- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent
In preparation for Monday’s inauguration, when President Barack Obama will be sworn in for his second term in office, Washington, D.C. is tightening security across the board as it anticipates that upwards of 800,000 people will descend upon the city for the proceedings and celebrations. The Secret Service says it has "42 partners here — every law enforcement entity, every transportation entity, everyone that’s got camera — we are utilizing." And that includes Military Working Dogs.
In addition to D.C. police dogs, canine teams from around the country will be joining in for the weekend for the extra-special POTUS mission. The Joint Task Force-National Capital Region/Military District of Washington has been "coordinating for [nearly 18] months with the Secret Service and FBI to plan for inauguration security," and that includes providing more dogs — 45 dog handlers to be exact.
CNN noted that when Thomas Jefferson was sworn into office, "he declined the seven horses and two carriages that were ready to ferry him from his boarding house to the Senate chamber where he would take the oath of office" and just walked. Hard to imagine that Obama could afford to do the same, even if escorted by all 45 dog teams.
And though these teams may not be charged with ferrying Obama safely from location to location, they will be on hand throughout the weekend conducting sweeps of the "parade grounds and the Capitol Building." On inauguration day they will be out in full force, on-hand and at the ready.