National Guard troops head home after helping secure Biden inaugural

Politics

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Just days after President Joe Biden’s inauguration went off with only a handful of minor arrests and incidents, more than 15,000 National Guard members are preparing to leave Washington, D.C. and head home.

The National Guard Bureau said Thursday that of the nearly 26,000 Guard troops deployed to D.C. for the inaugural, just 10,600 remain on duty. The bureau said the Guard is helping states with coordination and the logistics so that troops can get home.

The Guard said that it may take several days to make all the arrangements to return the 15,000 home, but it should be complete in five to 10 days. Guard members will have to turn in equipment, make travel plans and go through COVID-19 screening.

Thousands of Guard troops from all across the country poured into D.C. by the planeload and busload late last week, in response to escalating security threats and fears of more rioting. Military aircraft crowded the runways at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, carrying Guard members into the region in the wake of the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Guard forces were scattered around the city, helping to secure the Capitol, monuments, Metro entrances and the perimeter of central D.C., which was largely locked down for several days leading up to Wednesday’s inaugural ceremony. The Guard said there were no security incidents reported involving the National Guard.

The U.S. Secret Service announced that the special security event for the inauguration officially ended at noon Thursday.

Some local law enforcement agencies have asked for continued assistance from the Guard, so roughly 7,000 troops are expected to stay in the region through the end of the month.

The National Guard was also activated and deployed to state capitols around the country in the days leading up to the inauguration following the FBI’s warning about potentially armed demonstrations. While small groups of protesters did gather at statehouses across the country, the day remained relatively peaceful with no reported violence.

Other statehouses increased security, limited public access inside statehouses and canceled legislative activity. California spent nearly $19 million for a week’s worth of high security around the state Capitol and other locations because of fears of civil unrest, officials said citing preliminary estimates Thursday.

In Washington, officials estimated at least $1.6 million has been spent by the state and the Washington State Patrol over the past two weeks in costs related to security at the state Capitol, and that number is expected to climb.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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