Pentagon authorizes up to 15,000 National Guardsmen to support inauguration

The Pentagon has authorized up to 15,000 National Guardsmen from across the country to deploy to the nation’s capital to support law enforcement before and during the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, defense officials announced Monday.

About 6,200 Guardsmen have already deployed to D.C. following the storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump supporters on Jan. 6. That number will grow to 10,000 by Saturday, and another 5,000 have been authorized, Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters on Monday. He noted that the Guard has a long history of supporting the U.S. presidential inauguration.

The Guardsmen were requested by the Secret Service, Capitol Police and Park Police, and will be tasked with providing security, logistics, liaison and communications support to law enforcement, Hokanson said.

Authorities have not yet determined whether some or all of the Guardsmen will be armed, or outfitted with riot gear.

The Guard, in coordination with local law enforcement, is looking closely at the requirements as the situation unfolds, Hokanson said.

“My highest priority is not only the protection of our citizens and our property but my highest priority is the protection of our National Guardsmen and women,” Hokanson said. “I work very closely with our adjutants general to make sure that we never put a soldier or an airman where they do not have the proper equipment or the ability to protect and defend themselves.”


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