Details of US Government Post Attack; Line of Succession and Shadow Gov't Reviewed by 9/11 Panel
The Honolulu Advertiser
If there is a devastating attack on the capital, a shadow government of 75 to 150 government officials stands ready to take control under plans established by President Bush. The officials, drawn from every Cabinet department and some independent agencies, would work out of two fortified locations in mountainside bunkers outside Washington. The officials would rotate in and out and be barred from telling anybody where they are and why. Congress would gather at a Washington-area hotel and nearby military base.
Within the Cabinet agencies, Bush set by executive order in December 2001 the lines of succession, generally designating an undersecretary or general counsel to take the helm should a secretary and the deputy be killed or incapacitated. There also is a clearly defined line of succession to the presidency, starting with the vice president. But how to keep Congress functioning if a large number of members are killed is not so clear. The Constitution allows state governors to quickly appoint new senators. It does not specify how to repopulate the House beyond holding special elections that would take weeks or months to conduct, leaving the House unable to conduct its business.
A government commission created after the Sept. 11 attacks to review succession procedures called for a constitutional amendment allowing for gubernatorial appointment of House members. The measure has stalled.