WASHINGTON – It takes planning, preparation, partnerships and flawless
execution to make a National Special Security Event (NSSE) look easy, and as it
turns out the U.S. Secret Service specializes in occasions like that, such as the State
of the Union Address (SOTU) on January 30, 2018.
Long after President Donald Trump leaves the stage and the event wraps
up, part of the Secret Service’s success will be defined by how the public focuses
on the President’s message rather than event security. As Henry David Thorough
once said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
Event security will include plenty to look at, but even more that won’t be
seen. The Secret Service’s main partners in this event are the U.S. Capitol Police,
Metropolitan Police Department, and the U.S. Park Police. But many more
agencies will be participating or at the ready, if needed.
“To secure a NSSE, we rely heavily on the cooperation and communication
with over 20 of our local, state, and federal law enforcement and public safety
partners in the National Capital Region,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert
O’Donnell, U.S. Secret Service – Dignitary Protection Division. “It takes months of
preparation and involves everything from controlling and monitoring the airspace
to traffic and crowd control. The goal is to create a safe and secure environment
for our protectees, other dignitaries and the public.”
Part of the preparation will be to communicate with the public both before
and during the event. The public will be aware of road closures and the Secret
Service will field questions from the media regarding event security.