America’s top military officers have ordered “extraordinary protection measures” against the Covid-19 outbreak for critical specialized forces. The massive bunker beneath Cheyenne Mountain was hardened against nuclear bombs. Now it shields crucial watch teams of the Northern Command and NORAD from infection. The Pentagon is also under intense “distributed operations,” while special combat units including Delta Force and SEAL Team Six are locked in isolation.
Specialized forces go underground
Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station is home to an underground warren so extensive it’s virtually a city in itself, built to hold everything needed by our strategic nuclear defense forces. Nearby, The North American Aerospace Defense Command watches the skies for enemy threats and intrusions.
They share a Colorado Springs headquarters building with the Northern Command, which is the division in charge of coordinating the military’s response to the Coronavirus threat.
Critical watch teams are now deployed inside the mountain bunker. “We are isolating specific command personnel involved in critical mission areas, including homeland defense functions,” an officer told CNN. ICBM crews “are rotating to specifically ensure there is always a ‘clean team’ that can take over if others are sick.”
“To ensure we remain capable of defending the homeland despite the pandemic, our command and control watch teams here in the headquarters split into shifts,” the spokesman explains. The headquarters building is outside the bunker. “Additionally, our personnel are operating in pre-determined physical zones within the building.”
Pentagon thins on-site workforce
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, isn’t expecting a crisis to develop. If the number of military cases stays fairly low, he thinks “we will have moderate to low levels of readiness impacts.” Still, he ordered the “distributed operations” as an abundance of caution. Along with Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the Pentagon has been diligently “limiting contact with their own staffs and not allowing large meetings.”
They cut the number of on-site workers in half but remain concerned that a “significant outbreak” could affect those at their desks. Another factor is that not only here in the U.S., but around the world, many troops live in the local towns. To avoid taking chances, Esper ordered “a hold on all military moves for 60 days.”
One of the things about national security is that when a Pentagon worker does get sick, nobody is allowed to talk about it. That means, “it may no longer be possible to trace their contacts and only nearby co-workers may be initially notified someone in their office is ill.”
Other special forces taking advanced precautions
Submarine crews, especially those carrying nuclear missiles “are isolating for several days before heading out into open ocean to ensure they are all healthy for their lengthy sea patrols.” The B-52 bomber crews at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana are probably on tight lockdown.
Elite combat units like the Navy’s SEAL Team Six and the Army’s Delta Force are under the highest level of warning which will “severely limit troop movements when they are at home or on their respective bases.”