The Pentagon has directed an active battalion of military police soldiers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to deploy in the Washington, DC area as the city prepares for more violent demonstrations.
CNN was one of the first to report the assignment for 200 to 250 Bragg MPs. A Pentagon official confirmed to Military.com that MPs from XVIII. Airborne Corps originate.
The official did not specify what orders the MPs had been given. ABC, citing a defense officer, reported that the troops were being dispatched to the DC region, but only on standby when needed.
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The move will take place after the Pentagon deployed active MP units from Bragg, Fort Drum, New York, on Friday. Fort Carson, Colorado; and Fort Riley, Kansas, on alert to be deployed on a short-term basis to strengthen the police force that has been rioting after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody on May 25.
Protesters protesting police brutality have clashed with law enforcement agencies in major cities, resulting in the deployment of thousands of National Guard troops over the weekend.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper and General Army’s Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, met with President Donald Trump on Monday for a call to governors, which was passed on to the news agencies. In the call, Trump urged the governors to make the protesters “much tougher”. The call followed days with sometimes violent clashes between demonstrators and police.
Trump called the protesters “anarchists” who had to be arrested and brought to trial. He also said to the governors, “Most of you are weak.”
“You’ll be run over and you’ll look like idiots,” Trump said.
Esper added that “we have to dominate the battlefield”.
“I’m standing by, the chair is standing by, the National Guard chief is standing by to fully support you in mobilizing the Guard to do what you have to do,” said the Secretary of Defense.
Trump said Milley was responsible for the military’s response, although he didn’t explain what role the chairman would play. White House press officer Kayleigh McEnany later told reporters that Milley would oversee a command center, but declined to provide additional details, saying, “I will not take any action that will be announced.”
The president also tweeted Monday for support for Republican Senator Tom Cotton’s call to send soldiers on active duty to respond to protests.
The boldness of the demonstrators prompted Cotton to call on active combat units such as the 101st Airborne Division, the 10th Mountain Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 1st Cavalry Division and the 3rd Infantry Division to “do everything possible to keep the order to restore “.
In the meantime, the National Guard has sent a less aggressive message about the 17,000 Guard troops deployed in 23 states.
“We are here to protect life and property, and to maintain peace, order, and public security,” said General Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, in a statement released today.
– Matthew Cox can be reached at [email protected]
– Gina Harkins can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.
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