Cover: Security in the Nation's Capital and the Closure of Pennsylvania Avenue:  An Assessment

Security in the Nation's Capital and the Closure of Pennsylvania Avenue: An Assessment

Published 2002

by Bruce Hoffman, Peter Chalk, Timothy Liston, David Brannan


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This assessment of ways in which Pennsylvania Avenue could have been reopened without compromising the safety and security of the President was completed prior to the September 11th terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It does not examine in detail the physical security requirements in and around the White House, nor is it an exhaustive catalog of the possible measures available for protecting it. Rather, it considers the context and circumstances that influenced the 1995 decision to close the section of Pennsylvania Avenue directly in front of the White House and assesses that decision's continued validity and appropriateness in light of developments, including trends in terrorism and counterterrorism, that have occurred since 1995. Measures that could offset the threat of a truck bomb at the White House while preserving to the greatest extent possible normal traffic patterns and daily life in the city are identified. Although the alternatives discussed have been rendered moot by events following the terrorist attacks, the primary intent of this assessment is to emphasize that any decision about issues as important as the fate of Pennsylvania Avenue should be attended by broad consultation and independent assessment.

This work was carried out within RAND's Public Safety and Justice Research Program.

This report is part of the RAND monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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