The National Guard, which has maintained a presence on Capitol Hill since the Jan. 6 attack, deployed what it called an immediate reaction force of soldiers and airmen on Friday afternoon following a security incident that killed one Capitol Police officer and wounded a second.
The suspect, who rammed his vehicle into the officers and exited the vehicle holding a knife, was shot and killed. No National Guard troops were injured in the attack.
Guard troops were seen running near the Capitol complex with riot gear following the attack. It is unclear exactly how many soldiers and airmen were assigned to the reaction force and it is not known how long they will remain at the site.
According to a statement from the Washington D.C. National Guard, the reaction force was deployed at the request of the U.S. Capitol Police. The statement declined to offer additional details, citing operational security concerns.
In an interview, Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell a Pentagon spokesman, said “slightly less than 2,300” Guard troops are currently assigned to protect the Capitol, down from the nearly 26,000 who came to Washington, D.C., to help provide security for President Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.
Many of those soldiers and airmen were quickly released from their duties and sent back home following the inauguration, but in early March a request from the Capitol Police to retain a force of more than 2,200 Guard troops through May 23 was approved by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.