The commanding general of the National Guard pressed the Biden administration to relieve troops of their deployment in Washington D.C. but was ignored and overruled by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, according to a Fox News report.
According to an official memo written by Gen. Daniel Hokanson and disseminated among the White House National Security Council last week, he raised concerns over the National Guard already being overburdened with coronavirus issues, civil disturbances and wildfires, Fox News reported.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) March 11, 2021
“Efforts to date have not secured enough volunteers among supporting states to meet the USCP (U.S. Capitol Police) request of 2,280 soldiers, nor Option B of 1000 soldiers. 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,” Hokanson reportedly wrote.
The memo was in response to multiple requests from the D.C. Capitol Police for additional troops to be deployed last week. Austin allegedly ignored Hokanson’s recommendation to deny the D.C. Capitol Police’s request.
The Pentagon announced Austin’s decision to extend the National Guard presence at the Capitol past the previously agreed to March 12 deadline to May on Tuesday.
Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday that there was a legitimate need for the further deployment of 2,300 National Guard members to patrol the barbed wire perimeter surrounding the Capitol.
“They have a legitimate need. I’m not going to speak to specific threat,” Kirby said in a statement to Fox News.
“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,” Kirby said.