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05 March 2008

Novel underground facilities revisited

We had previously covered the kind of unusual civil construction which makes for good unclassified teaching examples in consideration of the intelligence challenges posed by hard and deeply buried targets. Thus we thought it appropriate to also note the excellent example surfaced by the fine gentlemen over at Coming Anarchy, which appropriately notes the difference between the uses to which sophisticated underground construction techniques are put in an oil rich democracy versus its kleptocratic and autocratic counterparts in other places also graced with the geologic accident of such resources.

More importantly, the site also demonstrates the difference between construction at a true civil site – extensively documented, widely discussed, and exceptionally transparent – vice that of the kinds of subterfuge that can be observed at other suspected dual use or known bad actor facilities.

While we are not fond of the political purposes to which the seed vault itself has now been put – the issues of exceptionally long term climate change being the least of our worries in futures scenarios; we cannot argue with the idea of a genetic Ark as insurance against a future Black Swan event. However, our thinking on the matter trends much more towards concerns regarding the other high consequence / low probability events that may occur with far less warning, such as pandemic multi-crop agricultural disease.

We also note that this particular underground facility does indeed perhaps now truly merit our earlier erroneous application of an acronym drawn from the same convention as that of the Dining FACility (DFAC). Bon Appetite.

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