Executive Branch ‘Runs’ Government From Outside D.C. as Mock Crises Mount
Thousands of key federal employees are being whisked from the Washington area by helicopter and car for a three-day test of their ability to run the government from remote locations during a disaster.
The exodus, which began yesterday and will continue today, involves the White House and other parts of the executive branch. Congress and the judiciary are not part of the exercise, which is being overseen by the Department of Homeland Security.
Since the late 1990s, every federal agency has been required to have a plan to quickly resume operations after a catastrophe. But the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks raised doubts about many agencies’ preparations.
This week’s “continuity of government” drill is one of the largest by the federal government since 9/11, officials said. It is part of a national eight-day exercise in which officials are responding to a cascade of nightmarish events. The drill started Thursday, with terrorists sabotaging a tanker carrying poisonous gas in Washington state.