Military involvement in the presidential inauguration is a centuries-old tradition in which we celebrate democracy, honor our new commander-in-chief and recognize civilian control of the military. In keeping with this tradition, the Department of Defense has established the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC) to serve as the DoD liaison for the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC).
The assistant secretary of Defense for Public Affairs is charged with establishing policy and oversight of DoD's support to the 2001 presidential inauguration, with the Secretary of the Army serving as the executive agent for organizing and providing approved support. Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera has appointed Army Maj. Gen. James T. Jackson, commander, Military District of Washington, to serve as the AFIC chairman. The committee's day-to-day operations are the responsibility of the deputy chairman, Army Brig. Gen. Elbert N. "Nick" Perkins.
AFIC, a joint service organization, is charged with coordinating all military participation and support for the 2001 presidential inauguration. This inauguration will mark more than 200 years of military participation.
The tradition dates back to April 30, 1789, when members of the Colonial Army escorted George Washington to his swearing-in ceremony at Federal Hall in New York City. Participation traditionally includes musical units, marching bands, color guards, firing details and salute batteries. AFIC also will provide a very limited amount of approved logistical support.
Based on experience from previous years, the arrival schedule for AFIC personnel occurs according to a time-phased plan. An advance cell reported for duty in January 2000. Their tasks were to find and prepare a location from which to operate, retrieve and review all available historical documents, and establish operating and contacting procedures. Other personnel from AFIC arrived throughout the spring and summer months.
This core team of approximately 200 servicemen and women is currently in place. Responsibilities include planning, operations, communications, logistics, personnel support, and the construction of the official 2001 AFIC website.
Between November 2000 and January 2001, another 470 people will be working within AFIC on a temporary duty status to provide military support throughout the inaugural period.
Once the inauguration ends, only the core group will remain. They will be responsible for personnel actions associated with out-processing, writing after-action reports, returning material and equipment, and establishing an information base to pass down to the next AFIC for use in 2005.
Information on the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee is available at http://www.afic.army.mil