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Take The Bridge off the Cool Ship, and put it in The White House or an Elaborate Underground Base, and what you get is The War Room. It's the nerve center for an entire country, criminal organization, secret society, hidden military base, or whatnot. It generally comes in one of three flavors:

  1. A dark, cavernous room filled with rows and rows of consoles with monitors, radar scopes, Big Boards and other sorts of technology, staffed by an entire warren of Bridge Bunnies.
  2. A dark and not-quite-so-cavernous boardroom, with a long central table with chairs around it, lit by a spotlight. If located in a Supervillain Lair, the seats around the table (except for the head one) may have trap doors under them.
  3. A, once again, dark room with a large, circular table in the middle, a la Dr. Strangelove.

Every version will prominently feature an enormous monitor that fills one entire wall. If The War Room is on Earth, the monitor will generally display a map of the world, marked up with real-time data about the organization's activities. A large number of clocks above the big map, displaying time in different cities around the globe, is optional.

The Invisible President, the Supporting Leader, The Brigadier and the Big Bad (all may or may not be part of The Omniscient Council of Vagueness) tend to spend a lot of time in rooms like these. Mission Control is invariably based here. If it's for the good guys, expect a lot of cheering coupled with a circular camera pan when The Hero reports his success.

Many naval vessels have a "ward room", the officer's mess, which is often misheard as The War Room. (The "war room" you're looking for is the Combat Information Center or CIC)

Examples of The War Room include:


Anime and Manga

Film

  • The movie Fail Safe.
  • Apollo 13.
  • Ur-example: Doctor Strangelove, from which the above quote comes. A huge, elaborate set designed by Ken Adam.
  • Pier 24 in San Francisco from The Rock was the location of a mobile FBI War Room. The equipment and staffers were brought in on trucks.
  • ATAC in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory was the War Room for the orbital particle-beam cannon.
  • In the movie War Games a set is built to represent NORAD's War Room. Much larger and more impressive than the real thing. In a possible Shout-Out to the Dr. Strangelove quote at the top, General Beringer tells someone not to run in the room, as they could get hurt.
    • But for some reason, the NORAD war room you see in the movies never has any Canadians present, even though it's the North American Air Defence alliance.
  • Undoubtedly what the new President Ronald Reagan was thinking of when, on his first tour of his new home, he asked to be shown the White House's War Room.
    • The Real Life version is rather impressive too, and probably inspired most of the 'rows of consoles' examples here.
    • Though not impressive enough for Armageddon which designed a new one.
  • In Star Wars, the Rebel Alliance keeps multiple War Rooms -- one on Yavin IV, one on Hoth, and one aboard Home One, as well as others we don't get to see. The Galactic Empire, of course, had one on the Death Star, in which the notorious "I find your lack of faith disturbing" scene occurred. The Jedi council chamber might also qualify, even though matters of war are not the only thing discussed there.
  • Monsters vs. Aliens has type 1 of the Crazy Awesome variety, where you need your tongue, both elbows, feet and your rear-end scanned just to get in.
  • Nixon's War Room in the Watchmen movie is based on Dr. Strangelove's.
  • Averted in the 2008 spy film Body of Lies.

 "No it's just me and you...what, did you think there would be some kind of war room and people running about with clipboards?"

General

Literature

  • The navies in the Lensman series have entire ships devoted to being The War Room.
    • Truth in Television. The US Navy does in fact have a pair of ships specfically designed and built to act as command and control vessels for major amphibious assaults - the Blue Ridge-class.

Live-Action TV

  • Ur-example, type 1: the real-life Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center (CMOC) command and control complex in Colorado, and its counterparts in Stargate SG-1 and Jeremiah.
    • Home of NORAD. However, Reality Is Unrealistic and the real Command Center is much smaller than in the movies. When most shows and films were made it was even less impressive than it is today. Here is what it looks like today.
    • NORAD itself was based off of the earlier SAGE air defense system which in the 1950's was pure science fiction. Each SAGE center had a two story Sector Control Room with real time vector graphic interactive computer display terminals and a large display scree where the brass could watch the fight against the Soviet bombers in near real time.
    • SAGE was in turn based off of the British sector stations and Group Operations Control Rooms used as part of the air defense network in the Battle of Britain.
  • The White House Situation Room in The West Wing and other series set there, which is usually considerably bigger than the real life version.
  • The Army of Light's War Room on Babylon 5, which was a different set from The Bridge.
  • CTU Los Angeles in 24, as well as various enclaves, retreats, and bunkers employed by the various presidents depicted on the show.
    • In an example of Life Imitates Art, a new Counter-terrorism center in Washington DC was modeled on the layout of the 24 set.
  • The main area of the Torchwood Hub.
  • Astrometrics serves this function in the later seasons of Star Trek: Voyager.
  • UFO. SHADO's art deco war room is located underneath a film studio.

Music

Video Games

  • Call of Duty 4 features a level called "No Fighting in the War Room." However, lots of fighting does happen in the titular war room later on. The title of the level itself is a nod to the quote from Dr. Stranglove.
  • In Team Fortress 2, some maps, such as 2fort, feature many War Rooms seen through windows to the side, which assist in giving the game its Spy Fiction feel.
  • In the Sam and Max game episode Abe Lincoln Must Die, the War Room in the White House serves three purposes: drink coffee, eat cookies, and launch missiles.
  • Evil Genius has a control room, which looks like war room and acts like one. Except you dispatch mooks instead of conquering territories. It also has Inner Sanctum with Type 2 conference table.
  • Maleficent and her Disney villain allies had a war room in their HQ in Hollow Bastion. There they kept a close eye on Sora through a hologram, while thinking out strategies on how to find the Princessess of Hearts or how to conquer the worlds around the universe. The fighting in the war room happens when Sora, Donald, Goofy and their new ally Beast took down Maleficent.
    • The Organization XIII has their own war room in Castle That Never Was, which is complete white with white, extremely tall chairs standing beside each other as in a circle. There they sit on those chairs and discuss their plans, figuring out new plans or comment on the several setbacks Sora pulls on them.
    • Merlin's house is basically the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee's war room. There they also discuss strategies on how to combat the MCP, the Heartless and the Nobodies, on how to rebuild Hollow Bastion to its former glory and they share information with Sora, Donald and Goofy from there. It's also there Cid control Hollow Bastion's defence system called Claymores.
    • Hades has his own personal war room at his chamber, which has a large chessboard in the middle of the room. With the chessboard he use chess pieces, taking the form of his allies and his enemies, to planning out moves, tactics and strategies.
  • Both Normandys of Mass Effect have these instead of the normal design. The SR1's is more of a Communication room that your crew uses as a meeting place. The SR2 has a more classic design, with a large table in the center, though the view-screen in replaced with a nifty holographic display.
    • The revamped Normandy SR-2 in Mass Effect 3 has a full-fledged War Room with the actual name as it's where the war against the Reapers is being planned out and directed. It has another nifty holographic display that displays the progress of the Crucible superweapon and a console that shows your War Assets and how ready you are for the final battle.
  • In the Knights of the Old Republic series, the central compartment of the Ebon Hawk serves as this.
  • Crossroad Keep in Neverwinter Nights 2 has one in the west wing of the castle.

Web Comics

Western Animation

Real Life

  • Cabinet War Rooms underneath Whitehall in London, serving as the nerve centre of Britain's war effort.
  • Truth in Television: Militaries and other Armed (and sometimes even unarmed, see political campaigns) factions tend to have these for a reason, as they generally serve as a large, central meeting area for conferences with underlings and field leaders to talk things through, plan out future moves and contingencies, and anticipate future developments.
    • This is one of the reasons generals in World War One stayed in large chateaux - not because they desired the luxury but because these were convenient places to house the large planning staff a corps or division needed, and they were frequently (though not always) already wired up to the telephone and telegraph network and serviced by decent roads. They were also generally (but again not always) beyond the range of enemy artillery.
  • The White House Situation Room, as seen in the historic photo of President Obama's National Security team watching the raid on Usama Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan on May 2, 2011.
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