Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin extended the deployment of thousands of National Guard troops to the US Capitol over the objections of the Guard’s head, a report said Thursday.
In a memo obtained by Fox News, Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, argued against maintaining the presence any longer, pointing out the troops’ need elsewhere and a lack of willingness on the part of states.
“Over the past 12 months, States have experienced unprecedented demand for National Guard utilization related to COVID-19, Civil Disturbance, wildfire, hurricane and flood response, all while meeting every combatant command deployment requirement,” wrote Hokanson in the memo, which, according to Fox, circulated within the White House National Security Council within the past week.
Capitol Police requested last week that the approximately 5,000 National Guard troops currently in Washington DC — who were set to head home on March 12 — stay on longer to defend against potential future threats.
But Hokanson wrote that “efforts to date have not secured enough volunteers among supporting states” to meet the department’s demands.
Hokanson also revealed that he was encountering pushback from adjutants general — top military leaders in given states — over the sprawling deployment, and voiced concerns over their willingness to back such protracted missions in the future.
“Additionally, faced with pressing needs within their states, numerous Adjutants General and Governors have expressed their unwillingness to order the involuntary mobilization of NG personnel to man the mission,” he wrote. “Moreover, 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 similar endeavors.”
Austin ultimately agreed on Tuesday to keep nearly 2,300 members of the Guard at the Capitol through at least May 23.
Since flooding the Beltway in January, some Guardsmen have been photographed sleeping on the Capitol floor, while others have been served meals containing undercooked meat and metal shavings, according to whistleblowers.
A National Guard member assigned to the Capitol died Thursday after suffering an unspecified medical emergency while off-duty, according to a spokesperson for the force.
Meanwhile, no significant, publicly-known threat has come to fruition since the riot, despite warnings last week of a possible militia plot against the seat of American democracy.