home about


in the news links sitemap site updates






This web site is best
viewed in full screen
(1024x768) and
medium font with
Internet Explorer 5 or
higher and Netscape
6 or higher.


powered by

The Sun City Extended Study
U.S. Strategic Command, 1994
printerfriendly version

The Sun City Extended study was completed by STRATCOM in 1994, during the Nuclear Posture Review deliberations in 1994. This study build on the earlier Sun City study from 1993, but contained important changes compared with its predecessor.

The most interesting feature of Sun City Extended is its much greater focus on China. While the 1993 Sun City study focused on US-Russian nuclear relations and only mentioned China in passing, Sun City Extended in contrast dedicated a total of thirteen pages to examining various "China Scenarios." Two specific "potential US/China adversarial scenarios" were described in detail and declassified in their entirety, one evolving from a conflict over North Korea and the other being a direct U.S.-Chinese confrontation:

  • 1st scenario depicts a US/NK/China excursion:
    - regional as opposed to global concern;
    - calls for an "adaptively planned response against NK;"
     >>Not a full scale attack against China;
    - DPF (Deliberate Planning Force), NSNF (Non-Strategic Nuclear Force), or conventional air-launched/sea-launched cruise missiles.

  • 2nd scenario focuses on a China/CONUS (Continental US) confrontation:
    - "implies a need for a major-attack response plan."

The increased focus on China was important for several reasons. First, U.S. nuclear planners removed China from SIOP planning in 1982 to reflect the value of China as a potential partner against the Soviet Union. During the 1980s and 1990s, U.S. nuclear planning against China was confined to a small number of contingency options involving the strategic reserve force and non-strategic nuclear weapons. The Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP) for Fiscal Year 1984, for example, ordered the preparation of a contingency plan (CONPLAN) for the employment of nuclear weapons against China's power projection capabilities, but this requirement was dropped again in the FY85 JSCP.

China's status as a potential opponent to U.S. interests in the East Asia region increased in the early- to mid-1990s. Coinciding with political antagonism and U.S. intelligence reports about China's slow but steady modernization of long-range strategic nuclear forces, some military planners argued that it was necessary to begin developing more mainstream nuclear strike plans against China. During the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review, STRATCOM and some DOD officials unsuccessfully lobbied for increasing nuclear planning against China, and Sun City Extended in hindsight may have been intended to support their case by identifying the need for a nuclear "major-attack response plan" in a direct U.S.-Chinese confrontation. It wasn't until 1998, however, following President Clinton's signing of Presidential Decision Directive 60 (PDD-60) in November 1997, that guidance permitted STRATCOM to formally bring China back into SIOP nuclear planning.

A copy of the Sun City Extended study can be downloaded from the right-hand column.

(An earlier description of this document was first published by the Nautilus Institute Nuclear Strategy Project)


© Hans M. Kristensen | www.nukestrat.com | 2004

US Strategic Command,
"Sun City Extended," n.d.

[1994]. Partially declassified
and released under FOIA
(PDF-format, 6.2 MB)

see also:

» Hans M. Kristensen, "The Matrix of Deterrence: U.S. Strategic Command Force Structure Studies," The Nautilus Institute, Berkeley, California, May 2001 (PDF-format)

Requires Adobe Acrobat
Reader to view


  © Hans M. Kristensen