Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Changes Anticipated at Test Ban Treaty Organization
WASHINGTON — The international organization responsible for promoting a global nuclear test ban treaty and preparing to monitor compliance with the pact could face significant changes over the coming year, according to officials and documents (see GSN, July 25, 2003).
A large number of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization’s roughly 178 internationally recruited professional staff expect to leave the nearly 8-year-old organization by 2006 in accordance with a seven-year service limit and a temporary policy allowing for a two-year extension (see GSN, Feb. 21, 2003).
A comprehensive organizational review is planned for this year and next that could precipitate a restructuring of the organization. An external team will conduct the review to examine how its functional structure, methods of operation, and staffing profile might be changed as the organization shifts from a buildup phase to one of testing and evaluation and operation and maintenance.
In addition, the Vienna-based organization’s founding executive secretary, German Ambassador Wolfgang Hoffmann, is scheduled to leave the position next July and be replaced by a successor to be chosen in November. Future executive secretaries will serve a maximum of two four-year terms.
The organization’s International Data Center, which receives and processes global monitoring data, and its on-site inspection office, also will get new directors this year.
These bureaucratic changes are not as significant as fundamental challenges the organization faces, said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.
“These are ordinary and useful steps in the development of the CTBTO. However, the real problems the CTBTO faces have to do with obtaining the full contributions of all the member states and obtaining the additional signatures and ratifications to put the international monitoring system in full effect along with the on-site inspection capabilities of the system,” he said.
A former CTBTO official who asked not to be identified, though, said he believes the changes could have a significant impact, with the review potentially producing a more flexible organization that is better able to shift resources, rather than hiring new personnel, to meet changing challenges.
The loss of skilled professionals because of the tenure policy, meanwhile, could be harmful, the former official said.
“They’ll reach a bow wave where a number of very crucial people, the bones of the organization in a way because they have so much requisite experience, could be lost unless the organization smartly manages the turnover and willfully makes exceptions to the seven-year policy,” the former official said.
The organization’s decision last month to accept national dues payments in two currencies, the U.S. dollar and the Euro, instead of just the dollar, could also affect the organization. As the dollar has weakened against the Euro, the organization has effectively lost money. Working with two currencies, however, could complicate the CTBTO finances, the former official said. Difficulties in collecting full dues from members have also troubled the organization, which is operating under a $95 million budget this year.
Details of the plans were described in the final report of the 22nd session of the organization’s preparatory commission last month.
The organization was created in November 1996, two months after the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly and opened for signature. Most countries in the world have signed, 172 of 194, and 115 have ratified, with new nations added nearly every month (see GSN, July 6). International monitoring stations continue to be constructed worldwide, with more than 100 transmitting data that would indicate any nuclear testing.
The treaty has not entered into force, as 12 of 44 required states, including the United States, have not ratified. Concerns persist in the international community that the ban and the organization are in danger, because of the prospect that a member or nonmember will resume testing.
North Korea has been cited as a concern, having suggested it may test a nuclear weapon, according to U.S. officials (see GSN, June 25).
Analysts also have questioned whether the United States might decide to resume testing in the future, either to help maintain its current nuclear weapons stockpile or develop new capabilities (see GSN, Sept. 3, 2003). The Bush administration has opposed ratifying the treaty to preserve the option of future testing, but has adhered to a unilateral testing moratorium adopted following the last U.S. nuclear test in 1992.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said at a congressional hearing this year the United States “will maintain our test prohibition. There’ll be no testing on our side.”
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The UNSCR 1540 Resource Collection examines implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in all of the regions and countries of the world to-date.
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A fact sheet on current and projected costs of maintaining the U.S. nuclear deterrent, produced by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.