National Guard deployment at US Capitol extended

The Pentagon has announced that the deployment period of the nearly 2,300 National Guard troops at the US Capitol has been extended till May 23.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that the extension was approved by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The deployment period was set to end this week.

“Nearly 2,300 National Guard personnel will continue the support mission. This represents a reduction of nearly 50 per cent of the current support force,” Kirby said in the statement.

“This decision was made after a thorough review of the request and after close consideration of its potential impact on readiness.

“During this extended period, Department of Defense officials will work with the US Capitol Police to incrementally reduce the National Guard footprint as conditions allow.

“We thank the National Guard for its support throughout this mission, as well as for its significant efforts across the nation in combttting the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

As many as 25,000 National Guard troops were deployed in Washington, D.C. through President Joe Biden’s inauguration following the violent January 6 Capitol riots.

In January, Acting Secretary of the Army John Whitley had announced that the troops would remain in Washington, D.C. through mid-March amid security concerns.

There are currently 15,000 troops in the US capital.