The signing of the
START II treaty in January 1993 and the Clinton
administration's intentions to further cutting
the military budget and reducing nuclear forces
prompted STRATCOM to bring the conclusions of the
STRATCOMs View briefing into a formal study
of alternative force structures. The study,
entitled Sun City, examined nine different force
structures, six of which were at the 3,500 START
II accountable limit, and three that fell
"well below" 3,500 weapons. Option 1
was the "preferred" force structure in
STRATCOM's View briefed to the
Secretary of Defense in November 1992.
objective of Sun City was to "capture the
effectiveness" of each force structure
option in its ability to hold the threat at risk,
its planning flexibility, and its affordability.
STRATCOM's core concern was to evaluate -- from
the warfighter's perspective -- the impact of
few, heavily MIRVed platforms (term used loosely
to indicate concentration of weapons on a
platform) versus many, lighter MIRVed platforms,
and the ability to effectively plan the forces.
In doing so, STRATCOM relied on the "rules
of thumb" developed in the
Phoenix Study to calculate the
number of weapons required for a given number of
assessing the various force structure options,
STRATCOM assigned a "penalty for capability
lost as compared to Option 1." Changes to
the mix of the Triad, for example, were assigned
penalties for degraded flexibility and capability
compared with Option 1. It is little surprise,
therefore, that Sun City concluded that the most
capable force structure was the most preferable
and that it was undesirable to reduce the force
level too much. To that end the smaller force
structure options (and target sets) were analyzed
mainly for "parametric purposes" for
the purpose of "realizing the magnitude of
the force structure required for smaller target
sets." Overall recommendations for the force
and capability of the Triad are
paramount, especially in light of the
thinning target base.
The size of
the force must be sufficiently capable
against a range of threats.
of bombers, ICBMs, and SSBNs must retain
flexibility and capability.
must be affordable.
not only validated the targeting principles of
Phoenix Study and became the
basis for implementing START II, it was also the
force structure that STRATCOM would subsequently
promote during the Nuclear Posture Review
conducted from October 1993 through September
A copy of the Sun City study can be downloaded from the right-hand column.