The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

Where Are All the Nuclear Bunkers?

Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in late February, concerns over the potential use of nuclear weapons have grown. Specially designed bunkers may provide some degree of protection to people in the event of a nuclear attack.

But where are all the nuclear bunkers in the United States and who are they for?

During the Cold War, the U.S. government constructed a number of bunkers around Washington, D.C., and elsewhere that were designed to provide a safe haven for high-ranking members and staff during a nuclear attack on the country.

These bunkers were built as part of “Continuity of Government” (COG) plans, which received renewed interest and funding after the 9/11 attacks, according to the book Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself—While the Rest of Us Die, written journalist Garrett Graff.

Among the known facilities involved in the COG plans that are still in use are the Raven Rock Mountain Complex near Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania; the site at Peters Mountain in Virginia’s Appalachians; the Mount Weather bunker in Bluemont, Virginia; and the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in El Paso County, Colorado.

These facilities could likely sustain a population of thousands in the event of a catastrophe, Bradley Garrett, a cultural geographer and author of the book Bunker: What It Takes to Survive the Apocalypse—an exploration of “doomsday prepper” communities around the world—told Newsweek.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union invested heavily in public defense infrastructure. But the same cannot be said for the United States.

“You essentially had these two competing models,” Garrett said. “The socialist model, embraced by not just the Soviet Union but also Scandinavia, involved massive investment into the creation of government installations that would preserve the lives of citizens.”

He continued: “In more free market–inclined countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, bunkers were built for politicians, for elites, for wealthy people in positions of power. There was very little provision made for the general public.”

Read more at MSN

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.


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The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.