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How DHS plans to secure the Biden Inauguration

Protecting the inauguration
Protecting against potential violence at the Biden Inauguration 01:18

The barbed-wire fences and armed National Guard troops stationed across Washington, D.C. have drawn stark notice. Their presence is a visible reminder of the enhanced security measures deemed necessary to protect the inauguration of a United States president. 

After the January 6 assault on the United States Capitol, the security of this week's planned Biden-Harris inauguration has come under intense scrutiny.

This Sunday on 60 Minutes, correspondent Scott Pelley reported on the expansive operation to ensure President-elect Joseph R. Biden is sworn into office without incident.

The event is designated a "National Special Security Event" and security coordination across multiple government jurisdictions at the local, state, and federal level is led by the Secret Service. The agency famous for protecting presidents falls under the auspice of the Department of Homeland Security, which is absent of a Senate-confirmed secretary and whose former acting chief, Chad Wolf, resigned from the post last week.

Among the agency's leadership who remains is Ken Cuccinelli. The Acting Deputy DHS Secretary, also unconfirmed by the Senate, told Pelley the deployment of National Guard troops around the capital is a preemptive and preventative security measure.

"A lot of what you see, Scott, is confidence building," Cuccinelli said.  "Secret Service's plan was already very resilient for any threat like January 6th and many times it."

At the time of the interview, about 20,000 troops were being deployed to Washington, D.C. That number that has since increased.

Cuccinelli told 60 Minutes that National Guard troops are authorized to carry semi-automatic weapons and in the previously unaired clip below, Cuccinelli explains the rules of engagement and scenarios when force may be used.

"We expect our officers to defend themselves, first and foremost, as part of accomplishing the security mission," Cuccinelli said to Pelley. "And that's one of the challenges of being a law enforcement officer, [is that] you have to make the decision based on not knowing what that challenge is going to be in a split second."

National Guard rules of engagement 02:18

The videos above were produced by Keith Zubrow and Sarah Shafer Prediger. They were edited by Sarah Shafer Prediger.     

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