Defense Secy: Nat’l Guard not expected to stay in D.C. past mid-March

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 WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 19: An Army National Guard truck is parked in a lot across from the United States Capitol Police headquarters on February 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Capitol Police announced Thursday that it has suspended six officers with pay and placed an additional 29 officers under investigation for their actions during the January 6 insurrectionist attack on the Capitol, which resulted in Officer Brian Sicknick's death. The former Capitol Police chief and the former House and Senate Sergeants at Arms have been called to testify before the Senate Homeland Security Committee next week. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 19: An Army National Guard truck is parked in a lot across from the United States Capitol Police headquarters on February 19, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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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.

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 former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial February 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Senate is expected to conclude their deliberations and vote later today. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)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.

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