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5,000+ US troops staying in DC through mid-March to support Capitol Police, Secret Service

Virginia National Guard Airmen near the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Bryan Myhr)
January 25, 2021

Thousands of National Guard troops brought to Washington D.C. to support President Joe Biden’s inauguration will remain in the city through mid-March to support law enforcement in the city.

In a statement to American Military News, the Army confirmed the number of troops staying in D.C. after the inauguration will remain at 7,000 before drawing down to about 5,000 by the end of January. Of those remaining troops, about 600 will support the U.S. Secret Service, while 5,000 will support the US Capitol Police through the middle of March.

About 500 National Guard troops will also support the U.S. Park Police (USPP) through the first week of February, and 550 National Guard troops will support the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) during the same time

John E. Whitley, Biden’s acting Secretary of the Army, approved the troop requests.

“I am incredibly proud of our National Guard Airmen and Soldiers serving in support of local and Federal law enforcement activities. These missions show the breadth, flexibility and resolve of the National Guard’s sacrifices and service to this nation,” Whitley said.

More than 25,000 National Guard troops and another 2,750 active duty U.S. military troops provided support to Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The large scale guard response was requested after demonstrators stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, during a rally in which President Donald Trump called on supporters to support challenges to certifying the 2020 presidential election results for Biden.

Guard troops deployed to D.C. were observed arming themselves with riot gear and service rifles. Guard troops helped man nonscalable fences topped with razor wire, and checkpoints streets throughout D.C. that were restricted or closed entirely for the inauguration.

According to the Army statement, Guard troops will continue to be equipped for their ongoing missions “up to and including protective equipment and arming if necessary.”

The D.C. National Guard (DCNG) will lead the coordination of all guardsmen supporting the ongoing missions in around the U.S. capital.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pulled their states’ respective Guard troops from D.C. on Friday, after thousands of Guard troops were kicked out of a U.S. Senate building and moved into a garage. Abbott also took offense with a decision to vet all 25,000 Guard troops deployed to D.C. to determine if any posed a risk of an insider attack at the inauguration. Abbott called the vetting decision “offensive” and threatened not to deploy Texas Guard troops to D.C. again “if they are disrespected like this.”

As of Friday, the number of Guard troops in D.C. had dropped steeply from more than 25,000 to about 10,600.