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No need for National Guard 'quick reaction force,' GOP lawmakers say

On Wednesday, two members of Congress questioned the need for a National Guard quick reaction force to protect the Capitol and its surrounding complex of office buildings. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
On Wednesday, two members of Congress questioned the need for a National Guard "quick reaction force" to protect the Capitol and its surrounding complex of office buildings. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
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May 19 (UPI) -- Two Republican Congressional leaders announced their opposition on Wednesday to a plan calling for a National Guard "quick reaction force" to aid security on Capitol Hill.

Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mike Rogers, R-Ala., in a joint statement rejected the concept.

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Inhofe and Rogers said that civilian law enforcement officials should be responsible for improvements to security for the Capitol complex.

A security review in March, following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, recommended a permanent force mobilizing "military police from Guard elements from across the United States on rotations of three to six months."

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New funding of $200 million for the unit, to secure the Capitol and surrounding congressional offices, is part of a $1.9 billion emergency supplemental bill to be voted on by the House on Wednesday.

The story was first reported by Military Times.

"We firmly oppose creating a D.C. National Guard Quick Reaction Force," Rogers and Inhofe said in their statement.

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"The National Guard went above and beyond to protect the Capitol since January 6, but it's time they return home and focus on their core mission," the two members of Congress said.

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"A civilian force, instead of a Guard force, would have numerous benefits: it improves the range of law enforcement capabilities, streamlines operations beyond the Capitol, and would likely cost much less than tapping the National Guard for this purpose," Rogers and Inhofe said.

The statement called for use of the proposed funding to rebuild National Guard readiness.

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About 2,300 National Guard personnel are currently stationed on Capitol Hill, a remnant of the 23,000 activated following the events of Jan. 6, but are expected to depart the Capitol on May 23.

Conservative legislators contend that the mission has outlived its necessity, and that few ongoing threats remain.

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