A designated survivor (or designated successor) in the United States is a specific someone in the presidential line of succession who has been chosen to remain in an unknown safe location, away from events such as State of the Union speeches and presidential inaugurations. The purpose is to ensure that the president can be elected or appointed in the event that they are unable to do so.
The concept was first used by President Eisenhower in 1954 during the Cold War when he refused to announce who would be his successor because doing so could help determine the outcome of an election. Since then, other presidents have used a similar strategy when there was concern about threats to their safety or those around them. Although not required by law, most presidents choose at least one survivor for each term.
There are two types of survivors: actual and potential. An actual survivor is someone who remains unannounced so that they can still participate in state dinners and inaugural ceremonies if needed. They cannot vote in an election, but they can be voted back into office if necessary. A potential survivor is someone who has been announced as your backup plan in case something happens to you. They can do everything else expected of a president except assume office. Their status changes once you step aside; they become the new leader automatically without having to be voted on by Congress or anyone else. In some cases, they may even be able to reverse certain decisions you've made while hospitalized or dead.
In reality, the designated survivor is typically a member of the president's Cabinet who is appointed by the president. However, since 9/11, most presidential disasters have had a dual role as both an emergency management response and recovery effort. In this case, the president may choose to use his or her discretion and select a non-Cabinet official as the DS.
The president makes the final decision on who will be the DS. He or she can choose anyone they want, but must give reasons for their choice. The person selected will usually be someone without a full-time job in government who can be asked to take over if necessary. They will usually be given 24 hours' notice before being required to leave town.
There is no specific law that requires the president to have a Cabinet member as his or her "designated survivor". However, it does provide more protection for such officials in the event of disaster or assassination attempt. It also gives them a chance to escape from harm's way if needed. Finally, it ensures that some degree of continuity exists within the president's team if he or she is killed or injured while in office.
Since 2001, every annual State of the Union address has included references to the DS program.
During the State of the Union Address, presidential inaugurations, and other events where all of the persons in the presidential line of succession may fairly be expected to gather, designated survivors are employed. As there is no vice president, all of the offices fall to the first among equals: the president of the Senate, the speaker of the House, and the commander in chief.
A designated survivor is a public official who has been given protection from assassination by being removed from the eligibility list for federal office. The purpose is so that if something happens to the regular president, he or she can be replaced without delay. The survival must be kept secret until just before the event; otherwise, people might find reasons not to trust the new president.
The number of designated survivors has varied over time. Originally, only high-ranking government officials were protected but now, anyone able to survive an attack will do so. Not everyone on the eligibility list becomes a survivor; some are absent because of illness, others may have been superseded by others who are better qualified. But even those who aren't selected can still have a significant impact on history through their actions as advisers to the president.
There have been several attempts on the life of U.S. presidents. The most serious was probably the attempt on President Lincoln's life in 1865.
A single survivor is the only individual who survives a fatal occurrence. A sole survivor can also be called a sole beneficiary, as they are the only person entitled to the estate. The phrase comes from Roman law and means "the only surviving member of a family".
In law, a sole survivor has the same rights and privileges as any other heir. He or she can inherit property, serve on a jury, etc. The sole survivor can also choose how to dispose of the estate; for example, he or she could donate money or goods to charity. The sole survivor can also elect to do nothing with the property instead.
As there can be only one sole survivor, it follows that you cannot have two sole survivors at the same time. If more than one person survives, then they all receive notice of the death and can make their own choices about what to do with their assets.
It is important to distinguish between a sole survivor and a sole beneficiary. If someone else is named as the sole beneficiary on a will, they will receive the insurance payment even if others survive. However, if there is no will, then the government will assume that you wanted your loved ones to get your insurance payment.