White House splurges $50m on fancy new upgrades for the famous Situation Room

Published on Sep 08, 2023 at 7:54 PM (UTC+4)
by Andie Reeves

Last updated on Sep 08, 2023 at 7:55 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Kate Bain

White House splurges $50m on fancy new upgrades for the famous Situation Room

The Situation Room is where the president and his advisors discuss major crises and events away from eavesdroppers and the threat of bugs.

Underground and windowless, it is considered the most technologically secure place in the entire country.

But as the world becomes more advanced, the level of security needed has increased too.

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One year and $50 million later, the Situation Room has been given a high-tech and high-security makeover.

“This was enhanced to the highest standard,” said Marc Gustafson, who is the senior director for the White House Situation Room.

“You constantly enhance to keep up with foreign adversaries.”

The Situation Room is etched in American history as the venue where President Obama watched the capture of Osama bin Laden.

Before it was built, the president didn’t have a designated spot to discuss top-secret matters.

It was after the Cuban Missile Crisis that John F. Kennedy commissioned this area.

Today’s Situation Room is vastly different from the one JFK frequented.

For one, the screens aren’t in black and white.

As their high-tech clashes with Russia and China heat up, The United States felt the need to update this security hub.

It was last remodelled in 2006, which was before the first iPhone was launched.

Needless to say, technology has come a long way since then.

Besides the computers being old and slow, the furniture itself was worn down, as the facility is used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Now the White House Situation Room, referred to by those in the know as ‘the whizzer’ has reopened.

It is in fact a network of rooms, including meeting rooms with glass walls that can turn opaque with the flick of a switch.

Thanks to its gleaming surfaces and fresh leather, one reporter who was lucky enough to tour the top secret spot said it smells “a bit like a new car”.

While the dark wood and leather might seem old-fashioned to some, there is a considered reason for these style choices.

It’s designed to emulate other places where the president takes important meetings, such as the Air Force One plane.

This gives the president the same feel and environment wherever he meets.

There are now a number of state-of-the-art conference rooms in place, all outfitted with LED lights, multiple screens and anti-bugging technology.

All the rooms have a screen displaying the level of discussion of the room, from Unclassified to Top Secret.

There are also screens showing relevant timezones on the wall and the timezone for wherever the president currently is.

But the most thrilling room is the Watch Floor.

This is where the action happens, manned by members from the Department of Homeland Security and top-ranked military officials.

This large room has three rows of desks, all angled towards a wall of screens.

These screens show maps, social media streams, videos and intelligence reports from the CIA.

This surveillance room is busy around the clock, with shifts starting at 5 a.m. or 5 p.m. and lasting 12 hours.

Those who work here are responsible for informing the president about any potential crisis, waking him up in the night if necessary.

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Andie Reeves

Andie is a content writer from South Africa with a background in broadcasting and journalism. Starting her career in the glossy pages of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, Andie has a broad portfolio, covering everything from sustainability solutions to celebrity car collections. When not at her laptop Andie can be found sewing, recording her podcast, taking board games too seriously or road-tripping in her bright green Kia.