ERIC LICHTBLAU and JAMES RISEN - July 27, 2009
WASHINGTON — A shift in authority has given military officials at the White House a bigger operational role in creating a backup government if the nation’s capital were “decapitated” by a terrorist attack or other calamity, according to current and former officials involved in the decision.
The move, which was made in the closing weeks of the administration of President George W. Bush, came after months of heated internal debate about the balance of power and the role of the military in a time of crisis, participants said. Officials said the Obama administration had left the plan essentially intact.
Under the revamped structure, the White House Military Office, which reports to the office of the White House chief of staff, has assumed a more central role in setting up a temporary “shadow government” in a crisis.