Security Planning for the 2004 Democratic National Convention (B)

Case Solution

Esther Scott, Arnold Howitt
Harvard Kennedy School ()

When the city of Boston applied to host the Democratic presidential race in July 2004, it did so in the belief that the event would bring prestige and financial benefits to the city. But by the scheduled date of the Congress, the terrible events of September 11, 2001, had intervened and, as a “special national security event,” Congress was now subject to the strictest security and protection measures. As a result, key parts of the city and miles of streets were virtually closed to allow the event to take place in the largest indoor sports stadium in the city, and the event generated complaints, not praise, from citizens and business owners. As the. This case tells the story of the planning that preceded the Convention when federal officials in charge of special national security events, under the direction of the President, weighed the expectations of a civic celebration against their own grave concerns about terrorist threats. . The case is divided into three parts. Part A (1807.0) describes the elaborate planning process of the United States Secret Service, which had overall responsibility for planning the security of the Convention, and disputes between local, state, and federal officials about how draconian they should be. security measures; It specifically targets two of the thorniest issues facing planners: whether to close a busy transit stop and part of a major highway leading north into Boston. Part B (1808.0) describes the complex negotiations to resolve these and other security issues; the epilogue (1808.1) offers a brief description of the implementation of the security plan in Congress. HKS case number 1808.0.

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