FEMA Administration Pete Gaynor, acting secretary of Homeland Security, and Vice President Mike Pence at a briefing on inauguration security on Jan. 14, 2021. (White House photo)

FEMA Supporting Government Partners Across D.C. Region in Preparation for 59th Presidential Inauguration

FEMA is actively coordinating with our state, local and federal partners in support of the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

During this historic event, public safety remains FEMA’s highest priority. In light of recent events and the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage anyone planning to be in the Washington D.C., metro area to follow the guidance of local officials, adhere to public health precautions and report suspicious activity to law enforcement. Experiencing the inauguration from your home by watching on television or online remains your best option to view this event.

FEMA works closely with our federal, state and local partners and synchronizes federal interagency coordination to prepare for and respond to all hazards in the National Capital Region, enhancing homeland security and emergency management operations. FEMA has provided planning, training and exercise support to our federal, state and local partners to promote an enhanced preparedness posture over the past several months leading up to the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

The Department of Homeland Security designated the Presidential Inauguration as a recurring National Special Security Event (NSSE). Events may be designated NSSEs when they warrant the full protection, incident management and counterterrorism capabilities of the federal government. On Jan. 12, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Pete Gaynor extended the period of the NSSE to begin a week in advance of the Inauguration and run from Jan. 13 – Jan. 21. The Acting Secretary determined the extended NSSE period was necessary to provide for a unified command and control and ensure the safety and security of this special event.

Due to the complex and sensitive nature of this event, different federal agencies are designated to lead certain efforts.

  • When an event is designated a NSSE, the U.S. Secret Service assumes its mandated role as the lead federal agency for security planning and response.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the lead federal agency for incident investigation.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for incident management.
  • FEMA is the lead federal agency for consequence management in situations where a disaster or hazardous event exceeds local response capabilities. The mission of consequence management is to manage emergency response activities in order to ensure a quick and coordinated response to protect public health and safety, restore essential services, and provide emergency relief to all those affected by the consequences of a natural, man-made, or act-of-terrorism incident.

The preparation for any NSSE is a cooperative effort. FEMA has been fully engaged with our federal, state and local authorities before this event, and will remain so during and after the 59th Presidential Inauguration.

President Donald Trump approved the District of Columbia’s request for an Emergency Declaration on Jan. 11. This action allows FEMA to surge public safety resources and response teams to the District of Columbia in preparation for the inauguration. FEMA response teams are already in position at key locations throughout the National Capital Region and are prepared to support our public safety partners in any potential situations that may arise. Additionally, FEMA is deploying a national Incident Management Assistance Team to the area to support the agency’s full-time staff who regularly coordinate, exercise and train with first responders and emergency managers in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

While FEMA does not operate in any law enforcement capacity, we are actively coordinating with our federal, state and local partners to ensure public safety throughout the 59th Presidential Inauguration. Our mission remains the same – helping people before, during and after disasters.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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