WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is set to approve an extension of the National Guard deployment at the U.S. Capitol for about two more months, defense officials said Tuesday.
Officials said final details were being worked out, but Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to give final approval, and have Guard troops continue to provide security in Washington, D.C., at the request of the Capitol Police, amid worries about continued threats. Officials have been scrambling in recent days to determine if and how to fill the request for more than 2,000 Guard forces, as the original March 12 deadline for them to leave Washington looms.
The decision underscores concerns about the ongoing threat of violence at the Capitol, two months after rioters breached the building in violence that left five people dead. Law enforcement have remained in a heightened security posture in response to intelligence suggesting possible threats to the Capitol by militia groups.
The request to extend the deployment met resistance last week, as some governors expressed reluctance or flatly refused to commit their troops to more time in the city. There now appears to be enough states willing to provide Guard troops for the mission, said the defense officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Army leaders had also initially questioned whether the Capitol Police had exhausted all other options to fill the need, such as asking other federal law enforcement agencies to provide security. But officials said military leaders thought it was important to find ways to work out the details.