If you’ve wondered what the government has planned in the event of an apocalypse, now you can know. At least partly.
Journalist and historian Garrett Graff has recently released his book, “Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself—While the Rest of Us Die.” Graff’s book takes readers through the history of the government’s contingency plans should an epic disaster ever strike, starting with the dawn of the nuclear age and going through the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
At his book launch on June 21, Graff said he got onto the topic in 2013 when a colleague handed him the ID card of a government official that had directions on the back. When he followed those directions using Google Satellite, it led him to the concrete doors of a bunker he had never heard of.
Four years and 409 pages later, Graff’s book explores bunkers like this one, including the 650-acre compound Raven Rock. Using previously classified documents, interviews, and even visits to facilities, Graff paints the picture of COG (continuity of government) plans.
“I think part of the challenge is understanding these plans exist at all,” Graff told The Federalist. “These plans are making sure people are left to lead the people that survive.”
The bunkers Graff details are essentially underground cities that would be used to keep large numbers of officials and staff safe. These bunkers, however, can only hold so many people. As a result, the book also deals with what Graff describes as “how these black and white plans meet human psychology” in regard to losing coworkers or family members.
In addition to creating a safeguard for the future of the nation, these continuity plans also helped mold it. Many of the features civilians use today, such as chatrooms and highways, sprang up from government continuity plans.
“The Internet basically grew out of the government’s need to have decentralized communication,” Graff said.
The book also details how the government’s plans extend beyond saving people to also saving important paintings, documents, and artifacts. A specially trained team of park rangers, for example, stood ready throughout the Cold War to move the Liberty Bell to a remote location should Doomsday fall.
Despite the years of planning, however, there are still some holes. Congress, according to Graff, has done a “terrible job” planning for replacing large numbers of incapacitated members. Even the order of presidential succession is debated.
“There’s a very real constitutional debate if the speaker of the House can assume the presidency,” Graff said. “That’s a problem we know about.”
Ultimately, “Raven Rock” is part political history and part guide to understanding how the Cold War, and the resulting government plans, have shaped America. “Raven Rock” is available for sale on Amazon.