The D.C. National Guard, which will assist local law enforcement agencies in securing the upcoming presidential inauguration, is now authorized to be armed and to use lethal force in doing so.
U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Tuesday granted the request from federal authorities to step up the guard's role in inaugural security. McCarthy manages deployments of the D.C. National Guard, because the District of Columbia is not a state. Normally, that role is filled by a state's governor.
"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," a statement from the D.C. National Guard reads, in part. "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."
Prior to the authorization, National Guardsmen in the area have been unarmed and have taken support roles, such as traffic direction and other logistical tasks, while local law enforcement were charged with protecting sites such as the U.S. Capitol building.
🔦 Joe Biden is set to be inaugurated on January 20.