National Guard Troops Might Not Leave D.C. Until The Fall Federal officials are reportedly discussing the possibility of extending the timeline of the troops' departure.
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National Guard Troops Might Not Leave D.C. Until The Fall

The National Guard at one of the downtown checkpoints on Inauguration Day. Tyrone Turner/WAMU/DCist hide caption

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Tyrone Turner/WAMU/DCist

U.S. Department of Defense officials are considering the possibility of keeping National Guard troops in D.C. through the fall, according to internal communication obtained by FOX 5.

Last month, a National Guard spokesperson told DCist that thousands of troops would remain in D.C. through mid-March. But as federal agencies continue to monitor threats to the nation's capital, Robert Salesses, assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security, is discussing an extended timeline with the Capitol Police and National Security Council.

"If it's not possible to sustain at the current level with [National Guard] personnel, we need to establish the number of NG personnel (DCNG and out-of-state) we can sustain for an extended period — at least through Fall 2021," Salesses wrote in a January 20 email obtained by FOX 5.

He added that officials should consider "additional options for providing [Department of Defense] support, to include use of reserve personnel, as well as active component."

The involved law enforcement agencies reportedly will discuss the plans at a Feb. 17 meeting.

Major Matt Murphy, a National Guard spokesperson, told DCist in an email that the current plan is for the Guard to support federal agencies through mid-March.

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"We are providing assistance such as security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics, and safety support to state, district and federal agencies," Murphy added. "There are still approximately 6,000 personnel on duty."

A spokesperson for the D.C. Guard told FOX 5 in a statement that it is "conducting prudent planning for the eventual end of the security mission and the return of its Soldiers and Airmen to their home stations."

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton told FOX 5 that D.C. doesn't want to keep National Guard troops in the city indefinitely, but she'd prefer having more troops in D.C. over erecting a permanent fence—as the acting Capitol Police chief proposed.

"Given what we are seeing or what the FBI and others are seeing in the chatter, I think that having human beings here as opposed to the proposal to put up permanent fencing is much to be desired," she said.

This story is from DCist.com, the local news website of WAMU.

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