Inside The Box, Issue 1.3: Special-Event Security: Super Bowl XLV
When Super Bowl XLV got underway just after 5:30 PM on February 6th in Arlington, Texas, not all eyes were on starting kicker Mason Crosby of the Green Bay Packers. At operations centers and command posts in and around Cowboys Stadium were dozens of security professionals whose primary focus was the safety and security of the spectators, teams and VIPs in attendance that wintry Sunday afternoon.
As big a task as that may seem, the actual scope of their responsibilities was far greater than just the stadium on Game Day. In fact, scores of public safety officials, emergency teams and intelligence analysts were busy monitoring and responding to hundreds of events and incidents for a full two weeks prior to the main event and for several days afterwards. Moreover, their area of responsibility encompassed the entire region surrounding the stadium – a sprawling area known as the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington (DFWA) Metroplex – including not only its human population but also a broad array of critical infrastructure whose disruption could directly or indirectly impact the Super Bowl.
This enormously complex undertaking was managed by local and regional agencies in the DFWA area, supported by multiple federal government partners and the National Football League’s security team. Digital Sandbox was tasked with providing a suite of software tools for the coordinated planning, assessment and dynamic monitoring of potential threats to the event. Working closely with DFWA public safety authorities on a tight deadline, our analysts and engineers configured and deployed an event-focused tool called the Threat and Risk Monitor, which featured the first-ever integration of mobile devices (see image, above). The company also created hard-copy aids such as playbooks and wall maps, and provided on-site support during the game itself.