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Home arrow eBook Categories arrow Military arrow Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning

Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning

eBooks - Military
October 22 2008

Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War PlanningAn incipient nuclear arms race is emerging between the United States and China.

The two nations have been aiming their nuclear weapons at each other for decades, but now – with the absence of a definitive enemy such as the Soviet Union – the United States has elevated China to fill the void to help justify modernizing its armed forces in general, and its nuclear forces in particular. China, too, uses the United States as a rationale for modernizing its forces, and the two nations are becoming increasingly locked into a pattern of action-and-reaction reminiscent of the Cold War.

The U.S.- Chinese nuclear arms race is not on the scale of that between the United States and the Soviet Union that threatened the world with peril for four decades, but it shows worrisome signs of intensifying. This wasteful and potentially dangerous competition still can be avoided if wiser heads on both sides prevail and ensure that military competition and worst-case planning do not undermine and complicate the far more extensive and important economic, political, and cultural relationship between the two giants.

To better understand the nuclear relationship between China and the United States, the dynamics that drive it, and its potential consequences, we first examine Chinese nuclear forces in some detail, including their past development, their current status, and what future programs are underway according to the U.S. government’s assessments and other sources.

We then provide a history of U.S. nuclear targeting of China – although much is still shrouded in secrecy, and conclude by simulating two hypothetical nuclear strike scenarios that are likely to be close approximations of actual war plans: a U.S. strike against Chinese intercontinental ballistic missile silos and a Chinese strike against U.S. cities. ...

Download Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning

PDF format, 12MB, 261Pages.

Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris, Matthew G. McKinzie
November 2006
© Federation of American Scientists/Natural Resources Defense Council

TABLE OF CONTENTS
About the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ii
Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .iii
List of Figures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .v
List of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .viii
Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ix
Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .x
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
The United States Has Overpowering Superiority . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
China’s No-First-Use Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
A Rationale for Spending and Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
The Consequences of a Nuclear Strike . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Conclusions and Recommendations: We Don’t Need Another Cold War . . . .12
I. The Debate over China’s Nuclear Modernization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
The Office of the Secretary of Defense . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Estimates From the Intelligence Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Congress and the 1999 Cox Report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
Congressional Research Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
China’s Nuclear Weapons Policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
II. Estimates of Chinese Nuclear Forces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
Nuclear Ballistic Missiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
The Issue of Mobility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
The Issue of Multiple Warhead Payloads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
The Issue of Missile Ranges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Land-based Ballistic Missiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
DF-3A (CSS-2) MRBM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
DF-21 (CSS-5) MRBM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64
Long-Range Ballistic Missiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67
DF-4 (CSS-3) LRBM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .67
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71
DF-5A (CSS-4 Mod 2) ICBM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71
DF-31 (CSS-X-10) ICBM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .73
DF-31A ICBM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
Other Nuclear Ballistic Missiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76
The Chinese Submarine Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77
Nuclear-Powered Ballistic Missile Submarines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79
Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86
Submarine Operations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
Medium-Range Bombers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93
Tactical Nuclear Weapons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .98
Nuclear Cruise Missiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104
Ballistic Missile Test Launch Facilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106
Underground Facilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110
Nuclear Weapons Testing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .123
III. China in U.S. Nuclear War Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .127
The Role of Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .133
Sea-Launched Ballistic Missile Submarines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .135
SSBN Command and Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .137
“Layer Upon Layer of Options” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .141
A New Deterrent in the Pacific . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .148
The Denuclearization of South Korea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157
China Back in the Crosshairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .160
The Nuclear Non-Targeting Agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .164
Current Nuclear Planning Against China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .166
Recent Upgrades to Weapons and Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .170
IV: Simulated U.S. and Chinese Nuclear Strikes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .173
Calculating the Effects of Nuclear Weapons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .174
Scenario One: U.S. Nuclear Strike Against Chinese Long-Range ICBMs . . .175
Scenario Two: Chinese Nuclear Strikes Against U.S. Cities . . . . . . . . . . . . . .186
Discussion of Nuclear Strike Simulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .193
V: Conclusions and Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .197
Appendix A: Chinese Nuclear Forces, 2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .202
Endnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .203

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Hans M. Kristensen is Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. He is co-author of the Nuclear Notebook column in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the World Nuclear Forces overview in the SIPRI Yearbook. His research focuses on the evolution of nuclear strategy and operations in the post-Cold War era, and his disclosure of preemptive nuclear strike options in the revised Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations in 2005 caused the Pentagon to cancel the document (see: http://www.nukestrat.com/us/jcs/canceled.htm). Contact: (202) 454-4695.

Robert S. Norris is a senior research associate with the NRDC nuclear program and director of the Nuclear Weapons Databook project. He is co-editor of the Nuclear Weapons Databook series, the five-volume definitive encyclopedia of the nuclear weapons of the United States, Soviet Union/Russia, Britain, France and China. He is also the author of Racing for the Bomb (2002), a biography of General Leslie R. Groves, the head of the Manhattan Project, which built the atomic bomb during World War II. Contact: (202) 289-2369.

Matthew G. McKinzie is currently a scientific consultant to the Nuclear Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Since obtaining his Ph.D. in experimental nuclear physics, he has worked in the areas of nuclear non-proliferation, the environmental impacts of nuclear weapons production, homeland security and the application of satellite imagery and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to human rights. Contact: (202) 299-4393 (cell).

Visit Federation of American Scientists Website

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was founded in 1945 by scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs.

These scientists recognized that science had become central to many key public policy questions. They believed that scientists had a unique responsibility to both warn the public and policy leaders of potential dangers from scientific and technical advances and to show how good policy could increase the benefits of new scientific knowledge.

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