WASHINGTON – Thousands of National Guard members are in D.C. to help authorities with the 59th Presidential Inauguration, and that includes members from the Iowa Army and Air National Guard.
Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Ben Corell said initially, Iowa had planned to send 15 Guard members. After the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, there was a call for even more support. The Iowa National Guard sent 250 additional airmen and soldiers.
“Each four years when our nation has an inauguration, there is a set of security that is identified early for them to provide manning to support the national capital region,” Maj. Gen. Corell explained. “This year because of the events that have occurred, they’ve increased the security posture which has increased the demand signal for not only law enforcement but National Guard across all 54 states, territories and district.”
More than 25,000 soldiers and airmen from across the country will be providing support for the inauguration. The FBI is vetting all of the National Guard troops in D.C. amid fears of an insider attack or threat.
Their duties could range from traffic control and crowd management to logistics and communication.
“Specifically what will those individual soldiers be doing, I can’t answer that,” Maj. Gen. Corell said, “because it depends on what the needs of the proper authority in the national capital region are as far as where they, where they need additional help. You’ve seen on the news, there are thousands of guardsmen, thousands of law enforcement professionals that are already in the area. They’re erecting barricades to protect critical infrastructure and wherever the need is from the Iowa National Guard soldiers and airmen that moved to D.C., they will properly put them in place.”
The Iowa National Guard is in communication with the Department of Public Safety about any security threats that may happen here at Iowa’s State Capitol. Maj. Gen. Corell said officials are confident they can maintain security should any protests happen. Guard members are ready to respond if needed.
“I do have National Guard forces that are trained,” Maj. Gen. Corell said. “They are equipped and they are ready to respond within a period of time, once we’re notified if events on the ground would lead us to require additional forces to help within the state of Iowa.”