When President-elect Donald Trump stands on the Capitol steps to take the oath of office on Jan. 20, the event will be backed up by about 13,000 troops.
Rehearsals for the day got underway this week as members of the Joint Task Force-National Capital Region staged a mini-inauguration Wednesday on a 40-by-60 foot map of Washington, D.C., spread out on the floor of the District of Columbia National Guard Armory.
"In addition to [hosting] the joint service men and women who make up the military cordon, the 1,500-person formation who will stand shoulder-to-shoulder across Pennsylvania Ave," Master Sgt. Aaron Lovely explained in a demonstration, according to an Army release, "[the location] will also be the starting point for both the civilian and military participants in the parade."
Lovely is the senior enlisted inauguration planner and a member of the Army band. This will be his fourth inauguration.
"Normally, I'm in an Army environment, but this is a joint-service environment," he said. "Our sister services and the teammates I get to work with are stellar, and I enjoy the product we're able to put together in preparation for whatever the Presidential Inaugural Committee is going to ask us to do."
Trump has not weighed in on his specific wishes for the celebration yet, according to the release, but the committee is getting a head start on the general preparations.
Thousands of active-duty and Guard personnel will be on hand to support military musicians, marching bands, color guards, salute batteries and honor cordons, according to District of Columbia National Guard commander Maj. Gen. Errol Schwartz, as well as Metropolitan, Capitol and U.S. Parks Service police.
One of his concerns, he said, is the potential for frigid weather and how it will effect some of the service members coming from warmer climates, including Guam, who might not be stocked up on uniform parkas.
"My concern is that they find their cold-weather gear before they get here," he said. "But we make sure all of our service members have all of the equipment they need, whatever weather may come at us."
A group of active-duty and Guard troops be deputized by the Metropolitan Police Department to back up local law enforcement, Schwartz added, though they won't be armed.
"If something goes bad, it's up to the law-enforcement agency to make the first move," Schwartz said. "We look forward to having a peaceful transition of power on the 20th of January. And we will continue to work with our state and interagency partners to make sure that we have a peaceful transition of power."
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghann_MT