National Guard Troops To Leave U.S. Capitol This Week

Nearly five months after being deployed to the U.S. Capitol to secure the U.S. Capitol compound after the Jan. 6 insurrection, National Guard troops were set to leave and turn over security of the area to Capitol Police.

Guard troops, their mission ending Sunday, were expected to be leaving on Monday, a person familiar with the plan told The Associated Press. The person was not authorized to discuss the plan by name and requested anonymity.

The 2,149 National Guard troops will return home this week after there were no further requests from the Department of Defense (DoD) to extend the mission supporting the Capitol mission.

“The Capitol Police have not requested the Guard to stay past May 23. Once the mission concludes, D.C. National Guard will return to normal operations and the out-of-state Guard members will return to their home station,” Capt. Chelsi B. Johnson with D.C. National Guard Public Affairs said in a statement.

Previously, the DoD granted U.S. Capitol Police’s request to keep National Guard troops around Capitol Hill past the March 12 deadline put in place after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III approved the request by the U.S. Capitol Police for continued National Guard support through May 23, according to a March 9 news statement from a DoD spokesperson.

The decision to keep troops in the District until May 23 emphasized concerns about the ongoing threat of violence at the Capitol, just four months after rioters breached the building in violence that left five people dead. Law enforcement has continued to remain in a heightened security posture in response to intelligence suggesting previous possible threats to the Capitol by different militia groups.

“The U.S. Capitol Police is extremely grateful for the Department of Defense’s continued commitment to support our critical mission to protect Congress. The National Guard has played a critical role in the Department’s enhanced security posture. We thank the Guard and the Department of Defense for their partnership,” said the U.S. Capitol Police in a previous statement.

 

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