This article is by Metal Gear Confidential (careful, site seems to be infected) creator Mad Jackyl, who kindly emailed it to me and gave me permission to publish it. It's an honour to be able to present it here, and we thank him for giving more Metal Gear fans the opportunity to enjoy his insight.
Author: Mad Jackyl
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As evidenced in a direct reference by Nastasha Romanenko, Shadow Moses was built “at the dawn of the new century.” With this time frame in mind, we conclude that during the events that occurred there in 2005 the base is presumed to be very much new. However, after nearly a decade of abandonment, the facility we see in 2014 is rapidly deteriorating. Furthermore, it is explained that due to the global warming trend, the base is now beginning to sink into the Bering Sea as ocean levels rise worldwide. From this, we could ascertain an intended purpose and even a rough timetable behind such an undertaking if we applied real world logic.
Given the high amount of calculation by the U.S. government in surveying and evaluating a site planned for a future military installation with any truly lengthy time of future service, this says a few things that may not be obvious. For instance, under no circumstance would the architects of such a project design and build a permanent base in such conditions without taking into mind the possibility of the geography changing drastically sometime in the near future. This would surely have been known from an initial geologic survey of the area. You would not find a military base built, for instance, at the site of an active volcano or flood zone. To build something of this magnitude with an intentionally short lifespan would indicate that it was likely built with short-term goals in mind, namely the ramping up of the Metal Gear program to mass production levels. Considering this, Shadow Moses was likely not created with a long lifespan in mind. If the REX program were implemented successfully, REX would serve well as the trump card for U.S. military dominance worldwide and Shadow Moses would no longer be essential after mass production. However, in case of failure, the ‘temporary’ installation would still suffer from total submersion in the near future anyways. The U.S. need not worry about covering their mistake, with or without the air strike promised at the conclusion of the story. Simply, no one would notice a rapidly deteriorating military base tucked away in a quiet corner of the world as it slipped quietly into the sea.
Taking into mind the purely logistical needs of such an isolated location as Shadow Moses, an island base would not appear overnight like a pre-fabricated fast food establishment. It’s an island after all. Everything that came to be there would have had to be brought by either cargo ship or air-lift. This leaves a few possibilities for supply routes. The nearest port to transport cargo by sea would be Dutch Harbor (pop. 4,347) in Unalaska, the port made famous in recent years as the base of operations from which the vessels seen in television’s Deadliest Catch operate from. To account for the massive resources that would have to be funneled to this part of the world, Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base Fort Mears, built in 1940 before the onset of WWII would be the most logical choice to launch such an operation from. Military contractors and government officials alike could be inserted into Dutch Harbor and from there to other points with little speculation. If further concealment be needed, personnel could be brought to Shadow Moses via the neighboring island of Umnak, which also hosts Fort Glenn. Described as “the most comprehensive and intact WWII base in the Aleutian Islands,” Fort Glenn still boasts functional runways, buildings and artillery emplacements despite being decommissioned in 1950. In a sense, one could see how the necessary manpower and materials needed for such a large-scale operation could easily sneak into this frozen corner of the world relatively unnoticed. This accounts for the routing of logistical needs, at least.
Touching upon the subject of manpower needed, consider this: as in any modern-day military project, the size of the work force needed to produce such a secretive facility would be staggering. A great many people would have had to work on such an enormous secret facility. With that many people involved, a security leak would be very hard to contain, isolation notwithstanding. Just as with the construction of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) or the Pentagon, the workers could not be entirely innocent concerning their involvement. Guided by mandates set by a corps of engineers, these massive amounts of personnel and contractors simply could not be completely blind as to what they were constructing. For such a project to remain so far removed from the scrutiny of the public eye as to be completely invisible, it would seem safe to say that the contractors used were probably involved at a conspiratorial level. Considering the degree of secrecy involved, the use of a Private Military Corporation is not an implausible scenario. The price to construct a project this vast would require huge resources, and while no price tag is mentioned for such a contract, a comparison can be drawn from a similarly purposed nuclear disposal facility completed in Hungary in 2008. Taking just two years to build, the Hungarian disposal site includes surface storage and control facilities, as well as the soon-to-be-completed underground storage capacities. All told, the price tag translates to approximately $195.4 million U.S. dollars.
To speak some of the geography and climate of the area, constantly averse weather and rough seas as well as numerous volcanic reefs make navigation in this area very difficult. Conflicting weather systems in the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean are responsible for cyclonic storms, heavy rains, and dense, impenetrable fog. This environment of extreme isolation combined with the island’s difficult approachability would make it the perfect place to sequester away a facility dedicated to one of the more controversial subjects of modern times - that of nuclear materials containment and disposal. But such isolation, however, does have its drawbacks. The shipping of materials in such rough conditions would be an aggravating chore, for one, and the needs of such a facility would necessitate a nearly constant stream of covert cargo shipments. Taking into consideration that the laminate steel needed for the development of the REX program must be forged and cast onsite, the electricity consumption needed for maintaining a blast furnace is simply outstanding. Being the base product from which steel is cast, iron ore would also be needed in large quantities. The natural fuel choice for generating this fantastic amount of needed energy would no doubt be coal, as it is really the only viable choice outside of nuclear fusion, which we can rule out here. With just these needs in mind, one can start to get a glimpse of just how much coordination would be needed for the purposes of running a base of this size and purpose.
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