DHS preparations for political conventions

Cooperation among agencies key for protecting Republican, Democratic conventions


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designates certain major events - including the national conventions and the presidential inauguration - as National Special Security Events (NSSEs). The U.S. Secret Service is designated as the lead agency with unified command representation from participating federal, state, and local agencies with NSSE responsibilities. Federal resources are deployed to an NSSE to maintain the level of security needed for the event and area. A number of factors are taken into consideration when designating an event as an NSSE, including anticipated attendance by dignitaries and the size and significance of the event.

The upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions, taking place in Denver from August 25-28 and in Saint Paul, Minn., from Sept. 1-4, respectively, are examples of how the many agencies of DHS work together with local authorities toward the common goal of homeland security. Below is an overview of how DHS agencies are supporting these NSSEs.

United States Secret Service

When an event is designated an NSSE, the Secret Service assumes its mandated role as the lead agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan. The Secret Service carries out its responsibilities by relying on a core strategy of forming partnerships with all participating law enforcement, security and public safety officials.

During the formation of the Secret Service's overall security plan, each participating agency is tasked based on its jurisdiction and particular area of expertise. The Secret Service began developing convention security plans in 2007.

Although discussion of the specific means, methods, resources, or assets used to carry out protective responsibilities is sensitive, there is a tremendous amount of advance planning and coordination in the areas of venue security, air space security, training, communications, and credentialing.

The Secret Service's goal is to develop and implement, with the numerous participating agencies, a seamless security plan that will create a safe and secure environment for protectees, other dignitaries, event participants, and the general public. Should the need arise for a response to a tactical threat, the Secret Service is prepared to respond by employing a number of specialized units with unique expertise.

A Joint Information Center (JIC) will be staffed in both Denver and Saint Paul 24 hours a day during the conventions. JICs are managed by a Secret Service agent and a member of the respective city's police department. Representatives from each federal, state, and local law enforcement or public safety agency and military department with a role in the conventions will be available to answer security-related media inquiries throughout the conventions.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is providing a contingent of federal law enforcement personnel in support of security and public safety efforts at the conventions.

ICE Office of Investigations is deploying special agents, including Special Response Teams, and many government-owned vehicles, to assist its sister agencies and local emergency and law enforcement agencies with the security and safety of the conventions.

ICE Federal Protective Service (FPS) is deploying personnel to Denver and Saint Paul to ensure public safety and continuity of operations at federal facilities in the area. The FPS deployment includes K-9 explosive detection teams, uniformed officers, intelligence and undercover agents, and bicycle and motorcycle officers. Both ICE Office of Investigations and Detention and Removal Operations will also supply agents to support the overall mission at both conventions.

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