[FoRK] Big Plans?

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Tue May 22 19:08:27 PDT 2007

COG's and COOPs are standard, and required of virtually every agency, 
but the ECG ("Enduring Constitutional Government") is a potentially 
scary concept.  We already have one of those; declaring some new thing 
that is "coordinated by the president" sounds like doublespeak for 
another power grab.  All  imprecise language with regard to control of 
US Government is bad.  I wouldn't allow such language in an apartment lease.

Did anyone notice that we already had one of these in 1998?  I've read 
certain PDDs, but I missed that one.
> 22) Revocation. Presidential Decision Directive 67 of October 21, 1998 
> ("Enduring Constitutional Government and Continuity of Government 
> Operations"), including all Annexes thereto, is hereby revoked.


    Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in

/By Matthew Rothschild   May 18, 2007 /

With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has 
ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.

In a new National Security Presidential Directive, Bush lays out his 
plans for dealing with a "catastrophic emergency."

Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal 
government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the 
responsibility "for ensuring constitutional government." He laid this 
all out in a document entitled "National Security Presidential 
Directive/NSPD 51 
<http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/05/20070509-12.html>" and 
"Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20."

The White House released it on May 9. Other than a discussion on Daily 
Kos <http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/5/11/0401/26667> led off by a 
posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream 
newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon. The subject of the 
document is entitled "National Continuity Policy."

It defines a "catastrophic emergency" as "any incident, regardless of 
location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, 
damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, 
infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function."

This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake 
in California, I imagine, since it says it would include "localized acts 
of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies." 
The document emphasizes the need to ensure "the continued function of 
our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning 
of the three separate branches of government," it states. But it says 
flat out: "The President shall lead the activities of the Federal 
Government for ensuring constitutional government."

The document waves at the need to work closely with the other two 
branches, saying there will be "a cooperative effort among the 
executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal 
Government." But this effort will be "coordinated by the President, as a 
matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches 
and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers." 
Among the efforts coordinated by the President would ensuring the 
capability of the three branches of government to "provide for orderly 
succession" and "appropriate transition of leadership."

The document designates a National Continuity Coordinator, who would be 
the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and 
Counterterrorism. Currently holding that post is Frances Fragos 
Townsend. She is required to develop a National Continuity 
Implementation Plan and submit it within 90 days. As part of that plan, 
she is not only to devise procedures for the Executive Branch but also 
give guidance to "state, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and 
private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure."

The secretary of Homeland Security is also directed to develop planning 
guidance for "private sector critical infrastructure owners and 
operators," as well as state, local, territorial, and tribal governments.

The document gives the Vice President a role in implementing the 
provisions of the contingency plans. "This directive shall be implanted 
in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective 
implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession 
to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential 
Succession Act of 1947 (3 USC 19), with the consultation of the Vice 
President and, as appropriate, others involved." The document also 
contains "classified Continuity Annexes."

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