NEWS | May 23, 2021

National Guard security mission at U.S. Capitol concludes

By Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Hughes, National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Guard’s U.S. Capitol security mission to support the U.S. Capitol Police ends May 23.

Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, spoke about the mission as part of his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday.

“I’m proud of the Guardsmen and women who left their families and civilian jobs to serve as Soldiers and Airmen in response to the attack on the Capitol,” said Hokanson. “Their selfless service is both important and inspiring.”

Joint Task Force District of Columbia involved 26,000 National Guardsmen at its peak, from every U.S. state and territory, to support the 59th Presidential Inauguration, Hokanson said. He added that the mobilization of Soldiers and Airmen from Guam to Maine was accomplished with organic National Guard air assets and logistical support.

Following the inauguration, approximately 5,000 Guard members continued the security mission at the Capitol in support of the U.S. Capitol Police, which was reduced to 2,200 by the end of March. This group included an immediate reaction force, which conducted civil disturbance tactics training in addition to supporting USCP with daily security at entry control points and routine patrols.

“We put a real focus on training, and all of that paid off on April 2 when the situation became real,” said Maj. Jessie Barnes, an operations officer with the IRF.

Barnes noted the value of that training when a USCP officer was killed April 2 and another injured after a man rammed a security gate with his car. He said the IRF was postured on the scene within minutes to support the police, which directly resulted from their training.

As USCP assumes full responsibility for Capitol security mission today, the “Capital Guardians” of the D.C. Guard will return to a traditional drilling status while supporting Guard elements from across the other 50 states, and three territories return to their home units under the authority of their governors.