Thousands of Guardsmen Remain in Capital Region After Inauguration

The National Guard Bureau is working with states to drawdown “close to 15,000” of the nearly 26,000 troops who are still in the nation’s capital following President Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, the bureau announced on Jan. 21.

Of that total, about 10,600 were still on duty as of the evening of Jan. 21, according to a release.

NGB said it expects to finish mapping out and executing the force withdrawal within 5-10 days, but some 7,000 Guard members will remain in D.C. “through the end of the month” to provide backup to agencies that have asked for “continuity of operations, additional support, and recuperation time for their forces to regroup.”

It’s not immediately clear if Guardsmen will need to quarantine once they return home.

“Demobilization is involved with equipment turn-in and accountability, travel arrangements, COVID screening, and mitigation,” NGB wrote. “Troops will leave by ground transportation, airlift provided by the Air National Guard, and contracted commercial air as necessary.”

At a pre-inauguration press conference, NGB Chief Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson said the bureau had at least 6,200 troops on deck to assist in the District until early February, after Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy authorized Guard support to D.C. a day after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.

“That number can go up or down depending on the lead federal agency requirements or federal law enforcement requests,” Hokanson told reporters.