National Guard deployment at Capitol costing nearly $500M
Deploying thousands of National Guardsmen at the U.S. Capitol through mid-March is costing nearly $500 million, a defense official confirmed to The Hill.
The official did not have a more detailed breakdown of the costs, which Bloomberg first reported Thursday would be at least $480 million.
Thousands of guardsmen from all 50 states, three territories and D.C. poured into Washington following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Amid fears of a repeat attack at President Biden’s inauguration, the guardsmen shored up security by erecting razor-wire topped fences around the Capitol and the surrounding areas and patrolling the grounds armed with M4 rifles.
At the height of the deployment about 26,000 guardsmen were in Washington, D.C. The forces have since drawn down to about 7,000 service members.
But at the request of Capitol Police, about 5,000 guardsmen are slated to stay at the Capitol until at least mid-March.
The Pentagon has not detailed the specific threats that led them to approve the request. But the Department of Homeland Security issued a terrorism bulletin last week warning of threats from domestic extremists persisting beyond the inauguration.
“Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said.
Among the upcoming events that could be subject to potential threats are former President Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate, set to start Feb. 9. Adherents to the QAnon conspiracy theory are also pushing false claims Trump will be sworn in again March 4, the original date of presidential inaugurations before the 20th Amendment moved the date to Jan. 20.
Still, Republicans have increasingly questioned what intelligence exists to justify keeping troops at the Capitol, saying officials have only pointed to general threats on social media.