The Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) is a bunker-like structure that lies underground, beneath the East Wing of the White House and serves as a secure shelter and communications center for the President of the United States and other protectees in case of an emergency.

History and use

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and wife Lynne Cheney in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center following the September 11 attacks.

Originally constructed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, it is built to withstand nuclear weapons[1] and is likely to be the President's evacuation point in the event of an incoming ICBM, invasion, terrorist attack or any other kind of emergency (the main protocols of escape are highly classified). It is not in the same location as the Situation Room, which is in the basement of the West Wing. However, it does possess several television sets, telephones and a communications system to coordinate with other government entities during an emergency. During a breach of White House security, to include the Washington, D.C. Air Defense Identification Zone (P-56 airspace) violations, the President and other protectees will be relocated to the executive briefing room, next to the PEOC. Day to day, the PEOC is manned around the clock by joint-service military officers and non-commissioned officers.[citation needed]

September 11, 2001

During the September 11 attacks, then-Vice President Dick Cheney, Lynne Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Norman Mineta, Mary Matalin, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Joshua Bolten, Karen Hughes, Stephen Hadley, David Addington, Secret Service agents and other staff, including a U.S. Army major who was a White House Fellow, were evacuated from their offices in the White House to the PEOC.[2]

In popular culture

Dramatized versions of the PEOC were featured in the 2009 film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, the 2010 film Salt, the 2013 films Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, and seasons two, four, six, and seven of the TV series 24, as well as the TV series House of Cards and Designated Survivor.


  1. ^ Ó Caollaí, Éanna (July 25, 2015). "9/11: Newly released photos show US leaders in aftermath of attacks". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Clarke, Richard A. (2004). Against All Enemies. New York: Free Press. p. 18. ISBN 0-7432-6024-4. 

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