National Guard troops are leaving Washington on Monday after protecting the U.S. Capitol for nearly five months following the deadly January 6 attack.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin thanked the soldiers and airmen for helping Capitol police and local authorities bolster security in the wake of the violent event.
“These airmen and soldiers protected not only the grounds but the lawmakers working on those grounds, ensuring the people’s business could continue unabated. They lived out in very tangible ways the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution,” Austin said Monday.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon that about 1,000 troops will depart in the next few days.
Sunday was the last day of the protection mission, retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who conducted a security review following the January 6 riot, told CBS’ John Dickerson on Face the Nation.
While Honore had suggested keeping a quick reaction force to aid in future potential attacks, Kirby said Monday the Pentagon had no plans to leave such a force in place.