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National Guard response to civil unrest

20-053 | June 2, 2020

As of Tuesday morning, governors in 28 states and the District of Columbia have activated more than 20,400 National Guard members to assist state and local law enforcement in support of civil unrest operations. The situation remains fluid and the numbers may change rapidly as governors assess their needs.

Approximately 42,000 National Guard members continue supporting COVID-19 response efforts in all 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia. Testing and screening is the priority effort in most states as they reopen.

“The hardest mission we do is responding in times of civil unrest,” said Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau. “We are here to protect life and property, and preserve peace, order, and public safety.”

In all cases, state and local law enforcement agencies remain responsible for security. National Guard personnel assigned to these missions are trained, equipped and prepared to help restore order. When requested, the Guard will support law enforcement, protect lives and property in the communities of which these soldiers and airmen live and work, and ensure their neighbors’ right to safely and peacefully protest.

“We stand ‘always ready, always there’ to answer the call in the communities where we live, in our nation or overseas,” Lengyel said. “The National Guard has been part of our nation’s fabric since 1636, and we will all get through this time of great challenges together.”

National Guard civil support missions are generally conducted to assist:

  • Supporting civil authorities whose capabilities or capability is insufficient to meet current requirements.
  • Protecting the life, property and safety of U.S. citizens.
  • Protecting critical U.S. infrastructure.
  • Providing humanitarian assistance during disaster response and domestic emergencies.
  • Providing support to designated law enforcement activities and operations.
  • Providing support to designated events, and other activities.

COVID-19 response efforts continue in all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia. The National Guard remains committed to serving and helping our communities fight COVID-19 and will remain in that fight as long as necessary. Our nation is looking to the National Guard to help and we will not let them down.

Additional missions currently being performed by National Guard men and women include wildfire and flood response, as well as cyber support. June 1 is also the official start of the hurricane season, a date not lost on the National Guard. Each year, a series of exercises, training and preparations take place in the states at risk for hurricanes.

The North Carolina National Guard hosted a Hurricane Preparedness Exercise last month at its Joint Force Headquarters in Raleigh. Over 150 Guardsmen, emergency management specialists, FEMA representatives and departments of Defense and Homeland Security attended. The 3-day event validated staff estimates and key stakeholders’ ability to synchronize military and civilian capabilities in support of major domestic emergencies.

For information regarding this press release, please send an email to the National Guard Bureau Media Operations desk at ng.ncr.ngb-arng.mesg.ngb-media-desk-owner@mail.mil.