A total of 15,000 National Guard members have now been activated and will deploy to Washington, DC, to help provide security in the run-up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The number of Guard members coming in from other states has been growing, amid escalating fears of more violent protests in the wake of the deadly riot at the US Capitol last week.
Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, was given the authority to tap up to 15,000 Guard, but he has said that requests for assistance from the Secret Service, the US Park Police and the Capitol Police have been increasing this week.
The Army also says that officials are working with the Secret Service to determine which Guard members may need additional background screening. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Co., had asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to have the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command screen Guard members coming in to ensure they were not “sympathetic to domestic terrorists.”
The Army says CID will not be reviewing all the Guard, but some members may be subject to additional background screening. Traditionally, those who get within close proximity to the president — or in this case the president-elect — are checked more closely.
So far, officials say they have not yet identified any Guard members who participated in the protests, but investigations are ongoing.
In a statement, the Army says the DC National Guard is also giving troops additional training as they arrive in the city, so they know to identify and report any extremist behavior to their commanders.
The Army also says it is working with the FBI to identify people who participated in the Capitol attack, adding, “any type of activity that involves violence, civil disobedience, or a breach of peace may be punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or under state or federal law.”