National Guard Protection of Capitol to Cost $483 Million Through March: Pentagon

February 9, 2021 Updated: February 9, 2021

Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby said Monday that the estimated cost for National Guard protection of the U.S. Capitol complex through March 15 will cost taxpayers a total of $483 million.

Kirby said at a Department of Defense (DoD) press briefing that the breakdown of the costs is $284 million to cover personnel and $199 million to cover operations.

Tens of thousands of National Guard troops deployed to Washington to assist with security in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Around 5,000 troops are expected to remain in the city until March 15 as former President Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial poses security concerns, Politico reported, though it is unclear if there is any specific threat.

Republican lawmakers have questioned the need for National Guard troops around the Capitol Hill complex.

Last week, 42 House Republicans sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urging her to remove the barricades surrounding the Capitol.

Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), the primary signatory of the letter (pdf), said in a statement that the request is for Pelosi to remove what some fear is poised to become “permanent military-style fencing.”

“In particular, we are concerned with recent reports that the fencing surrounding the Capitol may become permanent,” they wrote.

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Riot fencing and razor wire reinforce the security zone on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on Jan. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“We are willing to have an honest debate about providing Capitol Hill Police with the resources they need to be better prepared without turning the Capitol into a permanent fortress,” they wrote, and urged Pelosi to take down the barbed wire fencing and send the National Guard troops home.

“It’s time for healing and it’s time for the removal of the fencing so the nation may move forward,” they said in the letter.

Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) told Fox News on Monday that lawmakers are still waiting for an explanation as to why National Guardsman are still on duty around the Capitol complex more than one month after the breach.

“We still have National Guardsmen out there, away from their families, away from their jobs, supplementing the police, and yet we can’t get a briefing on what is this dire threat that requires so many people. We still don’t have answers,” he told the outlet.

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Members of the National Guard work outside the U.S Capitol building on Capitol Hill, in Washington, on Jan. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Acting Army Secretary John Whitley said at the end of January that the U.S. Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies in Washington had issued requests to the National Guard for follow-on assistance.

“National Guard members will be postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities up to and including protective equipment and arming if necessary,” Whitley said at the time.

National Guard service members will provide security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics, and safety support, Whitley said.

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