Pentagon activates 6,200 members of National Guard

The Defense Department has formally activated roughly 6,200 members of the National Guard from six northeastern states to help support the Capitol Police and other law enforcement in Washington in the wake of the deadly riot Wednesday that rocked the US Capitol.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller sign orders activating the National Guard from Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland for up to 30 days. A defense official says the goal is to have Guard members help secure the US Capitol and the surrounding area through the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The Guard members are arriving over the next several days. A total of 6,200 have been activated, but the exact number of troops that will actually get to the city may be less than that, depending on who is available in each state. The Guard won’t be armed, but will have riot gear and protective clothing, says the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide troop details.

Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican of South Carolina, stops to look at damage in the early morning hours of Thursday, January 7, 2021, after protesters stormed the Capitol in Washington, on Wednesday. (AP/Andrew Harnik)

The orders come a day after angry and armed protesters broke into the US Capitol, forcing Congress members to halt the ongoing vote to certify Biden’s election and then flee from the House and Senate chambers.

Four people died in the melee, including a protester who was shot by police. The vote was later completed after the building was cleared.