Esper orders 'After Action Review' of National Guard's role in protests

Esper orders 'After Action Review' of National Guard's role in protests
© Getty Images

Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Stopgap spending measure awaits Senate vote | Trump nominates former Nunes aide for intelligence community watchdog | Trump extends ban on racial discrimination training to contractors, military Overnight Defense: Pentagon redirects pandemic funding to defense contractors | US planning for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May | Anti-Trump GOP group puts ads in military papers Official: Pentagon has started 'prudent planning' for full Afghanistan withdrawal by May MORE late Thursday announced an “After Action Review” of the National Guard’s controversial role in nationwide protests last week.

The Pentagon chief named Army Secretary Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyOvernight Defense: Trump's battle with Pentagon poses risks in November | Lawmakers launch Fort Hood probe | Military members can't opt out of tax deferral Lawmakers launch investigation into Fort Hood after 28th death this year Overnight Defense: China aims to double nuclear arsenal | Fort Hood commander removed after string of deaths MORE to lead the review, which is due by July 30 and will look at the Guard’s “recent efforts in support of law enforcement to address civil unrest,” specifically in the past two weeks, according to a Defense Department statement.

In the statement, Esper said the Guard “has performed professionally and capably in support of law enforcement in cities across the United States.”


Lawmakers are pressing for answers on the use of military forces in the protests sparked by the May 25 death of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, after a white, Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE last week threatened to deploy active-duty troops to quash the unrest, and his administration ordered the use of National Guard troops to back law enforcement when they forcefully cleared peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square outside the White House on June 1.

The use of force came ahead of Trump’s photo-op at nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church, a move that has drawn harsh criticism over the past week. 

The House Armed Service Committee is also demanding that senior Pentagon officials testify before their panel on the use of the National Guard in the protests, which many have seen as an unnecessary show of force.

Esper’s order of the review also comes as the Army is holding an internal investigation into National Guard helicopter pilots who performed low-flying maneuvers to disperse crowds of protesters in Washington, D.C., on June 1.

D.C. Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, GOP allies prepare for SCOTUS nomination this week DC investing M to help small businesses winterize outdoor dining areas DC mayor launches .3M initiative to provide low-income students with free internet access MORE (D) asked Trump last week to "withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence" from the nation's capital, arguing that the protests in the city have been mostly peaceful.