AFIC Ready to Serve President-Elect Bush
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2000 The Armed Forces Inaugural Committee is standing by, ready to serve President-elect George W. Bush.
Nearly 5,000 service members will take part in the nation's 54th presidential inauguration on Jan. 20. A core group of military planners, logisticians and operations officers has been working for months to make military support happen.
The AFIC paves the way for two groups responsible for the inauguration. The Joint Inaugural Committee runs the inaugural ceremony on the Capitol grounds. The Presidential Inaugural Committee, a nongovernmental organization from the president-elect's party conducts the inaugural events.
The PIC decides whether or not to have a parade, schedules inaugural balls and decides who will attend the inauguration. Once the invitation list is set, the military facilitates the movement of those people, said Army Brig. Gen. Nick Perkins, committee deputy director.
The AFIC has been up and running since January. Working in temporary offices at L'Enfant Plaza in a General Services Administration building, committee members have been readying the stage and coordinating DoD support for the 10- day inaugural period, Jan. 15 to 24.
DoD guidelines outline what support the military can provide. The AFIC has a $4.1 million operating budget allocated over two fiscal years. The military identified post-inaugural homes for its big-ticket purchases such as computers and cameras.
Tradition is the basis of the military support honoring the new commander in chief, according to Perkins. The military has taken part in the inauguration since George Washington took office as the nation's first president.
Military participation reaffirms civilian control of the military, lends a sense of patriotism to the inaugural events and showcases the armed forces, Perkins said. The AFIC pulls together transportation, communications and other logistical aspects, he said. Active duty and reserve members from all five services will have a chance to work on the high-visibility, joint operation.
The logistics team provides everything from more than 100 drivers for VIPs to command post electrical generators. While the AFIC's focus is on the ceremonial aspects of the inauguration, the team also makes contingency plans that take into account bad weather, civil disturbances, terrorist acts and more.
AFIC officials also coordinate the color guards, military bands, ceremonial units and others that will participate in the parade and inaugural ceremony. In addition to the parade units, about 1,800 service members will form an honor cordon from the White House to the Capitol.
Service members will also support galas and balls that occur after the inauguration ceremony. This generally consists of a joint-service color guard, as well as musicians. Generally, the Army's Herald Trumpets play ruffles and flourishes and "Hail to the Chief" at functions the president attends.
AFIC's Joint Operations Center will be the hub for coordinating and controlling all the military activities. The operations section is also preparing for a gamut of contingencies, everything from a horse going lame to an assassination attempt.
For more information on the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee and a public gallery of 250 photos of the 1997 inauguration, visit the committee Web site at www.afic.army.mil.
Registered visitors from DoD units and activities can access hundreds more photos of military activities at the 1997 inauguration at the DoD Joint Combat Camera Center Web site at http://dodimagery.afis.osd.mil/dodimagery/home.html.