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A £9m emergency government bunker is being planned - but what will it be used for?

Edinburgh Evening News logo Edinburgh Evening News 08/03/2021 Helen Johnson
a close up of a street in front of a building © The command room will be located next door to the Cobra meeting rooms in the basement of the Cabinet...

The Government is set to reveal plans for a £9 million bunker, which will be built in case of emergencies, such as terrorist attacks and pandemics.

The White House-style bunker command room is set to be located beneath Whitehall and will be known as the Situation Centre - SitCen for short.

What is SitCen?

The SitCen project is part of the Government’s review of defence, security and foreign policy which is set to be revealed on 16 March.

The review plans to make changes in order to modernise and evolve intelligence, diplomacy and the armed forces.

The command room will be located next door to the Cobra meeting rooms in the basement of the Cabinet Office and is expected to open this summer.

The bunker is set to be connected to Downing Street through an existing labyrinth of tunnels.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to watch drone strikes and military engagements on large interactive display screens, enabling him to track events in real-time.

Top ministers, leading officials and invited experts will be able to gather together in SitCen in order to monitor developing disasters and be briefed on terror strikes.

One official told The Sunday Times: “It will have hi-tech stuff – heatmaps, geostationary visualisations, interactive dashboards. At key moments we still get analogue government with no maps and PowerPoint presentations.

“Coronavirus has shown that we need this. It will support a greater speed of decision-making,” the official added.

It will be similar to the White House’s command room in the United States, which is also used for emergency responses and dealing with major security threats.

In May 2011, Barack Obama and the then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, used the White House’s situation room to watch live footage of troops from the Special Forces tracked down al-Qaeda terror leader, Osama bin Laden, in Pakistan.


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