A rotating group of about 100 senior civilian federal managers, mostly from the career ranks, has staffed a "shadow government" since Sept. 11 to ensure the continuity of government operations in the event of a catastrophic attack on Washington, the Washington Post reported
Friday. An initial group of officials, mostly GS-14 and GS-15 managers and members of the Senior Executive Service, was deployed to a secret location in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Since then, managers and executives have been rotating in and out of service at two fortified locations along the East Coast, sources told the Post
. Several White House officials are also working out of the sites. The deployment has taken place under "continuity of operations" plans developed during the Cold War and updated under orders issued by President Reagan. In implementing the plans, many departments and agencies have had to delegate powers to career officials who would not ordinarily exercise them. The military has separate contingency plans in place and has long placed staff in fortified facilities to ensure that the chain of command remains intact even in the event of emergencies. The civilian managers and executives deployed since Sept. 11 have not been allowed to take their families with them, or even to tell them where they are going or what they are doing. Sources told the Post
that the two sites where managers are working are highly fortified and well stocked with food, water, medicine and other supplies. However, top managers reportedly found that computers at the sites were out of date and lacked adequate connections to other agency systems.