SPONSORED:

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 EsperActing Defense secretary makes surprise trip to Somalia Overnight Defense: Trump loyalist to lead Pentagon transition | Democrats ask VA for vaccine distribution plan | Biden to get classified intel reports Ex-Nunes aide linked to Biden conspiracy theories will lead Pentagon transition 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 McCarthyArmy secretary responds to news reports on sexual assault allegations in military: 'we must do better' OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Esper reportedly working with lawmakers to strip Confederate names from bases | Enemy attacks in Afghanistan jump by 50 percent, watchdog says | Fort Hood soldier arrested, charged in Chelsea Cheatham killing Fort Hood soldier arrested, charged in Chelsea Cheatham killing 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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

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 TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge 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 12:30 Report: How to celebrate Thanksgiving safely Governors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience 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.