National Guard ending mission at Capitol
The National Guard is ending its deployment in Washington, D.C. more than four months after troops were called to the district following the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
WUSA 9 reported that 2,149 National Guard troops will return to their home bases this week, after the Department of Defense did not request that the force extend its mission to help protect the nation’s capital past Sunday.
A spokesperson for the D.C. National Guard told WUSA 9 that operations will “return to normal.”
“The Capitol Police have not requested the Guard to stay past May 23. Once the mission concludes, D.C. National Guard will return to normal operations and the out-of-state Guard members will return to their home station,” Capt. Chelsi B. Johnson of the D.C. National Guard Public Affairs said in a statement to WUSA 9.
The Hill reached out to the D.C. National Guard for comment.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in March approved a request to keep nearly 2,300 National Guardsmen at the Capitol building through May 23.
At the time of the extension, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the move was made “after a thorough review of the request and after close consideration of its potential impact on readiness.”
He added during a Pentagon briefing that the extension was granted to “help bolster and support the Capitol Police and their capabilities, which may not be at the level where it needs to be given the fact that we’re in sort of a new environment in this country.”
National Guards troops from around the country were initially assigned to D.C. to help bolster security for President Biden’s inauguration.
The Pentagon’s decision not to extend the National Guard’s mission in Washington, D.C. comes amid a battle on Capitol Hill over the creation of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6, which sparked the increased security in the district.
The top two Republicans on Capitol Hill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), both announced last week that they would not support the bipartisan legislation that would establish the commission.