Armed Services Committee says National Guard no longer needed on Capitol Hill as costs rise

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The main Democrat and the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee have said they want to see National Guard troops protecting the U.S. Capitol “return home to their families,” as the cost of the mission extended was increasing.

In a statement released Thursday, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., And Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., Said “the current security posture is not warranted at this time.”

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“As the United States Capitol Police continue to build their personnel capacity, there is no doubt that a certain level of National Guard support should remain in the National Capital Region to respond to credible threats against the Capitol, ”Smith and Rogers said. “We appreciate that our guards have answered the call to protect the Capitol, but it is time for us to review the level of security required, so that they can return home to their families and communities.”

The National Guard opened a gate in the barbed wire-topped perimeter fence around the Capitol to allow another member to enter at sunrise in Washington on Monday, March 8, 2021 (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster)
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The National Guard opened a gate in the barbed wire-topped perimeter fence around the Capitol to allow another member to enter at sunrise in Washington on Monday, March 8, 2021 (AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has quashed the National Guard bureau chief with the decision to keep 2,280 National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol, Fox News Channel exclusively reported Thursday.

“The National Guard estimates the cost of expanding the mission from March to May at $ 111 million,” National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Carver said in a statement. “After a review, we revised our original cost estimate from January to March from $ 482.8 million to $ 410 million due to under-execution. The new projected cost estimate for the entire mission is $ 521 million. “

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That’s more than the Capitol Police’s 2021 budget of $ 516 million.

“[W]We cannot ignore the financial costs associated with this extended deployment, nor condone the effects it will soon have on the overall National Guard readiness, ”Smith and Rogers said in their statement.

General Daniel R. Hokanson, head of the National Guard Bureau, set out in a memo his assessment that the National Guard cannot and should not meet the demand for Capitol Police troops at this time, making the case that the National Guard is already overwhelmed due to the constraints of coronaviruses, civil unrest and forest fires.

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“Efforts to date have not secured enough volunteers from supporting states to meet the USCP’s request for 2,280 troops, or Option B of 1,000 troops,” the memo reads.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and Gillian Turner contributed to this report.

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