Thousands of National Guard troops remain stationed in Washington, D.C., more than two months following the riot that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6 with little explanation for their presence being provided by the government.
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has said the troops should stay in the city as long as they are needed, a growing number of lawmakers and retired military personnel are calling for the troops to return home, the Washington Examiner reported. Both Democratic and Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee have called for a “measured drawdown” of troop levels, according to the Examiner.
“We are deeply troubled by the current level of security around the United States Capitol,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) said in a joint statement Thursday.
Smith serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, while Rogers is its ranking Republican member.
“It’s time for us to review what level of security is required, so they can return home to their families and communities,” the congressmen added. “The present security posture is not warranted at this time.”
In addition to expressing concern for the troops, Smith and Rogers noted the high cost to taxpayers, pointing out that $483 million have already been spent.
They noted that extending the deployment until May 23 is expected to add at least another $17 million to the overall price tag.
“Collusion of stupidity”
Smith and Rogers aren’t alone in expressing concern and disapproval over the Pentagon’s decision to keep 2,300 troops on Capitol Hill despite no obvious threat being present.
Heritage Foundation security analyst James Carafano told the Examiner that the National Guard’s continued presence constituted “a collusion of stupidity.”
“It doesn’t pass the commonsense test,” Carafano said. “You’re gonna have a mob show up in Washington with no notice whatsoever?”
Retired Brig. Gen. Roy Robinson, president of the National Guard Association, also questioned the reasoning behind continued deployment, saying, “I don’t know that that would be the wisest use of money or the members of the National Guard.”
“It’s concerning to me to see the fencing and all of the security measures that have been implemented in and around the Capitol,” Robinson added. “I hope that we find other means to take care of whatever security threat exists out there.”