For months following the riot at the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has demanded that thousands of National Guard troops be stationed in Washington, D.C. as security detail in and around the Capitol complex.
Now, as the guardsmen are finally being allowed to return home, the cost that came with keeping them in Washington will likely leave many Americans shocked.
According to the Washington Examiner, some $521 million was spent over the course of the deployment, $410 million of which was incurred from January until the end of March.
Troops stationed in the capital were drawn from the District of Columbia and all 50 states as well as the American territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.
Half billion dollar price tag
The question of how to cover the cost associated with stationing thousands of guardsmen for months has yet to be fully addressed. According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, at present “no reimbursal plan” exists.
However, a bill that would provide additional funding for Capitol Hill security measures as well as money to reimburse the National Guard passed the House of Representatives late last week, Fox News reported.
Although there were up to 26,000 personnel stationed in the city at one point, Kirby explained that only around 1,000 guardsmen remain and they are scheduled to depart as well.
National Guard spokeswoman Capt. Chelsi Johnson said Monday that “Capitol Police did not request the Guard to stay past May 23 and the mission concluded last night at 2359. The D.C. National Guard will return to normal operations and the out-of-state Guard members will return to their home station over the next few days.”
Source of contention
Defense Secretary Lloyd, one of the primary proponents for keeping the troops in D.C., released a statement on the National Guard’s departure: “These airmen and soldiers protected not only the grounds, but the lawmakers working on those grounds, ensuring the people’s business could continue unabated.”
“As these troops depart for home and a much-deserved reunion with loved ones, I hope they do so knowing how much the nation appreciates their service and sacrifice,” he added.
The troops’ deployment has been a major source of contention, with Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announcing earlier this year that troops from their states were being recalled given reports about poor treatment and the lack of a clear threat.
The large number of troops stationed in D.C. was ostensibly based on threat bulletins released by the FBI at the time claiming that there existed a strong possibility of violent protests breaking out across the country, which never occurred.