Site R - Raven Rock Military Complex
Site R - Raven Rock Military Complex (1954-Active) - A Cold War US Military Complex established in 1953 near Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania. Provides a location for the JCS Alternate National Military Command Center (ANMCC) and support agencies. Active military complex.
Planning for the site began in 1948 under President Harry S. Truman. With the Soviet Union's detonation of its first nuclear weapon in 1949, a high priority was established for a survivable Joint Command Post to be placed near Washington, D.C., for swift relocation of the National Command Authorities and the Joint Communications Service should the need arise. The site was selected in 1950 and President Truman approved making Raven Rock complex a part of then Camp Ritchie, Maryland. This new site housed the Alternate Joint Communications Center (AJCC) and was known as Site R. Construction of the facility began in 1951, and on 30 Jun 1953, it achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC).
The Raven Rock facility consisted of some 718 acres of land centered on the Raven Rock Mountain peak (1,519 feet). The operational part of the facility consisted of five underground chambers with three steel buildings, each three stories high. The five chambers and the four access portals with connecting tunnels and roadways were blasted out inside the granite mountain on a 24/7 schedule. Above-ground facilities were minimal and consisted mostly of security posts and on the peak itself, communications facilities, and towers known as Site-RT. Support was provided by Fort Ritchie until it was transferred to Fort Detrick on 1 Oct 1997. Fort Ritchie closed in 1998.
Internally the facility had some 260,000 sq feet and its total usable floor space was probably over 750,000 square feet and was designed to accommodate some 3,000 people. Other features included computer and communications equipment, two reservoirs, medical and dental facilities, a dining hall, a barbershop, and a chapel. Far from being a standby facility, twenty-four-hour staffing was the norm during much of the cold war, but that ended in February 1992 after the fall of the Soviet Union. Still, by October 1997 more than 500 military and civilian personnel still worked at the facility. More recent sources indicate that the usable square footage has expanded to 910,000 sq feet and that the facility can support over 5,000 people for extended periods.
Satellite views of the site show the external features, including the four portals and the upper communications structures and antennas. Also very noticeable is the number of cars and marked parking spaces, probably over 300 along the access road.
Defense Information Systems Agency computer operations staff provides computer services to the National Command Authority the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, other United States Department of Defense agencies.