What are the governmental procedures in the United States for important people (people in the chain of succession to the presidency) staying in the same place? Who can and who cannot fly together, etc. Where is this written down?

  • 5
    There are probably stricter rules for executives of large companies (probably imposed by insurance companies rather than by law) than for government.
    – jcaron
    Dec 4, 2023 at 11:15

1 Answer 1


This refers to the "designated survivor" practice, which is not codified in law; rather, it is a choice made by presidents. There are no published details as to how Marty Walsh was selected as the 2023 "designated survivor". Historically, it was deemed to be a good idea during the Cold War, and after 9-11 it became a more rigorously followed practice. It is voluntary (the exact selection procedure is unknown and presumably highly variable) and not "written down".

  • 4
    Which means, to answer more directly OP's question, that the only "requirement" (by practice, not law) is that all but one in the line of succession can be present together, and that happens quite often, for the State of the Union speech, presidential inaugurations, Presidential Addresses to Joint Session of Congress... There are also 2 senators and 2 representatives for those occasions. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Designated_survivor for more information.
    – jcaron
    Dec 4, 2023 at 11:14
  • 7
    In the UK, for the annual King's Speech in Parliament, a "hostage" (a senior government MP) is sent to Buckingham Palace to guarantee the safe return of the monarch, but in the event of a modern Gunpowder Plot succeeding this individual could act as a designated survivor.
    – Henry
    Dec 4, 2023 at 15:08
  • @Henry would one MP have the full authority of Parliament if all other MPs were killed or incapacitated?
    – Someone
    Dec 4, 2023 at 21:42
  • 2
    @Someone Nobody knows as it has never happened, but it is likely the executive would move temporarily to the most senior surviving member of the government able to make emergency regulations under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, which in the short term would replace legislation. In the UK, ministers are almost always MPs or members of the House of Lords.
    – Henry
    Dec 4, 2023 at 22:11
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    @SteveMelnikoff I was talking about who would govern the country, making the rules and implementing them: in Walter Bagehot's terms the “efficient” branch rather than the “dignified” branch.
    – Henry
    Dec 5, 2023 at 15:00

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