Biden’s speech involves security protocol adopted since the cold war

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The State of the Union is the most traditional speech of the American presidency. It is written in the Constitution that the president must report to Congress from “time to time” on how the country is doing. There is no mention of the periodicity on the pronouncement.

Over the decades, it was agreed that the president would speak annually.

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In addition to being an important moment for the president to defend his agenda and highlight achievements, the State of the Union involves an atypical situation for the security and continuity of government of the world’s greatest power. The entire presidential cabinet, which forms the line of succession, participates in the event. Except for one person.

Since the times of the cold war, with the fear that a large-scale attack would decimate the American government, it was determined that a member of the cabinet would watch the speech outside Congress, in a secure location, not disclosed for security reasons.

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It is about thedesignated survivor” or “designated survivor”, in free translation. The protocol has already been the subject of a Netflix action series, but it is real and will be repeated tonight.

The logic is simple: in the eventual (but unlikely) case of an attack killing everyone inside the capitol during the speech, the “designated survivor” would automatically become president, thus ensuring continuity of government and national security.

He or she would take over the White House in a time of crisis, grief and instability after the attack.

Despite all the secrecy, the White House always announces, shortly before the speech, who is chosen that night. The understanding is that the American population deserves to know who would lead the nation in a catastrophic moment.

The person is chosen by the president’s chief of staff. It is usually not someone high up in government, such as a Secretary of State or Treasury.

Even so, he is an employee who is in the line of succession and able to assume the presidency in the event of the death or incapacity of all others above him.

The protocol, which suggests an unlikely scenario of national catastrophe, reflects much of the extreme concern for national security and is among the many confidential details surrounding the American presidency, such as the bunker below the White House or the famous “nuclear suitcase”. who follows the president.

Source: CNN Brasil

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