Presidential Emergency Operations Center

Coordinates: 38°53′51″N 77°02′08″W / 38.89757°N 77.03565°W / 38.89757; -77.03565
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Presidential Emergency Operations Center
After addressing the nation on the evening of September 11, President George W. Bush meets with the National Security Council in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center
BuildingThe White House's East Wing
LocationWashington, D.C.
CountryUnited States
Coordinates38°53′51″N 77°02′08″W / 38.89757°N 77.03565°W / 38.89757; -77.03565

The Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC, PEE-ock) is a bunker-like structure underneath the East Wing of the White House. It serves as a secure shelter and communications center for the president of the United States and others in case of an emergency.


World War II[edit]

The first White House bunker was built during World War II to protect President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the event of an aerial attack on the national capital of Washington, D.C.

The present-day PEOC space has modern communications equipment including televisions and phones to coordinate with outside government entities. During a breach of White House security, including violations of the Washington, D.C. Air Defense Identification Zone (P-56 airspace), the president and other protectees are relocated to the executive briefing room, next to the PEOC. Day to day, the PEOC is staffed around the clock by joint-service military officers and non-commissioned officers.[1]

September 11 attacks[edit]

Vice President Dick Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush, and Second Lady Lynne Cheney in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center following the September 11 attacks

During the September 11 attacks, a number of key personnel were evacuated from their offices in the White House to the PEOC. These included Vice President Dick Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush, Lynne Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Mary Matalin, "Scooter" Libby, Joshua Bolten, Karen Hughes, Stephen Hadley, David Addington, Secret Service agents, U.S. Army major Mike Fenzel serving on a White House Fellowship, and other staff including Norman Mineta. President George W. Bush was visiting a school in Florida at the time of the attacks.[2] Australian Prime Minister John Howard was incorrectly reported as being bundled into the PEOC but was actually in a bunker at the Australian Embassy.[3]

May 29, 2020[edit]

President Donald Trump retreated to the PEOC during the night of May 29, 2020, at the beginning of the George Floyd protests.[4][5]

After his trip to the bunker was reported in the news, Trump demanded that officials find and prosecute those responsible for the information getting to the press.[6] Trump's Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, described in his 2022 book that Trump stated the person who leaked his whereabouts "should be executed".[7]


  1. ^ Darling, Robert J. (July 29, 2010). 24 Hours Inside the President's Bunker: 9-11-01: the White House. iUniverse. p. 50. ISBN 978-1450244237.
  2. ^ Clarke, Richard A. (2004). Against All Enemies. New York: Free Press. p. 4,5, 18. ISBN 0-7432-6024-4.
  3. ^ "John Howard recalls being bundled off to a bunker under Australian embassy in Washington DC after September 11 attacks". September 9, 2021.
  4. ^ Peter Baker; Maggie Haberman (May 31, 2020). "As Protests and Violence Spill Over, Trump Shrinks Back". New York Times. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  5. ^ Walker, Tim (June 1, 2020). "First Thing: with America ablaze, Trump was moved to the bunker". The Guardian. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  6. ^ Haberman, Maggie; Karni, Annie (June 17, 2020). "Does Trump Want to Fight for a Second Term? His Self-Sabotage Worries Aides". New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  7. ^ Vaillancourt, William (May 10, 2022). "Trump, Who Constantly Complained About Leaks, Was 'the Biggest Leaker of All,' Former Defense Secretary Says". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 12, 2022.

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