The Pentagon has now authorized 2,750 active-duty troops to provide support for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration in Washington D.C., adding to the 25,000 National Guard troops already deployed to support the event on Wednesday.
In a statement to American Military News, a Pentagon official said about 2,000 of the active-duty troops are there for ceremonial support, such as marching bands and honor guards. The remaining 750 are deploying for “contingency support,” providing various explosives and hazardous material handling and emergency medical expertise.
The contingency support functions include troops specializing in handling chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive material (CBRNE), explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) troops, and medical teams skilled in trauma response.
Some of the active-duty troops are also helping conduct COVID-19 testing to support the Attending Physician of Congress, and are working in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The defense official emphasized that the troops are not providing security for the inauguration, like many of the National Guard troops are, but many are instead present for “consequence management” should an emergency scenario arise that requires their expertise.
In addition to these 2,750 active-duty troops, the defense official noted the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) also enforces the SFRA (Special Flight Rules Area) over the nation’s capital, as part of their daily mission.
The defense official said, “Multiple [NORAD] resources including rotary wing and fighter aircraft are always poised to intercept any aircraft that may pose a security issue in the Area,” adding “We do not provide the specific status of NORAD resources.”
The defense official also provided an update on the number of National Guard troops that have arrived in the D.C. area.
“DoD has authorized up to 25,000 National Guard members in support of Federal law enforcement,” the defense official said. “As of today, there are roughly 25,000 National Guard personnel in the National Capital Region working with civilian authorities responsible for the inauguration.”
On Monday, 21,500 of the 25,000 Guard troops requested for the inauguration had already arrived in the National Capital Region (NCR).
The Guard troops in D.C. have been tasked with various security roles, including security support for inauguration day events, as well as protecting local property and infrastructure. Guard troops have also been tasked with checking vehicle traffic in restricted “Green Zone” traffic areas around the city.
Guard troops have also helped man nonscalable fencing put up around the National Mall and government buildings, and have been seen offloading weapons, including riot shields and service rifles.
On Sunday, 2,000 Guard troops were deputized as Special Deputy U.S. Marshals. The U.S. Marshals Service said, “Deputation gives the guardsmen temporary, limited, law enforcement authority pertaining specifically to the safety and protection of the inauguration and related events.”