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Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson has designated the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York as a National Special Security Event (NSSE) which allows for enhanced cooperation of local, state and federal partners in establishing a safe and secure environment.
The U.S. Secret Service serves as the lead federal law enforcement and coordinating agency for developing and implementing a comprehensive security plan for the Papal Visit. Interagency coordination is critical to security planning.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components providing security for the Papal Visit include the following:
- U.S. Secret Service, in conjunction with federal, state and local partners, will support events with intelligence and counterterrorism assets, explosive device mitigation, dignitary and VIP protection, interagency communications, critical infrastructure, and airspace security.
- The Transportation Security Administration will provide operational support including personnel, equipment and communications infrastructure. This includes Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) Teams and Transportation Security Officers across the National Capital Region, New York City and Philadelphia.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency serves as the lead federal agency for emergency and consequence management and will coordinate consequence management activities throughout the events to ensure a quick and coordinated response to protect public health and safety.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection will provide operational support including venue security, non-intrusive inspection, and communications support.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations will provide personnel to support venue security and augment dignitary protection.
- The U.S. Coast Guard will provide maritime security 24-hours a day during the 2015 World Meeting of Families and enforce fixed security zones.
- The DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate will maintain support 24-hours a day through the National Infrastructure Coordinating Center and National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center as well as provide support through Federal Protective Service personnel.
- The DHS Office of Health Affairs will staff the National Biosurveillance Integration Center and through the BioWatch Program Office will provide personnel, equipment and supplies to support field operations.
- The DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office will provide radiological and nuclear alarm adjudication support as well as detection capability support.
- DHS will continue to monitor for threats surrounding the Pope’s visit as well as provide in-person support during events through the Office of Intelligence and Analysis.
- The Office of Operations Coordination will maintain situation situational awareness through the National Operations Center, and coordinate federal information sharing and reporting activities with federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector partners across the homeland security enterprise.