National Guard Chief General Daniel R. Hokanson reportedly opposed keeping nearly 2,300 National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol for two more months but was overruled by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, according to a memo obtained by Fox News.
The memo explains how the National Guard is unable to fulfill the request for troops at the Capitol at this time because it is already over-stretched due to COVID-19 restraints and other civil disturbances.
“Efforts to date have not secured enough volunteers among supporting states to meet the USCP request of 2,280 soldiers, nor Option B of 1000 soldiers,” the memo states.
“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 continues.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby spoke of Austin’s decision to continue keeping National Guard troops at the Capitol
“The Secretary feels committed to making sure that, as we fill this requirement — and he believes it’s a valid requirement — that we’re also taking a look and considering and mitigating whatever risks there might be to the National Guard in other areas, in their home states and other functional areas,” Kirby said.
Kirby added later, “I know we always talk about whatever the threat requirement is, and we don’t talk about that in great detail, but was also about helping the Capitol Police in a new environment, right now, as they begin to understand what requirements and capabilities they’re going to need to perfect and improve upon going forward.”
“They have a legitimate need,” he continued. “I’m not going to speak to specific threat. And as I’ve been trying to say over the last few days, it’s not just about the threat environment in a highly polarized, hypercharged environment that we’re in right now. It is very much about a capacity assistance to the Capitol Police as they begin to flesh out and develop what they’re going to need long term to deal with a new reality on Capitol Hill.”