National Guard to leave DC this week, Pentagon says

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The National Guard will end its deployment in Washington, D.C. Sunday, May 23, after over four months with a presence at the nation’s Capitol.

Defense Department press secretary John Kirby said in a news conference Tuesday that 2,149 National Guard troops will return home this week after there were no further requests to extend the mission. 

At its height, some 5,200 National Guard personnel were stationed at the Capitol in the fallout of the Jan. 6 riot, and fencing was erected around the building. The mission had already been extended once from March to May 23. 

Federal prosecutors so far have charged more than 300 for involvement in the breach of the Capitol building that led to five deaths. 

Last month, a motorist rammed his car into Capitol Police, killing one officer and forcing the Capitol complex to go into lockdown. 

In March, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin overruled the chief of the National Guard Bureau, who had written a memo expressing concern with keeping some 2,000+ troops stationed at the Capitol. 

Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a memo the National Guard should not fulfill Capitol Police’s request to keep the officers at the Capitol, making the case that the National Guard is already overstretched due to coronavirus constraints, civil disturbances and wildfires.

“I am concerned that the continued indefinite nature of this requirement may also impede our ability to man future missions as both adjutants general and guardsmen alike may be skeptical about committing to future endeavors,” the memo also said. 

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