Secret Service Plans $8 Million Fake White House

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The secondary White House will potentially be built in Beltsville, Md. at a cost of $8 million, and will provide a training venue for officers and agents before they are sent to protect the real one. The director of the Secret Service, Joseph P. Clancy, is set to lay out his plans for the detailed replica White House before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, writes Michael D. Shear for the New York Times.

Fake White House to be used for training purposes

Clancy is appealing for funds to build the replica at a Secret Service training site in Beltsville, around 20 miles from the real White House. “The Secret Service currently uses a rudimentary, not-to-scale simulation of the north grounds of the White House, using bike barricades to act as the fencing,” Mr. Clancy will tell lawmakers. “There are no structures, vehicle gates, lighting or other aids to enhance the training simulations.”

According to Mr. Clancy the proposed facility would provide a “more realistic environment, conducive to scenario-based training exercises,” to better prepare those who will be tasked with protecting the President’s home in the future.

Recent security lapses

Criticism has been mounting of the Secret Service’s protection of the White House. Six months ago an intruder scaled a fence before running through an unlocked door into the East Room, where he was finally tackled by officers. The incident prompted inquiries into security at the White House, and it was recommended that a higher fence be built.

However it was also claimed that the “problems exposed by recent events go deeper than a new fence can fix.” It was also recommended that Secret Service agents and officers send more time training “in conditions that replicate the physical environment in which they will operate.”

“A security team should also be trained so that it is intimately familiar with the space in which it is operating,” according to the authors of a security report.

At least the Secret Service seems to have taken note of the advice. Not only will Clancy ask for money for a fake White House, he also wants funds to renovate both a “live-fire shoot house” and a “tactical village” training site.

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