National Guard Association Disagrees with Defense Secretary’s Order to Occupy Capitol

Weapons are distributed to members of the National Guard outside the U.S. Capitol on January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The chairman of the National Guard Association, representing more than 450,000 citizen soldiers, says it is time for the Capitol Police to resume responsibility for the safety of the Capitol, agreeing with Daniel Hokanson, the National Guard bureau chief general, who Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin overruled on Tuesday.

According to a report, the National Guard Association Chairman and Arizona Adjunct General, Major General Michael McGuire, said, “This enduring requirement of having them around the city, I think it’s completely inappropriate at best, illegal at worst.”

The comment comes after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved a two-month continuation for nearly 2,300 Guard members to “buy them [Capitol Police] some time and space.”

Daniel Hokanson said in a memo from March 4 that “he disagreed with Austin’s decision given Guard responsibilities in their home states,” the Washington Examiner reported.

McGuire is the only adjunct general to deny National Guard deployment authorization to Washington, DC since January 9.

“Every American citizen should be concerned that an unelected Cabinet secretary can move forces into the city,” McGuire said. “The National Guard specifically is the last line of defense for direct policing action only in the emergent period when it is life, limb, protection of property.”

Meanwhile, “Nearly 2,300 National Guard personnel will continue the support mission,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a statement. “This represents a reduction of nearly 50 percent of the current support force. This decision was made after a thorough review of the request and after close consideration of its potential impact on readiness.”

Some Democrats have joined Republicans questioning the demand for such a large National Guard presence at the nation’s Capitol without a “credible threat.”

“[T]he president is already stopping the fencing on the border, and yet, we’re trying to fence in our Capitol. That can’t be,” Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said.

“U.S. Capitol Police first requested National Guard assistance after they were overwhelmed by pro-Trump protesters at the Capitol on January 6. The Pentagon initially approved 7,000, increasing to 26,000 for Inauguration Day on January 20. The numbers reduced to about 5,000 by March 12 when the mission was originally slated to end. The cost to U.S. taxpayers is $483 million so far,” Kristina Wong from Breitbart News reported.

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