Defense Department Provides Convention Support
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 26, 2004 Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard representatives are on the ground in Boston or on alert, ready to respond if called on for support at the Democratic National Convention.
Michael Kucharek, U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman, told the American Forces Press Service today that the Defense Department is providing the support at the request of the U.S. Secret Service and will provide a similar level of support for the Republican National Convention in New York next month.
Active-duty forces, as well as units from the Massachusetts and Maine National Guards, make up Joint Task Force-Democratic National Convention, Kucharek said. Air Force Gen. Ralph Eberhart, head of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based NORTHCOM and NORAD, is the combatant commander to provide forces for the task force. Army Brig. Gen. Gary A. Pappas, commander of the Massachusetts Army National guard, is the task force commander.
Although national security concerns make it imprudent to release specific numbers of troops deployed, their specialties or their home bases, Kucharek said they are capable of providing medical and aviation support, as well as "consequence management support" in the event of a crisis.
By law, military forces cannot serve in a law enforcement role unless directly authorized by the president, he explained.
DoD support for the conventions, Kucharek said, is in line with that provided at other "national special security events," including the G-8 Summit in Sea Island, Ga., in June and the Super Bowl in Houston in February.