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At the same time, future testing might result in or create concerns about new nuclear weapon developments. In the absence of testing, basically new and newly optimized weapons on either side would be impossible. Consequently, new, more survivable delivery systems would have to be designed around existing warheads, and new reliability and safety problems might have to be dealt with in less than the optimum fashion by refabrication of existing weapons or modifications in nonnuclear components or operational procedures.

Politically, on the other hand, the failure of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union to negotiate a comprehensive test ban has become a symbol of the discriminatory nature of the NPT regime. As a consequence, the United States, which has borne the burden of this complaint because of its open advocacy of continued testing, may have lost some of its credibility as a leader in international efforts to control proliferation. There is concern that, when the future duration of the NPT is addressed at the 25th anniversary review conference in 1995, lack of progress on a test ban could jeopardize extension of the treaty. How difficult this issue will actually be remains to be seen, particularly if START is in place and the United States and the Soviet Union are making demonstrable progress toward substantial reductions in their nuclear arsenals in a cooperative security environment.

In the final analysis, most countries will make their decisions about the utility of the NPT regime or their maintenance of a nuclear option on the basis of their perceptions of their own security interests, not on the actions of the United States and Soviet Union or other nuclear weapons states on testing. The committee does not believe that a comprehensive nuclear test ban is critical to the policies recommended in this report and does not have a recommendation regarding one.


1. D. Ball, “The Development of the SIOP, 1960-1983,” D. Ball and J. Richelson. Strategic Nuclear Targeting. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1986, p. 81.

2. L.R. Leavitt, Reforging European Security: From Confrontation to Cooperation. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 1991, Appendix; M. M. May, G.F. Bing, and J.D. Steinbruner, Strategic Arms Reduction. Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1988.

3. May, Strategic Arms Reduction.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid., and H.A. Feiveson and F.N. von Hippel, “Beyond START: How to Make Much Deeper Cuts,” International Security, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Summer 1990), pp. 154-180.

6. An example of analysis that has resulted in similar suggested numbers of warheads is R.D. Speed, Strategic Forces: Future Requirements and Options. Livermore, Calif.: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Report UCRL-ID-105336, November 1990, pp. 52-53.

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