A total of 7,000 National Guard troops that were dispatched to the District for enhanced security at President Joe Biden‘s January 20 inauguration are planned to remain in the city until at least mid-March 2021, according to officials.
The Guard will continue supporting federal law enforcement agencies in DC with 7,000 members. The number will be reduced to 5,000 through mid-March.
The decision followed four requests the National Guard has received from federal and municipal authorities for continued assistance, a statement from the US Department of Defense explained.
The requests came from the US Park Police, US Secret Service, the US Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), which have all been approved.
“I’d like to thank our National Guard soldiers and airmen for the hard work, swift response and steadfast dedication. They’re committed to ensuring that our capital remains secure,” Acting Army Secretary John Whitley said in the statement.
“I’m incredibly proud of our airmen and soldiers serving in support of local and federal law enforcement activities. This mission shows the breadth, flexibility and resolve of the National Guard and the sacrifice and service that provides to our nation,” he continued.
National Guard members will provide assistance in terms of security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics and safety support to these organizations. In addition, they “will be postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities up to and including protective equipment and arming if necessary,” according to Whitley.
In the meantime, Republican governors Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Greg Abbott of Texas and Greg Gianforte of Montana have asked Guard members from their states to return home.
More than 20,000 National Guardsmen arrived in DC ahead of Inauguration Day due to possible security threats following the Capitol insurrection on January 6. Currently, around 13,000 National Guard troops are present in the District of Columbia.