The top Democrat and top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee both said they want to see National Guard troops who were deployed at the Capitol return home in the near future as deployment costs have increased to more than $500 million so far.
“As the U.S. Capitol Police continues to build its personnel capacity, there is no doubt that some level of support from the National Guard should remain in the National Capital Region to respond to credible threats against the Capitol,” Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said in a joint statement on Thursday, adding that “the present security posture is not warranted at this time.”
They continued to say, “We appreciate our guardsmen answering the call to protect the Capitol, but it’s time for us to review what level of security is required, so they can return home to their families and communities.”
It comes as National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Carver, in a statement, said the Guard estimates that keeping the troops there will cost half-a-billion dollars.
“After a review, we have revised our original January-to-March cost estimate of $482.8 million to $410 million due to under-execution,” Carver told Fox News. “The new, projected cost estimate for the entire mission is $521 million.”
In their statement, Smith and Rogers seemingly made note of the ballooning costs to keep the Guard there, which was deployed following the breach at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“We cannot ignore the financial costs associated with this prolonged deployment, nor can we turn a blind eye to the effects it will soon have on the National Guard’s overall readiness,” Smith and Rogers said.
The National Guard’s chief had recommended against extending the deployment of personnel at the Capitol, according to a new memo.
Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the Guard chief, wrote in the memo that officials hadn’t been successful in securing enough volunteers to meet the U.S. Capitol Police’s request for over 2,200 soldiers to remain in Washington. Only 500 had volunteered, he wrote.
“Moreover, I am concerned that the continued indefinite nature of this requirement may also impede our ability to man future missions as both adjutants general and guardsmen alike may be skeptical about committing to future endeavors,” he added, recommending the pursuit of “other inter-agency law enforcement options.”
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.