Manmeet Singh Arora

Command Centre : A Coordination Unit and A Priority Formation

A command centre is also called a war room or a situation room where there is a centralized command for decision making and passing it off for executive action. Earlier it was limited for military functions but now it has moved from Government to board rooms where important actionable decisions are taken considering the Real Time Data which is made available to the panel of decision makers to act in time and respond to inquiries, and synthesize opinions to determine the best course of action.

The historical facts surrounding the centre:

In the Cold War era, the Government of Canada undertook the construction of “Emergency Government Headquarters”, to be used in the event of nuclear warfare or other large-scale disaster. Canada was generally allied with the United States for the duration of the war, was a founding member of NATO, allowed American cruise missiles to be tested in the far north, and flew sovereignty missions in the Arctic. For these reasons, the country was often seen as being a potential target of the Soviets and extensive post-attack plans were drawn up for use in emergencies, and fallout shelters were built all across the country for use as command centres for governments of all levels.

In the year 1961, when John Kennedy was   the  President in the White House he had a situation, but no Situation Room or Command centre was available. President Kennedy was confused with the flow of intelligence into the Oval Office and tits and bits of information which does not seem collated and was not in the form of a finished product for the President to act upon. The president decided to have such a facility as a Command Centre which he later named as a Situation Room and put his own naval aide in charge of construction, a group of contractors who worked at night to convert the mansion’s basement bowling alley into what into famous ultra-secure workspace called the White House Situation Room.

Previously various spots were selected for their most sensitive communications, from Lincoln’s late-night visits to the telegraph office next door to the White House to Roosevelt’s in-house World War II command centre and in the mansion’s Map Room.

But after the incident of the failed Bay of Pigs operation, President Kennedy wanted an efficient movement of critical information in and out of the White House. The equipment and Protocols for the Functioning of the Command Centre called Situation Room has evolved within years into an Automatic facility with most advanced cables to filter information. The Duty officers of the White Office work around the clock in the space sift through intelligence feeds for the president’s daily briefing. And when a crisis strikes, it becomes a secure communications centre with global reach.

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