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Back to the Bunker 404

Posted by CmdrTaco
Oldsmobile writes "On Monday, June 19, about 4,000 government workers representing more than 50 federal agencies will say goodbye to their families and set off for dozens of classified emergency facilities stretching from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs to the foothills of the Alleghenies. They will take to the bunkers in an "evacuation" that sources describe as the largest "continuity of government" exercise ever conducted, a drill intended to prepare the U.S. government for an event even more catastrophic than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The vast secret operation has updated the duck-and-cover scenarios of the 1950s with state-of-the-art technology -- alerts and updates delivered by pager and PDA, wireless priority service, video teleconferencing, remote backups -- to ensure that "essential" government functions continue undisrupted in an emergency."
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Back to the Bunker

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:23PM (#15466855)
    Farewell!
    • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:54PM (#15467016) Journal

      Hold on... they're "saying goodbye to their families"? Oh, that can't be good for a marriage. "Yes, darling, I'm just practicing for when there's a national disaster and I abandon you to the collapse of civilisation."

      My advice - stay in the bunker!
      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:14PM (#15467145) Journal
        Muffley:

        You mean, people could actually stay down there for a hundred years?

        Strangelove:

        It would not be difficult mein Fuhrer! Nuclear reactors could, heh... I'm sorry. Mr. President. Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plantlife. Animals could be bred and slaughtered. A quick survey would have to be made of all the available mine sites in the country. But I would guess... that ah, dwelling space for several hundred thousands of our people could easily be provided.

        Muffley:

        Well I... I would hate to have to decide.. who stays up and.. who goes down.

        Strangelove:

        Well, that would not be necessary Mr. President. It could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross section of necessary skills. Of course it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition. Slams down left fist. Right arm rises in stiff Nazi salute. Arrrrr! Restrains right arm with left. Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. But ah with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present gross national product within say, twenty years.

        Muffley:

        But look here doctor, wouldn't this nucleus of survivors be so grief stricken and anguished that they'd, well, envy the dead and not want to go on living?

        Strangelove:

        No sir... Right arm rolls his wheelchair backwards. Excuse me. Struggles with wayward right arm, ultimately subduing it with a beating from his left.

        Also when... when they go down into the mine everyone would still be alive. There would be no shocking memories, and the prevailing emotion will be one of nostalgia for those left behind, combined with a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead! Ahhhh! Right are reflexes into Nazi salute. He pulls it back into his lap and beats it again. Gloved hand attempts to strangle him.

        Turgidson:

        Doctor, you mentioned the ration of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn't that necessitate the abandonment of the so called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?

        Strangelove:

        Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious... service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.

        DeSadeski:

        I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.

        Strangelove:

        Thank you, sir.

        So with that in mind, what makes you think they don't want to say goodbye to their families?
        • Sweet! (Score:3, Funny)

          by Comatose51 (687974)
          "And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross section of necessary skills."

          No where in there does it say anything about attractiveness to females! 10 women for each man and you don't even have to attractive! Where do I sign up?! Nuclear war now!

      • by gmezero (4448) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:26PM (#15467527) Homepage
        that have occured since & including 911, have also coinsided with a massive government/military training drills (911 and london)... and the since the U.S. is building up a strike force for what appears to be a July attack on Iran... the conspiracy side of me is going "Hmmm...." in an ominous tone. ...do we need to be digging out our grand fathers bomb shelters for a "camping trip" with the family? Sigh...
      • Given the religious fundamentalism shown by US leadership, I'm somewhat surprised that this "exercise" wasn't started on June 5, 2006.

        Newkyalur holocaust on 6-6-06 would be just so ... fitting for an end, wouldn't it? (Yes, the remake of the Omen is hyping it up.)

        But, perhaps our (or their) calendars are off by a few weeks wrt BC/AD. Vacation that week has a nice ring to it.

      • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @05:31PM (#15468397)

        Hold on... they're "saying goodbye to their families"? Oh, that can't be good for a marriage. "Yes, darling, I'm just practicing for when there's a national disaster and I abandon you to the collapse of civilisation."

        Their families aren't the only ones being abandoned. Doesn't it warm your heart and fill you with patriotic pride to know that your leaders are going to leave you to die like rats when shit hits the fan ?

        There was a time when the leader was the guy who shouted "Follow me!" in battle, not the guy who sits home and makes speeches about the sacrifices of his loyal troops are doing somewhere far away...

      • And that, in a nutshell, is why this whole scenario is stupid and unrealistic --- 4000+ civilians are going to *abandon* their husbands, wives, children, etc. to burrow themselves in deep caverns in order "keep the essential functions of government working". It might have made *some* sense if immediate family were brought along --- how productive am I going to be not knowing the wellbeing of my family in a really big disaster? Make sure they're safe and you'll have some highly motivated people... Makes
  • by unity100 (970058) * on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:24PM (#15466859) Homepage Journal
    Huh ?

    It seems evertyhing is provided for survival of "government" elite - who have the wealth and/or connections to get elected and appointed.

    But what about hordes of people who constitute 'the people' in the declaration of independence ?
    • by servognome (738846) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:32PM (#15466908)
      But what about hordes of people who constitute 'the people' in the declaration of independence ?

      *sigh* how easily we forget history. Watch those old training films. Hiding under a desk or picnic blanket will provide protection in the event of a nuclear attack.
    • As we were instructed during my Navy boot camp: find a shielded spot, sit down, place your head between your knees, and kiss your 4ss goodbye...

      Nobody should be surprised by this. I mean, surely I wasn't the only one that noticed that the Federal governments first response after 9/11 was to protect itself (i.e. Federal buildings, etc.)? State, County, and City governments were left to fend for themselves until the Fed had its ass covered; us mere citizens don't get squat, if you don't count the 'protection' we get from TSA airport screeners, the Patriot Act, and other catchy-titled programs.

      • by Shelled (81123) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:40PM (#15467287)
        This takes it a step further though. The implications of the following:

        "Moreover, since 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, the definition of what constitutes an "essential" government function has been expanded so ridiculously beyond core national security functions -- do we really need patent and trademark processing in the middle of a nuclear holocaust?...."

        are horrific. Placing government officials above citizens is old news and expected, planning (presumably) to enforce who has the right to print 'Coke' on a can or copy a CD under terrorist nuclear attack moves the government into territories until now the sole domain of Dali or Escher. It's yet another example of how corporate lobbying have twisted and distorted government.

      • Nobody should be surprised by this. I mean, surely I wasn't the only one that noticed that the Federal governments first response after 9/11 was to protect itself (i.e. Federal buildings, etc.)?

        Then again, like they say on every #%# flight, "Put on your own mask before assisting others". It did seem like an attack on the heads of business, military and government (the 4th plane was going to the Capitol building), not random civilians. I think large federal institutions like e.g. CIA headquarters would be a
        • And if, say, a suitcase nuke goes off (the Terrorists of Unspecified National, Ethnic, or Religious Origins would - of course - warn us so the Feds could implement their plan, right?) in St. Louis, then the citizens are all going to try and contact the Federal government, instead of calling the local cops, fire department, hospitals, and so forth, you suppose?

          No, it seems more likely that the Feds are trying to position themselves so that they can continue to run things after they've written off whatever a

    • 'the people' in the Declaration of Independence originally meant white male land owners. The morality of the 1770's wasn't so great either. The people who wrote the Declaration were part of that elite - and they were mostly interested in protecting their buisnesses from taxes.
      • Re:'the people' (Score:3, Insightful)

        by unity100 (970058) *
        Well, you have to look by comparing the times for our time and their time.

        In 1770, even the 'white land owners' being 'the people' was a HUGE step in the direction of freedom. The outlook on humanism has to be proportionally far-fetched today too.
    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:51PM (#15468219) Homepage
      It seems evertyhing is provided for survival of "government" elite - who have the wealth and/or connections to get elected and appointed.

      But what about hordes of people who constitute 'the people' in the declaration of independence ?


      Oh, that's easy! Once the "government elite" have left for the bunkers, the hords of people above ground will weld the doors shut. The world forever will be a better place to live =)
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:25PM (#15466866) Homepage Journal
    "an event even more catastrophic than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks"

    Would that be the November 7, 2006 Congressional elections? Or the November 4, 2008 elections, showing exceptionally long-range planning?
  • Credibility gap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:26PM (#15466869)
    When the emergency preparedness procedures are woefully inadequate in cases where the responsible agencies are operating from their regular offices, why should I believe they would be effective when staff are trying to react in a situation of real chaos.
    • Re:Credibility gap (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:20PM (#15467172) Homepage
      When the emergency preparedness procedures are woefully inadequate in cases where the responsible agencies are operating from their regular offices, why should I believe they would be effective when staff are trying to react in a situation of real chaos.

      Well, there are two things:
      1) Being able to continue critical operations in times of an emergency
      2) Actually doing what makes sense in the situation

      For example, if they put all the think-tanks in a scenic office of the WTC, they'd be running around like a bunch of headless chicken because the head just got chopped off. That has really more to do with "can we get hold of people", "where should people go to get work done", "how do we get information from the field", "who will take over these responsibilities" than how they actually act on that information.

      Yes, you need a good strategy in case of an emergency... which is not that easy to create, imagine trying to plan for everything from the WTC attack to the hurricanes in the US to the Tsunami in SE Asia. Someone got a nuke from old Soviet? Chemical weapons from Iraq? Picked up an ebola strain in Africa? A natural pandemic (bird flu)? But you also need a contingency on how to execute it - unless your strategy is so completely without merit it makes no difference at all, and quite frankly they're not quite that bad. That is why you need drills like this.

      Kjella
    • Re:Credibility gap (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Andy Gardner (850877)
      Good point, maybe they should like have a practice run or something.


      Oh wait...

  • Is the men to women ratio favourable in Dr Strangelove's eyes? I mean, of course every many would have to perform his 'duty to his country' often with many women to repopulate the earth, but I think they can all suck it up and deal with it.
     
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:30PM (#15466902)
    for the mess to begin with.

    Mmmmm... maybe be sure to save the Telephone Sanitizers this time around.
  • Tinfoil hat time! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ruiner13 (527499) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:33PM (#15466911) Homepage
    What if there is an asteroid about to hir Earth and the governement knows this and planned a "drill" to evacuate people underground that really isn't a drill. It would save people not on the list from trying to get there :)

    Ok, conspiracy theory over!

  • by Lew Payne (592648) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:33PM (#15466914) Journal
    "...to ensure that 'essential' government functions continue undisrupted in an emergency."

    So now they're going to practice their coffee breaks, giving rude service to the public and wasting our tax dollars on dubious projects... all from underneath a fortified bunker, to ensure this very fine tradition is not lost in the event of a nuclear attack?
  • by thecitruskid (468923) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:36PM (#15466929)
    The leadership of this country has a wildly overblown sense of self-importance. Even if we were to lose every politician in Washington, we have the largest prison population in the world, a vast pool from which to build a new government.
  • by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:37PM (#15466933) Homepage Journal
    The vast secret operation has updated the duck-and-cover scenarios of the 1950s with state-of-the-art technology

    So, posting it on slashdot counts as secrecy nowadays.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:39PM (#15466946)
    The vast secret operation has updated the duck-and-cover scenarios of the 1950s with state-of-the-art technology -- alerts and updates delivered by pager and PDA

    RICE_BABY: "LOLZ IN DA BUNKA WHERE U @?"

    CHAIN_MAN: "AT DA DOOR OPEN UP LOL"

    SHRUB: "B SERIYUS U 2"

    BROWNIE: "YEAH U NEVER KNOW WHOS GONNA SEE YER MESSAGES"

    WASH_POST: "YEAH LOL IN UR NETWORK READIN YER MESSAGES SEE YOU IN THE PAPERS"

    RUMMY: "LOL SEE YOU IN GITMO ALL YOUR RIGHTS ARE BELONG TO ME"

    WASH_POST: "OH SHI..."

  • by ChePibe (882378) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:48PM (#15466985)
    While the Wa Post columnist - it should be noted that this is an opinion piece, not an article - is obviously not too fond of the idea, I'd say it still has at least some merit.

    With increased WMD proliferation - from big budget nukes to dirt cheap chemical weapons - that can be used to attack the U.S. capital and government installations, I'd say that such a plan is smart to have as a backup. Should Iran wake up one day and decide to nuke Washington (a possibility in the future), we would certainly be able to retaliate and turn it into the Islamic Republic of Glass Bowl or Parking Lot (pick your favorite), but what would happen to all of the government infrastructure there? We're not just talking about continuity of elected leaders, but about the civilian side of the government as well, which this plan seems to focus on, too.

    While nuclear war with Russia or another fairly heavily armed power (i.e. China) remains an enormously remote possibility, exchanges with countries that possess only a handful of nukes (Iran, North Korea, etc.) are much more likely. In such an event, the U.S. would not need to focus simply on making sure the attacker is completely wiped out - this is a given - but that it can survive a relatively small attack affecting only a handful of cities such as Washington and New York rather than a widespread nuclear holocaust in which all of this would simply be moot anyways.

    The author is obviously unhappy with the inefficiency of this program, but I'm not entirely convinced by his arguments. Security, backups, etc. are always inefficient. Security and efficiency are always at odds with each other. Spending hundreds of millions on a backup that MIGHT be used is entirely inefficient EXCEPT when you need it, in which case it becomes a necessity. Combine this with the fact that the government is also not known for its efficiency and you've got a problem.

    The U.S. isn't getting ready for nuclear holocaust any more, as many slashdotters have claimed and the author seems to hint at. It's getting ready for a limited nuclear exchange in which, yes, things like the patent office and budget offices must continue operating in the months and years to come when their main offices have been wiped out but a vast majority of the U.S. has been left unscathed.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not defending every action of this program. I would encourage others, however, to take a more nuanced look at it. And nuance is something slashdot appears to be lacking these days. It's likely my karma will pay for it, but so be it.

    (As a side note, my "confirm I'm not a script" word was "senate"... coincidence?)
    • I for one welcome my unelected shadow government over lords. Permanent marshal law? Mmmmmm donuts. I mean why hold elections for a new government or any of that silly outdated inefficient 18th century human rights crap?
    • by Foerstner (931398) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:15PM (#15467149)
      Looking back at the Cold War-era bunkers, several (civillian) VIP's noted that, although they had been informed of the facilities and the contingencies for their use, they never would have actually gone into them.

      Because, as this article hints, they would have had to leave their families to do so.

      Thinking about the "human factors" involved...would their be enough warning for anyone to be able to make it to the bunker in time? Would the roads/airspace/transit function well enough to get them to the bunkers? Would they leave their families to do so?
      • An excellent question, to which the best answer is a "maybe".

        Roads? Heh, if you've ever driven in the DC area, you know that's just not a possibility. Airspace, however, should be much more open given the post 9/11 measures.

        This plan is about more than bunkers though - it also involves posting civilian backups away from the capital that are poised to take over should D.C. get nuked. Given the concentration of senior personnel in D.C. it would certainly be impossible to get all - or even most - out in a 3
        • But, moving beyond cabinet positions and elected officials, one would also need to consider the need to keep basic government bureaucracy running, such as the Patent Office, Budget Office, GAO, and other important functions of government that the people would still need after a small, limited nuclear exchange.

          The Patent Office? Oh yeah, that's the one I'm worried about.
        • you're thinking about the "uh oh, the worlds gonna end in an hour scenerio". More likely than Iran trying to hit us with an updated Long March is a more protracted disaster - biological, chemical or even serious civil disturbance (ie, Shrub gets elected for a third term).

          This sort of contingency planning might be effective for these sorts of disasters. No plan is going to work for every kind of disturbance and no plan is likely to work very well for any kind of major disturbance (think Katrina).

          You gotta

    • "things like the patent office and budget offices must continue operating in the months and years to come when their main offices have been wiped out"

      Not to say that I agree or disagree with what you're saying, but don't cockroaches have very high radiation resistance?
    • Don't forget Iraq, they have loads of nukes and chemical weapons - Colin Powell showed me (and the UN) the pictures! And they can attack us in 45 minutes (Tony blair let me in on that information) - yes even though they have been knocked back into the stone age by sanctions and Desert Storm they are still a GREAT THREAT!!!!11

      Oh sorry its Iran that you right wing morons are banging on about this time isn't it, my mistake.
      • The lack of nuance on Slashdot once again.

        Not to mention a complete lack of knowledge about the world around them.

        The sad part is that the parent will probably be modded insightful. Oh well. So continues the slide to "SlashKos".
    • You back up the files you’d least like to do without after the event. Not your spyware.

    • Whether it was meant for the Capitol or for the White House, it almost succeeded. If the terrorists had kept the passengers away from the AirFones, it would have succeeded.

      That trick, I hope, can't work again. But if a clever enemy thinks up an equallly damaging attack, then it does make sense to plan for keeping our command and control intact.
    • by Kohath (38547)
      The U.S. isn't getting ready for nuclear holocaust any more...

      The US population, it seems, isn't ready for any kind of serious event. Read the rest of the posts in this topic for an example.

      Rather than trying to prevent a serious event or planning to deal with the consequences, the public view seems to be one of denial, fantasy, and conspiracy theories. Nothing bad can happen (denial). Diplomancy, disarmament, and environmental awareness will keep us safe (fantasy). And it's all about Haliburton anyway
  • by creimer (824291) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:49PM (#15466990) Homepage
    ... for an event even more catastrophic than the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    The 2006 mid-term elections?
  • by tengu1sd (797240) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:49PM (#15466991)
    As Leslie Fish [random-factors.com] points out in The Digwell Carol [hamienet.com] if we take the chance to bury them now, maybe we can get on with our lives. Anyone else feel like chipping in for a concrete pour to be arranged at the mouth of bunker this week?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    but the USA PATRIOT Act forbids discussing this in any form.

    I am at risk myself because I told you this as discussing what the USA PATRIOT Act forbids is also forbidden.
    • Insightful? This is a blatantly untrue, ad hominen attack on the Patriot Act. I find it very likely that the poster has not read and does not know the functions of the Patriot Act, similarly to 90% of the others who oppose it. I don't necessarily support all of it, but if one wants to raise a concern about it should be specified and real.
  • "Moreover, since 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, the definition of what constitutes an "essential" government function has been expanded so ridiculously beyond core national security functions -- do we really need patent and trademark processing in the middle of a nuclear holocaust? -- that the term has become meaningless."

    Just before the blastwave hits, as I put my head between my legs and kiss my ass goodbye, my final thought can be "maybe I'll be dead but at least the patent system will live on..."
  • by courtarro (786894) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:57PM (#15467032) Homepage
    I, for one, feel that my money could be going to much more useful places, like developing alternative fuels to oil or cures for common lethal diseses. Frankly, if these bunkers became necessary, I'd probably be pretty offended that they don't consider me valuable enough to warrant a place in one. I hope they're also reserving space for scientists, physicists, doctors, civil engineers, electrical engineers, computer engineers, etc. etc. However I have a feeling that these bunkers will be filled with politicians who will have no purpose, after arising from nuclear holocaust, but to attempt to get surviving mutant population to vote for more defense programs while they struggle to find food.

    It's good to know we will be able to handle an occurrence that has killed less than 1000 people each year. I wonder if we'll be prepared for another realistic disaster like Katrina or Rita, or if we'll be prepared for the millions who die of heart disease. Hurry to the bunkers!

  • First, my personal observation is that about 98% of Federal employees are dedicated and hardworking. Unfortunately the 2% that are not tend to be a) executives or b) customer-facing. Second, if we can provide essential services with 4,000 people - why are we paying for millions?
  • I still have my stash I prepared for the Y2K crises.

    Mmmm. I think some of this stuff needs to be updated. And all the beer I stashed is long gone.
  • I'm sorry, 9/11 wasn't a catastrophe of national or even regional concern. It was an isolated, one-off local emergency. It didn't threaten the average american, it didn't interrupt or negate the federal and regional bureaucracy's ability to operate, and it certainly wasn't a national crisis. To this day its greatest long-term effect has been the destruction of an entire country as simple retaliation

    9/11 was a local disaster affecting one municipality.
    Hurricane Katrina was a regional disaster affecting a couple states.
    The race riots in France were a regional crisis
    The student riots in France were a localized crisis
    If bird flu suddenly spread like wildfire killing hundreds of thousands to millions in multiple states, THAT would be a national-level crisis.
  • >- to ensure that "essential" government functions continue undisrupted in an emergency."

    yea, like DRM and IP. I wonder if the drill is sponsered by anyone...
  • ... seriously, at least we will be safe in the knowledge that government WILL go on when disaster strikes. Go on being a complete and utter failure that is. And for the cost of only a few trillions. Bargain I say!

    On a related note, picturing a civilization descentant completely from government workers is quite amusing. What will leeches do without hosts? Man-on-Man cani-action, thats what! At least the TV programming will be entertaining, as long as it lasts.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:22PM (#15467187) Homepage
    If you were a corrupt, failing administration what a perfect cover to launch some type of coup. Speaking hypothetically, of course. Say you were a neo-conservative right wing type, I'm sure you could find a pretext for sweeping aside Congressional oversight and an "activist" judiciary. But when to pull it off? When most government officials were safely out of harms way in "secret" locations. In case any of you liberal types didn't like the idea of a neo-conservative monarchy.

    All you'd need to happen with the execs were safely away is some cooked up "terrorist" attack, maybe a series of dirty bombs going off coupled with a financial crisis. Good excuse to roll the military out into the streets.

    Nah, couldn't happen here, right? Just because something similar happened...well, several times in the past is no reason to think it could ever happen here.

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:22PM (#15467196) Journal
    Weren't government agencies practicing for the exact same situation as 9/11 just prior to it happening?

    I might need a tin-foil hat here, but it just seems to convenient that they are having a 'practice run' like they were practicing before 9/11.

  • I'd be watching the mock evacuation to see where each group goes and then add the locations to "Nuke the hell out of" list. although its possible the places has been publically known for ages.

  • So people don't find out where those bunkers are and weld them shut for good!
  • I for one welcome our new Enclave overlords! May they terrorize the country from their oil rig until such time that all mutants are wiped out - or alternatively, until the descendend of the vault dweller arrives! Whatever happens first!

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