WASHINGTON — The head of the National Guard says at least 10,000 troops will be deployed in Washington, D.C., by Saturday, and an additional 5,000 could be requested from other states.
There are currently 6,200 Guard members in the city from D.C. and five nearby states. The increase in requests for Guard members on Monday comes as officials brace for more, possibly violent protests surrounding the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters that he has authorization to bring in up to 15,000 Guard members. He said the number of deployments is changing by the hour and day, based on requests from the Secret Service, the Park Police and the Capitol Police.
There have been repeated questions about why Guard members weren’t brought in more quickly as the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol unfolded on Wednesday. Guard officials have said they responded as quickly as they could as the situation spiraled out of control but said the Capitol Police repeatedly turned down offers for help in the days before the protests.
Defense leaders say they are reviewing current restrictions on the use of force by National Guard members and could allow troops to carry batons or guns in Washington, D.C., as they brace for more protests and possible violence leading up to and during the Jan. 20 inaugural.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy tells The Associated Press that any changes will be determined by the intelligence gathered in the coming days about the evolving threats. But he said they are looking at allowing troops to carry their M-4 rifles or 9 mm Berettas, and he will know more in a day or two.
The National Park Service (NPS) also says they are suspending tours of the Washington Monument through Jan. 24 after receiving “credible threats” following last week’s riots at the U.S. Capitol.
According to NPS, the groups responsible for storming the Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6 are continuing to threaten the District and the set-up prior to Inauguration Day on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The new order will go into effect starting today.
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