National Guard contingent this year ‘almost three times the size’ of prior inaugurations

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members from all 54 National Guard units nationwide are in Washington D.C. assisting with security for Inauguration Day.

The U.S. Capitol and the surrounding area looks like a fortress, lined with armed guards and a fence with barbed wire.

“We’re about almost three times the size of prior inaugurations,” said Major General William J. Walker, Commanding General of D.C. National Guard. “That’s just based on what the Secret Service has asked us to provide.”

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Walker said National Guardsmen will line the outer perimeter, and Secret Service will be on the inside.

“The world is changing,” Walker said. “We have a lot of enemies, committed enemies. So, we just have to provide additional layers of security.”

Reports said at least ten National Guardsmen were removed from inauguration security after the FBI discovered they had ties to far-right fringe groups.

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A spokesperson for D.C. National Guard said, “due to operational security, we do not discuss the process nor the outcome of the vetting procedures for military members supporting the inauguration.”

But Walker did say that all National Guard troops go through a thorough vetting process every inauguration.

“We’re not taking any chances,” Walker said. “We’re not accepting any risks. We are screening our Guardsmen as we always do at every inauguration. They’re vetted by the Department of Defense and the FBI.”

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Once Thursday comes, National Guardsmen will start heading back to their home states, but the departures will be staggered.