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23 September 2013 was an information resource "National Security Archive" of George Washington University (Washington, DC) published a collection of documents on US intelligence to monitor all kinds of underground shelters and structures outside the United States. (1) Hiding Military Forces and Means rogue states ", in the terminology of the United States, and other states are, in the opinion of the Americans, a serious challenge in the twenty-first century. In total, the compilation published a document 62 of American intelligence, many of which are classified as top secret. Published documents are dated from 1951 to 28 September 2012. So, for the first time, draft regulations for the special working group on underground structures of the National Intelligence Office of the United States, reports of the Asian Research Unit (ASD) of the 500 military command of the military intelligence command and security service regarding the underground structures of North Korea and China were published. The commentary to the publication states that no country in the world, including Israel, can compare with the United States in terms of the ability to collect and analyze data on foreign underground structures, and on the ability to develop weapon for the destruction of this kind of objects. At the moment, Iran’s underground nuclear facilities are receiving special attention from US intelligence.

Document publishers believe that the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons pushed the issue of Iran’s nuclear program for some time. As in the situation with the weapons of mass destruction of Syria, and Iran - in both cases we are talking specifically about underground warehouses and industries. This circumstance once again raises the question that the study of the underground structures of a potential enemy of the United States is a priority objective for the intelligence activities of the Americans.


The task of US reconnaissance operations against enemy underground installations dates back to the Second World War, when the Germans decided in August 1943 to launch the production of V-2 ballistic missiles at underground factories near Nordhausen near Erfurt. By the end of 1944, production of V-2 in underground plants reached 30 units per day. Similarly, the Germans began to produce their jet fighter-bombers at underground plants in Thuringia. The British then conducted intensive reconnaissance aviation operations in order to identify the German underground plants. They shared this information with United States intelligence.

During the Cold War, the main target for American reconnaissance operations among the enemy’s underground structures were missile silos and underground control bunkers. After the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, American intelligence focused on exploring the rogue states ’underground facilities, which believe that hiding military potential underground remains an effective response to intelligence technology and weapons advantages used by the United States and their allies. In 1999, the United States Defense Intelligence Agency stated that in the next 20 years, the proliferation of underground structures will be one of the most difficult tasks facing the US intelligence community. And now for American intelligence underground tunnels laid by the North Koreans under the demilitarized zone on the border with South Korea to penetrate enemy territory are of interest. Subsurface facilities at 12 levels near Moscow remain the focus of US intelligence.

Underground enemy installations became the targets of the intelligence activities of several organizations of the US intelligence community. However, in 1997, American intelligence set up a special center, the Underground Facility Analysis Center (UFAC), which began to concentrate on itself and process intelligence information on underground structures of a potential enemy, obtained by various American special services. The UFAC staff from 20 people to 2009 year increased to 240 employees.

In a report by the US intelligence community to Congress in 2001, the figure in 10 for thousands of protected underground targets of a potential US opponent (Document 30) was announced. Underground structures are classified by Americans in five categories:

- underground shelters for governments and heads of state;

- underground command posts of communication and command and control of troops;

- underground sites for covert deployment of weapons;

- underground weapons factories, including weapons of mass destruction;

- underground warehouses.

Building underground bunkers to protect political and military leadership was part of the nuclear strategy during the cold war of the United States and the Soviet Union. According to various sources, the Americans concluded that the end of the Cold War did not diminish Russia's interest in modernizing old underground facilities and building new ones. According to US intelligence, since 1997, a government bunker has been operating in 46 miles south of Moscow. This object, as Americans believe, is designed to ensure "continuity of leadership during a nuclear war." In 850 miles east of Moscow, the development of an underground government complex under Mount Yamantau in a mountain range in Bashkiria continues.

In 2003, the Americans had the opportunity to thoroughly explore the underground bunker in the cave, consisting of 12 rooms and intended for the Iraqi leadership.

During the war in Libya, the Americans were interested in underground bunkers of Gaddafi and his family members.


The Soviet Union, and now Russia, concludes the Americans, allocated and allocates significant resources for underground construction in order to preserve command, control and communications in a nuclear war. In 1997, American intelligence prepared a report on the command center of the Russian strategic missile forces Kosvinsky Stone, located in the mountain range of the northern Urals in the Sverdlovsk region. According to the Americans, this facility is the Russian equivalent of their own strategic management center in Cheyenne. In March 2011, the director of the United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) prepared a report (Document 58) stating that Russia had modernized "massive underground structures designed to provide command and control over its strategic nuclear forces."

The center of attention of the United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was also the underground bunkers of the Cuban Armed Forces Directorate, which are located underground at a depth of more than 20 meters. Their defeat with conventional conventional weapons is not possible, the Americans concluded.

The practice of using underground weapons factories is based on precautions to ensure strategic war production during a war. Such plants are difficult targets for reconnaissance, so they can be used to produce weapons of mass destruction in violation of the conditions of prisoners in the designated country of international conventions.

In 1966, China launched its 816 project - an underground reactor for the production of weapons-grade plutonium, located near the village of Baotao in Chongqing province. Work sites in this world's largest man-made cave are 104 thousand square meters, which is equal to the area of ​​20-ty football fields. In 1982, this military industrial complex was closed, and the facility was converted into a fertilizer plant (Document 56).

A similar military underground chemical weapons production plant was built in Libya. In April 1996, the US Department of Defense reported to management (Document 23) about the construction of an underground chemical weapons production facility in Tartunach - a mountainous plateau 60 kilometers south-east of Tripoli. At the end of June, 1996, the American intelligence agency, announced that construction of this facility was halted.

In March 2011, the director of the United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) reported to the Special Committee of the US Congress (Document 58) on underground nuclear facilities in Iran - in Qom and Natanz. In January 2012, diplomats confirmed intelligence information about an underground factory with 348 centrifuges in two cascades for uranium enrichment at Ford in Iran.

In addition to the production and storage of weapons, underground structures can be used to protect weapons: aircraft, missiles, communications equipment, ready for immediate use. In 1972, US intelligence revealed the existence of underground structures on a single Chinese military air base for the maintenance of combat-ready aircraft (Document 8). In 1982, the Americans prepared a report on concrete underground shelters from which radio relay antennas are being extended (Document 15).

In 1984, US intelligence presented material on radar and missile defenses in underground shelters in North Korea, which were being pushed out of underground structures if needed. By the 2002, an underground aircraft hangar was built in North Korea for aircraft at the Pukchang airbase (Document 8). In June, 2011, Iran made public information about underground missile mines for medium and long-range missiles. According to Western news agencies, missile mines were built near Tabriz and Khorramabad in northwestern Iran.

In addition to military facilities and control centers, American intelligence is interested in underground warehouses, prepared for an emergency. So, by the year 1976, according to a report by American Intelligence (Document 11), the USSR had prepared extensive underground grain storage facilities.

At the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, the North Koreans built an underground plant to produce rocket fuel. According to the report, the facility was built to make it difficult for US intelligence satellites to detect signs of missile preparation for launch.

U.S. underground exploration works in four areas:

- verification of the existence of an underground object in a certain place on the basis of information from intelligence sources or information obtained from defectors;

- determination of the purpose of the underground structure, whether it serves to protect the leadership, or the production of weapons, or their storage, etc .;

- obtaining specific information about the underground structure, including its location, size, number of staff, availability of equipment, etc .;

- development of a plan for the destruction or neutralization of underground structures. In this case, more specific information is required on the natural protection of the underground structure, the depth of the object, etc .;

Published materials give an idea of ​​the technical methods of work of Americans on underground structures of a potential enemy, including aerospace imaging, including optical-electronic, radar and infrared imaging. Published documents show photographs of extensive underground construction in Cuba in 1966 (Document 4) obtained by aviation reconnaissance, the creation of a possible alternative military command post in Wuhan in China (Document 14), retractable radio antennas in the Soviet Union and Poland in 1980's ( Document 15). 1988 satellite imagery of the year determine the entrance to the underground military center in the USSR, access roads and railways to it (Document 19). Satellite photographs of an underground chemical plant in Libya in the 1990s (Document 18) are published.

Electronic intelligence can provide more subtle information about the features and location of underground structures. Work on underground intelligence structures includes more subtle physical techniques. We are talking about magnetic recognition, laser vibrometry, detection of air vibrations and gravitational gradiometry (Document 37) (Document 43) (Document 36).

To obtain information about the underground structures of the CIA can be used and a survey of workers of foreign construction teams involved in the construction of bunkers. Former builders can supply information about the potential vulnerability of underground objects to attack. Even open sources, including the press and television reports, can sometimes be useful in this regard to American intelligence (Document 54). Thus, the US Army intelligence has prepared a series of studies of Chinese and North Korean underground structures based on open sources (Document 35, Document 44, Document 50 and Document 51).

The main purpose of the intelligence work of Americans on underground structures of a potential enemy is the possibility of their destruction in the event of a military conflict. In 2001, a report to the Congress discussed the procurement of munitions that could penetrate the buried objects for their destruction. It was about the upgraded GBU-28 bombs for B-2 bombers and special unitary penetrating bombs for small aircraft (Document 30). However, at the beginning of 2012, the Pentagon concluded that conventional special penetrating munitions in service with the United States could not destroy existing nuclear underground facilities in Iran.
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