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Old 07-19-2014, 07:55 AM
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Default Your thoughts on the (cannon) Presidential line of succession?

Hey!

I'm wondering if you guys have a different timeline for presidential succession in your games, then that HW presented?

As a refreshing:
  1. President Tanner killed during takeoff accident on KNEECAP during TDM
  2. VP Pembleton killed during direct hit missile strike on WH (also during TDM).
  3. US without a president for 22 hours.
  4. Speaker of the House Munson inaugurated after 22 hours (or so) of no president.
  5. Munson suffers nervous breakdown, and is relieved.
  6. Former Secretary of State (Munson's successor) suffers heart failure.
  7. Former Secretary of Energy (Sec. of State's successor) commits suicide
  8. No longer an operation CLS, no attempt was made to locate successor.
  9. Rump Congress elects John Boward President.

Would this really have happened if such a event were to happen today? Even after 9/11 and all the COOP that happened afterword? Never mind, was this even remotely possible happenings in the 1980's? Does it even make sense? Not to get into the whole "rump congress" issue, but would they even have the legal authority to even conduct legislative activity (like appoint a new president)? Why wouldn't they follow Munson's declaration of marshal law? And wouldn't what's left of the line of succession continue? (If we wanted to be actually factual to the IRL line, it'd be the President pro tempore of the Senate after Munson, Treasury Secretary after State, Defense after Treasury, and on down the line. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...#Current_order That link is to the actual line of succession) Did GDW simply not research such an important matter? Or are we left to assume that numbers 3, 5-13, 15-17 are all dead/incapacitated? And wouldn't there be a plan to find the SOH BEFORE 22 hours elapses?
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:14 AM
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IIRC, the only example we have of 1980's Presidential replacement was when Ronald Reagan was shot. Legally, George HW Bush was next in line. Alexander Haig made an ASS of himself by declaring "He was in charge." Yes, he was in the "War Room" of the White House. But GHWB was easily available and connected within a few minutes.

My $0.02

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Old 07-19-2014, 08:26 AM
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IIRC, the only example we have of 1980's Presidential replacement was when Ronald Reagan was shot. Legally, George HW Bush was next in line. Alexander Haig made an ASS of himself by declaring "He was in charge." Yes, he was in the "War Room" of the White House. But GHWB was easily available and connected within a few minutes.

My $0.02

Mike
Agreed. I should have said '90's (because that's when it happened, in timeline), but since it was written in the '80's, it still kinda fits. To be a little hard on GDW, there's a better line of succession for when the president goes in for surgery, then when T2K had a nuclear war. Wouldn't you think that, even without the internet, they could have looked that up?
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Old 07-19-2014, 10:51 AM
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The way GDW wrote the loss of ALL viable candidates would not have happened in real life. Munsun would have promoted the 1st, 2nd or 3rd deputies for any dead cabinet members to secretary. As they have already been approved by the Senate they would now be in the line of succession.

This is not a new post 9/11 law, but the scenario was confirmed shortly after then during interviews with a 1st deputy who had not yet been promoted. They confirmed that they would be in the line of succession. Given they way it is structured something like 60 people would all have to die to have NO ONE to fill the role of president.

The biggest potential I see for a controversy is the promotion of a deputy when a secretary is not actually dead, but as Secretaries serve at the whim of the president, I see these claims dissolving quickly.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:04 AM
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That still leaves the question of why GDW skipped so many people in the line of succession. Was that due to lack of research? Or was there something more to it that was left unpublished?
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:12 AM
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That still leaves the question of why GDW skipped so many people in the line of succession. Was that due to lack of research? Or was there something more to it that was left unpublished?
My assumption was that the rest of the basic list was dead.

Edit.

But that is really hard to swallow. Cheney was in a bunker for weeks after 9/11. In the GDW world nukes had been flying for months. SLBMs had been used in Europe and the Far East (assumed). And in a US where 48% of pre war americans are alive in 2000 you have a 85% causality rate among the most protected people in the US??
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:27 AM
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Wait, 48% surviving? I thought the population loss was like 90% by 2000...
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:52 AM
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That figure seems to be from Howling Wilderness.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:55 AM
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And wouldn't there be a plan to find the SOH BEFORE 22 hours elapses?
Years since I've read Howling Wilderness so going from memory here but wasn't there a line somewhere about Munson being a stickler for his own privacy so no one knew where he was as an explanation for the delay? IIRC wasn't he on a skiing holiday in California or something? (That always struck me as odd...the World is going down the toilet and a senior American politician has the time to go on a skiing holiday...)

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That still leaves the question of why GDW skipped so many people in the line of succession. Was that due to lack of research? Or was there something more to it that was left unpublished?
Personally, I don't think it was anything more or less than a plot device to justify the split between Milgov / Civgov. With a legitimate successor to the Presidency there is no justification for the schism between US Governments

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Wait, 48% surviving? I thought the population loss was like 90% by 2000...
Pg234 of the V2.2 BYB states that total casualties in the US was 52% of the population (which obviously leaves 48% alive) It is explicitly stated that that figure is as correct as of July 2000 so includes subsequent deaths, not just direct casualties of the nuclear exchange. I'm not certain but I think you may be confusing T2K with T2K13 - I'm not as familiar with T2K13 but a 90% casualty figure for that work rings a bell.
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2014, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by comped View Post
That figure seems to be from Howling Wilderness.
It is also in the 2.0 and 2.2 rule book

Quote:
Total casualties in the nuclear attack were 135.2 million, or 52% of the population of the United States in 1997.

This includes initial fatalities and subsequent deaths from injuries, in addition to deaths from disease, starvation, and civil unrest up to July 2000.
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Old 07-19-2014, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Rainbow Six View Post
Pg234 of the V2.2 BYB states that total casualties in the US was 52% of the population (which obviously leaves 48% alive) It is explicitly stated that that figure is as correct as of July 2000 so includes subsequent deaths, not just direct casualties of the nuclear exchange. I'm not certain but I think you may be confusing T2K with T2K13 - I'm not as familiar with T2K13 but a 90% casualty figure for that work rings a bell.
T2013 assumed a 90% casualty rate. That came not from direct nuclear or kinetic effects of the war, but rather from the collapse of public health functions and the agricultural supply chain.

The presidential succession issue in the classic scenario always struck me as off, too. One thing I wanted to do with T2013 but never got around to was insert a couple of subtle hints that some of the key people in the process were targeted deliberately by parties unknown.

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  #12  
Old 07-19-2014, 03:18 PM
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Hm, if on TDM there were enough agents sent over with Castro's kids working in collusion with the Soviets and they'd mapped out as many members of congress as possible they might have worked on a decapitation strike once the missiles were in the air.

Of course the sensibility of this is what I question; I think even SIOP took in to consideration the idea that if we kill their leadership and they ours there's nobody left to turn it off. The idea of "getting off easy" with a 20-30 missile "surgical" strike on either nation goes out the door and the subs are emptying their tubes and the silo doors are flying open the minute nobody can send a stand-down order.
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Old 07-19-2014, 11:00 PM
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Maybe its just me (and I'll admit I don't have an anything better), but I just have never liked the canon story.
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:59 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_..._of_succession

When in doubt...lol.
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:30 AM
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If you look at the list you can see that #15, Sloan Gibson, while an "Acting" secretary is still in the line of succession. This means that he was approved by the Senate to be first deputy secretary, but has not yet been approved by the Senate to be full secretary.

Every department's 1st deputy is approved by the Senate. I believe most if not all second and third deputies are also approved, and the department of Defense has at least 8 positions approved by the Senate (more if you count the regional commands).

So the canon story would not play out the way it does. You easily could have a president no one heard of. Quick name the undersecretary of the interior. But there would not be a total lack of candidates.

Edit.

The most likely possibility for a schism would come from confusion over does 2nd deputy sec of state trump 1st deputy sec of def. However as long as someone in the first 18 survives, the next line of succession (assuming you follow the GDW story they went crazy) would depend on who they made "acting" secretary from the pool of approved candidates. (Which I expect would be one of the first 10 things they do)

Last edited by kato13; 07-20-2014 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 07-21-2014, 07:19 AM
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Let not forgot the US has the designated survivor rule, which cam out of the cold war, I am thinking that once the Twilight War starts they a rotation of person held a a secure location for set time period.
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Old 07-21-2014, 08:37 AM
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I dont GDW knew of a lot of the government shelters that were in place around DC that are in WV, MD and elsewhere - given the nature of the war you have to figure that once the nukes started to fly that there would have been designated Presidential successors in shelters at all times - there is no way there would have no US President for 22 hours - and there are so many backup communication systems that even if the whole country had been blanketed by EMP there were systems that EMP doesnt take take down that the government had in place by the early 90's

And the only way that the VP would have stayed in the White House to try to ride out the attack would have been in there was no other way to get out of Dodge -something like a Spetsnaz attack on the White House keeping the VP pinned down or whatever
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Old 04-19-2020, 11:38 PM
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I think the basic idea makes sense of the succession being messed up. I was recently watching the series "Designated Survivor" which points out that even with a relatively controlled disaster (death of most of the cabinet and congress, but no national massacre) it is difficult to replace a lot of missing people, especially when managing an emergency. It's not the best series, but not bad, btw.

Anyway, my thought was this:
Tanner and Pemberton die along with most of the cabinet, congress and government leaders in the initial exchange.

Following this, the Speaker, a designated survivor, and a senior cabinet officer are among those left. They did not appoint acting secretaries because functions were being carried out under emergency powers by Chiefs of Staff, senior bureaucrats and agency heads who had survived.

The key question appears to be whether or not Munson or his successors appointed any acting secretaries. If they had, this would preserve presidential succession, and i think its reasonable for some GMS to have it so. For my own part, I was never entirely happy with the Broward thing.

Personally, while I am aware of the connection between Twilight 2000 and 2300 AD, I have never really been interested in that future, so I don't care about the US no longer being a military power. What I hve always been far more interested in is post apocalyptic ficition and roleplaying.

The idea of a succession conflict between two cabinet officers seems easily resolved to me: they'd know one another, and the succession depends on their position or the date of their appointment. So it might present a controversy for a time, but it seems to be that if, say, A Secretary of Defense was in charge but then a Secretary of State emerged, the government would have to recognize the Secretary of State as being the legitimate head of government.
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Old 04-20-2020, 01:48 AM
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I wondered about this myself. I figured that with the state of chaos that was happening that certain people became lost or victims of circumstance. I had my player come across a remote mountain holiday town that was more then happy to get rid of a certain loud mouth senator that had been a thorn in there side since being trapped there in late 1997. About an hour after they had left with him , my brother looks at me and says "Did we just find the legitimate president?" I spent the next 3 hours googling trying to see if I just gave him the golden goose. I had them transport the senator to his brother, a general in the Milgov friendly forces of nevada and he was kinda hidden away just in case Mil gov ever found out.

Then to mess with them I had them encounter National Guards men in northern New Mexico under command of the true president. Made a little conspiracy back story and everything. Radio broadcast calling all loyal citizens to arms and every once in awhile coming across small groups of refugees or a few stragglers making there way to the president.
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Old 04-20-2020, 02:05 AM
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I wondered about this myself. I figured that with the state of chaos that was happening that certain people became lost or victims of circumstance. I had my player come across a remote mountain holiday town that was more then happy to get rid of a certain loud mouth senator that had been a thorn in there side since being trapped there in late 1997. About an hour after they had left with him , my brother looks at me and says "Did we just find the legitimate president?" I spent the next 3 hours googling trying to see if I just gave him the golden goose. I had them transport the senator to his brother, a general in the Milgov friendly forces of nevada and he was kinda hidden away just in case Mil gov ever found out.

Then to mess with them I had them encounter National Guards men in northern New Mexico under command of the true president. Made a little conspiracy back story and everything. Radio broadcast calling all loyal citizens to arms and every once in awhile coming across small groups of refugees or a few stragglers making there way to the president.
This is kind of what I mean. While the canon is interesting, it does have its flaws and ultimately a GM is going to tailor the game to their own campaign. I like the idea of the senator and the general being related, for example, that's a nice detail.
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Old 04-20-2020, 11:48 AM
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Thank you. That is why I like this site. People are nice here.
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Old 04-20-2020, 06:48 PM
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Originally Posted by comped View Post
Hey!

I'm wondering if you guys have a different timeline for presidential succession in your games, then that HW presented?

As a refreshing:
  1. President Tanner killed during takeoff accident on KNEECAP during TDM
  2. VP Pembleton killed during direct hit missile strike on WH (also during TDM).
  3. US without a president for 22 hours.
  4. Speaker of the House Munson inaugurated after 22 hours (or so) of no president.
  5. Munson suffers nervous breakdown, and is relieved.
  6. Former Secretary of State (Munson's successor) suffers heart failure.
  7. Former Secretary of Energy (Sec. of State's successor) commits suicide
  8. No longer an operation CLS, no attempt was made to locate successor.
  9. Rump Congress elects John Boward President.

Would this really have happened if such a event were to happen today? Even after 9/11 and all the COOP that happened afterword?
What I don't get is on Thursday, November 27 1997, the Soviet Union launches a surprise first strike against targets in the United States. Guess what it's a long weekend who from the Cabinet, Congress, White House, Judges, Defense ect is going to be working? The Pres and VP? no way there away with families, some might be in the WH but won't Pres VP or the designated survivor. Same goes for congress, they closed shop IRL on 11 Nov 97. The US has had 48 years to prepare for war with the Soviet Union, do you really think let their guard down once war was declare so do think that Executive Order 12656 of November 18, 1988 would come onto play?

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Executive_Order_12656

BTW National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP) (often pronounced "kneecap") designed to survive an EMP with systems intact but that for another time
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Old 04-20-2020, 10:23 PM
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...a long weekend during the second year of a global war that just keeps getting bigger. Pretty sure not that many in positions of authority are getting many days off...
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Old 04-21-2020, 09:48 AM
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...a long weekend during the second year of a global war that just keeps getting bigger. Pretty sure not that many in positions of authority are getting many days off...
What would make sense except that there people working at

Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center
Raven Rock Mountain Complex (RRMC)
Presidential Emergency Facilities
Cheyenne Mountain Complex
Olney Federal Support Center
The National Warning System (NAWAS)
Post Attack Command and Control System (PACCS)
Worldwide Military Command and Control System

So there people working but not in Washington, Congress and Pres and VP are are still elected officials and still duties to do outside of Washington. And with the threat of nuclear war why keep all your eggs in one basket.
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Old 04-21-2020, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rcaf_777 View Post
What would make sense except that there people working at

Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center
Raven Rock Mountain Complex (RRMC)
Presidential Emergency Facilities
Cheyenne Mountain Complex
Olney Federal Support Center
The National Warning System (NAWAS)
Post Attack Command and Control System (PACCS)
Worldwide Military Command and Control System

So there people working but not in Washington, Congress and Pres and VP are are still elected officials and still duties to do outside of Washington. And with the threat of nuclear war why keep all your eggs in one basket.
I think that government would be reasonably well distributed. There are questions of course as to how good communications, lines of supply and infrastructure could be maintained. I've found sources on this point to be contradictory, forcing the GM to choose what he finds most interesting and consistent. Since this is about the succession, though, I'll try to come back to the point.

I found this site has a very good idea.

1. The Speaker of the House is appointed President after the deaths of the President and the Vice-President. (You don't even need to explain this to nitpickers, you simply have to have a devastating nuclear attack and have them go incommunicado. In the novel/film this campaign apppears to be partly based on, the Mt. Weather shelter gets hit, as I recall, and the President's plane takes a hit and goes down as well)

2. The Speaker decides to appoint the Director of the CIA as his Vice-President as per the Tom Clancy series, which I found a fun idea. It doesn't matter if this is actually what happens, all that is necessary is for the appointment to not be able to be ratified by Congress, due to a nuclear war.

3. Now, on the site I linked, it follows the same canon exactly with name changes; a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs refuses to recognize the appointment.

I thought it would be interesting if instead of #3, there is another surviving member of the government in the order of succession, doesn't matter who, who gets backed by enough of the military to form something like Milgov. It could, for instance, be a Cabinet Secretary, President Pro Tem of the Senate, etc. I think, however, that this would be downright confusing, even maddening, to many people who just want the government to get on with it. Which is part of why I like it.
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:23 AM
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The big issue in general with the line of succession in the game is that the Speaker of the House would not have been allowed to be incommunicado like that in time of war. The US military has communications designed to survive under nuclear attack - they would have had people with him at all times. Or they would have immediately moved to number four on the list - especially with the country under nuclear attack. Any lack of ability to communicate with him and he would have been assumed lost and right down the list they go.

The game in general has the US military and govt act in ways that would never happen in real life - and the succession issues in the game definitely DO NOT dovetail with actual procedures.

in other words the head of the Senate would have been made president and Munson would have missed his opportunity - if you go by real world figures Trent Lott gets sworn in as President (he was the majority leader of the Senate in 1997 IRL)
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:50 AM
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May not have been by choice. Could be the speaker was out of touch because to the impact EMP had to the available communications. Could well have been greater than expected - we already know certain elements of real world physics have been slightly altered by GDW (such as radiation half life), no reason this should be any different.
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Old 04-22-2020, 11:05 AM
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The big issue in general with the line of succession in the game is that the Speaker of the House would not have been allowed to be incommunicado like that in time of war. The US military has communications designed to survive under nuclear attack - they would have had people with him at all times. Or they would have immediately moved to number four on the list - especially with the country under nuclear attack. Any lack of ability to communicate with him and he would have been assumed lost and right down the list they go.

The game in general has the US military and govt act in ways that would never happen in real life - and the succession issues in the game definitely DO NOT dovetail with actual procedures.

in other words the head of the Senate would have been made president and Munson would have missed his opportunity - if you go by real world figures Trent Lott gets sworn in as President (he was the majority leader of the Senate in 1997 IRL)

As I said, I have always taken the canon as a model, as have others. Its neat, but, as you say, it has flaws, not the least of which were the greater challenges of doing research in pre internet days.

Anyway, it's easily fixed. First, have the Vice-President killed by other means. Heart attack, or shelter they were taken to is nuked, etc. Or even the VP does survive. The main point is: how do you create an interesting succession crisis?

Some gms will not want one. Others will like it. I'm on the fence about it at the moment as I'm planning my campaign.
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Old 04-23-2020, 07:33 AM
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May not have been by choice. Could be the speaker was out of touch because to the impact EMP had to the available communications. Could well have been greater than expected - we already know certain elements of real world physics have been slightly altered by GDW (such as radiation half life), no reason this should be any different.
US military communications are built to survive exactly the kind of EMP effects that T2K shows - in fact they are built to handle worse than that. The Soviets never used an EMP specific bomb - i.e. high altitude bursts - to burn out the electronics - the effects were strictly localized. Also keep in mind that in 1997 most of the country still had good old fashioned hard lines not cell phones.

And one big reason the communications are that good is that the guys in the launch centers have orders to launch the missiles on their own if they lose communications. Once that timer goes to zero they own the birds. And the game definitely doesnt have the launch control centers salvoing every missile they had - i.e. they maintained communications even during the TDM and only launched as directed - thats why the damage was as limited as it was - i.e. neither side launched a general nuclear attack.
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Old 04-23-2020, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Olefin View Post
US military communications are built to survive exactly the kind of EMP effects that T2K shows - in fact they are built to handle worse than that.
Yes, I'm aware of that and believe I've referred to it in my earlier post.
However, just because it was built to cope with what was expected doesn't mean it actually performed that well. Could be the various assumptions made did not meet the "reality" of T2K and it's slightly altered real world physics. Could be there was a fault in a critical element of the system which turned out to be fatal. Could be a cyber attack disabled it in the minutes before the strikes. Could be any number of factors, real or fictional (as far as OUR reality goes).

Really, it doesn't matter WHAT the reason was. All that matters is the system failed in some manner and the Speaker was out of contact. It may well be that the inhabitants of the T2K universe never find out what went wrong. It may remain a mystery to all (and perhaps a story hook to potentially expand on at some point). Could be that generations to come look upon that failure as many now do with the Kennedy assassination or moon landing.
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