If the White House were attacked who would respond?

Say if a sizable paramilitary group attacked the White House and took a bunch of hostages including the POTUS, like that movie Olympus Down or whatever it was called.

Whose job would it be to take it back and neutralise the threat? The Secret Service? The Marines? Washington D.C.'s SWAT teams?

Rider question - how long would it take before all the attackers were all brown bread?

It would be quite difficult to get a major paramilitary force close to the White House since its in quite a built up area. And many tourists (like myself) end up at another similar looking building nearby (Treasury Dept? Old State building?)

The Uniformed Division of the Secret Service is responsible for White House Security, and they have an Emergency Response Team the ERT: “ERT’s primary mission is to provide tactical response to unlawful intrusions and other protective challenges related to the White House and its grounds. ERT personnel receive specialized, advanced training and must maintain a high level of physical and operational proficiency.”

Sounds like they would be the first responders and then they would call on the Counter Assault Team:

That is pretty much the entire answer.

If more bodies are needed they would probably call in the FBI Hostage Rescue Team. The HRT is an overall counter terrorism and SWAT team and not just about hostages. And they are based close by in Quantico. It just depends on how big the situation is. Any locals or the myriad of other police forces in D.C. would probably be used for perimeter security.

In the OP’s case that the POTUS was actually a hostage and it came down to a long term stand off, then presumably the Vice-President is in charge and would be the acting commander-in-chief.

As such they could call on whoever they wanted to resolve the situation, Delta Force, DEVGRU, whoever. It would be like Gary Oldman in “Leon” , “Get me everyone…” :smiley:

Wow, cheers for the links, I had no idea the SS had such numbers to call on.

What do you mean everyone?

I’m guessing that if the POTUS becomes a hostage like in the movies the 25th Amendment is in effect automatically, in such a situation where would they take the Veep, now Acting President? The nearest bunker, Air Force One?

Keep in mind that the WH was sprayed with bullets a few years ago, and the Secret Service didn’t even realize. And more recently, one lone nut made it into the building because alarms were off and agents weren’t at their posts. He might have reached the residence but for being tackled by an off-duty agent who just happened to be on site. I imagine that security has been tightened since then, but it’s not nearly as overwhelming as one might think.

You mean… the female Secret Service agents aren’t all deadly martial artists like in the movies???

And those vicious White House dogs aren’t actually good for much???

And those high-tech surveillance systems are manned by lazy civil servants who are goofing off half the time???

Wow- if you can’t trust In the Line of Fire, who CAN you trust? I’m astonished Al Qaeda didn’t storm the White House the very next day!

I believe that last time the White House was truly attacked the First Lady was the one of the first responders.

I always used to think “look how well-hidden the snipers on the roof are!” when I saw the WH. Now I realize they were probably just napping. :smiley:

Bad tactics for AQ. That would be the day the SS were on the *highest *alert. Nothing like a scare & burst of adrenaline to wake everybody up. Fast forward a few months or years, to say, today, and things may have settled down to the same dull & semi-lax routine.

If that book (or movie) is anything to go by, Jack Ryan was pretty much the only competent civil servant anywhere in DC.

Clint Eastwood, dude. Dirty Harry can kick Jack Ryan’s ass any day of the week.

Well during 9/11, Bush was taken to Air Force One and kept in the air (surrounded by fighter escorts) until they knew there was no more hijacked planes to slam into buildings.

Air Force One can be kept in the air indefinitely with air to air refuelling and rotating pilots, or they could take the VEEP to an easily defensible army base such as maybe Cheyenne Mountain, if they thought there was still large hostile armed groups out there somewhere.

Nitpick: Cheyenne Mountain is nominally an Air Force base.

The Marine Barracks, Washington site was specifically selected as an easy march from the White House, and one of the missions of the Marine Barracks, Companies A and B is “provides contingency forces in support of the White House Emergency Plan.” Any organized attack on the White House would certainly have their not so subtle response. Yeah, the dress nice and march pretty, but they also train hard for dirty work.

Cite: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/marine-barracks.htm

It’s not automatic; the VP must still assemble the Cabinet and get them to vote to invoke it, but in practice that would happen very quickly (via teleconference) & in the interim I don’t he’d have much trouble getting his orders followed.

Air Force Once cannot be kept in the air “indefinitely”. There’s more to keeping a plane airworthy that refuelling, and eventually the plan is going to have to land for maintenance.

Well sure but it could be kept in the air for over a hundred hours which would be more than enough time to deal with any immediate threat and work out the best safe location to transport the VEEP to.

I suspect the visible part of the White house is vulnerable to attack and serves mainly as a “time-buffer” to get people below. Breaching the subterranean part of it is going to be a different matter which probably resembles something more on the order of Cheyenne Mountain.

Yep, that was my first thought. The PPD can fight a holding action but in terms of a fast-moving assault they get POTUS to some secure location and call for the marines.

Here’s what the Barracks official site says:

Very pretty, but the operative word in all of that is Marine.