How Law Enforcement Will Protect the Super Bowl from Terrorists

Steven P. Bucci
By Steven P. Bucci | February 5, 2016 | 4:14 PM EST

An Army soldier guards Levi's Stadium, site of Super Bowl 50, on Tuesday in Santa Clara, California. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

One of the most iconic American events of the year is about to occur – the Super Bowl. Thousands of Americans (maybe even a few Canadians who have caught the bug) will be attending the game.

If you were a terrorist, either from ISIS or al-Qaeda, or one of their affiliates, wouldn’t you love to go after this White Whale of American culture? The answer is yes, and fortunately, the good guys know it too, and they are really good at this sort of thing.

Events like the Super Bowl (State of the Union Addresses, the recent Papal visits to NYC, Philly and DC) are habitually designated as National Security Special Events.

This means that the law enforcement officials of America pull out all the stops to ensure nothing bad happens. Once that designation is given, the full weight of the federal, state, and local authorities are not only “encouraged” to work together, but they must work together.

For any big event you can expect the mayor and police chief of the host city to roll out all their capabilities both before the event, in investigation and preemption, and during the event (no one will be off-duty).

Normally, nearby municipalities will add their troops to the mix through either formal or informal cooperative agreements. The governor will mobilize the considerable abilities of both the state police and the National Guard.

All that will happen before the National Security Special Events designation is given.

Once that trigger is pulled, the Federal government rolls in. Lead by the U.S. Secret Service, the premiere protective security organization in the world, assets from the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Department of Defense are added to the fight.

Monitoring capabilities for chemical and biological threats are tagged for action (this includes literally hundreds of dog teams).

Aircraft are moved into the most advantageous positions to intercept any sort of airborne threat, small or large, fast or slow. This will also include numerous medical teams and medical evacuation capabilities as well as aircraft giving the ability to move VIPs and response forces.

This is a dance our first line protectors have done many times. Unlike the movies, there is little or no friction between the different local, state and federal agencies in implementing these efforts.

These are professionals who know their jobs, who have experience working as a team of teams, and who are willing to do everything needed to protect America and its people.

They do it every day, and they will do it for this Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Steven P. Bucci, who served America for three decades as an Army Special Forces officer and top Pentagon official, is director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by The Daily Signal.

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