Amendment on CTBTO Funding Undermines Global Test Ban

An amendment to “restrict” all funding for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization—except for the International Monitoring System—was introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act, based on Feb. 7 legislation introduced by Wilson and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

Also in the amendment is a declaration by Congress that UN Security Council Resolution 2310 passed Sept. 15, 2016 does not “obligate...nor does it impose an obligation on the United States to refrain from actions that would run counter to the object and purpose” of the CTBT, which could undermine the U.S. obligation—as a signatory to the treaty—not to conduct nuclear test explosions.

This legislation is in spite of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s joint statement with other G7 foreign ministers this April which noted in part that all nations “should maintain all existing voluntary moratoria” on all nuclear test explosions, and “recalls” UN Security Council Resolution 2310 as an important contribution to nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament

The Wilson amendment was adopted by the House (see the floor debate here beginning page. 294) and likely will resurface in the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act as well.

For more information, read Daryl G. Kimball's Arms Control Association Issue Brief.