National Guard mission at Capitol expected to cost $521 million

The National Guard’s deployment at the U.S. Capitol is expected to cost $521 million through May, according to the Pentagon.

The Guard’s mission, which earlier this week was extended from Friday until May 23, will cost $111 million for the additional two months, the National Guard Bureau said in a statement to The Hill on Friday.

That’s on top of the $410 million estimated for the initial three months of the mission, from January to March.

The Guard originally expected the first three months of the deployment to cost $482.8 million, but “due to an under-execution we have revised that estimated cost,” the bureau said.

The Defense Department will foot the bill, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the cost estimates.

The new estimate follows calls from some lawmakers to draw down the Guard’s presence at the Capitol amid concerns that it is not warranted and could affect military readiness.

“As the U.S. Capitol Police continues to build its personnel capacity, there is no doubt that some level of support from the National Guard should remain in the National Capital region to respond to credible threats against the Capitol,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and ranking member Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said in a joint statement Thursday. “However, the present security posture is not warranted at this time.”

And Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) last week said he was “outraged” by plans to lengthen the Guard’s mission.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Wednesday approved a request from Capitol Police to keep about 2,300 guardsmen at the complex through May 23.

The extension roughly halves the 5,100 guardsmen there now, down from a high of roughly 26,000 following the Jan. 6 attack on the nation’s capital by supporters of former President Trump looking to prevent Congress from certifying President Biden’s victory in the November election.

The guardsmen were originally only meant to bulk up security for Biden’s inauguration, but the deployment was extended afterward over continued security concerns.

Via The Hill

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