A source inside the National Guard deployed to Washington DC has confirmed to SOFREP that soldiers have been sworn in as deputy U.S. Marshals in preparation for tomorrow’s presidential inauguration ceremony. The information corroborates several online accounts including a post from the official Twitter account of the U.S. Marshals.
According to the post, which was published yesterday morning, 2,000 National Guard soldiers were sworn into their new roles by Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Lamont Ruffin of the District of Columbia on January 17 in a ceremony on the National Mall. The post also states that deputizing the guardsmen gives them “temporary, limited, law enforcement authority pertaining specifically to the safety and protection of the inauguration and related events.”
Deputation of additional powers is not unique to this year’s proceedings. In 2017, 3,500 law enforcement officers from across the country were given the same temporary powers, according to a FOX5 report. But while the act of deputation itself isn’t new, the fact that National Guard soldiers — not trained law enforcement officers — have been tapped has raised some concern, especially as it comes at a time of unprecedented scrutiny of National Guard servicemembers.
Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller acknowledged the heightened level of vetting in a statement released by the Pentagon on Monday. In the statement, Miller explained that “this type of vetting often takes place by law enforcement for significant security events” but went on to say that “in this case the scope of military participation is unique.”