Illinois Sends 500 National Guard Troops To Bolster Washington D.C. Security

Illinois Sends 500 National Guard Troops To Bolster Washington D.C. Security

Illinois has activated about 500 Illinois National Guard members in support of the continued security mission in Washington, D.C.

According to a state of Illinois news release, troops are being sent at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said the mission will not impact the Illinois National Guard’s ability to perform the vaccination distribution mission, with 325 members of the guard already activated to carry out that mission and hundreds more to come online in the coming weeks.

The Illinois Army National Guard soldiers, along with a small contingent of Illinois Air National Guard airmen, are expected to remain on duty in the nation’s capital until mid-March.

While Illinois National Guard members who deployed for the Presidential Inauguration have since returned to Illinois, about 50 members of that mission have volunteered to return for this mission.

The Illinois Army National Guard’s Chicago-based 108th Sustainment Brigade and its subordinate battalion, the North Riverside-based 198th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, will provide the bulk of the Illinois National Guard force for the Washington, D.C. mission.

“We are deploying these forces in support of civilian law enforcement based on threat-levels against the U.S. Capitol. These threats were assessed by the FBI and other federal agencies,” said Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, the Adjutant General of Illinois and Commander of the Illinois National Guard. “Our soldiers and airmen are committed to the defense of both our nation and our state. We have asked a lot of them in the last year and each time these men and women have answered the call and upheld their oath to defend and support the U.S. Constitution. I could not be more proud of these soldiers and airmen.”

The Illinois National Guard forces will join a force of approximately 7,000 National Guard members from throughout the United States in assisting federal and local agencies with safety and security throughout Washington, D.C. In February that force will draw down to 5,000, which will include the Illinois National Guard service members who will stay on until mid-March.

The Illinois National Guard members were activated under the provisions of U.S. Title 32, which leaves them under the authority of the governor with all costs paid by the federal government. The Illinois National Guard members supporting the COVID-19 vaccine distribution mission in Illinois were also activated under the same provision of U.S. law.

The Illinois National Guard troops will be in Washington, D.C. by the beginning of next week.

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release