National Guard troops are slated to decamp from Capitol Hill this week, nearly five months after thousands were deployed to safeguard Congress amid fears of further unrest after the violent Jan. 6 insurrection.
Personnel will fully depart the U.S. Capitol grounds this week, military officials and congressional aides said Monday, nearly five months after thousands were deployed to safeguard Congress allegedly over fears of unrest after the Jan. 6 reported “attempted insurrection” by former President Trump supporters, Politico reported.
The departure of roughly 2,000 troops will return control of the complex back to the Capitol Police, which is now seeking a major expansion after they faced criticism about their actions that day that led to the security breach.
“These airmen and soldiers protected not only the grounds, but the lawmakers working on those grounds, ensuring the people’s business could continue unabated,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement Monday.
The Guard’s departure follows months of stringent security measures, including a massive fence that still surrounds the Capitol grounds.
The Guard had gradually been reducing the number of troops for months. In January, about 26,000 troops were deployed on the Capitol, by March that figure had dropped to roughly 5,000.
The Associated Press first reported that the Guard troops had formalized their departures, starting on Monday.