The US President's $2,614 Per Minute Transport System

Moving the president of the United States from one location to another is a logistical nightmare that happens every single day. The American president is one of the mos powerful persons in the world and there is no time when the president is more expose than when they’re in transport. Two of the four successful assassination of American presidents were when they were traveling—Garfield and Kennedy. For that reason, the secret service devote an enormous amount of resources to ensuring the president gets from one place to another safely. The presidential motorcade is perhaps th most impressiv method of transportation. It includes up to 40 or 50 vehicles and ove 100 people. Let’s take a look at some footage of a motorcade. This is the lead car, or in this case, motorcycle. As the name suggests, it’s job is to lea the motorcade, but it’s not actually the first vehicle. What we don’t see here is the route ca which would’ve come through about five minutes before the lead car.

 The route car is always followed by abou 20-30 motorcycles which play the essential role of clearing the route of cars. When driving on a highway, they’ll spee ahead and close exits so that no cars can come on the highway, although they have t use a different technique in cities. When driving in DC, where other drivers ar used to frequent motorcades, the motorcycles often drive in a “V” pattern pushing car to the side to clear the way for the motorcade. This leads to a disruption of only two o three minutes. Outside of DC, drivers are less used to motorcade so the motorcycles will typically completely block off the intersecting streets to creat one continuous clear path for the president. The entire first section of the motorcad isn’t actually run by the secret service—its run by the local police jurisdiction of whereve the president is. The fewer secret service cars and individual needed for motorcades the better since both the cars and agents need to travel to whereve the president is visiting in advance which is, of course, incredibly expensive. The next part of the motorcade is what’ known as the secure package. It’s the essential core to the motorcad because its the group of cars that directly secures the president. In case of attack, this group of cars ca detach from the rest of the motorcade and function as an independent unit. The most important car in the secure packag is the president’s limo but one can never be sure which one that is because there ar always two limos.

 These two limos are identical—they eve have the same license plate. That way an attacker can’t, for example have a spotter tell them which car the president left their origin in. The limos themselves are no ordinary limos. They weigh between 15,000 and 20,000 pound and are built on a modified truck bed. The entire car is bulletproof including  inch thick bulletproof windows. The only window that can open is the driver window, reportedly so they can pay tolls. The entire car is hermetically sealed to protec the president from a chemical attack and onboard are rocket powered grenades, night visio optics, a tear gas cannon, pump-action shotguns, bottled oxygen, and two pints of the president’ blood type. This car, leading the secure package, is th United States Secret Service Electronic Countermeasures Suburban. It leads the secure package because its purpos is to jam any remote activated explosives along the route. These two tall antennas do that by sendin out a huge range of radio frequencies that would block any bomb activation signal. The two domes on top of the car are most likel what’s known as electronic warfare sensors. They’re essentially radars that can detec when a rocket propelled grenade or anti-tank guided missile is launched. When it detects a launch, the car would mos likely activate a number of smoke grenades spread out throughout the secure package which would help throw off the grenade or missile, but of course this is all classified so that’ speculation. This car is the control car. It carries the most essential staff like th president’s military aide and doctor. In the event of an attack, they’re bot essential to the president so they break off with the secure package. These last two cars are both filled with secre service agents. The closer one is called the halfback. It carries the president’s personal secre service detail. These are the agents that are on the president’ person at all times. The second one is the CAT car—the Counter-Assaul Team. You can always identify these cars since they’r the ones with the back window open. That’s because the agents are sitting I rear-facing seats with automatic weapons, ready to respond to threats. While its hard to see, you can just make ou the counter-assault team in this car in blac  battle dress uniforms and the president’ secret service detail in this car in coat and tie. In the event of an attack, the president’ secret service detail is in charge of shielding and evacuating the president while the counter-assaul team would generally stay and repel the attack.

 These vans following the secure package ar full of the press pool reporting on the president. This car is called the ID car and the secre service agents inside are the ones that communicate with outside counter-surveillance teams tha proactively identify any threat to the motorcade. This black truck is the Hazardous Material Mitigation Unit. It has equipment and personnel who can identif and respond to chemical, nuclear, or biological attacks on the motorcade. Continuing on, you can see more press vans These motorcycles are speeding by the sid because, now that the motorcade has passed the exit that they were blocking off, the are going to the front of the motorcade to block off more exits. This car is called the roadrunner. It has a number of antennas on top to ac as a mobile communications center. It connects the motorcade to the outside worl through satellite and internet communications systems. Following this is a generic ambulance in cas of injury to any person in the motorcade. Like the police officers at the front of th motorcade, this ambulance just comes from the local fire department of wherever th president is. This last secret service car is the suppor car which carries more secret service agents and essential staff members. Lastly, these three police cars are ther to make sure that, now that the exits are open again, no car speeds up and enters th motorcade from behind. It’s important to note that this is jus the standard motorcade configuration. It often changes based on the environment. When President Obama visited Iraq in 2009 for example, his motorcade looked like this.

 Military humvees led a convoy of identica suburbans—one of which carried the president. On top of the cars were more powerful version of the anti-RPG antennas found on the normal Electronic Countermeasures Suburban. So, motorcades are incredibly efficient. It’s been reported that motorcades hav made the trip between Laguardia airport and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan I 8-10 minutes. That’s a 10 mile drive that takes a norma driver 25-30 minutes. Although, the safest motorcade is still n motorcade since its the most exposed the president ever is so the secret service will typicall only use motorcades for trips up to 30 minutes long. Motorcades are also incredibly logisticall difficult and expensive, so whenever possible, the president will travel on Marine One. Marine one isn’t actually the name of  specific helicopter, it’s rather the callsign used by any helicopter with the presiden onboard. The Marine Corps operates 35 total helicopter of a few different types as Marine One’s which might seem like overkill, but thes helicopters are often also used to transport the Vice President—when they’re know as Marine Two—or government VIP’s. While Marine One is occasionally used to transport the president from point to point, its most frequent mission is to bring the presiden from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base. The presidents planes are based at Andrew Air Force Base so this 12 mile trip is how the president starts and finishes any long-distanc trip. Much like the president’s limo, Marine On never flies alone. Right after take off, its met by as many a five other identical helicopters which shuffle positions in flight to throw off potentia attackers. Air Force One is also not a particular aircraf but rather the callsign used whenever the president is aboard an Air Force aircraft. Typically, the role is served by one of tw modified Boeing 747’s. To give you a sense of how efficient thi entire transport system is, let’s time a trip from the White house to UN Headquarter in New York. The 12 mile flight to Andrews Air Force Bas takes about 8 minutes on Marine One, then, upon arrival, the president steps onboar Air Force One. The president is always the last person t step on Air Force One, so the second he’s there the door closes and the aircraft taxie for takeoff.

 That means there’s about 5 minutes betwee touchdown of Marine One and take off of Air Force One. From there it’s about a 30 minute fligh to JFK airport in New York followed by a 7 minute trip on Marine One to Downtown Manhatta Heliport, then a 6 minute motorcade up FDR Drive to the United Nations. That means that, if everything goes perfectly including transfer times, it will take almos exactly one hour for the president to go fro stepping out of the White House to stepping inside the United Nations. And what is the cost of this hour long trip? Well its public information that Air Force One costs an estimated $206,337 per flight hour, so this half hour flight costs $103,169 but of course w need to include Marine One. Marine One by itself is actually fairly inexpensiv to operate. While we don’t know its exact operatin cost, one of the helicopters often used as Marine One is the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Haw which costs $2,199 per flight hour. But of course Marine One always flies in formatio with up to 5 other helicopters. Per helicopter, a quarter hour of flight tim costs $530 or $3,180 total. The motorcade’s cost for the short tri is fairly minuscule, so we’ll leave it out for simplicity. But the helicopters and cars need to get t New York, and this is done by loading them up on a C-5 Galaxy cargo plane which cost $100,941 per flight hour or $50,471 for the half hour trip to New York.

Altogether, that’s $156,820 for the hou long trip to New York or $2,614 per minute, and keep in mind the president needs to trave back too. Ultimately, transportation of the Presiden costs the American taxpayer about $350,000,000 per year—roughly 1/4 of the $1.4 billio yearly white house budget. This is certainly a steep price, but man would argue that its a small price to pay to keep the most powerful person in the worl safe. This video was brought to you by Squarespace. As you probably know, I’m a big fan of Squarespace. I’ve used them for years for a few differen websites including the official Wendover Productions site. Not only do they have the best website builde out there, they’re also the simplest and fastest company to buy a domain through. To prove that, I decided to buy a new domain——an as you can see here, it took me exactly 60 seconds and $20 and now you can reach my sit at and .net. If you ever want to start a youtube channel a business, anything, you should register a domain now. I never had a problem because I bought through Squarespace when the channel was still small, but there are tons of horror storie of people who start a business, become successful, then have to pay thousands to buy the domai from someone who snatches it up before they do. Most of the domains on squarespace are onl $20—that’s the cost of 1/3 of a second on Air Force One—and by using the link  and the code “Wendover” you’ll get 10% off your first order and help support th channel. Other than that, you can support Wendove Productions at, follow me on Twitter @WendoverPro, watch m last video about Every State in the US here, check out my fan-moderated subreddit here and most of all, subscribe to this channel to receive all my future videos right whe they come out. Thanks again for watching, and I’ll se you in two weeks for another Wendover Productions.

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