Pentagon streamlines process for requesting National Guard in DC
The Department of Defense is streamlining the process for requesting National Guard services in Washington, D.C., granting approval authority for certain D.C. government requests to the Defense secretary, according to a memo released on Thursday.
The memo says, “effective immediately,” that the Defense secretary can approve requests by the D.C. government in scenarios when the National Guard members are needed within 48 hours of said request, or if they are needed to be involved in “direct participation in civilian law enforcement activities” such as crowd control, seizure or arrests.
Previously, the D.C. government would have had to make those requests through the Army secretary, The Associated Press noted. However, that official will still be delegated to oversee D.C. government requests in other situations, including nonurgent situations and for purposes that do not involve law enforcement.
The new memo comes a week before the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Trump who were trying to stop lawmakers from certifying President Biden’s 2020 presidential win.
The Pentagon has been criticized for the National Guard’s delayed response to the Capitol riot, though last month a report by the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General found the Pentagon had responded adequately around the time of the riot, the AP noted.
Since then, law enforcement leaders have pledged to step up their security efforts. The Capitol Police remounted security fencing and added personnel around the Capitol in September during the “Justice for J6” rally.
“I think we would be foolish not to take seriously the intelligence that we have at our disposal. How credible it is — how likely it is — people can make those judgments,” Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said in a press conference a day before the September rally.
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