Washington, DC – Nearly $500 million in taxpayer dollars will be used to cover the cost of deploying roughly 26,000 National Guard troops to the U.S. Capitol ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
U.S. Military officials told the Associated Press about the financial toll on a condition of anonymity on Thursday.
Troops from four territories and all 50 states were deployed to Washington, DC beginning in early January, the Associated Press reported.
They were stationed throughout the nation’s capital city to provide protection for lawmakers and landmarks and to block traffic in certain areas.
The $500 million price tag included the cost of the troops’ housing, benefits, salaries, various essentials, and travel expenses from their home states and territories, according to the Associated Press.
Since the federal government activated them for more than 30 days, the cost of their health benefits was also figured into the overall deployment expenses.
In late January, acting Army Secretary John E. Whitley said the National Guard had been asked by the U.S. Secret Service and other DC-area law enforcement agencies to remain in the city to continue assisting them, FOX News reported.
“National Guard members will be postured to meet the requirements of the supported civil authorities up to and including protective equipment and arming if necessary,” Whitley said at the time, according to the news outlet.
According to Chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently committed to ordering all military units to “stand down” within the next two months, FOX News reported.
The $500 million figure is expected to cover the cost of the National Guard troops through the middle of March, when the remaining troops are expected to return home, according to the Associated Press.
An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 soldiers will remain in the city until March 14.