Policy ForumARMS CONTROL

Maintaining a Nuclear Deterrent Under the Test Ban Treaty

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Science  19 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5405, pp. 1119-1120
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5405.1119

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Summary

As a condition for signing the CTBT, the United States had to have confidence based on sound scientific and technical analysis that a safe and effective nuclear deterrent can be maintained, consistent with stated national policy, under a total ban on all nuclear tests. To meet this requirement the DOE has developed a Stockpile Stewardship Program that relies on advanced diagnostic equipment, data from crucial new experiments, greatly enhanced computational power, and the retention of first-class scientists and engineers. Well supported and executed, this program will generate a deeper scientifically based understanding of the processes occurring during a nuclear explosion. We describe its basic elements that we believe to be necessary to provide confidence to government leaders that the United States is meeting its national security requirements in compliance with the CTBT.