WASHINGTON – We received numerous inquiries today about National Guardsmen being armed and photographs of Guardsmen resting during shifts. We hope to answer your questions with the following statements.
(National Guardsmen at rest) Being present is the first step in ensuring the safety of our citizens and our Nation's Capitol. The U.S. Capitol Police designated rest areas for National Guardsmen when they are on duty and between shifts. To be clear, this is not where they are lodged when off-duty. Our security personnel work through stations in order to remain sharp and vigilant, and rest when they can while others stand watch.
(National Guardsmen being armed) On January 12, 2021, National Guardsmen were given authorization to be armed in support of the U.S. Capitol Police to protect the U.S. Capitol and individual members of congress and their staff . This was requested by federal authorities and authorized by the Secretary of the Army. National Guardsmen are postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities, up to and including protective equipment and being armed if necessary. The public’s safety is our top priority.
Civilian law enforcement (D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Park Police and the U.S. Secret Service) is responsible for the safety and security of all personnel during the inaugural events.
Our objectives are to provide support to local authorities. To date, we are being asked to provide security, crowd management, traffic control, parking coordination, and medical and logistical support. The public’s safety is our top priority. Guardsmen are trained in the use of lethal and less-than-lethal force, de-escalation techniques, as well as the use of protective equipment. This is standard for civil disturbance response missions.
The National Guard is proud to support the Secret Service, U.S. Capitol Police and Park Police who are leading the security efforts during the events for the 59th Presidential Inauguration. We have a long and proud history of inauguration support and the forefathers of today's National Guard were present for the inauguration of George Washington, and we have been part of every inauguration since. The D.C. National Guard has been supporting Presidential Inaugurations' since 1861. As always, our priority is to protect the American people.