After the turmoil at the Capitol on January 6, the National Guard has been authorized to mobilize up to 15,000 members to Washington DC for Inauguration Day.
National Guard units from Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey have been mobilized and tasked to provide security through Inauguration Day, in our nation’s capitol.
On Monday, January 11, General Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, stated that, “We have received support requests from the Secret Service, Capitol Police and Park Police, and have been authorized to provide up to 15,000 Guard members to meet current and future support needs.”
The general went on to say, “Right now, we have a plan for 10,000; we have been authorized up to 15,000. The number of folks we have here is really directly dependent on the Secret Service, Capitol Police, or Park Police.”
According to Military.com, following the events of January 6, some lawmakers questioned the National Guard’s perceived slow response to DC after it had received the mobilization order.
Responding to these comments, General Hokanson explained that on January 6, he had contacted Virginia’s adjutant general at 3:46 p.m. and Maryland’s adjutant general at 3:55 p.m., ordering them to activate their units.
He went on to say, “Each of our 50 states, three territories, and DC have an identified National Guard response force. The general standard we use is that the initial element, or about a quarter of that force, should be at their armory within eight hours. And within 24 hours is when we expect really the full force to be there.”
Referencing the Virginia and Maryland National Guard units, Hokanson said, “They were the first units in Washington to support the DC National Guard, and I believe they arrived at about 9 a.m. on January 7, the next day. So, when we look at the timelines for the requests for the National Guard response force, they met all the general guidance that we provided them.”
The Pentagon had ordered for the mobilization of 6,200 National Guard members by the end of the day, on January 6.
Regarding Inauguration Day, Hokanson explained that the National Guard units will be tasked with supporting logistics, security, liaison duties, and communication missions.
The Guard units have been mobilized under Title 32, which allows them to assume law enforcement responsibilities if called upon.
Hokanson made it clear that he does not intend for the National Guard troops to carry weapons, they are to be carried only as a “last resort.”
“With respect to arming, obviously, you know, we will work very closely with the federal agencies, the FBI, and law enforcement to determine if there is a need for that. Obviously, we are very concerned that we want our individuals to have the right to self-defense, and so that will be an ongoing conversation. And if the senior leadership determines if that is the right posture to be in, then that’s something we will do.” Hokanson added.
He further explained, “Anytime that our National Guard go somewhere, we make sure they bring all of their equipment. We actually ask them to make sure they do bring their weapons as well, just so they are here locally. So, when they need them, and ideally, we hope they never do, but if [they] do, we want to know that they are close by and they are readily accessible.”
On the other hand, Pentagon officials specified that the active-duty units that will be in DC during the inauguration will be there only for ceremonial purposes.
At this point, there is more military personnel in Washington DC than there is in Afghanistan.