Tens of thousands of National Guard members continue to support homeland operations at the direction of their governors.
More than 25,000 are currently activated for COVID-19 and civil disturbance missions, according to the National Guard Bureau. Presently, there are more than 58,200 Guard men and women engaged in homeland and overseas missions, with nearly 20,600 National Guard professionals aiding governors in all 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.
“Our National Guard soldiers and airmen have met every domestic challenge put before them promptly and professionally,” Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said. “I’m proud of the role we continue to play in keeping our communities safe.”
On Wednesday, Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller approved up to 6,200 National Guardsmen to support civil authorities in D.C. for up to 31 days under Title 32, 502(f) authority. Additionally, personnel from D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware will be providing support, according to a press release.
“[The] violence at the Capitol was reprehensible and contrary to the tenets of the United States Constitution,” Miller said. “In the midst of this tragedy, I was proud of the professionalism of our Department of Defense personnel. I want to specifically recognize the service of the District of Columbia National Guard. They performed with honor, integrity, and alacrity to protect people and property from unlawful acts.”
At the request of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and federal agencies, D.C. National Guard members will support federal and D.C. law enforcement agencies in protecting life, property, and the right to peacefully assemble and protest. Law enforcement officers are responsible for the safety and security of all personnel. The National Guard will provide assistance as requested.
National Guard civil support missions are generally conducted to assist:
Supporting civil authorities whose capabilities or capability is insufficient to meet current requirements.
Protecting the life, property and safety of U.S. citizens.
Protecting critical U.S. infrastructure.
Providing humanitarian assistance during disaster response and domestic emergencies.
Providing support to designated law enforcement activities and operations.
Providing support to designated events, and other activities.
Governors reaffirmed support for the mission in a series of statements. At the direction of the Gov. Larry Hogan, the Maryland National Guard activated about 500 soldiers to support Washington, D.C. law enforcement.
“The Maryland National Guard is well-trained and prepared to protect lives and property,” said Army Maj. Gen. Timothy Gowen, adjutant general for Maryland. “The Maryland National Guard has been called upon many times to support local and state partners, including to restore and maintain the peace. We are always ready, always there.”
Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday that approximately 1,000 Pennsylvania National Guard members have been activated to support the District of Columbia National Guard in support of civilian authorities in the nation’s capital.
“Pennsylvania Guard members are well-trained and well-prepared to assist our communities, commonwealth and country in any way they can,” said Acting Adj. Gen. Maj. Gen. Mark Schindler. “We are also very fortunate that our Guard members have extensive experience working alongside the D.C. National Guard as part of past training events and presidential inaugurations.”
National Guard members also continue supporting operations for the COVID-19 response. As of this morning, nine states – Arizona, Florida, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin – are utilizing their National Guard to actively administer COVID-19 vaccines to the civilian population.
In 2020, National Guard response missions included conducting over 12.8 million COVID-19 tests and screenings; sanitizing 9,600 facilities; packaging and delivering 192 million pounds of food; and making 36.9 million masks in 2020, according to the Bureau.Read comments