March 9 (UPI) — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has approved a request to extend the deployment of National Guard members in the Capitol through late May, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday.
Per a statement from Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, about 2,300 National Guard personnel will continue to support the mission — a reduction of about half of the current support force in the Capitol.
“During this extended period, DOD officials will work with the U.S. Capitol Police to incrementally reduce the National Guard footprint as conditions allow. We thank the National Guard for its support throughout this mission, as well as for its significant efforts across the nation in combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kirby said.
On Monday a national security task force released a 15-page report saying U.S. Capitol Police were “inadequately trained” to deal with the violent mob attack of Jan. 6.
That report argued that a standing military force of National Guard members and military reservists should be stationed in the Capitol on a rotating basis.
Last week Capitol Police asked the Defense Department to extend the National Guard’s deployment at the Capitol for an additional two months.
National Guard troops were deployed to the Capitol Jan. 6, hours after supporters of then-President Donald Trump entered the building in effort to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election.
While more than 15,000 troops have been sent home at the Capitol, the National Guard has maintained a presence in the area amid ongoing threats.