A group that represents more than 40,000 current or former National Guard officers is calling on the Pentagon to end the Guard’s mission at the U.S. Capitol.
Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, Chairman of the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) and retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, the group’s president, said they were concerned over Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s decision to approve an extension that would keep National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol for an additional two months.
“Guard officials had difficulty finding enough volunteers to continue the mission. This is not due to a reluctance to serve — not hardly,” both men said in a statement. “Rather, it is a reflection of the continuing demands of training and missions back in the states on a predominantly part-time force that must always balance military duties with civilian employees and families.”
With the National Guard troops taking a leading role in a variety of missions, including supporting the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is becoming increasingly difficult to convince Guard soldiers and airmen that their continued presence in the Capitol is warranted, they said.
According to a memo obtained by Fox News, Mr. Austin overruled Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Bureau, who had assessed that his troops were overburdened with assignments and shouldn’t be given the mission to provide bodies for the U.S. Capitol Police.
“I am concerned that the continued indefinite nature of this requirement may also impede our ability to man future missions as both adjutants general and guardsmen alike may be skeptical about committing to future endeavors,” the memo stated.
The National Guard Association officials say they echo Gen. Hokanson’s concerns.
”National Guard soldiers and airmen here in Washington need to return home to their families, civilian employers and regular military obligations. They have completed their mission [and] they have made us all proud,” they said in their statement. “It’s time for local law enforcement to take it from here.”
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