After the Pentagon agreed to an initial request from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Wednesday to send more members of the DC National Guard – and decided to mobilize all 1,100 of them – Pentagon leaders rallied to crush decide whether they should take additional action on Wednesday evening, the official said. Miller and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy eventually decided to mobilize additional personnel due to the severity of the situation.
Some of the governors had already announced plans to send additional guardsmen to the capital on Wednesday evening. Miller’s order officially gives these troops additional powers to assist law enforcement.
Miller activated the Guardsmen under Title 32 Section 502F, which provides federal funding for the mission. The guardsmen working in DC will be under the command of federal agencies, McCarthy in particular, people said.
About 500 guardsmen from Virginia were dispatched to Washington on Wednesday evening, with another 1,500 expected to arrive by Friday. About 500 Maryland employees arrived Thursday. Up to 1,000 each from Pennsylvania and New York should arrive by Sunday. Another 200 from Delaware would arrive by Friday and 500 from New Jersey.
The deployment lasted several intense days, during which DC and federal officials argued over whether and how US troops should be deployed in the capital. At Bowser’s request On Monday, the Pentagon had mobilized 350 DC National Guard troops ahead of the planned protests, but those troops are in charge of crowd control and have not been in the Capitol.
After the demonstrators went to the building on Wednesday, Bowser asked for additional guardsmen. Army officials initially expressed concern as part of the original agreement to keep the guardsmen out of the Capitol on Wednesday. Officials have said for weeks that the military will play no role in determining the election result.
It took Defense officials about 30 minutes Wednesday to process questions related to Bowser’s request for additional assistance, make a decision, and seek approval from the Secretary of Defense, McCarthy said during a press conference with the mayor.
“A lot of questions were asked, a little confusion, but when we worked through them we decided, about half an hour later, to mobilize the entire DC National Guard,” McCarthy said.
Miller spoke to Trump several times this week about the mayor’s request, DoD chief of staff Kash Patel said. During those talks, Trump announced that Miller “should take all necessary steps to assist civil law enforcement requests in securing the Capitol and federal buildings.”
Miller spoke to Vice President Mike Pence and congressional officials about the situation on Wednesday evening, the Secretary of Defense said in a statement.
Senior Pentagon officials were reluctant to use military forces to respond to protests following the backlash this summer when the National Guards helped clear Lafayette Square of peaceful protesters so Trump could stage a photo op with a Bible in front of a church. Senior officials, including the chairman of the Joint Chief General Mark Milley, have stated repeatedly over the past few weeks that the military will play no role in determining the election result.
On Monday, the guard announced that their staff would be unarmed and not wear protective clothing.