Defense Secretary Approves the National Guard to Stay in DC Until at Least May

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Posted: Mar 10, 2021 8:30 AM
Defense Secretary Approves the National Guard to Stay in DC Until at Least May

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Department of Defense announced on Tuesday Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved the Capitol Police's request to extend the National Guard's deployment through May 23.

"Nearly 2,300 National Guard personnel will continue the support mission. This represents a reduction of nearly 50 percent of the current support force. This decision was made after a thorough review of the request and after close consideration of its potential impact on readiness," said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.

"During this extended period, DoD officials will work with the U.S. Capitol Police to incrementally reduce the National Guard footprint as conditions allow. We thank the National Guard for its support throughout this mission, as well as for its significant efforts across the nation in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic," Kirby added.

The massive deployment of National Guardsmen was in response to the January 6 Capitol riot, but critics have said it's time to send the military home since the threat of such a riot happening again is long over. The latest justification for having the National Guard at the Capitol, March 4, proved to be another dud as no major protest took place in Washington, D.C.

Because of the hurried deployment of the National Guard, there have been some bumps in terms of placement and low-quality food. The Hill reported 50 personnel have been treated for gastrointestinal complaints that were the result of tainted food. Metal shavings were also to have been found in meals intended for the troops.

The metal fencing that is currently up around the Capitol complex, the security review, ordered by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), recommended a permanent barrier to be constructed, along with hiring more Capitol police officers and establishing a Quick Reaction Force (QRF).