1,600 Active-Duty Troops Sent to Washington Area After Some Governors Turn Down Request for National Guard
By Staff, CNN
The Pentagon moved about 1,600 active-duty troops to the Washington area as the military is playing an increasing role in responding to protests in the United States’ capital.
Pentagon chief spokesman Johnathan Hoffman said in a statement that the troops were sent from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York. No active-duty forces have been deployed in Washington to respond to the protests, which have gone on for five consecutive nights in response to the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.
"Active duty elements are postured on military bases in the National Capitol Region but are not in Washington, D.C.," Hoffman said in a statement. "They are on heightened alert status but remain under Title X authority and are not participating in defense support to civil authority operations."
According to the CNN, citing a military official, the announcement came after Democratic governors in Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware turned down requests from Secretary Mark Esper to offer National Guard troops to help with security in Washington, DC. Approximately 3,600 National Guard troops -- 1,300 from Washington and 2,300 from other states -- are currently in the capital, with 1,300 more guardsmen expected to arrive in the coming days.
In some instances, the military department was counting on troop support from those states before the governors intervened.
"I can confirm that personnel from the NY National Guard were expected to move to DC last night, but permission was withdrawn by the governor," Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell, a Pentagon spokesman, said Tuesday morning.
During his daily press briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that New York's National Guard was completely focused on the state.
"I don't know what requests they've gotten, but I can tell you this, I wouldn't grant any request to send National Guard out of the state at this time because I want them in this state in case we need them," Cuomo said.
Another Pentagon official told CNN that support was expected from Delaware as well, but troops were diverted to Wilmington.
Democratic Gov. John Carney's office confirmed to CNN that it received a request for troop help but decided against it because of the needs in Delaware, but also said US President Donald Trump's posture played a role in the decision.
On Monday, Trump intensified his rhetoric about using military forces to "dominate" protesters and wished aloud there was an "occupying force" in cities across America during a call with governors where he urged a tougher response to protests. Later, law enforcement officers fired what appeared to eyewitness accounts to be rubber bullets at a peaceful crowd outside the White House and smoke filled the air.
A group comprised of service members who hold civilian jobs and train part-time, the National Guard are usually deployed in their home states by governors or the federal government who decide the length of each mission. They can perform law enforcement actions when under the command of state governors unlike the active military, which is forbidden by law from doing so unless the President invokes the Insurrection Act.