UPDATED 4:20 PM PT – Friday, February 19, 2021
The Department of Defense said there are no plans to keep the National Guard in D.C. past mid-March. In a press briefing on Friday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said troops are expected to only stay until March 12.
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) February 19, 2021
This came after reports hinted that National Guard members would remain at the Capitol until fall. So far, 4,900 troops have remained in D.C. since Inauguration Day. At one point, almost 26,000 guardsmen were in the nation’s capital.
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 13: National Guard patrol outside the U.S. Capitol during the fifth day of President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial February 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Austin said his goal is to not keep troops in D.C. even one day longer than necessary. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security Robert Salasses added threats evolve all the time, but he is not aware of any current danger that would require troops to stay in D.C. any longer.