A Policy Roadmap for Improved Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Monitoring
Project on Nuclear Issues: A Collection of Papers from the 2017 Conference Series and Nuclear Scholars Initiative, 105-120. Washington: Center for Strategic and International Studies/Rowman & Littlefield.
16 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2018 Last revised: 7 Mar 2018
Date Written: 2018
Just over two decades since the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) opened for signature, a total of 183 states have signed and 166 have ratified the accord. However, the treaty cannot enter into force until all 44 “nuclear-capable” states listed in its Annex 2 deposit their instruments of ratification. Eight of these states have not ratified the test ban. In light of this situation, it is nearly second nature for academic and policy discussions of the CTBT to overwhelmingly focus on the political roadblocks obstructing its entry into force. By contrast, this paper contends that the politics of treaty ratification are not the only dimension to the test ban discussion. Instead, it highlights a series of overlooked or understudied aspects of nuclear explosion monitoring. States can undertake a number of scientific and technical initiatives to strengthen CTBT monitoring, even in the absence of entry into force. In turn, by engaging in these types of projects, states do not merely create a more difficult climate for evasive nuclear testing; they may also bolster long-term prospects for the treaty’s ratification. This roadmap lays out a number of complementary efforts that policymakers may pursue toward this end.
Keywords: CTBT, nuclear weapons, nuclear testing, treaties, nonproliferation, arms control, international cooperation, technology studies
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