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White House Communications Agency
Active March 25, 1942 (1942-03-25) - Present
Country United States
Part of Defense Information Systems Agency,
Department of Defense

The White House Communications Agency (WHCA), originally known as the White House Signal Detachment (WHSD), was officially formed by the United States Department of War on 25 March 1942 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The WHSD was created to provide normal and emergency communications requirements in support of the President. The WHSD provided mobile radio, teletype, telephone and cryptographic aides in the White House and at Shangri-La, now known as Camp David. The mission of the WHSD was to provide a premier communication system that would enable the President to lead the nation effectively. The White House Communications Agency is currently commanded by Col Michael B. Black (USAF)



In 1954, during the Eisenhower administration, the WHSD was reorganized under the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, Army Signal Corps as a Class II unit and renamed the White House Army Signal Agency (WHASA). In 1962 WHASA was discontinued by order of the United States Secretary of Defense under President John F. Kennedy. Its duties were transferred to the auspices of the Defense Communications Agency under the operational control of the White House Military Office, and reestablished as the White House Communications Agency.


WHCA has played an unremarked, but significant, role in many historical events: including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Panama and Guatemala, Operation Just Cause, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia. WHCA was also a key player in documenting the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the attempts on the lives of Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan.


The Agency evolved over the past 60 years from a small team of 32 personnel working out of the basement of the White House to a thousand person self-supporting joint service command. Headquarters for WHCA is at Naval Support Facility Anacostia and consists of six staff elements and seven organizational units. WHCA also has supporting detachments in Washington, D.C. and various locations throughout the United States. WHCA is organized into functional areas each with its own mission in support of the total WHCA mission of Presidential support.

Current functions

WHCA provides telecommunications and related support to the President, Vice President, Executive Office of the President senior staff, National Security Council, Secret Service and others as directed by the White House Military Office. This support includes non-secure voice, secure voice, record communications, audio-visual services, automated data processing support and photographic and drafting services both in Washington, D.C. and worldwide.


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