WASHINGTON — The White House Situation Room, the nerve center for a president’s most sensitive national security meetings, has a new look and new capabilities after a yearlong renovation.
Despite its name, the Situation Room is not a single room but instead a sprawling 5,500-square-foot complex with numerous meeting spots, all of which were gutted and refurbished at a cost of $50 million. A smaller room, where former President Barack Obama and top officials monitored the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, was preserved in its entirety and sent to the Obama library.
Marc Gustafson, the White House director for the Situation Room, told reporters during a tour of the facility Thursday that the renovation was needed because of “heavy wear and tear” over the last 16 years, since the last big face-lift in 2007.
President Joe Biden saw the finished project this week and “loved it,” Gustafson said, adding that Biden has already had an intelligence briefing there. The Situation Room should be fully operational for calls with heads of state in the coming days, Gustafson said.
National security officials said they used other spaces throughout the West Wing and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building for calls with foreign leaders and other communications while the Situation Room was under construction.
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