Review of Guard’s role in helping during demonstrations underway

Review of Guard’s role in helping during demonstrations underway

Members of the Missouri National Guard load pallets and prepare to head home June 8, 2020 at Joint Base Andrews (National Guard photo)

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark Esper has ordered an after-action review to evaluate the National Guard’s efforts working with local and federal law enforcement during the civil unrest that struck various parts of the nation over the last two weeks.

Esper directed Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to organize and lead the review, the Pentagon said in a news release. Findings are to be submitted to Esper by July 30, 2020.

At the peak of the unrest, governors in 33 states and the District of Columbia activated more than 41,500 National Guard members to assist state and local law enforcement in support of civil unrest operations, according to the National Guard Bureau. Active-duty troops were scrambled and sent to Washington DC to be prepared to enter the fray.

The report is to address a range of issues, including training, equipping, organizing, manning, deployment, and employment of National Guard forces.

“In recent weeks, the National Guard has performed professionally and capably in support of law enforcement in cities across the United States,” Esper said in the statement. “I have the greatest respect for, and am deeply proud of our soldiers and airmen who served during this period to ensure that peaceful protesters could execute their First Amendment rights, and that they and others would not suffer from violence against themselves and their property. I have full confidence in Secretary of the Army McCarthy to lead a robust review.”

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