National Guard Could Remain in D.C for Most of 2021: Report
'There are still approximately 6,000 personnel on duty'
The National Guard could stay in D.C and continue to patrol Capitol Hill until the fall of 2021, according to reports.
According to an internal email obtained by local Fox 5, the National Security Council requested the Department of Defense to contract the Capitol Police regarding their presence after mid-March.
The agencies are now set to discuss the issues next Wednesday.
Assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security, Robert G. Salesses, wrote in an email:
“If it’s not possible to sustain at the current level with [National Guard] personnel, we need to establish the number of [National Guard] personnel (DCNG and out-of-state) we can sustain for an extended period – at least through Fall 2021 – and understand additional options for providing [Department of Defense] support, to include use of reserve personnel, as well as active component.”
Spokesman for the National Guard, Maj. Matt Murphy said the current plan is for guardsmen to support federal agencies until mid-March.
“We are assisting such as security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics, and safety support to state, district, and federal agencies,” Murphy added.
“There are still approximately 6,000 personnel on duty.”
Neon Nettle reported earlier this month the estimated cost of keeping the National Guard there has reached an estimated $438 million, according to a senior defense official.
National Guard in DC Is Costing US Taxpayers an Estimated $438 Million— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) February 5, 2021
READ MORE: https://t.co/FjcldduQQ3
It has been almost a month since riots rocked the U.S. Capitol, but between 5,000 and 7,000 of the Guards still remain.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had committed to ordering all units to "stand down" in the next 60 days.
Last month, acting Army Secretary John E. Whitley said the Guard had received requests for follow-on assistance from the U.S. Secret Service and other law enforcement entities in D.C.
"National Guard members will be postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities up to and including protective equipment and arming if necessary," Whitley said at the time.
But the Guard's presence has ignited criticism from some.
"The lesson of the Capitol riot is not that we should quarter a standing army at the Capitol just in case, but rather that our security measures should be calibrated to the actual threats," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said at the end of last month.