Lingering National Guard in D.C. Costing $500 Million Dollars

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"Virginia National Guard" (CC BY 2.0) by The National Guard

National Guard troops’ lingering presence in Washington D.C. costs a hefty bill of $500 Million as ongoing threats reportedly require them to stay there up until early spring. Said amount is even higher than the $480 million that Bloomberg projected on Thursday. 

In the wake of the unrest that happened last January 6, there were approximately 26,000 national guardsmen descended on the capital. These guardsmen come from all 50 states as well as three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. 

Although the number of troops has already decreased to around 7,000 since Biden’s inauguration, the current administration plans to remain 5,000 guardsmen on duty until mid-March. This move is in accordance with a bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security that warns threats to remain even after the inauguration.

The bulleting said, “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence.”

Included among the upcoming dates that were viewed as could potentially spark trouble is the second impeachment trial against former President Trump, which will begin in February, and the original date of Inauguration Day, which is on March 4, where according to reports, extreme conspiracy theorists believe that Trump will again be sworn in as the President of the United States. 

Meanwhile, some Republican lawmakers are not in favor of national guardsmen’s continued presence in the U.S. Capitol. One Republican senator who voiced out his disagreement was Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who wrote in a Fox News Op-ed, “I sit on the Intelligence Committee, but I’m aware of no specific, credible threat reporting — as distinguished from aspirational, uncoordinated bluster on the internet — that justifies this continued troop presence.” Cotton continued and stated, “Thus, I believe the rest of these soldiers should also go home to their families and civilian jobs.”

However, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman objects, implying that imposing barriers and “back-up” security forces around the Capitol should remain “permanent.”

Meanwhile, The Daily Wire reported that officials in the U.S. Capitol are facing backlash after they called for “permanent fencing” to be built around the Capitol building. This move is in response to the riot that broke out earlier this month.

The Capitol Police Chief also ordered the department to “conduct a physical security assessment of the entire Capitol Complex,” which led her to conclude that the fencing around the Capitol building was supposedly only meant to be temporary, now has to be made permanent.

Pittman wrote, “As I noted earlier this week, even before September 11, 2001, security experts argued that more needed to be done to protect the U.S. Capitol,” she added that, “In fact, a 2006 security assessment specifically recommended the installation of a permanent perimeter fence around the Capitol.”

Pittman also stated that in light of the recent events, she could say that the vast improvements to the “physical security infrastructure must be made to add permanent fencing, and the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol.” 

“I look forward to working with Congress on identifying the security improvements necessary to ensure the safety and security of the Congress and the U.S. Capitol,” Pittman said. 

Meanwhile, a defense official confirmed to The Hill that deploying thousands of National Guardsmen at the Capitol up until mid-March is costing the country nearly $500 million.