Congress Should Not Waste Money on Test Ban Treaty

Michaela Dodge /

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs recently adopted a budget blueprint that provides a $30 million voluntary contribution to the Vienna-based Prep aratory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) Organization. At a time of fiscal constraint, this expenditure is unnecessary. There are better ways for the United States to spend these resources, such as modernization of its obsolete nuclear weapons complex.

In 1999, the Senate refused to give its advice and consent to the CTBT; that would still be a bad idea today. Current members of the Senate should recognize and honor the Senate’s previous action. In fact, problems with the treaty have grown worse over time. Here are a few issues with the treaty:

The argument about moral leadership is likely to be repeated with the CTBT. Yet if history is any guide: Since the U.S. conducted its last nuclear weapons test in 1992, North Korea, India, and Pakistan have conducted their own nuclear tests. In addition, Iran is now closer to developing a nuclear weapons capability than ever before. There is no demonstrated link between countries pursuing nuclear weapons programs and U.S. nuclear weapons testing. The U.S. should spend its resources wisely rather than support a multilateral agency that promotes goals contrary to U.S. national security.

Update: The last U.S. nuclear weapons test was in 1992, not 1993 as was originally reported. This post has been updated.