Recently, NEWSREP Editor-in-chief Jack Murphy reported on the U.S. military’s standing plan to infiltrate Iranian underground bunkers housing integral elements of the nation’s nuclear apparatus. If war between the United States and Iran were ever to come to fruition, these facilities (commonly referred to as hardened and deeply buried targets, or HDBTs) would be among America’s top priorities. But taking them out of commission would require a more dramatic approach than America’s preferred method of warfare by ballistic missile.

Many of these HDBTs are constructed deep underground, often by tunneling into mountains. The natural barrier provided by 2,000 feet of rock would, in some cases, render even America’s bunker-busting munitions useless. Instead, infiltrating and destroying these facilities would fall to America’s elite counterterrorism unit, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, or Delta Force.

Although Delta has been training for these potential underground combat operations in Iran for years, the risks associated with such an operation have grown in tandem with the increasing number of potential enemy states—including North Korea, China, and Russia—all of which maintain (or are rumored to maintain) sizable underground facilities meant to shield against weapons of mass destruction and potentially afford protection to command and control elements from surveillance or engagement.

Soldiers of 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, prepare to clear a corridor during subterranean operations training. (U.S. Army)

As Jack Murphy pointed out in his NITRO ZEUS piece, “Numerous countries have sought to conceal and protect vulnerable military resources underground inside facilities hardened with reinforced concrete, vault doors, internal environmental systems, and more, such as the United States has done at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex.”