Jim Mannion
Agence France Presse
December 17, 2008

Editor’s note: A sign of things to come? In years past the Secret Service and local law enforcement were responsible for protecting the president during the inauguration, now that duty has apparently shifted to the military and Northcom. It would seem Northcom is not enough, however — General Gene Renuart says an “integrated air defense system” including Canadians will “be up and robust and available.” Since when have Canadians been tasked with protecting the president during his swearing in? Canada and the U.S. signed an agreement that paved the way for the militaries from either nation to send troops across each other’s borders during an emergency. I guess we are to consider the inauguration of Obama an emergency?

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The US military plans to mobilize thousands of troops to protect Washington against potential terrorist attack during the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama, a senior US military commander said Wednesday.

They will fly combat air patrols and man air defenses, organize large scale medical support, and help local law enforcement provide security in the capital, said General Gene Renuart, head of the US Northern Command.

“(It’s) not because we see a specific threat, but because for an event this visible, this important and this historic, we ought to be prepared to respond if something does happen,” he told reporters.

Renuart said some 7,500 active duty troops and 4,000 national guard troops will take part in the operations in support of the inauguration of the 44th US president on January 20.

Overall responsibility for security during the inauguration falls to the Secret Service.

But Renuart’s command, which is co-located with NORAD, is responsible for preparing for any contingency.

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