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Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Government, Military, Sports, Terrorism | 3 comments

(Updated) Super Vigilance XLIX

Superbowl DHS Image
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UPDATE:

WOW! Wasn’t that a great game!

“Thank you” to all those who helped to keep it safe.

Don’t know about all the much-touted, multi-million dollar commercials.

Thunderbirds flyover Super Bowl XLIX

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly over during opening ceremonies for Super Bowl XLIX at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.., Feb. 1, 2015.

Original Post:

It is good to know that the footballs that will be used in Super Bowl XLIX will be under the most intense security and scrutiny in the Bowl’s history. Read all about the precautions and the almost minute-by-minute timeline and chain of custody for those famous 108 balls here.

It is even better to know that those who are fortunate enough to attend our nation’s annual sports extravaganza will benefit from one of the most intensive security efforts in years.

In the wake of the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris and in view of other terrorist activities and threats, federal, state and local military and civil security agencies will be working openly and behind the scenes to help ensure the safety and security of those attending Super Bowl XLIX as well as of those attending the many related events and of all residents in the Phoenix area.

The unprecedented security measures are led and coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) but will be augmented and supported by dozens of other agencies.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson highlighted some of those agencies and security operations.

Here are just a few of them: The Secret Service, the Transportation Security Administration, Federal Air Marshalls, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the Office of Health Affairs, Cybersecurity, Office for Bombing Protection, Active Shooter Preparedness.

Of course, the military and in particular the Arizona National Guard will be critical participants in all security operations.

Arizona National Guard leaders have assembled “Joint Task Force Super Bowl” whose primary mission is “to ensure unity of effort and adequate, timely, and scalable responses to requests for support from civil authorities…”

Arizona National Guard helps protect Super Bowl crowds

Arizona National Guard leaders receive a Joint Task Force Super Bowl briefing Jan. 26, 2015, at the joint operations center at Papago Park Military Reservation in Phoenix. The task force was assembled to support local, state and federal authorities during events related to Super Bowl XLIX. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brian A. Barbour

Army Staff Sgt. Brian Barbour of the Arizona National Guard:

Arizona Air National Guard pilots and F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 162nd Wing in Tucson will enforce the Federal Aviation Administration’s temporary flight restriction around University of Phoenix Stadium during the game — ready to intercept any aircraft that enters the 30-nautical-mile-radius. The North American Aerospace Defense Command fighters will refuel midair from Guard KC-135 Stratotankers from the 161st Air Refueling Wing here.

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Five National Guard civil support teams from around the country are assisting authorities at several major events in addition to the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl: the 91st from Arizona, the 95th from California, the 92nd from Nevada, the 72nd from Nebraska and the 63rd from Oklahoma. Civil support teams survey and pre-emptively detect any hazardous material threat to advise civilian responders and facilitate the arrival of additional state and federal military forces if necessary.
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Arizona Army National Guard soldiers from the 2-285th Assault Helicopter Battalion have trained and plan to have UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters on standby in case emergency responders need a robust airlift and transport capability.
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Military police and communications specialists from the 158th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade are also rehearsing possible support operations and are standing by to augment first responders if needed.

Super Bowl F-16s

F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing performing a flyover in July. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Dave Neve)

In addition, nextgov.com reports, “the Secret Service will be searching social media messages this Sunday to identify potential threats during the Super Bowl,” and adds:

Social media-tracking technology is just one piece of surveillance gear the government will deploy for the face-off between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
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DHS cybersecurity professionals paid to try hacking into systems have been probing Internet-connected devices at the stadium to check for weaknesses that miscreants could breach…

Finally, DHS Secretary Johnson announced the re-launch of the Department’s “If You See Something, Say Something™” public awareness campaign and continued partnership with the National Football League (NFL) to help ensure the safety and security of employees, players and fans during Super Bowl XLIX. The campaign “for the first time will remind citizens to report suspicious activity through in-app advertising on NFL mobile apps. Campaign messaging will appear on smartphones located in Arizona on the Game Day and NFL Experience apps.”

Whatever has happened or may happen to the now-famous footballs, there is nothing deflated about security at Super Bowl XLIX.

Here is to a safe and enjoyable Super Bowl.

Lead image: Courtesy Department of Homeland Security

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