National Guard Association Calls for DC Capitol Deployment to End
A civilian association of National Guard service members is calling for the US Capitol deployment to end, months after the January presidential inauguration and the raucous protest at the Capitol over certification of the 2020 election. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin extended the Capitol deployment this week, overruling the Chief of the National Guard, who had determined that the presence of military forces at the Capitol was no longer necessary.
Guardsmen have been stationed at the Capitol under the grounds of alleged threats from domestic terrorists, with supporters of the deployment pointing to “Q” conspiracy theorists and other unnamed groups as imminent threats to Congress and the Capitol.
In a statement released Saturday, the chairman and the President of the National Guard Association(active and retired Guard generals, respectively), called for the government to end the Capitol deployment, handing off duties of securing the Capitol to Capitol police.
“National Guard soldiers and airmen here in Washington need to return home to their families, civilian employers and regular military obligations. They have completed their mission. They have made us all proud.
It’s time for local law enforcement to take it from here.“
In another statement, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau- a Department of Defense agency that provides federal oversight for state National Guard forces- questioned the utility of the continuing deployment. General Dan Hokanson highlighted the lack of Guardsmen willing to volunteer for the Capitol deployment, arguing that the DC mission was jeopardizing the capabilities of Guard forces.
“I am concerned that the continued indefinite nature of this requirement may also impede our ability to man future missions.
Efforts to date have not secured enough volunteers among supporting states to meet the USCP request of 2,280 soldiers, nor Option B of 1,000 soldiers.”
Even as members of Congress and DC residents question the idea of turning the US legislature into an armed, walled camp, federal officials will continue the military presence at the Capitol.