Army and Air National Guard members deploying to Washington, D.C. to help guard the capital and stay through the Jan. 20 inauguration will have access to lethal weapons at their commanders’ discretion, Guard commanders said Friday.
“There’s no hiding the fact that soldiers and airmen do have lethal force with them,” Army Brig. Gen. David Wood, joint staff director of the Pennsylvania National Guard, said at a virtual roundtable with defense reporters.
Wood joined Army Maj. Gen. Timothy E. Gowen, adjutant general of the Maryland National Guard, and Army Col. Lisa Hou, interim adjutant of the New Jersey National Guard, at a virtual roundtable with defense reporters to describe the issues involved with their emergency deployments to Washington.
All three officers said they already had been planning to send units to the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-Elect Joe Biden, but had had to scramble Wednesday, following the pro-Trump mob assault on the Capitol, to resolve problems with the various jurisdictions and command authorities involved.
Because Washington is a federal district and not a state, District Mayor Muriel Bowser does not have authority to call out D.C.’s National Guard on her own as state governors can, but must first request activation from McCarthy.
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