Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

After the NSSE

For the DOT/DPW, reinstallation of public assets may be necessary once the NSSE is completed.  These can include traffic signals and garbage cans.  Other items such as viewing stands may require removal or coordination for removal.  Safely opening road closures in a timely manner will be necessary.  This can mean keeping roads closed while pedestrians leave an area.  Plans should consider garbage removal, as street sweepers and garbage crews clean assets. 

Re-opening roads also requires coordination with local law enforcement.  Like many other staff assigned to the event, the signal that an event has concluded can bring a mass exodus, especially for staff who have worked long hours over multiple days.  It is important for DOT/DPW to ensure protection of their personnel until the safe completion of every aspect of installation, garbage removal, and road re-opening, etc. 

After-Action Reports

An essential part of the NSSE process is information sharing regarding lessons learned through AARs.  It is important to ensure shift reports are complete for compilation into a complete AAR.  AARs can provide the basis for detailed observations and recommendations regarding areas of success and areas for improvement.  This information is invaluable to future NSSE event planners.  AARs can help develop best practices for future events within the same venue or new locations.  It is also possible that multiple agencies will request a copy of the DOT/DPW AAR as well.  Each agency may develop AARs separately, or there may be a single ARR developed collaboratively with all participating agencies.

Reporting Costs

Although the USSS is the lead federal agency for operational security, no funding source is available for them to reimburse state and local jurisdictions for NSSE-related expenses, including overtime and other personnel-related costs.  While the NSSE designation does not alleviate the host city’s safety and security commitments or other contractual obligations to the entity hosting the event (e.g., RNC Committee, DNC Committee, and the National Football League), there is precedence for Congress to provide reimbursement for services rendered during some NSSEs.  From 1998 to 2006, Congress appropriated funding for two specific NSSEs—the 2004 DNC and RNC in Boston, MA, and New York City, NY, respectively.  In fiscal year 2006, Congress began appropriating to a general NSSE fund, the majority of which is for reimbursing state and local agencies.  For example, Congress allocated funding to state and local agencies in Virginia following the 56th Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, for security (police, fire), transportation (transit buses), and other services (environmental services, parks and cultural resources, and human services).  In the event that Congress appropriates funds to reimburse agencies for their NSSE costs, detailed documentation of that cost data will be necessary.

The January 20, 2009, inauguration of President Barack Obama used NSSE funding of $15 million for “emergency planning and security costs.”[37]  Additionally, for the same inauguration, then President George W. Bush declared a state of emergency for the District of Columbia, which authorized the federal government to reimburse the District for emergency preparedness activities and expenditures that exceeded $15 million. 

DHS grants are available to state and local jurisdictions, such as the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) and the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), for NSSE security activities.  The grant approval process for these programs is not flexible, and states and localities will need to plan SHSGP and UASI funding for NSSE security annually in their grant applications.[38]  Therefore, for short or no-notice NSSEs, states and local jurisdictions will be unable to use SHSGP or UASI funds in advance for security costs. 


Information sharing should extend to the general public post-event, particularly regarding post-event operations that may affect citizens.  Dissemination of information about road re-openings or transportation-related issues should be as efficient as during pre-event and the NSSE.  Through the press and media, the objective is to provide timely information about how continued security measures, road closures, and traffic delays will affect travelers.

[37] Reese, Shawn.  National Special Security Events.  Congressional Research Service, March 24, 2009.

[38] Ibid.

May 2011
Publication #FHWA-HOP-11-012