A false warning of a missile threat in Hawaii sent White House aides scrambling Saturday, frantically phoning agencies to determine a response and triggering worries about their preparedness almost a year into the Trump administration.
President Donald Trump’s Cabinet has yet to test formal plans for how to respond to a domestic missile attack, according to a senior administration official. John Kelly, while serving as Secretary of Homeland Security through last July, planned to conduct the exercise. But he left his post to become White House chief of staff before it was conducted, and acting secretary Elaine Duke never carried it out.
The Old Cold War guard is gone. The newcomers can issue threats but appear to be unaware on how to act on them..
“The U.S. government hasn’t tested these plans in 30 years,” said the senior administration official involved in the White House response. “All the fresh faces sitting around the table in the situation room have little idea what their roles would be in this scenario. The bottom line is that without a principals level exercise we shouldn’t have any confidence that the Cabinet would know what to do in an attack scenario.”