National Safety and Security Super Bowl XLVI security stepped up as NFL descends on Indianapolis
National Safety and Security
Super Bowl XLVI security stepped up as NFL descends on Indianapolis
SUMMARY: Indianapolis, Indiana, is preparing for security and safety threats during the Super Bowl. The National Football League’s showcase event will consume 44 blocks in the heart of the city. Streets will be closed off, forcing an anticipated 150,000 or more fans to jockey with downtown workers for space much of the week. Up to 1,000 city police officers will be carrying smartphones and other electronic hand-held devices that will enable them to feed photos and video to a new state-of-the-art operations center on the city’s east side, or to cruisers driven by officers providing backup, according to the city’s public safety director.
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ANALYSIS: The National Football League’s title game, Super Bowl XLVI, between the NFL’s New England Patriots, and New York Giants, which will be played on February 5th, at Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium has been designated as a National Special Security Event (NSSE).
A NSSE is an event of national or international significance deemed by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to be a potential target for terrorism or other criminal activity. These events have included summits of world leaders, meetings of international organizations, presidential nominating conventions and presidential inaugurations. NSSE designation requires federal agencies to provide full cooperation and support to ensure the safety and security of those participating in or otherwise attending the event, and the community within which the event takes place, and is typically limited to specific event sites for a specified time frame.
In May of 1998, President Clinton issued Presidential Decision Directive 62 (PDD-62). In effect, this directive formalized and delineated the roles and responsibilities of federal agencies in the development of security plans for major events. The clarifying of responsibilities serves to focus more clearly the role of each agency and eliminate the duplication of efforts and resources.
In 2000, the Presidential Protection Act of 2000 became public law. Included in the bill, signed on December 19, was an amendment to Title 18, USC § 3056 which codified PDD-62. Now, with the support of federal law, the Secret Service is authorized to participate “in the planning, coordination and implementation of security operations at special events of national significance.”
When an event is designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security as a National Special Security Event (NSSE), the Secret Service assumes its mandated role as the lead agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in charge of intelligence, counter terrorism, hostage rescue and investigation of incidents of terrorism or other major criminal activities associated with the NSSE, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in charge of recovery management in the aftermath of terrorist or other major criminal incidents, natural disasters or other catastrophic events.
A number of factors are taken into consideration when designating an event as a National Special Security Event. Department of Homeland Security press releases usually cite the following factors:
- Anticipated attendance by dignitaries. Events attended by officials of the United States government or foreign dignitaries may create an independent federal interest to ensure that the event transpires without incident and that sufficient resources are brought to bear in the event of an incident.
- Size of the event. A large number of attendees and participants generally increases security requirements. In addition, larger events are more likely to draw the attention of terrorists or other criminals, particularly those interested in employing weapons of mass destruction.
- Significance of the event. Some events have historical, political, cultural, or symbolic significance that may heighten concern about possible terrorist acts or other criminal activity.
- Duration of the event. State and local law enforcement and public safety agencies may possess the manpower and other resources to provide adequate security for a major event within their jurisdiction (e.g. World Series, NASCAR race, Super Bowl, televised awards show), but is unable to do so for events over several days or weeks and at the same time continue to meet routine obligations in the greater community.
- Availability of state and local resources. When state and local jurisdictions lack the expertise, experience, manpower or other assets needed to ensure comprehensive protection of these major events of national or international significance.
- Multiplicity of Jurisdictions. Extensive coordination of law enforcement and public safety agencies from multiple jurisdictions.
- Threat Assessments. Anticipation of terrorism, or extensive illegal civil disobedience or other criminal activity.
In addition to standard NSSE planning and preparation considerations to ensure the safety of all persons in attendance at Super Bowl XLVI, DHS is integrating its, “If You See Something, Say Something™” public awareness campaign as an integral part of the event’s security plan.
The program was launched in July 2010, by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. The brilliantly simple program is effectively designed to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper state and local law enforcement authorities. The program and its media campaign encourages the public to report only suspicious behavior and situations related to criminal activity and terrorism. Only reports that document behavior reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with federal partners.
As a result of the proactive and comprehensive security planning effort for Super Bowl XLVI, as well as, the seamless collaboration between law enforcement and intelligence agencies at every echelon of government, this Sunday I am betting on a safe and secure contest without any major security incidents.
Enjoy the game!