If Nuclear War Breaks Out, This Is Where Joe Biden Will Hide

The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine has once again heightened concerns about the potential use of nuclear weapons as President Vladimir Putin’s forces have suffered military setbacks.

Putin has previously warned that he would use “all available means to protect Russia and our people” and a new US strategic blueprint published this week—the National Security Strategy (NSS)—addresses concerns about potential Russian reliance on nuclear weapons.

“The United States will not allow Russia, or any power, to achieve its objectives through using, or threatening to use, nuclear weapons,” the strategy blueprint read.

As both Russian opposition leader Nikolay Rybakov and pro-Putin strongman Ramzan Kadyrov have suggested that the Russian president could use nuclear weapons, questions remain about what would happen to the US government in the event of a nuclear war.

President Joe Biden said on October 6 that the world was facing “the prospect of Armageddon” and that Putin is “not joking when he talks about the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming.”

Raven Rock

While many details about how the US would handle a nuclear conflict with Russia are unsurprisingly classified, it is believed that the business of the government would continue at Raven Rock Mountain Complex which sits inside a mountain near Blue Ridge Summit on the Pennsylvania-Maryland state line.

The city-sized complex has been referred to as the “underground Pentagon” and it is believed that the US government would operate from the site if the nation’s capital suffered a devastating attack.

A photo collage depicts the Raven Rock Mountain Complex in Pennsylvania. The facility has long been believed to play a crucial role in the event of a nuclear war.
Google Earth

The government provides little information about the complex, which is also known as “Site R” and “Harry’s Hole”, a name it was given because then-President Harry S. Truman ordered it to be built in 1949.

Truman ordered the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945 in the first military use of nuclear weapons in history.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly spent time at the facility following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, suggesting it could be used by the current administration in the event of a national crisis.

‘No Idea What’s Inside’

Garrett Graff is a journalist and author of the 2017 book Raven Rock: The Story of the US Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself – While the Rest of Us Die.

He told NPR in 2017: “Raven Rock is this massive, hollowed-out mountain. It’s a free-standing city… with individual buildings, three-story buildings, built inside of this mountain. It has everything that a small city would —there’s a fire department there, there’s a police department, medical facilities, dining halls.”

The town of Fairfield, Pennsylvania is near the classified site and in 2018 the town’s mayor, Robert Stanley, told Fox 43 that “most people have no idea what’s inside.”

In an extract from his new book published by Newsweek on wednesday The New York Times bestselling author William Doyle highlighted how Raven Rock may be used in the event of a nuclear crisis.

“Through the [nuclear] football and other available communications tools, the president would be linked by voice and video to the Department of Defense’s National Military Command Center at the Pentagon, known as the ‘war room,’ and to Strategic Command headquarters, or STRATCOM, at Offutt Air Force Base south of Omaha, Nebraska, which commands the nation’s arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons,” Doyle writes in Titan of the Senate: Orrin Hatch and the Once and Future Golden Age of Bipartisanship.

Continuity of Government

The US government has Continuity of Government (COG) plans, according to Sharon Weiner of the School of International Service at American University.

“For example, during the State of the Union speech, there is always some member of the president’s cabinet who is not allowed to attend and instead spends the duration of the speech at an undisclosed location,” Weiner told Newsweek.

“In the event everyone in the US Capitol was killed, the idea is there would be one person left alive who has some connection to constitutional authority who can take charge of the government,” she said.

Raven Rock Mountain Complex
US President Joe Biden gives a speech before designating Camp Hale as a national monument on October 12, 2022 in Red Cliff, Colorado. Camp Hale, a World War II training ground for the 10th Mountain Division, is the first national monument that Biden has designated during his term as president. Inset image of Raven Rock Mountain Complex
Getty/Google Maps

“Of course anyone who makes plans knows that reality gets a vote and can disrupt those plans or even render them moot,” she added.

Weiner said that the current plans for what to do in the event of nuclear war “assume the president will be whisked away to a secure location, get briefed on the situation, and make a rational decision about next steps, including possibly retaliating to any incoming nuclear strike.”

“Difficulties can arise,” Weiner went on. “For example, how quickly the president is evacuated likely depends on whether its 2 p.m. and the president is in the Oval Office, or 2 a.m. and the president is groggy and perhaps even disoriented.”

“It would be good to consult with advisers. But in the event of a nuclear attack, the necessary advisers may not be nearby or have difficulty being consulted because of communication issues or location,” she said.

Weiner said Newsweek that another set of issues “comes from behavioral psychology and calls into question the degree to which a president, during a crisis, will be influenced by cognitive biases and behavioral shortcuts that mean decisions are not rational.”

“If we talk about a nuclear crisis involving ICBMs [Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles]the president will have 15 minutes or less to make a decision about how to respond,” Weiner said.

Newsweek has asked the Department of Defense for comment on Raven Rock and the continuity of government.

In May, a Department of Defense spokesperson told Newsweek in a statement: “Raven Rock Mountain Complex supports the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other DOD officials, and enables the execution of DOD essential functions during emergencies.”

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