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The United States federal government was the main governing body of the United States before the Great War.

This article is a summary of the known information concerning the appearance and activity of the United States' federal government in the Fallout world, and, where applicable, elements or divisions of it adapted or continued by the Enclave.

Before the Great WarEdit

Executive branchEdit

The President of the United States was mentioned in the Fallout games as well as some federal departments, such as the:

  • Uncertainly named federal department or departments responsible for the United States' national security which may be separate or the same agency:[1]
Gametitle-VBThe following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.
The Secretary of the Army was mentioned at Tibbets design document as present in 2040.[6] According to Van Buren tech demo plot, the federal government could exercise only limited power over the units of the U.S. Army. According to their names, at least some Armored Infantry Divisions actually belonged to the American commonwealths rather than the federal government, a situation similar to that of the state volunteer regiments raised by the states and placed into federal service during the American Civil War of the nineteenth century.
Gametitle-VBEnd of information based on Van Buren.

Legislative branchEdit

Congressional mentions:

Judicial branchEdit

Federal Courts were mentioned in the Tibbets Prison design document.


Gametitle-VBThe following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

There was a covert branch of the legal U.S. government that acted as a shadow government, and intended to launch a coup d'état against the real U.S. government. It was called the Enclave. Its members also acted as lobbyists for major American corporations like Vault-Tec, General Atomics International and RobCo.[26]

Gametitle-VBEnd of information based on Van Buren.

Post-Great War successionEdit

In March 2077, with the United States government prepared for a nuclear or biological attack from China, the President of the United States and the government and corporate officials who made up the secret shadow government known as the Enclave retreated to remote locations around the globe and made contingency plans for continuing the war against the Chinese.[27] In the event of a nuclear war, this was intended to ensure the continuity of the U.S. government's leadership and the survival of the Enclave.[28]

  • One of the few old world organizations to survive the Great War was the Enclave—before the war, the organization that served as a shadow government within the legal federal government of the United States. Members of the Enclave were military hardliners who both embraced the idea of a nuclear war to rid the world of Communist influence and knew that the common man could not survive it. They believed that as long as the “important people” of the United States survived, they could regroup quickly and wipe out Communism finally, and then build a better world without the threat posed by China or anyone else to the American way of life. The Enclave established itself on an abandoned Poseidon Energy oil-drilling platform off the coast of California that was protected from the nuclear firestorm of 2077.
  • In 2241, NORAD was offline;[29] there was the large crater in 2253.[30]
  • The constitutional status of the Enclave's President of the United States was questioned by the Brotherhood of Steel. Matthew, their representative in San Francisco, referred to President Dick Richardson as the "so-called Presedent".[31]
  • In 2277, there was no U.S. government presence at federal government buildings such as the Pentagon and the Capitol, as the Capital Wasteland had no central political authority or law enforcement mechanism.[32]
  • The federal government[33] may not have ever considered the Vaults as American society's best chance for survival in the event of a nuclear war or a viral pandemic. Instead, the government's officials may have considered themselves the best candidates for rebuilding the world and already had their own posteriors covered in the event of a nuclear or biological war by relocating to other remote installations across the nation (and elsewhere) that were not necessarily Vaults. The Enclave certainly did not seem to be devoting much effort to digging up any other Vaults and trying to use the human stock there to rebuild civilization.[34]

Enclave Operations, 2077–2241Edit

Executive branchEdit

According to the Fallout Bible, presidential powers accorded to the leader of the Enclave were as follows:

  • Presidential Orders could concern military research and data protection[35] while Presidential Directives could concern the Enclave's armed forces conditioning and testing programs.[36]
  • Presidential decisions could concern major scientific projects of the Enclave connected to military actions.[37]

The President also directly controlled the automatic Emergency Defensive Systems on the Enclave's oil-drilling platform.

In the year 2220, Congressman Dick Richardson was elected president for his first term of four years (he would be elected to five), through the aid and political pressure provided by his father, a previous American president under the Enclave. It is not certain that, if Dick Richardson was the president in 2241, he was also the one elected in 2220, over twenty years before. However, it was possible, if under the Enclave a president could be reelected more than once to a new term. This would have been legal if the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution had never been passed in 1951, a real possibility in the divergent Fallout universe.[38]

There was a cabinet mentioned also. It was the address of the Project report from the United States Chemical Corps and the power plant operations report from the Enclave's Atomic Energy Commission. Its seat was the Executive Office on the Enclave's oil rig. The only known cabinet-level executive officer in the Enclave was the Vice-President of the United States, the first person in the presidential line of succession.

There were some executive agencies present after the Great War, like the Secret Service, the Atomic Energy Commission,[39] National Aeronautics and Space Administration (also referred to as the United States Space Agency)[40] and the Environmental Protection Agency.[41] The United States Armed Forces were present and its Enclave Patrols at the Navarro perimeter also acted as a border patrol.

Legislative branchEdit

The Vice President of the United States was present on the Enclave's oil rig[42] (he shall be President of the Senate).[43] According to the Fallout Bible, since August 1, 2215, Congressman Dick Richardson had been rising to power within the Enclave, aided by pressure from his father, the first President Richardson.[44]

Judicial branchEdit

No information about this branch of the American federal government under the Enclave has been provided in the games, except for the fact that courts-martial were performed by officers of the Enclave's armed forces (as in the real-world American military).[45]

After the destruction of the Enclave oil rig, 2242–2277Edit

The destruction of the Enclave's oil-drilling platform off the coast of California in 2242, following the Chosen One’s assassination of the Enclave’s President of the United States, erased all trace of President Dick Richardson from history.[46] However, some broken remnants of the Enclave survived.

Possible candidates for acting commander of the Enclave armed forces following the death of President Richardson and the destruction of the oil rig were Enclave military officers who could have survived the destruction of the oil rig, e.g. those on the Enclave's mainland outposts' senior staff, Enclave Control Company's senior personnel or some Enclave military officers who might have evacuated in Vertibirds from the rig or had been deployed on outside missions.[47] The commander of the remaining Enclave military forces was Augustus Autumn, who had risen to the rank of Colonel by 2277.

A new self-proclaimed President of the United States appeared, John Henry Eden, from the Raven Rock military base on the East Coast in the Capital Wasteland near the ruins of Washington, D.C. Despite the fact that some of the remnants of the Enclave government had survived[48] after the destruction of the Enclave's oil rig in 2242, according to Colonel Autumn, Eden was next in line for leadership. President Eden then ordered Colonel Autumn to relocate the Enclave's military forces from California to the Raven Rock base. Before the destruction of the Enclave oil rig, John Henry Eden had served as an adviser to many of the American presidents of the Enclave. He was probably a remote advisor, in fact, because he was not actually human; rather, he was a pre-War artificial intelligence permanently located in the Raven Rock base within the ZAX supercomputer unit there.[49] It is not certain if Eden was a member of President Richardson's cabinet.[50] According to President Eden's propaganda broadcasts on the Enclave Radio, a new presidential election was promised to the surviving people of the United States, but without going into the details for "reasons of national security." Eden also promised to surrender the office of the Presidency to the winner of this election—without stating the exact time when this would occur, however. According to some speeches made on Enclave Radio there was still some form of Congress in the Enclave as well. The only person aware of President Eden's true identity as an AI was Colonel Autumn.


The real-world constitutional provision that lays out the structure of the executive agencies of the executive branch of the federal government is the United States Constitution, Article Two, Section 2, Clause 1 - the President may require the Opinion of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices. Because of the timeline Divergence that occurred in the 1940s or 1950s, it is sure only that in the Fallout world the United States Constitution's content would be the identical to that in the real-world document up to the Twenty-first Amendment. After that point, there were guaranteed to be substantial differences.

See alsoEdit


  1. In real world War Department was subsumed by Department of the Army in 1945, renamed in 1947 as the Department of Defense
  2. Van Buren
  3. Fallout 3
  4. RobCo sales & service center terminal entries
  5. South Boston military checkpoint terminal entries
  6. Van Buren
  7. Fallout Bible
  8. Fallout 2. In real world the United States Atomic Energy Commission was created in 1946 and dissolved in 1975.
  9. United Nations membership, relations with Soviet Union, possibly it was Department of State, in real world it was Great Seal of the United States keeper also
  10. mentioned by Mr prize-bot
  11. mentioned with its refrigerator only at FREEZER.MSG
  12. Van Buren.
  13. referred in Fallout 3, however National Aeronautics and Space Administration was referred in Fallout 2
  14. The Sam Blackwell interview
  15. Posters around Zion Canyon
  16. According to its real-world status.
  17. Fallout Bible, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency was cabinet level administration officer.
  18. H&H Tools Factory terminal entries; Alan Dalton's Terminal, E-mail from Jenny DeSoto
  19. Fallout 3, in real world: National Archives and Records Administration.
  20. this information comes from the Sierra Depot GNN transcript holodisk, which Chris Avellone discards as non-canon, as it was supposedly modified by the Sierra Army Depot soldiers
  21. Calverts
  22. The Sam Blackwell interview
  23. Van Buren, Maxson bunker design document
  24. The District, according to the United States Constitution, is under the jurisdiction of the United States Congress in "all cases whatsoever" (Article I, Section 8, Clause 17)
  25. Fallout 3
  26. Van Buren
  27. Fallout Bible
  28. The Constitutional foundation for United States presidential line of succession were Article II, Section 1 and Section 3 of the 20th Amendment (1933), as well as the 25th Amendment (1967), see: wikipedia:United States presidential line of succession
  29. Fallout 2
  30. Van Buren
  31. Brotherhood of Steel originated from deserted US Armed Forces Military Police security squad and their initial order was issued by Cap. Maxson unless otherwise directed, from a proper representative of the War Department; seizing Pentagon building by paladin Owyn Lyons'es detachment in first decades of XXIII century was an irony of fate
  32. Fallout 3, Raven Rock base content before Autumn arrival is not certain
  33. or whatever branch of federal government was responsible - it was not necessarily the Enclave
  34. Fallout Bible; according that - nonetheless, even members of the Enclave probably could not answer the question of who created the Vault experiments and their reasons, as many of the people responsible for the creation of the Vaults died long ago, and many records were lost in the great static of 2077. President Richardson was familiar with the purpose of the Vaults, but he never saw them as more than little test tubes of preserved humans he could mess with.
  35. known example - power armor research
  36. known example - Horrigan's conditioning, see also: wikipedia:Executive order (United States)
  37. known example - decision to go take the Vault 13 inhabitants as test subjects for the Project, which scrambled the Vertibird unit
  38. Fallout Bible, it seems the 22nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (1951) didn't work (if existed or not repealed) - in real world it also prevents a President from being elected more than twice
  39. with unknown exact status, reporting to the cabinet, Department of Water and Power or Department of Energy not mentioned, in real world the same named independent agency existed in 1946-1974 period - see: wikipedia:Atomic Energy Commission
  40. mentioned by Vice President Daniel Bird, an idiot talking about Martian canals, however there had been some pre-War space program and the Enclave off-planet evacuation plans concerned with Bloomfield Space Center - Van Buren; there was no significant means and resources to do anything serious connected with space affairs on the oil rig; there was also pre-War United States Space Agency referred in Fallout 3; in real world NASA is independent agency created in 1958
  41. EPA branch in California in fact with no human staff nad no Enclave presence - Fallout Bible
  42. Fallout 2
  43. Article one, Section three, Clause four
  44. finally Congressman Richardson was elected president for the first term of five on March 5th 2220
  45. Fallout 2
  46. according to Fallout 2 ending file for Richardson
  47. e.g. elements of verti-assault unit
  48. according to Eden
  49. according to Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution No person except a natural born Citizen [...] shall be eligible to the Office of President; it seems that part of the US Constitution didn't work, hadn't existed, was repelled or John Henry Eden wasn't legal President of the USA; in that case Enclave remnants were continuation of US Armed Forces only and its leader was nothing more than its acting commander
  50. Fallout 3 character - never appeared in Fallout 2; if not a member of cabinet nor Congress he had no presidential succession entitlement according to real world laws
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