Kennedy pledged not to resume testing in the air and promised to pursue all diplomatic efforts for a test ban treaty before resuming underground testing. He envisioned the test ban as a first step to nuclear disarmament. In his commencement address at American University on June 10, 1963, Kennedy announced a new round of high-level arms negotiations with the Russians. He boldly called for an end to the Cold War. “If we cannot end our differences,” he said, “at least we can help make the world a safe place for diversity.” The Soviet government broadcast a translation of the entire speech, and allowed it to be reprinted in the controlled Soviet press. By excluding underground tests from the pact, negotiators eliminated the need for the on-site inspections that worried the Kremlin.

On July 25, 1963, after only 12 days of negotiations, the two nations agreed to ban testing in the atmosphere, in space, and underwater. Presidential recording of a meeting between President Kennedy and four high level government scientists that took place in the Cabinet Room of the White House on July 31, 1963 during which President Kennedy expresses optimism that the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty could lead to a détente with the Soviet Union.

Though the President is clearly interested in signing the treaty, he also expresses concern that other nations, like China, will conduct their own tests thus forcing the United States to return to testing.

“It is fascinating to hear President Kennedy speak of the Test Ban Treaty as a possible political olive branch between the United States and Soviet Union,” said Kennedy Library Presidential Recordings Archivist Maura Porter. On October 7, 1963 President Kennedy signs the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in the Treaty Room at the White House.

The next day, Kennedy claimed that a limited test ban “is safer by far for the United States than an unlimited nuclear arms race.” “Yesterday a shaft of light cut into the darkness; President John F. Kennedy speech July 26, 1963

On August 5, 1963, after more than eight years of difficult negotiations, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In Moscow the Limited Nuclear Test Ban treaty was signed on August 5, 1963, by U.S. Secretary Dean Rusk, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, and British Foreign Secretary Lord Home—one day short of the 18th anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Over the next two months, President Kennedy convinced a fearful public and a divided Senate to support the treaty. The Senate approved the treaty on September 23, 1963, by an 80-19 margin. Kennedy signed the ratified treaty on October 7, 1963.President_Kennedy_signs_Nuclear_Test_Ban_Treaty,_07_October_1963 The treaty:

  • prohibited nuclear weapons tests or other nuclear explosions under water, in the atmosphere, or in outer space
  • allowed underground nuclear tests as long as no radioactive debris falls outside the boundaries of the nation conducting the test
  • pledged signatories to work towards complete disarmament, an end to the armaments race, and an end to the contamination of the environment by radioactive substances.

The Treaty of Moscow was ratified by the U.S. Senate on September 24, 1963, by a vote of 80 to 19. The treaty went into effect on October 10, 1963. “We should also understand that it has other limits as well. Any nation which signs the treaty will have an opportunity to withdraw if it finds that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of the treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests; and no nation’s right of self-defense will in any way be impaired. Nor does this treaty mean an end to the threat of nuclear war. It will not reduce nuclear stockpiles; it will not halt the production of nuclear weapons; it will not restrict their use in time of war. Nevertheless, this limited treaty will radically reduce the nuclear testing”.

This treaty can be the opening wedge in that campaign. It provides that none of the parties will assist other nations to test in the forbidden environments. It opens the door for further agreements on the control of nuclear weapons, and it is open for all nations to sign, for it is in the interest of all nations; John F. Kennedy referred to it.

November 1966: The General Assembly adopts two resolutions on nonproliferation: resolution 2149 (XXI), by which it appeals to all States, pending conclusion of a nuclear nonproliferation treaty, to renounce actions that might hamper agreement on such a treaty, and resolution 2153 A (XXI), in which it calls upon the Eighteen-Nation Committee on Disarmament to give priority to the question of non-proliferation and also to consider the question of assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States.

Thirty-three years later, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Signed by 71 nations, including those possessing nuclear weapons. Though it was signed by President Bill Clinton, the Senate rejected the treaty by a vote of 51 to 48. Since then the Treaty has been signed by 183 States and ratified by 162, but 8 named States still have to join in order for the CTBT to enter into force.

A global network of 321 monitoring stations and 16 laboratories is being set up to detect nuclear tests, providing a powerful system that can also give early warning of tsunamis, nuclear accidents and earthquakes. It was recently employed in the search for missing airplane MH370.

On Friday, 11 April 2014, The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) is hosting an event With some of today´s most proficient in this field, discussing: from prohibiting nuclear testing to detecting tsunamis and missing airplanes: The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in a changing world.

  The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) prohibits all nuclear explosions anywhere as an effective measure of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.