National Guard Plans to Ask Thousands of Troops to Remain in DC Until Mid-March

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Virginia National Guard soldiers salute during the National Anthem.
Virginia National Guard soldiers render a salute during the National Anthem at the 59th Presidential Inauguration Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C (U.S. Army National Guard/Staff Sgt. Lisa M. Sadler)

The National Guard Bureau is working on a plan to call for thousands of volunteers from the 25,600 Guard members in Washington, D.C., to remain on duty in the city until as late as mid-March.

Guard officials announced Thursday that approximately 15,000 Air and Army National Guard troops would begin returning to their home states as early as this weekend.

Over the past two weeks, the massive Guard force flowed into D.C. to reinforce federal law enforcement for Wednesday's inauguration of President Joe Biden, following the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol that left five people dead.

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While the inauguration took place peacefully, the Guard is still supporting requests from the U.S. Secret Service and federal law enforcement. Guard officials said Thursday that approximately 7,000 troops would likely remain in D.C. through the end of January.

As of Friday, the plan is to have up to 7,000 troops remain in D.C. through March 12, but those details are still in the planning stages, a National Guard official told Military.com.

Any Guard members who stay past the original 31-day mobilization order will be on a volunteer basis, and their orders will be modified for the new time frame, Nahaku McFadden, a spokesman for the Guard Bureau, told Military.com.

"We are not going to make anybody stay," McFadden said.

Guard officials said Thursday that troops in D.C. and across the country did not face a single security threat on Inauguration Day.

"We not only had 26,000 here in D.C., but there were also 7,000 supporting 30 state capitals around the country," U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Steven Nordhaus, director of Domestic Operations and Force Development for the National Guard Bureau, told Military.com. "There were no incidents that I know of. ... It was really remarkable with our states working with their local law enforcement. It was very peaceful, thanks to all the great efforts from the states and the National Guard in each of those states."

-- Hope Hodge Seck contributed to this story.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

Related: Thousands of National Guard Troops to Begin Leaving DC This Weekend

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