Inside The US Government's Plan To Survive Nuclear War (While The Rest Of Us Die)

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Sadie Dingfelder, originally posted at The Washington Post,

In 2011, a staffer at Washingtonian found a government ID in a Metro parking garage and gave it to Garrett M. Graff (the magazine’s editor-in-chief at the time) to track down its owner. “Since I reported about that world, he figured I’d know what to do with it,” Graff says.

Graff immediately noticed something strange.

“The back of the ID had these evacuation instructions on it. And so I got on Google Maps and followed the instructions and they led to a road that very clearly went into the side of a mountain, and you can see on the Google satellite view big concrete bunker doors.”

Raven Rock, a hollowed out mountain near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, is reportedly one of the undisclosed locations Dick Cheney worked from after 9/11.

That discovery inspired Graff to comb through newly declassified documents to learn more about the U.S. government’s plans in the event of a nuclear war or other catastrophe. His research culminated in the new book “Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself — While the Rest of Us Die.”

At first, the government didn’t plan to let “the rest of us die.”

“In the early 1950s, the government really hoped and believed it would be able to save most Americans,” Graff says.


As bombs became more destructive, “plans and ambitions gradually shrunk until, realistically, the best they could hope to do is save the senior leadership.”

Drills and disasters have shown that the federal government is too complex and unwieldy to pluck out of D.C. by helicopter and set up in an underground bunker — though that was, and still is, the basic plan, Graff says.

One such shelter is the mountain fortress Graff tracked down: Raven Rock. Here’s more on it, plus other tidbits from doomsday scenarios past and present.

Raven Rock

This compound, carved out of a mountain near the Pennsylvania-Maryland border, contains several freestanding, multistory buildings (on giant, shock-absorbing springs) for a total of 900,000 square feet of office space. It has its own subterranean water supply, too. Raven Rock is where top government and military officials would hide out in the event of a major attack on Washington, D.C.; it was reportedly one of the “undisclosed locations” former Vice President Dick Cheney worked from in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mount Weather

Another major underground government complex, Mount Weather has been in use since the 1950s. Located at the border of Loudoun and Clarke counties in Virginia, the 600,000-square-foot bunker inside the mountain was once (and still may be) the official evacuation site for Supreme Court justices, documents such as the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and the National Gallery of Art’s most valuable paintings.

E-4B ‘doomsday planes’

These custom-built 747s, also known as “Air Force One When It Counts,” are flying war rooms that follow the president when he travels internationally.

When POTUS is stateside, one plane sits ready on a runway at a Nebraska military base, “fully staffed with battle planners and war planners and meteorologists and anything else you might need to run a nuclear war,” Graff says. The planes are protected from electromagnetic pulse attacks with a fine wire mesh, and they can unfurl a 5-mile-long wire that allows communication with nuclear submarines.

Survival crackers

In the 1960s, the U.S. government distributed 150 million pounds of wheat crackers and biscuits to fallout shelters across America. Packages are still routinely found unopened in civic building basements, and apparently they don’t taste great. “I did actually find on eBay a box of them, but I haven’t been brave enough to try them in part because I have watched enough YouTube videos of other people trying them to know how disgusting they actually are,” Graff says.

Button #13

In the late 1970s, the D.C. mayor’s emergency control center at 300 Indiana Ave. NW had a Plexiglas-shielded button that, when pressed, triggered “Emer-zak,” the broadcast of emergency messages to lobbies, elevators and anywhere else served by the Muzak system.

*  *  *

While much of this is known, given the recent "Gotham Shield" nuclear attack drill and Washington D.C.'s recent "terror attack drill", one can't help but wonder if these old bunkers and emergency systems are getting dusted off... just as Hawaiian officials have already demanded.

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junction's picture

Around 1984, driving around  Brooklyn for the job I had, I started to see Army green cylindrical cans by neighborhood garbage pickup locations.  These about three foot cans had their lids missing and on the side they had a big CD painted, for civil defense.  Back then, some areas in Brooklyn were in bad shape, buildings were abandoned and the looters grabbed anything of apparent value.  Those 30 year old civil defense rations were free for the taking from where they were stored in building basements..  

null's picture

I admit that I am butthurt not to have one. Looks cool.

But where does it say that "the country" has to "provide" to be great?
Provide what? Who is going to manage the equilibrium of providers and providees?

Yen Cross's picture

  Poo Poo Coctails, down airshafts. 

business as stusual's picture

Absolutely not! First we have to ensure that we have found and welded shut all points of access. Then, and only then, do you empty the Sani Kan pump truck contents down the ventilation shaft.

Yen Cross's picture

 Yes, Assuming we have acess to Ready Mix truck, with fresh concrete.

land_of_the_few's picture

Gasoline flows well down gratings and the vapor is heavier than air.

land_of_the_few's picture

You could add some Jalapeno juice and Hai Karate too.

GracchusBrothers's picture

MEIN FUHRER...I can walk again!!!

Katos's picture

PUTIN has built sufficient underground BUNKERS to protect the entire population of Russia! Our leaders are only concerned with saving THEIR OWN skin?

Yen Cross's picture

 Okay lets get real. Putins idea, involves boiling the dead 

\  Ohh~Yah, and making Human Jerkey.

v76's picture

Another butt hurt bitch... just because your government hasn't provided a bunker for you.... so you have to find faults with great countries like Russia who try to provide for all their citizens.... grow up scrub.

Yen Cross's picture

 Grow Up. I was having some fun. You're a little baby.

 p0o-p0o on you.

HRH Feant2's picture

Yes. There was an article a few days ago about Seattle. Apparently the assholes in that city / state made it illegal to plan for a nuclear war. In 1983. You can't make this shit up. And guess which city, on the US mainland, is closest to North Korea? Yep. Seattle.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Looking for more Strangelove quotes and came across this one.  The moar things change:

U.S. President:   "But this is absolute madness, ambassador. Why should you build such a thing? [a doomsday device]" 

Russian ambassador:  "There are those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. And at the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we'd been spending on defense in a single year. But the deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap." 

US President:  "This is preposterous. I've never approved of anything like that." 

Russian ambassador:  "Our source was the New York Times.

Lucretius's picture

"We can't have fighting in the wAr rOOm"!!!


TwelveOhOne's picture

I think that Stanley Kubrick was hired to make fantasy believable.  Most of us know of his "2001: A Space Odyssey" which was his trial run for the moon missions, to "make space seem reality."

Recently I watched "Dr. Strangelove" again, and it struck me that perhaps he was hired to "make nuclear weapons seem reality."

man from glad's picture

What's the point in saving the U.S. Constitution when nobody in government follows or respects it any longer.

Xploregon's picture

Man from glad; Because "NEVER give up the ship". Ever.

shamus001's picture

Because someone forgot to pack a dart board!

oldguyonBMXbike's picture

Why would they?  None of us ever signed the Constitution.  It's a fraudulent document.  

Nobody For President's picture

I still respect it. I once swore and oath to defend it: I am still bound by that oath, so fuck you and all your up voters. And that is ALL enemies, foreign AND domestic. Just because a bunch of politicians are corrupt, like the end of the Roman empire, doesn't mean the people have to give up. 

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).




man from glad's picture

My original comment is a thought exercise. No need to get your panties all in a twist. A lot us have taken that oath - my question to you is what's holding you back? Because if you think voting is going to make a bit of difference at this point you need some catching up to do.

sheikurbootie's picture

The only comfort is knowing Obozo will not survive.

ebworthen's picture

Oh sure, let's all live in a hole when nothing outside is alive.

Paradise!  It just fucking figures.  What a bunch of dopes.

espirit's picture


Perhaps they also forgot about all the nuke power plants that would likely melt down.


Gotta have air in those bunkers, and filter/scrubbers don’t last forever.


Erwin643's picture

Well, to some of us, it is. I want to survive a nuclear war.

jaxville's picture

Me too.  I am not going to fade quietly into the night after those assholes in government start a war. I want to be around to lynch the survivors among that special group of special people who have been calling for wars since I learned who they were.

 BTW   war = foreign policy failure

Socratic Dog's picture

Yep. There's a huge underground bunker of some sort, built about 10 years ago, near where I live. That's target #1. Gasoline down the vents.

Professorlocknload's picture

Locked in there,,,,with Pelosi? No thanks, I'd rather get vaporized.

Anarchyteez's picture

Unlike Russia, which has planned for survival of their population.

PS, Seth Rich

Peak Finance's picture

I think I would actually prefer Immortan Joe Rule to the current Zio-Government / Beast

Yen Cross's picture

  Maybe Elon Musk - Tesla valuations- tunnel to uranus shit- means something?

SantaClaws's picture

We should be ready to roll some boulders in front of the doors to those government underground mountain hideouts so that one they get in they can't get out.

any_mouse's picture

Ya think there is only one way in or out?

Think a mansion has only the ornate front door?

How many gov workers are checking the back of their ID to see if they have the instructions?

Probably like the CIA parking lot on 9/12/2001. Very empty. Most CIA employees are non essential.

Would be interesting to fake an imminent nuclear attack and ZOG-COG goes into hiding. Cement all entrances and exits. Lock down all Federal offices. Signal all clear.

Wishful thinking, as if.

cherry picker's picture

We are all going to die, that is a given.

After being on this planet for a bit of time, I finally got it through my thick skull that maybe we need to do something with our lives besides satisfying testosterone and estrogen fueled urges.

When I kick the bucket, whether it is by USA caused nuclear event or other violent means or peaceful means, it matters not, but the state of my being, whatever I am at the moment that death comes knocking does matter to me.

IridiumRebel's picture

Start a nuclear war and then hide like a bitch as the plebes bleed out of their asses and die from radiation poisoning.
Sounds like an awesome plan.

Vageling's picture

Wapo? Weird. Bunkers became a money cow remember? Plenty of articles on ZH. Why surprised?

Pft's picture

These facilities are fully staffed and operating 24/7 so they need not rely on evacuations to ensure continuity of government. Key staff rotate in and out during the year. Indeed, some speculate they hide a shadow government , although I am not convinced.

There is also a giant seed vault in the Arctic housing all the worlds seeds so that crops can be grown outside once the world is habitable again. Studies have been done to estimate how long it will take before all signs of our civilization (cities, infrastructure) disappear.

Indeed, many of our elites dream of a day when 95% or more of us are disappeared and they can rebuild. There is a theory that there has already been a step in evolution where 5% or less are the new humans and us remaining homo sapiens are the new neanderthals needing to be eliminated. Laugh if you will.

East Indian's picture

I dont laugh at you. There are many "superior" people who dream of this. But I laugh at them. The only way to reduce the population is to make everyone get food, shelter and safety; the population will go down. I saw this happening in India - in some states; there are some Indian states where the population has actually gone down, slowly but surely, when almost the whole population got some work, got some decent wages (by Indian standard) and got something to look forward for the future; they reduced their family size almost immediately. Now those states are far better (by Indian standards again). 


Humans, especially those who do not rely on the state, are almost as difficult to destroy as cockroaches. Look at the mid- American countries; a lot of indigenous people still survive. With a reduction in population in big countries, pressure on the Amazon forests will come down, and the forest tribes will flourish again! 

Bobportlandor's picture

Let them go in and if anyone outside survives go appropriate as many concrete trucks as needed to seal those bunker doors shut.



Yen Cross's picture

 I'd be long







Salsa Verde's picture

Its a veneer fantasy; they didn't dig those bunkers.

We'll pop em out of there in a no time and have a fresh crew a ditch diggers to work to death.

any_mouse's picture

"Raven Rock, a hollowed out mountain near the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, is reportedly one of the undisclosed locations Dick Cheney worked from after 9/11."

Correction: "during", not "after". The op did not begin when the towers were struck and did not end when the towers fell.

navy62802's picture

Guess what ... when it all goes to shit, you're on your own.

robertocarlos's picture

The jokes on them. We'll be in Heaven, and they'll be in Hell on Eaerth.