Minnesota National Guard members requested for Biden inauguration

Armed soldiers stand on a city street.
Members of the National Guard stand at Nicollet Avenue and 7th Street in downtown Minneapolis.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News 2020

Minnesota’s National Guard will contribute to an increased military presence in Washington for the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden next week.

The head of the National Guard says at least 10,000 troops will be deployed in Washington, D.C., by Saturday, and an additional 5,000 could be requested from other states, including Minnesota.

Col. Scott Rohweder, Director of Operations for Minnesota National Guard, said the state will provide a company to support the inauguration activities.

"Yesterday, National Guard Bureau tasked the Minnesota National Guard to provide a company for support to presidential inauguration activities. We expect to receive mission details soon,” Rohweder said. “The Minnesota National Guard is a planning organization and is constantly preparing for contingency operations, ensuring we're ready to support when called upon." 

There are currently 6,200 Guard members in the city from D.C. and five nearby states. The increase in requests for Guard members on Monday comes as officials brace for more, possibly violent protests surrounding the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, told reporters that he has authorization to bring in up to 15,000 Guard members. He said the number of deployments is changing by the hour and day, based on requests from the Secret Service, the Park Police and the Capitol Police.

There have been repeated questions about why Guard members weren’t brought in more quickly as the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol unfolded on Wednesday. Guard officials have said they responded as quickly as they could as the situation spiraled out of control but said the Capitol Police repeatedly turned down offers for help in the days before the protests.

MPR News reporter Brian Bakst contributed to this report.

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