Posted by on August 5, 2022 5:37 pm
Categories: News Washington Examiner

White House Situation Room gets multimillion-dollar makeover

President Joe Biden meets with members of the CIA and National Security advisers about al-Qaeda leaders and their locations, Friday, July 1, 2022, in the White House Situation Room. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) Adam Schultz/White House

White House Situation Room gets multimillion-dollar makeover

Katherine Doyle August 05, 05:24 PMAugust 05, 05:24 PM Video Embed

It is the iconic command post where President Joe Biden met with members of his Cabinet and counterterrorism experts to discuss the operation against al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri before ordering a strike. It’s where previous presidents have watched video feeds as U.S. forces target terrorists overseas. And it’s where Biden learned of the nightmare scenario last year when 13 American service members were killed by a suicide bomber at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan.

Staff work around the clock in the Situation Room, a 5,000-square-foot complex in the West Wing where national security aides monitor international and domestic events.

It has been the hub for critical moments and decisions, including one in which Biden examined a model of al Zawahiri’s house before approving an over-the-horizon attack.

Presidents and their top aides use the complex to conduct secure phone calls and briefings. The setup also has a secure feed to Air Force One, which former President George W. Bush used to communicate with aides on Sept. 11 as he was in the air.

Few parts of the White House feature as prominently in Hollywood and TV depictions of a president’s national security duties and are as crucial to the country’s protection.


While the secure site has seen periodic updates, some furnishings and equipment date back years.

That’s set to change in the coming weeks as a multimillion-dollar makeover gets underway, according to Politico. The renovations are expected to last about 12 months and hew to the original look.

The White House hasn’t said how much the refit would cost, and a spokesperson for the National Security Council declined to provide a precise figure when asked by the Washington Examiner.

The Pentagon last year proposed more than $56 million in upgrades.

The last remodel in 2006 was projected to take “eight months and a classified number of taxpayer dollars,” the Associated Press wrote at the time.

That was its biggest overhaul since President John F. Kennedy demanded a new secure conference set up in May 1961 after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. While it took less time than expected, coming in 3 1/2 months ahead of schedule, the construction proved disruptive.


Staff members described sitting in the office of then-White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten and “hearing ear-piercing [noises] or watching water ripple in glasses on his desk as the floor shook.”

Planning for that renovation stretched back to before 9/11.

Once completed in 2007, Bush inaugurated the setup by holding a videoconference with then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of their Iraq teams.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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