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Designation of the Presidential Address to a Joint Session of Congress as a National Special Security Event

Release Date: 
February 24, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has designated the Presidential Address to a Joint Session of Congress this evening as a National Special Security Event (NSSE).

Secretary Napolitano has named Gregory Marchio, of the U.S. Secret Service, to serve as the Principal Federal Official (PFO) for the Joint Session of Congress. In his role as PFO, Mr. Marchio is responsible for ensuring overall seamless coordination of the federal domestic incident management activities.

A number of factors are taken into consideration when designating an event as a National Special Security Event, including anticipated attendance by dignitaries and the size and significance of the event. When an event is designated an NSSE, the U.S. Secret Service assumes its legally mandated role as the lead federal agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan. Federal resources will be deployed to maintain the level of security needed for the event.

The Secret Service is responsible for planning, coordinating, and implementing security operations at designated NSSEs and, together with law enforcement, public safety, and military partners, develops the overall security plan. The U.S. Capitol Police, the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, and a number of other federal and local agencies will play an active role in providing security at this event. Assets from the Department of Defense, including the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Northern Command are also supporting this event.

Since 1998, the Secret Service has led federal security operations at 30 National Special Security Events, including, the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the G20 summit and the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.

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