26,000 National Guard soldiers came to DC and protected the inauguration without incident. Now the drawdown begins
With each influx of military troops finally comes withdrawal, and that’s what begins to happen in Washington.
National Guard officials say that after around 26,000 soldiers poured into town to help protect Wednesday’s groundbreaking events, they are trying to withdraw the troops and bring them home.
No security incidents involving the National Guard have been reported, officials said in a press release.
“The National Guard is now focused on coordinating with federal law enforcement to meet any ongoing demands while simultaneously working the logistics to return Guard members to their home state, families and employers. “, says the press release. “As the mission concludes in the Capital Region, the National Guard Office is working to assist states with preparations and logistics to get troops home safely. “
But the inauguration ended safely, “We will continue to support federal law enforcement as requested,” said Army General Daniel Hokanson, head of the National Guard. “Our Guards will return home as soon as conditions permit.”
On January 6, then Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller approved up to 6,200 National Guard soldiers to support the District of Columbia civilian authorities for up to 31 days under the authority of Title 32, 502 (f).
About 10,600 troops are still on duty, Air Force Major Matthew Murphy, an NGB spokesman, told the Military Times. The other 15,000 soldiers are returning home now, he said.
“The planning and process can take several days, but arrangements are being made to return nearly 15,000 troops as soon as possible and should be completed within five to 10 days,” Murphy said. “Demobilization is involved in the handing over and accountability of equipment, travel arrangements, COVID screening and mitigation. Troops will depart by ground transport, airlift provided by the Air National Guard, and contracted commercial air if necessary. “
But around 7,000 troops will remain until the end of the month, he said.
“Some agencies are asking for business continuity, additional support and recovery time to bring their forces together. About 7,000 members of the National Guard are expected to provide this assistance until the end of the month, ”Murphy said.
DC National Guard troops will remain on duty until at least January 30, Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. The future deployment of DCNG depends on future threats, she said.
“We are evaluating… what we believe to be intelligence from federal partners that suggests the need for” a continued or future DCNG presence in the city, “she said.
Bowser said she asked Christophe Rodriguez, director of the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, to “begin working with our partners to address the threat of white extremism and any other threat to our city.”
Rodriguez said that “the threat of right-wing extremism is here. You saw him on January 6th. This continues to be a persistent and real threat to the District of Columbia and the region.
Ahead of the deadly Jan.6 siege of the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, Bowser said there was no reason to consider bringing in the Guard to help protect the Capitol during joint sessions of Congress, such as the election certification process that took place when the building was stormed.
But in the aftermath of the event, which claimed the lives of five people, including Air Force veteran and Capitol Hill police officer Brian Sicknick, Bowser said. security changes need to be made.
“It is very clear that any joint session of Congress should be a special security event or a package like it,” she said.
The next such event will likely be President Joe Biden’s speech to Congress, which will likely take place in February.
Hokanson, the head of the NGB, said the public was grateful for the help.
“The outpouring of support for our National Guard across the country, and here in the District of Columbia, is a story in itself. I especially want to thank the citizens of the District of Columbia, ”Hokanson said.