March 4 (UPI) — Capitol Police have asked the Defense Department to extend the National Guard’s deployment at the U.S. Capitol for an additional two months, Pentagon officials said Thursday.
A defense official confirmed to UPI that the department received and is reviewing a draft request for the continued support.
Officials told The Washington Post that the if Army officials approve the request, it would keep National Guard troops on guard at the Capitol through May. The current mission keeping about 5,200 troops on duty in Washington, D.C., is set to expire March 12.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., a member of the House armed services committee, confirmed she was aware of the request for a 60-day extension.
“No one likes seeing the fortress-like security around the Capitol. And no one wants to again have a security problem in and around this symbolic place,” she tweeted. “But whether an extension has been requested or the mission is indeed terminating on March 12, it’s critical that members of Congress get a briefing on what’s behind these decisions.
“We all have the same goal: to get back to the point where Capitol Police is capable of protecting us without the Guard’s help, and all parties feel confident we can protect the people’s business.”
National Guard troops were deployed to the Capitol on Jan. 6, hours after supporters of former President Donald Trump breached Capitol Police barriers and entered the building in effort to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election. The attack led to five deaths, including that of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. Two additional officers died by suicide in the days after.
Troops have remained at the building since then amid ongoing threats.
Capitol Police warned Wednesday about a possible security threat to the building Thursday, leading the House of Representatives to scrap its session for the day.