Critics warn National Guard lacks exit strategy for presidential inauguration
“We have no metric for what success looks like,” said one high ranking officer.
By Paul J. O’Leary
WASHINGTON — More than 20,000 national guardsmen are expected to deploy to the nation’s capital to provide additional security during President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, but critics warn the National Guard appears to lack an exit strategy.
“We have no metric for what success looks like,” said one high ranking officer. “Is it an hour after the man is sworn in? Is it when the protesters have all left? We just don’t know.”
The ongoing military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have left many questioning if this deployment to Washington has a defined objective or could be instead a so-called “Forever Civil War.”
Pentagon officials assured members of the public on Thursday the activation would be strictly limited to the events surrounding the presidential inauguration, but military watchdog groups are skeptical after observing a newly constructed Green Beans Coffee shop inside the Capitol visitors center. Green Beans Coffee is a popular cafe typically found in military bases located in forward-deployed bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa.
Others reported seeing Guard soldiers taking selfies with celebrity Green Beans Coffee spokesperson Chef Robert Irvine.
“Everyone who has ever deployed knows what a Green Beans represents,” said Joey McDougall of the watchdog group Over Caffeinated Vets. “It means you’re probably a POG, but you’re a forward-deployed POG.”
Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, the National Guard Bureau chief who appeared to be concealing a Rip-It energy drink behind his back, assured reporters the troops would only be activated for the period leading up to the event and would be released from duty “as soon as feasible.”
Meanwhile, Army Civil Affairs leaders recently outlined a plan to improve local roads and schools in the Washington area to better military relations with local civilians. The plan was ultimately rejected since are no National Guard Civil Affairs units.
“We are here to train and assist until the members of Congress can fight on their own,” a National Guard Bureau official said. “We will be here until we reach that goal, not until we reach some arbitrary date. And we are confident we are about to turn that corner.”
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