When the American President travels, he is provided with a host of security measures and specially deisgned vehicles to protect him
AGENCIES PROTECTING THE PRESIDENT
The CIA: The Central Intelligence Agency, a successor of the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS), is concerned with international intelligence Gathering in the United States. It gathers, collates and evaluates information about foreign governments, corporations and individuals relevant to American security. The CIA has the ability to act if the US is perceived to be at risk. The agency has a string of agents around the world and its headquarters are based at Langley, Virginia. It advises public policymakers, undertakes paramilitary actions and exerts foreign political influence.
The FBI: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is the premier law enforcement agency of the US. It gathers domestic intelligence and works to put a stop to threats from within the US. If someone within the US threatened the country's security, the FBI would look into it. The FBI also handles domestic surveillance and maintains federal watch-lists, most-wanted documentation and surveillance services on suspicious individuals inside the US to neutralise any threat.
The Secret Service: The Secret Service is the US's first domestic intelligence and counter intelligence agency. It has two major roles. It works towards prevention and investigation of major frauds and counterfeiting of US currency and US Treasury bond notes. The Secret Service also ensures the safety of national leaders and their families, such as the President and past Presidents.
In the 1970s, the US Secret Service created the K-9 division, which paired specially trained dogs with handlers, or K-9 Technicians. These special dogs were trained to detect drugs, explosives and firearms. The Secret Service has recently started using only Belgian Malinois dogs from Holland as they are known for their ability to adapt to new climates and environments. K-9s work for seven to 11 years in the Secret Service and are allowed to grow to an average of 34kgs.
AIR FORCE ONE
Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign of any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. This call sign is given to any US Air Force jet or plane that the President flies in. However, technically Air Force One is used to refer to one of two highly customised Boeing 747-200B series aircrafts, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The Air Force designation for the aircraft is VC-25A. Air Force One is a specially-designed and constructed Boeing 747 with stateof- the-art secure communications facilities. The massive jetliner is essentially a flying Oval Office.
The words 'United States of America', the American flag and the Seal of the President of the United States are painted on the aircraft. The onboard electronics of Air Force One are hardened to protect against any electro-magnetic pulse. Air Force One is also equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command centre in the event of an attack on the United States. Unlike a normal 747, the plane has its own retractable stairways for the rear entrance and the front entrance. These stairways open onto the lower deck and crew members and staff climb internal staircases to get to the upper decks. The plane also has its own baggage-loader. With these additions, the plane never has to depend on an airport's facilities, which could be a security risk.
The most remarkable feature on the plane is its extensive electronics. It has 85 onboard telephones, a collection of two-way radios, fax machines and computer connections. It also has 19 televisions and assorted office equipment. The onboard electronics include about 238 miles of wiring (twice the amount you would find in a normal 747). The phone system is set up for normal air to ground connections and secure lines. The President and his staff can reach just about anybody in the world while cruising tens of thousands of feet in the air.
The plane's heavy shielding is tough enough to protect the wiring and crucial electronics from the electromagnetic pulses associated with a nuclear blast. Another special feature is the inflight refueling connection. The plane is outfitted with electronic counter measures (ECM) to jam enemy radar. The plane can also eject flares to throw heat-seeking missiles off course.
The aircraft has 4,000 square feet of floor space on three levels. Air Force One is equipped with a medical suite that can function as an operating room and a doctor is permanently on board this aircraft. The plane's two food preparation galleys can feed 100 people at a time. Air Force One also has quarters for those who accompany the President, including senior advisors, Secret Service officers, travelling press and other guests. Several cargo planes typically fly ahead of Air Force One to provide the President with services needed in remote locations. Air Force One is maintained and operated by the Presidential Airlift Group, part of the White House Military Office.
PRESIDENTIAL STATE CAR
The President of the United States travels in a jet black Cadillac called the Presidential State Car. The current presidential limousine entered service on January 20, 2009. According to the manufacturers of the car, General Motors, the 2009 Cadillac Presidential Limousine is the first car to not carry a specific model name.
Most details of the car are classified for security reasons, but we do know that the car is completely fitted with military grade armour that is at least 5 inches thick. The wheels are fitted with tyres that can run even if they are flat. Due to the thickness of the window glass, much of the natural light is excluded and the car is therefore fitted with a fluorescent halo lighting system.
The car can seat seven people, including the President. The front seats two and includes a console-mounted communication centre. A glass partition divides the front from the back. Three rear facing seats are in the back with cushions that are able to fold over the partition. The two rear seats are reserved for the President and another passenger. These seats have the ability to recline individually. A folding desk is located between the two rear seats. Storage compartments in the interior panels of the car contain communications equipment. The Secret Service refers to the heavily armoured vehicle as 'The Beast'.