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In the event of an actual emergency, put a Kansan in charge! - April 20, 2018

The Designated Survivor is typically kept in a secure and undisclosed location. We know where it. In fact, we're there right now.  But we are not allowed to tell you where we are.

Q: When all the nation's leaders are gathered in one place at the same time (such as during the State of the Union Address or a presidential inauguration), one American citizen is designated to keep the federal government functioning in the event of a catastrophic event that kills or incapacitates the president, vice president and others in the line of succession. This person is known as the "Designated Survivor." Two people born in Wichita have served in this capacity. Name either of them.  

(Hint: One Designated Survivor served in the Clinton Administration and the other served under both the Bush and Obama administrations.)  


A: Dan Glickman (in President Clinton's administration)
     Robert Gates (in President Obama's administration)

The Designated Survivor (also known as the Designated Successor) is a pre-selected American citizen and federal employee, usually a cabinet member, whose job is to keep the federal government running should some catastrophic event kill or incapacitate the president, vice president and others in the presidential line of succession. During events when all the nation's leaders are gathered in one place at the same time, such as during a presidential inauguration or State of the Union Speech, the Designated Survivor is housed in a secure, undisclosed and sometimes remote location. Not everyone who has served in the role as Designated Survivor is known to the public. But two people who have served as Designated Survivors are from Kansas: Dan Glickman and Roberts Gates, both natives of Wichita.

During President Clinton's State of the Union address to Congress in 1997, U.S. Agriculture Secretary and former Kansas Congressman Dan Glickman served as the Designated Survivor.

During the President Obama's first inauguration in 2009, U.S. Defense Secretary and former CIA Director Robert Gates was selected as the Designated Survivor. As CNN reported at the time, "Gates spent the inauguration at a military installation outside Washington, according to one senior Pentagon official. There are a number of places set up around the country for remote command of the military and the rest of the federal government in the event of a catastrophe."

Discover more strange and fascinating facts in our online archive of Kansas Trivia.


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