Locking down Super Bowl security
Federal, state and local government partners are providing air and infrastructure security, cybersecurity, threat assessments and real-time situational awareness.
Preparations are underway to ensure the security of residents and visitors to the Arizona cities of Glendale and Phoenix ahead of Super Bowl LVII, with the Department of Homeland Security partnering with state and local agencies on the effort.
DHS said it will have 600 personnel on the ground to provide support in areas like air and infrastructure security, cybersecurity, intelligence analysis, threat assessments and real-time situational awareness reporting for local governments. The department also will provide technology to detect chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents as well as explosives.
Ahead of the event, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency provided cybersecurity vulnerability assessments, communications planning support and held bombing prevention workshops with state and local partners.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be deploying its self-contained Mobile Emergency Response Support vehicles that feature mobile telecommunications, life support, logistics, operational support and power generation. The units will ensure that state and local security personnel can quickly link and coordinate with federal partners in the event of an emergency.
While DHS said it has not identified any credible threats related to the event, the Super Bowl is designated as a Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) Level 1, which means it requires extensive federal support. DHS noted that the event was voluntarily submitted for a risk assessment, as with previous Super Bowls.
Game day security will also include countering “potential threats from the air,” like drones and other unmanned aircraft systems. The Federal Aviation Administration earlier this month designated the Phoenix area as a “No Drone Zone,” meaning drone operators who enter it without permission could face confiscation, prosecution and fines that exceed $30,000.
Separately, telecommunications companies said they have boosted service in and around the area to enhance wireless and internet speeds. T-Mobile said last month it has permanently upgraded its 5G network in and around Phoenix, with connections now four times faster. Meanwhile, Verizon said it deployed 5G Ultra Wideband in the area last year, while State Farm Stadium where the Super Bowl will be played will have hundreds of 5G antennas, nodes and other infrastructure to support the network.
At the stadium, Cisco worked with the NFL to design, implement and operate the end-to-end security platform for its enterprise network. The security architecture uses on-premise hardware and cloud-based security and analytics software to provide end-to-end visibility. Security and customer experience experts will be on hand to respond to disruptions, according to a company statement.
DHS’ core mission “is to ensure the safety of the American public—including at special events like the Super Bowl,” said Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. “Our efforts here rely on our partnerships with federal, state, local, tribal, and campus agencies, and of course, the NFL,” he said.