May 2016 – WASHINGTON, DC – If you ever wondered what would happen if Washington was suddenly attacked by a hyper-sonic missile from a foreign nation during a State of the Union address, where the U.S. president, Vice President, and nearly every member of Congress was in attendance, you needn’t worry anymore. Department of Homeland Security just might be running the country after such an incident.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was named the designated survivor for the 2016 State of the Union, a White House official said in January. Johnson, 58, has been head of the Department of Homeland Security since 2013 and is only the fourth person to serve in the position. He previously served as a general counsel at the Department of Defense.
For each State of the Union address, the White House chief of staff selects a cabinet-level official as the designated survivor, who spends the State of the Union night in an undisclosed location. They serve as a potential president-in-waiting in the event there is a catastrophic incident in the House chamber during the State of the Union. –ABC