The Department of Homeland Security takes several factors into consideration when designating an event as a National Special Security Event including anticipated attendance by dignitaries and the size and significance of the event.
When an event is designated a National Special Security Event, the U.S. Secret Service assumes its role as the lead federal agency for the design and implementation of the operational security plan. Federal resources will be deployed to maintain the level of security needed for the designated events.
The U.S. Secret Service is responsible for planning, directing and executing federal security operations at designated NSSEs and, together with state and local law enforcement partners, develops the overall security plan. In the Washington, D.C. area, the Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Capitol Police and the U.S. Park Police as well as a number of other federal and local agencies will play an active role in securing this event.
In 2004, there were five NSSEs: the 2004 State of the Union Address, the Sea Island G8 Summit, former President Ronald Reagans Memorial Services, and the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
While the murder rate among private Americans is 1 out of 13,530 people, 1 out of 10 US Presidents has been assassinated (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy) and a fifth (Reagan) was shot. Eleven others were uninjured in failed assassination attempts.
Every year, the Secret Service investigates over 1,500 reported or discovered threats against the President. While most people who threaten the President are just venting, even joking, all reported threats are taken very seriously and those who make them are in for, at least, a tough time.