The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III approved a request from the U.S. Capitol Police for 2,300 National Guard troops to remain in Washington, D.C. through May 23, 2021. There are currently 5,200 troops deployed to the Capitol.
On Thursday, the Fox News Channel obtained a copy of a memo written by Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, in which he explained why the National Guard “cannot and should not fulfill the Capitol Police’s troop request at this time.”
Hokanson argued that “the National Guard is already over-stretched due to coronavirus constraints, civil disturbances and wildfires. Efforts to date have not secured enough volunteers among supporting states to meet the USCP request of 2,280 soldiers, nor Option B of 1000 soldiers.”
“I am concerned that the continued indefinite nature of this requirement may also impede our ability to man future missions as both adjutants general and guardsmen alike may be skeptical about committing to future endeavors,” he added.
According to Fox, Hokanson’s memo circulated within the White House National Security Council over the past week.
#EXCLUSIVE official government memo obtained by #FOXNEWS shows #NATIONALGUARD chief laying out case that guard NOT EQUIPPED to carry out mission in DC to protect the #Capitol— dissents from Pentagon decision to continue the mission pic.twitter.com/w8MU9FlspZ
— Gillian Turner (@GillianHTurner) March 11, 2021
The memo revealed Hokanson’s choice was overruled by Austin, who decided to maintain a presence of 2,280 troops to “continue the support mission” at the Capitol.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby spoke to reporters on Wednesday.
“[Y]es, the Department of Defense will be funding this as we’ve funded the previous mission, which ends at the end of the week,” he said. “But that’s not how anybody’s looking at this or foisting that on the Capitol Police, that they’re looking at this as free labor.”
Kirby claimed “they have a legitimate need for some capacity assistance in a time which is fairly uncertain right now … [I]t’s not just about the threat environment in a highly polarized, hyper-charged environment that we’re in right now. It is very much about a capacity assistance to the Capitol Police as they begin to flesh out and develop what they’re going to need long term to deal with a new reality on Capitol Hill.”
The price tag for the National Guard troops from January through March is $410 million, and the extension from March through May will cost an additional $111 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
According to The Hill, Democratic Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, and committee ranking member Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama issued a joint statement on Thursday which said they were “deeply troubled” that “the seat of our nation’s democracy remains heavily protected by guardsmen and surrounded by a perimeter fence.”
“As the U.S. Capitol Police continues to build its personnel capacity, there is no doubt that some level of support from the National Guard should remain in the National Capital Region to respond to credible threats against the Capitol,” the statement said.
“However, the present security posture is not warranted at this time. … We appreciate our guardsmen answering the call to protect the Capitol, but it’s time for us to review what level of security is required, so they can return home to their families and communities.”
Following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted upon an overwhelming, unprecedented and unnecessary level of security. Ahead of the Jan. 20 inauguration, there were over 25,000 National Guard troops protecting the Capitol.
In addition, a seven-foot tall, three-mile long security fence with razor wire wrapped along the top was installed. Pelosi, trying to create the impression that supporters of President Donald Trump were a serious threat to lawmakers’ safety, even had magnetometers set up at the entrances to the House chamber.
In January, Ken Cuccinelli, who served as acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security at the time of the Capitol incursion, made an alarming revelation during an interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on her show, “The Story.”
The two had been discussing the massive presence of National Guard troops deployed to Washington, D.C., and MacCallum pointed out that 25,000 was several times the troop levels currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Agreeing with MacCallum, Cuccinelli replied that 25,000 troops was the equivalent of an entire division. He then disclosed that Pelosi had requested the “last up of the final troops” and had asked for crew-manned machine guns.
“A division. You have a division,” he told the host. “The last up of thousands of these troops was requested by the speaker through the Capitol Police. She even wanted crew-manned machine guns in Washington. That was rejected because there’s simply no use for that in a security arrangement for a civilian undertaking. Just — so some of this has gone beyond any legitimate security need.”
It’s pretty astounding that Pelosi thought this was a reasonable request. Crew-manned machine guns are the types of weapons you see deployed against citizens in places like North Korea, Russia and nearly every African dictatorship.
These aren’t rifles or pistols, but crew-served weapons. They can dish out the hurt in ways a standard-issue carbine cannot. Fully automatic and made to confront armed enemy combatants, these should never be used against civilians.
So, the question remains, why did the Biden Administration overrule the chief of the National Guard Bureau’s decision? He made it clear his branch is stretched way too thin and their current position is untenable.
I can think of two reasons for the troop presence.
First, it allows the Democrats to maintain the fiction that they need protection from the unhinged “domestic terrorists” who support former President Trump.
The other possibility is, well aware of their unprecedented and un-American power grab and their transformation of a once-great nation, Democrats may fear reprisal from the people.
If I had done everything the Democrats have to undermine our democratic republic, it wouldn’t be crazy for me to think I might need some protection too.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.