The New York National Guard is sending 1,000 troops to Washington, D.C., at the request of U.S. National Guard officials, said a New York Guard spokesman and Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday evening. The New York Guard spokesperson explained that the troops were part of a larger, pre-planned effort including several other states.
“[We’re] part of a larger package by the National Guard Bureau for the inaugural support mission,” said New York National Guard spokesman Army Col. Richard Goldenberg. “It’s not like we weren’t expecting and planning and preparing for inaugural support for 2021.”
NGB and D.C. National Guard officials did not immediately respond to questions from Military Times for more information about the inaugural support mission, including other participating states.
Goldenberg indicated in a phone interview with Military Times that the troops would take some time to mobilize and arrive.
“As a National Guard force, it does take us a little bit of time to alert and mobilize these forces to have them come in, and to have them muster, and to have them board buses and head on down,” he said. “We do expect them down there before early next week.”
“[Guardsmen] who normally support and traditionally have supported the inaugural presidential elections every four years have traditionally show up about a week to 10 days probably in advance of the actual ceremony,” explained Goldenberg. “In this case we’re probably going to get there a little bit even before that.”
President-elect Joseph Biden will take the oath of office on Jan. 20 on the Capitol steps.
While Cuomo said in a statement that the troops would “aid and facilitate the peaceful transition of presidential power,” Guard officials clarified that the troops had not been requested in response to Wednesday’s violence. Rioters who supported defeated President Donald Trump violently stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to disrupt the certification of Electoral College results by Congress. After the Capitol complex was cleared of the insurrectionist mob, Congress certified the election results early Thursday morning.
“Based on today’s actions, I think [Cuomo] was wanted to show a positive step and a positive attitude, which this is, yes,” said Goldenberg. “But the reality is that we were at the inaugural four years ago in 2016; we were at the inaugural back in 2012; we were at the inaugural back in 2008.”
The entire D.C. National Guard — more than 1,000 troops — was activated in response to the assault on the Capitol. Additional Guard forces, including 500 from Maryland and an undisclosed number of troops from Virginia, also deployed to the nation’s capitol, according to National Guard officials and public announcements from the states’ governors.
The D.C. National Guard will remain on duty through at least Thursday evening, according to documents obtained and reviewed by Military Times.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.