White House Tunnel System: West Wing Underground Command Bunker Project
White House Construction: The New West Wing Bunker
In 2010, the West Wing underground command center project secretly got underway.
The construction equipment arrived and tall fences went up around the West Wing of the White House.
An initial ill-conceived scheme to deceive the public about the true nature
of the construction led to the widespread reporting of a mere "utility upgrade" project. However, the massive scope of the
construction led to many questions and outrageous conspiracy theories.
While some officials in federal government agencies sought access to this secret information, most Americans were left in the dark.
In a spirit of openness and transparency, the Obama Administration has decided to set the record straight.
Construction site outside the West Wing of the White House in 2011
Construction equipment along West Executive Avenue
Specialized equipment was brought in for deep drilling
Truckloads of dirt were continuously hauled away around the clock
The new underground command center is located adjacent to and under the West Wing
View of the the White House tunnel expansion work in progress
New White House underground command center under construction - January 2013
The White House station is centrally located in the underground tunnel system
Some locations along the line are also accessible via pedestrian walkways
Undisclosed location along the White House Tunnel System
Escalator up to the U.S. Capitol from the White House Tunnel System
Building Our New West Wing Underground Command Center
Since the early 1960's, the need for a Deep Underground Command Center (DUCC) has been studied. This Top Secret
1963 memo outlined the requirements for the construction of a DUCC. Because of limits in technology at that time, the
project was deferred. Fifty years later, the DUCC is finally becoming a reality.
The new underground command center serves two purposes: 1) To protect key people with sufficient staff and data to
render critical decisions and 2) Ensure the survival of the facility to allow dissemination of these decisions.
The DUCC can only serve this purpose if the President and his team can secretly relocate there on very short notice.
Unlike the old Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) which is currently located below the East Wing of the White House,
the new secret command center will house its own massive communications data center that interfaces with all military, intelligence, and critical federal
agency systems. For security purposes, the exact specifications of the this command bunker are classified.
Before and After Photos of the Secret White House Construction Area
In 2007, a nondescript white building was constructed adjacent to the West Wing. The building is visible in the above photo, located on the far right. During the
previous Bush Administration, this building did not officially exist. However, in the spirit of openness and transparency, the purpose
of this mysterious structure can finally be revealed: it contained the initial buildout of the DUCC communications data center and
was secretly relocated underground when the publicly visible aspect of the massive construction project was completed in 2012.
The first photo below shows the West Wing construction area in 2010 with the secret white building visible above ground. The second photo shows the completed construction area at the end
of 2012 with the white building removed. Click on the photo to view a larger version of it.
Temporary Relocation of the Oval Office
Much of the West Wing of the White House, including the Oval Office, will be relocated to the
Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door to allow for the installation of the wiring, elevators, and secret entrances to the new command center below them. Although the exact timing has not been decided yet, the move is expected to take place in 2014.
It is imperative that the
President be able to safely evacuate to the command bunker below without having to leave the Oval Office. The existing trap door under the President's desk leading down to the Secret Service
"Horsepower" command post in the basement of the West Wing will be modified to allow presidential passage directly to the new underground command bunker.
A second Oval Office will be built in the south end of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The Secret Service is working closely with
the construction crews providing top secret security specifications for the windows, walls, and access points for the President's new workplace.
President Obama checks out the trap door beneath the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office
Presidential Executive Command and Control System Relocation.
Currently, the President has access to a large suite of Executive Command and Control applications via a PC located in his personal study outside the Oval Office.
Some of these applications include the
Cyber Warfare Command and Online Nuclear Launch Codes. For enhanced security, the access point for these important national security applications will eventually be relocated to the new West Wing underground command center.
Continuity of Government - The President's Doomsday Plan
The White House has developed a comprehensive Continuity of Government Plan to ensure that our
nation will continue to function in the event of a catastrophic national emergency. To prepare for this
unthinkable event, the new West Wing underground command center will function as an "underground White House". A tunnel will connect the new
executive command center with the PEOC under the East Wing.
The complex logistics of evacuating key executive agencies located in our nation's capital include a fleet of specialized vans and trucks that can be dispatched on a moment's notice to secret
campgrounds located within the Shenandoah Valley and in nearby federal park lands in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania containing underground hardened facilities and emergency communication systems.
Work first began on the secret White House underground tunnel system back in early 1950 under the Truman administration.
The White House was deteriorating and it was determined that massive reconstruction was required.
President Truman relocated to the nearby
Blair House for three years while the interior of the White House was completely rebuilt with concrete and steel beams.
It was during this time period that forward-thinking engineers came up with the plan to construct a massive
underground secret network of tunnels and bunkers to provide the President and his staff the ability to quickly relocate
during an emergency in the dawn of the Cold War era.
The Secret Metro Tunnels
The Washington Metro is a subway system that serves the Washington DC area. It "officially" has 106 miles
of track serving 86 stations in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland. Planning for the Metro system began in the
1950s during the height of the cold war. President Eisenhower created a secret rail planning commission that directed the
development of a secondary secret underground rail system built alongside the public one.
This secret tunnel system currently connects the White House to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door, the New Executive Office Building (NEOB),
the bunker under the Blair House, the bunker under the VP Residence at the Naval Observatory, the U.S. Capitol, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, the Pentagon, the State Department, and some
other federal buildings in between. There is also a secret train that runs between DC's Union Station and Mt. Weather and is under the protection of the TSA Federal Air Marshals.
Long-term plans call for the expansion of the White House tunnel system to go south past the Pentagon; west past the CIA to Mount Weather;
and north past Camp David up to Site R in Pennsylvania. The estimated completion date and exact route of this ambitious tunnel expansion plan remains classified.
Planned White House Tunnel System Expansion Map
Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC)
The PEOC was built six stories below ground under the East Wing to provide the President with a secure meeting place in the event
of an emergency. Access to the PEOC is by an elevator located behind multiple vault-type doors with biometric access control systems.
On September 11, 2001, President Bush met with his National Security Council in the Presidential Emergency Operations
Center. Photos of this secret location were published for the first time following this extraordinary gathering.
While the exact specification of this emergency Presidential bunker is classified, it is built to withstand a direct nuclear hit.
Meetings in the PEOC and Executive Briefing Room
As part of the Obama Administration's effort to make this White House the most open and transparent in history, we've released over three million White House
Visitor Access records including the ones below related to meetings held in the PEOC (click below to view the report)
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