Underground Defense Sites

The other night I was sleepily watching FRONTLINE on Public Television when something made me sit up and take notice. After the Boston Marathon bombings, many T.V. shows appeared addressing our national defense system. This was one of them.

What caught my attention was the display of numerous round red circles, some large and some small. They circled Washington DC and stretched clear across the United States. All were said to be underground defense sites. They were described as buildings, some stretching ten floors down into the ground, and all were on U.S. government controlled land.

Last fall, Christian Davenport of the Washington Post reported wondering what all the digging outside the oval office was for ‒ so far a hole big enough to house the president, all his cabinet, and who know what else. No one is talking about it and the project appears to be hidden behind barriers and fences.

I don’t object to secrets, especially if they are meant to protect our government, but I admit it was quite a shock to learn that many of the four-story government buildings in D.C. had big, underground offices.

Stephen I. Schwartz wrote that even less well known is the so-called Federal Relocation Arc around Washington, in which every Cabinet department (and every government organization deemed essential) maintains its own emergency backup facility. Many were activated and staffed for months following Sept. 11. During the Bush administration, some 4,000 employees from 50 to 60 federal agencies participated in Forward Challenge, the largest ever continuity-of-government exercise.

Speaking of secrecy, Mt. Weather, located 48 air miles from Washington in the Appalachian hills, is surrounded by mystery. The 200,000 square foot facility houses FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Center, and the National Emergency Coordinating Center. FEMA is happy to  will tell you how many acres it occupies, (434), that it has offices, training rooms,  dormitories, its own fire and police departments and a cafeteria that seats 280. That’s about all they will volunteer except that they are the hub of the nations emergency defense. What else transpires at that facility is undisclosed.

Supposedly, it is considered an underground relocation site where personnel can be moved (government and military only) in case of a cataclysmic event. Gossip has it that there are tunnels with bullet trains from DC to Mt. Weather and that it also hides an underground military base. Its real secrets are protected by warning signs, chain link fences with razor wire and armed guards.

Since being built it has fascinated mystery writers around the world. As far back as 1962, newspaperman Fletcher Knebe wrote Seven Day in May which became a A New York Times best selling spy thriller. In his novel, he probably used his knowledge of Mt. Weather as the president’s secret hideaway though he called it Mt. Thunder.

Back to the red circles‒ one looked like to be right here Kansas City.

Could it be the five  million square feet of leased warehouse and office space located in the limestone caves near Worlds of Fun? Two miles of rail lines and six miles of road reach back into long arms and tunnels where temperature is in the mid-sixties year-round. Not a bad place to work.  Does the government manage it? Is it an authorized shelter? Or is it in fact the wave of the future ‒an innovative answer to climate control?

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2 Responses to Underground Defense Sites

  • maril crabtree says:

    from the collected “essential writings” of feminist theologian Dorothee Soelle: “The illusion of bourgeois concepts of security lies, I think, in the expectation that peace can come from business dealings, from rational agreement. Behind this idea lies a rationalistic optimism that flies in the face of the genuine despair of peoples subjected to the ideology of security. . . . Life that excludes and protects itself against death protects itself to death.”

    In my view, our nation is consumed by this “ideology of security.” Worshipping this false idol has ruined our economy and threatens to ruin basic foundational tenets such as the real meaning of freedom (reducing the Constitution to one freedom above all, the freedom to carry a lethal weapon). One more thing — I highly recommend the movie “The Company You Keep,” not that it’s great cinematic art, but it carries a truthful message, something that most of today’s movie fodder lacks.

    • Maril,

      Trust you to find the right words written by Dorothee Soelle to express exactly the way I feel: “Life that excludes and protects itself against death protects itself to death.”
      I will make every effort to see “The Company You Keep.” Thanks. -b-

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