Several lawmakers want the Pentagon to tell them why thousands of National Guard troops will still be needed at the Capitol through mid-March.
On Wednesday, almost a dozen Republican members of Congress sent a letter to acting Army Secretary John E. Whitley, asking for a threat assessment and intelligence briefing regarding the U.S. Capitol complex after authorities asked for at least 5,000 National Guard troops to remain on duty.
“Our intention is for the briefing to cover the ongoing threat to the Capitol, justification of the decision for a significant troop presence and plans for troop utilization during the time period,” the letter stated.
Signers of the letter included Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, Rep. Gregory F. Murphy of North Carolina and Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.
“The Guard has endured unprecedented stress on the force in the past year, given COVID-19, social unrest, natural disasters and ongoing overseas requirements,” the letter stated. “The National Guard should be used as an option of absolute last resort.”
More than 20,000 National Guard troops were sent to Washington, D.C. to secure the inauguration of President Joe Biden in the aftermath of the storming of the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
“We are seeking clarification and justification on behalf of the National Guard men and women that have kept us safe over the past month and year,” the letter stated.
The lawmakers said they wanted the threat assessment briefing from the Pentagon “as soon as reasonably possible.”