Pentagon Set To Extend National Guard Deployment Amid Ongoing Threats

Members of the National Guard are seen on the East Front of the US Capitol Building on Capitol Hill March 2, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
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March 9, 2021 2:31 p.m.

The Pentagon is set to approve the extended deployment of the National Guard at the U.S. Capitol for roughly two more months, defense officials said Tuesday.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday that while details are still being worked out, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to give final approval, and have Guard troops continue to provide security in Washington, D.C., after the Capitol Police last week requested that 2,200 members of the National Guard continue to provide security at the Capitol complex for the next two months.

The anticipated approval of the Guard’s extended stay on Capitol grounds, by request of acting Police Chief Yogananda Pittman comes as the original deadline for security reinforcements was set to expire on March 12. The extension is a sign that threats against lawmakers remains more than a month after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection.

In a speech to the Conservative Political Action Committee late last month, Trump singled out the Republicans who voted to impeach him and urged his supporters to “get rid of all of them.”

Some governors have been reluctant or have otherwise opposed keeping their troops in the city beyond the original deadline for their departure. Defense officials told the AP, however, that there appears to now be enough states willing to commit their troops for continued provision of support amid the ongoing security risks.

Pittman formally asked the Defense Department on Thursday to retain National Guard troops on Capitol Hill beyond their scheduled departure next week after law enforcement was on alert last week after intelligence warned about a possible threat from an unnamed militia group on March 4.

Last week’s threat was tied to concerns about a conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that former President Donald Trump would rise again to power on March 4.

Pittman appealed to Congress to intervene after the board overseeing her department failed to grant her request to ask for the extension.

U.S. military officials have said the cost of deploying about 26,000 Guard troops to the U.S. Capitol from shortly after the Jan. 6 riot to this Friday, including housing, transportation, salaries, benefits and other essentials is nearly $500 million. A cost estimate for the two-month extension has not been released.

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