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National Guard response to civil unrest

20-056 | June 5, 2020

As of Friday morning, nearly 84,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen were activated for domestic operations across the United States. This record surpassed the approximate 51,000 Guard members activated during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina response. Presently, there are more than 118,000 Guard men and women engaged in homeland and overseas missions.

Governors in 33 states and the District of Columbia have activated more than 41,500 National Guard members to assist state and local law enforcement in support of civil unrest operations. The numbers may change as governors assess their needs.

“The National Guard … has gone from tackling natural disasters such as floods, to combating the coronavirus across the country, to now dealing with civil unrest in support of law enforcement on the streets of America,” said Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper, “all while many of their fellow Guardsmen are deployed abroad, defending against America’s real adversaries.”

Approximately 37,400 National Guard members continue supporting the COVID-19 response efforts in all 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia. Testing and screening remains the priority effort in most states as they reopen.

In response to the civil unrest in the District of Columbia, National Guard soldiers and airmen from 11 states are supporting the DC National Guard with personnel to assist local and federal law enforcement.

The DCNG currently has about 1,200 National Guardsmen activated, and another 3,900 members from other states are or will be supporting. States are: Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

The DCNG announced Wednesday it is conducting an investigation into the June 1 low-flying maneuvers by its helicopters to ensure all involved complied with applicable procedures and safety regulations.

“I hold all members of the District of Columbia National Guard to the highest of standards. We live and work in the District, and we are dedicated to the service of our nation,” said Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, DCNG Commanding General. “I have directed an immediate investigation into the June 1 incident.”

In all cases, state and local law enforcement agencies remain responsible for security. National Guard have been requested to support these missions because they are trained, equipped and prepared to help restore order. Guardsmen are recruited from the communities they serve.

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 operati ons.
  • Providing support to designated events, and other activities.

Additional missions currently being performed by National Guard men and women include wildfire and flood response, as well as cyber support. June 1 was the official start of the hurricane season, a response mission the National Guard routinely prepares for.

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.