Stuff Just Got Serious: National Guard Troops Stationed at US Capitol Have Been Cleared to Use Lethal Force

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

In an earlier article titled DOJ Watchdog & Other IGs Launch Probes Into Response to Capitol Riot: Questions Abound, I reported on a Friday announcement from the Justice Department’s inspector general that his office is conducting a probe into how the DOJ prepared for and responded to the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Apparently, it didn’t take long to come up with at least one conclusion — and solution.

As reported by The New York Times, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has authorized the thousands of troops providing security in the area around the Capitol to use lethal force.

Yeah, stuff just got serious.

“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,” D.C. National Guard said in a statement [..].

“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 statement continued.

“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.”

According to the NYT, Defense Department officials said the White House had signed off on the decision to arm some of the National Guard troops coming to Washington to provide security. Pentagon officials have underscored that the National Guard — not active-duty military troops — will be assigned to those duties.

As reported by Military.com, the move was requested by federal authorities and authorized by Secretary McCarthy. Separately, Military.com also reported that the force of up to 15,000 is being deployed to Washington, D.C., with all their issued equipment, including their individual weapons. The National Guard did not specify what weapons the troops would be carrying. However, according to Stars and Stripes, Guardsmen have been approved to carry their service firearms, M4 carbines, and M9 pistols.

So how well did the response to last week’s Capitol riot go? 

As I reported in the previously mentioned article, a Pentagon spokesman said the Capitol Police turned down an offer of help — days before last week’s riot.

As the mayhem unfolded at the Capitol on the day of the event and it became clear that help would be needed, the Defense Department was forced to “scramble to bring in a larger force to back up the police.”

Regardless of what one thinks of — or whom one blames for — last week’s Capitol Hill “festivities,” it appears that should similar “festivities” occur between now and including Inauguration Day, the DoD will not find itself “scrambling to bring in a larger force to back up the police.” Maybe even the Capitol Police will do their job. Stranger things have happened.