After World War II the Cold War was a fact of life for Americans. The world's two superpowers, the U.S., and the Soviet Union squared off in a battle for world domination. Capitalism versus communism.

It lasted half a century, culminating in the Cuban missile crisis when President John F. Kennedy faced off against Nikita Khrushchev.

Did the West overestimate the strength and ambitions of the Soviet Union? How did Khrushchev and the Soviets view the U.S.? Was the threat of a nuclear holocaust as real as it seemed to be?

Some say Russia and the U.S. are in a Cold War today. Are there lessons learned during the 20th century Cold War that might be applied now? We'll hear from experts on Russia, who will share their many years of experience in Russian and U.S. policy and give us their insights into today's headlines.

We'll settle into the secret bunker created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower below The Greenbrier to enable the federal government to survive a nuclear attack and get a history lesson that will inform our perspective on what is happening today.

The Experts

Program Overview

The Secret Bunker Congress Never Used

One of the great vestiges of the Cold War is the Greenbrier bunker, a facility built to house all 535 members of Congress in the event of a nuclear attack. We'll tour this fascinating facility and sit in Governor's Hall for our first session about the Cold War Then.

Construction of the Bunker

President Dwight D. Eisenhower instructed the U.S. Department of Defense in 1955 to draft emergency plans for continuity of the federal government in case of a nuclear strike that could destroy Washington, D.C.

The Army Corps of Engineers was charged with finding a location for a nuclear bunker for the members of Congress. They selected the Greenbrier, a luxury resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.

Greenbrier was chosen because of its location—relatively close and accessible to Washington, but far enough away to be safe from an atomic bomb—and because of its prior relationship with the U.S. government. During World War II, Greenbrier was an internment facility for Japanese, Italian and German diplomats and later a military hospital, where Eisenhower was once a patient. Although it returned to its original function as a hotel after the war, government officials occasionally held conferences at Greenbrier.

Construction on the bunker began in 1957. Government officials tried to hide the project by announcing the construction of Greenbrier's "West Virginia Wing." Construction workers and locals were suspicious, however, particularly about the volume of concrete that was poured for the project.

The $14 million project was completed in October 1962, just before the start of the Cuban missile crisis.

Inside the Bunker

The Greenbrier bunker is buried 720 feet. It would not survive a direct nuclear strike but it's capable of weathering a blast 15-30 miles away and protecting its occupants from fallout. The two-level facility is roughly the size of two football fields on top of one another.

Although most of the bunker was a closely guarded secret, its largest halls—intended for sessions of Congress—were part of the Greenbrier Hotel and would have been sealed off only in the event of an attack. The largest, Exhibit Hall, was designed to host joint sessions of Congress.

Just off Exhibit Hall are two smaller auditoriums: the 440-seat Governor's Hall, intended for the House of Representatives, and the 130-seat Mountaineer Room, which would have hosted members of the Senate.

A hidden passage, marked by a door that reads, "Danger: High Voltage Keep Out," leads to the rest of the bunker. In the event of an attack, congressmen would have first been ushered to the decontamination room, where they would have stripped, showered and put on

uncontaminated clothes. The dormitories consist of 18 rooms, each built to house 60 people in metal bunk beds. There is also a kitchen and a 400-seat cafeteria, which once was decorated with fake windows featuring scenic views.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the bunker is the vast television, radio and communications facilities. In the event of an attack, congressmen would have been expected to give speeches broadcast to whatever was left of the American population. The TV conference room even includes a backdrop of the Capitol Building, giving the illusion of normalcy.

Preparing for Doomsday

After its construction, the Greenbrier bunker was maintained by 12-15 permanent government employees who worked undercover as members of an Arlington-based television repair company called Forsythe Associates.

Among other supplies, the bunker was provided with enough food for 1,000 people to last 60 days.


The procedure for bringing congressmen to the bunker remains unclear. Greenbrier is a five-hour drive or a one-hour flight (the local airport was expanded in 1962) from Washington, so it would have required advance warning of an attack to bring all 535 members of Congress. Almost no members were aware the bunker existed––only the leadership was briefed.

The Greenbrier Bunker Today

The bunker remained a closely guarded secret until 1992, when Washington Post reporter Ted Gup revealed its existence in his article, "The Ultimate Congressional Hideaway." Given its secure location was one of the primary guarantees for its defense, the bunker was quickly


In 1995, the Greenbrier resort began offering tours of the bunker to its guests. In 2006, the tours were expanded to the public. Tours are offered today but no cameras are allowed inside the bunker.

“Meeting Gorbachev”

"Meeting Gorbachev" is a compelling documentary directed by famed filmmakers Werner Herzog and Andre Singer. We'll see how Gorbachev's childhood shaped his life and hear from Gorbachev himself on the thinking that shaped his decision-making in an era of nuclear proliferation. A proponent of Perestroika and Glasnost in the Soviet Union's relations with the West, Gorbachev was the last leader of the Soviet Union.

An Opener That is Right Down Your Alley

L3 is an organization of competitors. We all know that. So we'll start off our stay in Greenbrier's historic eight-lane alley that includes built-in kiddie bumpers. A little friendly competition is a perfect start to our annual conference.

Dinner and Slots Tournament in 42 Below

It's a sure bet. The grandest casino experience in the world is waiting for you. You'll take a spin on one of the 180 state-of-the-art slot machines as you participate in the L3 slot tournament. It's fun and easy.

Greenbrier's 42 Below was recently ranked among the 20 best casinos in America, according to TripAdvisor reviews. 

Agora Sessions

Agora is an L3 signature program and was exclusively designed by and for members. Five men or five women of similar age and experience, meet via Zoom every four to six weeks for private, 90-minute conversations around topics that are relevant to our lives, resulting in what we call authentic connections.

At L3's annual conference, we'll apply the tools that have been proven to create a supportive environment where members establish trust, intimacy and supportive connections while discussing important aspects of life.

Agora groups are encouraged to attend and use this event as a time to meet and talk face-to-face. If you're not in an Agora, don't worry. You'll be placed in a group for the conference, so you'll have the same opportunity for these authentic connections.

Tea at the Greenbrier

Afternoon Tea in the Upper Lobby is a tradition almost as old as The Greenbrier and is included in our hotel package. Every afternoon at 4:15 you're invited to experience a grand tradition that has been taking place since the 1930s. Nibble on a delightful selection of freshly prepared pastries and cookies in The Greenbrier's beautiful Upper Lobby. Live piano music and/or dancers will provide entertainment as you savor your tea and delicacies.​


Monday, May 22 - ARRIVAL

4 p.m.

Check-in time at the Greenbrier

Tea at the Greenbrier

5:30 p.m.


6:30 p.m.

Dinner – Spring Room

8 p.m.

Ice-breaker event

Tuesday, May 23 - THE COLD WAR THEN

Breakfast is available in the main dining room

7 a.m.

Morning walk with L3

9 a.m.

Bunker tour

10:45 a.m.

A Cold War history lesson

Meeting Gorbachev documentary

12:30 p.m.


1:45 p.m.

Dwight Eisenhower and the Bunker with Susan Eisenhower, author and granddaughter of Pres. Eisenhower

3 p.m.

Walk-it-off 30-minute afternoon walk

4 p.m.

Tea at the Greenbrier

6:30 p.m.


7:30 p.m.


Wednesday, May 24 - THE COLD WAR NOW

Breakfast is available in the main dining room

7 a.m.

Morning walk with L3

9 a.m.

The Cold War Now: Panel preview

 Susan Eisenhower, James Jeffrey,

Richard Meyers and Matthew Rojansky

10:30 a.m.       


10:45 a.m.       

Panel discussion



1 p.m.

Walk-it-off 30-minute afternoon walk

2:30 p.m.         

Agora meetings 

All Agoras are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to meet in person. If you're not in an Agora, you'll still be able to have an Agora experience at the conference.

4 p.m.              

Tea at the Greenbrier

6:30 p.m.         

Cocktails, dinner with Slots tournament

Thursday, May 25 - Explore The Greenbrier

Breakfast is available in the main dining room. 

7 a.m.

Morning Walk with L3

Today is yours to take advantage of The Greenbrier's exceptional activities. Additional charges may apply.

We will hold a call with attendees to determine if there are activities of interest to everyone.

4 p.m.

Tea at the Greenbrier

6:30 p.m.


7:30 p.m.


Friday, May 26 - DEPARTURE DAY

Plan your departing travel for any time on Friday. L3 has no programming planned for this day. Hotel check-out time is 11 a.m.

Greenbrier's wealth of optional activities for free time on Thursday.

We built free time into our agenda so can you enjoy some of the amazing activities the Greenbrier has to offer. Whether it's a spa treatment, a round of golf on the Sam Snead course, or an off-road excursion, you'll find something that you'll love doing at Greenbrier.

Click here to download the activities guide.

Click here to download the spa brochure.



Plan to fly into the Greenbrier Valley Regional Airport in Lewisburg, West Virginia (LWB) on Monday, May 22. The Greenbrier has a shuttle service from the airport to the resort ($28.80 per person). L3 will make the arrangements for the transfer when you send us your flight information. It is a 20-minute drive to the resort from the airport.

You can also fly into the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) or West Virginia International Yeager Airport (CRW) in Charleston, West Virginia. Roanoke is a one-hour-and-40-minute drive to the resort and Charleston is a two-hour drive. The program begins at 5:30 p.m. Check-in is at 4 p.m.


Plan your departing travel arrangements for any time on Friday, May 26. L3 has no programming planned for this day.


Located amid the breathtaking mountains of West Virginia, The Greenbrier is a National Historic Landmark and world-class resort that has been welcoming guests from around the world since 1778.

The Greenbrier is widely regarded as one of the finest luxury resorts around the world. Surrounded by the wondrous Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier offers exclusive services and amenities such as championship golf, fine dining, more than 55 activities, designer boutiques, our world-renowned mineral spa and a 103,000 square-foot gaming and entertainment venue.

The Greenbrier, America's Resort

101 Main Street West

White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia 24986


Per Person Deposit


Double Occupancy

Per Person Double Occupancy - Early Registration


Per Person Double Occupancy


Single Occupancy

Per Person Single Occupancy - Early Registration 


Per Person Single Occupancy


Early Registration pricing ends April 3, 2023.

Registration includes:

All meals, except for one lunch, all scheduled activities and hotel accommodations.

Not included in your registration fee:

Flights to and from The Greenbrier, transfer to and from the airport, user-pay activities at resort and one lunch during free time.


We encourage you to purchase travel insurance as our events are not refundable for a canceled reservation at any time. You may sell your registration to another L3 member or candidate.

Click here to see ways that you can insure this reservation.


Travelers must test negative no more than three days prior to arrival. At-home test results are acceptable.

All travelers should be fully vaccinated and boosted as recommended by the CDC. You no longer need to send a copy of your vax cards prior to arrival.


There are no activities that require the ability to walk long distances other than the optional walk each day.

Travel Insurance

L3 has partnered up with our favorite travel insurance company to bring you the best travel coverage.

Click here to ask an L3 staff member for assistance.

To see plan highlights click here.