Pentagon authorizes use of 700 Guard members ahead of Biden speech, possible trucker convoy in D.C.

Several bands of truckers will theoretically begin making their way to D.C. today.

Updated: February 23, 2022 - 10:28am

The Defense Department has agreed to activate 700 National Guard members and 50 large tactical vehicles in Washington, D.C., ahead of President Biden's State of Union speech next week and a possible Canada-style trucker convoys protesting COVID-19 mandates and other issues.

Some of the guards will be deployed to provide support at traffic points, though they will not be armed, nor will they be granted authorization to conduct the activities of a law enforcement officer.

The department announced its decision Tuesday after receiving two requests for guard support.

The first was from the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, for which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved 400 members of the D.C. National Guard.

The second was from the U.S. Capitol Police, to which Lloyd has allocated 300 members from Guard units outside of the District of Columbia. The Capitol force is also re-installing fencing around the Capitol, from which Biden will deliver his speech Tuesday night. 

One group organizing a convey will reportedly arrive this weekend in the Capitol region, with plans to get on the Capitol Beltway, a highway that essentially encircles the nation's capital.

In now-disbanded protests in Canada, truckers and other descended upon cities – including capital city Ottawa – in opposition to strict COVID-19 regulations.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that enhanced security measures include "intelligence sharing, a critical incident response plan for the US Capitol, a regional security assessment, (and) a simulation experiment that developed data-driven recommendations to bolster regional security."

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