According to a newly obtained memo, the National Guard chief of bureau attempted to withdraw 2,280 troops from the nation’s capital, but Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who was nominated by Biden, was overruled.
According to the memo obtained by Fox News, National Guard chief Daniel R. Hokanson, a four-star general and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wanted the troops to be withdrawn due to mission “overstretch” and the “indefinite existence” of the D.C. security mission.
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“I am worried that the indefinite existence of this requirement will hinder our ability to staff future missions, as both adjutants general and guardsmen will be unable to commit to future missions,” says the general.
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In addition, the general shared his concern about sustaining even lower troop levels in Washington, D.C.
The memo claimed that “efforts to date have failed to secure enough volunteers among supporting states to meet the USCP request of 2,280 soldiers, nor Option B of 1000 soldiers.”
The National Guard chief expressed concern that his troops were “already over-stretched due to coronavirus restrictions, civil disturbances, and wildfires,” according to the paper. Gillian Anderson of Fox News provided a copy of the memo:
#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
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The Pentagon was considering involuntary activation orders to hold National Guard troops in the capital, according to reports on Tuesday.
According to a McClatchy scoop, “the deliberation on a mandatory activation of reservists comes just one day after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he would be extending the National Guard troop’s time stationed at the U.S. Capitol until May 28 in response to a request from Capitol Police.”
The Pentagon does not rule out the possibility of troops remaining permanently stationed in the capital.
Asked if National Guard could remain on duty in D.C. permanently, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby replies, “I don’t think anyone can answer that question right now.”
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) March 9, 2021
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told Fox News, “I don’t think anyone can answer that question right now.”
The militarization of the nation’s capital stands in sharp contrast to the Electoral College session of Congress on January 6th, which led to the expected storming of the Capitol Building.
In Congressional testimony in March, Major General William J. Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, stated that capitol security had been intentionally compromised by civilian officials due to supposed fears about “optics.”
Furthermore, the commanding general claimed that such issues were “unusual” and had not previously been articulated during similar civil unrest in Washington, D.C.
Former House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving testified that Speaker Pelosi played a part in the delays in approving National Guard troops.
According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon imposed limitations on the National Guard’s ability to organize and prepare for the riots. President Trump has called for 10,000 National Guard troops to be deployed at the White House.
“Former President Trump told Fox News late Sunday that days before last month’s deadly protests, he expressed concern about the crowd size near the Capitol and personally demanded 10,000 National Guard troops be mobilized in response,” according to Fox News.
Although claiming to have debunked the president’s call for more National Guard troops on Tuesday, the Washington Post actually supports it. The nugget is tucked into a report entitled “Trump wrongly says he’requested’ 10,000 troops rejected by Pelosi,” by WaPo fact-checker Glenn Kessler.
According to a former US official familiar with the matter, “[Acting Defense Secretary Christopher] Miller and other senior Pentagon officials never relayed the 10,000 number to someone outside the Defense Department.”
“We didn’t act on it because they didn’t think a force of that magnitude would be required based on meetings with federal and local law enforcement leadership,” the former official said.
The Pentagon buried the request and took no action in response.