The National Guard Is Finally Leaving Washington, D.C.

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Posted: May 19, 2021 12:30 PM
The National Guard Is Finally Leaving Washington, D.C.

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Thousands of National Guard troops will finally be leaving Washington, D.C., after being stationed in the city for nearly five months. 

Back in March, Chief of the National Guard Bureau General Daniel Hokanson wrote a memo explaining the force was stretched thin and did not have the resources to complete its mission in Washington or in home states. 

"Over the past 12 months, States have experienced unprecedented demand for National Guard utilization related to COVID-19, Civil Disturbance, wildfire, hurricane and flood response, all while meeting every combatant comment deployment requirement. In addition, the states are currently increasing their internal requirements to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts and posturing for seasonal natural disasters as well as training for future deployments," Hokanson wrote. "This significantly increased operational temp directly impacts our ability to continue to man the mission with volunteers. To date, only 500 have volunteered to extend through the draft RFA end date despite our best efforts to marshal more volunteers."

"Additionally, faced with pressing needs within their states, numerous Adjutants General and Governors have expressed their unwillingness to order the involuntary mobilization of NG personnel to man the mission, Moreover, I am concerned that the continued indefinite nature of this requirement may also impeded our ability to man future missions as both Adjutants General and Guardsmen alike may be skeptical about committing to similar endeavors. Pursuit of other inter-agency law enforcement options seems highly preferable to requesting involuntary mobilizations under the current circumstances," he continued. 

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Hokanson's request to end the Washington, D.C., mission at the Capitol, especially given a lack of a legitimate threat, was denied by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.