A group of Republican House lawmakers called on the Defense Department to justify the National Guard’s presence on Capitol Hill amid plans to keep them there until March.
“Our intent is for the briefing to cover current threats to the Capitol, justification for the decision for a significant troop presence through mid-March, and plans for troop utilization during the time period,” the GOP members wrote to acting Army Secretary John Whitley on Jan. 27.
The 12 representatives who signed the letter also clarified, “The National Guard should be used as an absolute last resort option.”
The letter went on to say, “We are seeking clarification and justification on behalf of the men and women of the National Guard who have kept us safe for the past month and year.”
The National Guard Bureau released a statement explaining part of their duties and how long they will remain on Capitol Hill.
“The District of Columbia National Guard and National Guard forces from 21 states will support Federal and local law enforcement partners for the next several weeks,” it said.
It explained, “Approximately 7,000 National Guard personnel from D.C. National Guard and various states will continue to provide support, drawing down to approximately 5,000 by the end of January, and continuing through mid-March.”
The Guard will “support civil authorities by providing security, crowd control, logistical, and safety support to these agencies, referring to the U.S. Park Police, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police, and the D.C. Metropolitan Police.”
Separately, there appears to be concern among Democratic leaders over alleged claims by the patriot group QAnon that former President Donald Trump will be inaugurated for a second time on March 4, according to Politico.
That was the date of the swearing-in ceremony for new presidents until Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inauguration, the 32nd president.
Some National Guard members wonder why they are being forced to endure combat-like conditions without being informed of the eventual threat.
“Frankly, this is not a ‘combat zone,’ so combat conditions should not apply,” commented one Guardsman who has deployed twice to Afghanistan.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said, “The presidential inauguration occurred without incident. With the inauguration complete and threats receding, now it’s time, yes, to send home the troops.”
Cotton also supports sending the National Guard back because there is no stated threat that would force them to remain in a combat position.
“I sit on the Intelligence Committee, but I’m aware of no specific, credible threat reporting—as distinguished from aspirational, uncoordinated bluster on the internet—that justifies this continued troop presence,” he said.