The most secure facility in America is just a short drive away -- a high-tech bunker under a mountain in southwest Colorado Springs.

Since its completion in 1966, the earthquake- and bomb-proof Cheyenne Mountain Complex has housed multiple military and defense organizations -- like the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the United States Space Command, the Aerospace Defense Command, and Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) -- and that's just to name a few! The high-tech bunker facility is located on five acres, under 2,000 feet of granite, in the middle of the mountain. [embed][/embed] Ever been to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs? Yep, same mountain. About two miles south of the giraffe house is the deep, tunnel-like entrance to the most secure facility in America. A system of giant springs protects the 15 three-story buildings housed inside the mountain from budging more than an inch in the case of an earthquake or explosion. And unique filters are in place to keep air-borne contaminants (nuclear, chemical, radioactive, or otherwise) from entering the building. Plus, almost everything staff would need is readily available, including a medical center, cafeteria, store, and workout facilities.
"We are, by design, here for the worst day in American history," said Steven Rose, the deputy director of 721st Mission Support Group. It took five years to excavate and construct the facility, with a cost of $142.4 million. It was designed to specifically withstand nuclear blasts, since Soviet attacks were a concern during the Cold War. Even in the '60s, the bunker's state-of-the-art command and control center was able to communicate and evaluate aerospace surveillance data almost instantly, making it an extremely valuable part of our nation's defense system. It houses 13 Department of Defense agencies, some of which are so secret they cannot be publicized.
One of the ways I try to describe what Cheyenne Mountain is for (is as) the nervous system in the human body," Rose said. "If you sort of see satellites ... and all those hundreds and thousands of sensors around the world that send signals back to us to tell us about an airplane, about a missile launch, about stuff in space for our national defense -- if you equate those to the nervous system of our body, they're the first things that sense or detect something going on. Then they have to be fed somewhere, and so Cheyenne Mountain ... becomes the brain stem where all those nerves come in, similar to your body. We correlate that data so that it becomes a coherent message, and then we pass it on to the decision makers, the national leaders of the United States."
Approximately 150 to 300 people are inside the high-tech bunker facility at all times, tracking potential threats to our nation and keeping us safe. Watch the video above for a mini-tour (tours are not allowed for the general public, so this is as close as you're gonna get!) or click on this link for even more information. Pretty cool, right? What do you think about the Cheyenne Mountain Complex? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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