The countdown to the inauguration of the new president of the United States has entered, and the security of the capital Washington has been upgraded.
The National Guard mobilized from all over the United States continues to enter Washington, and the United States will deploy troops in its own capital to the size of the U.S. military in South Korea. The traffic and civic life of the whole city have been greatly affected, especially the road to the city is almost completely interrupted.
Special national security incidents
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has designated the presidential inauguration as “National Special Security Event (NSSE)”, and the U.S. Secret Service is responsible for leading the development and implementation of security programs.
The U.S. Secret Service updated the joint transportation plan around the inauguration ceremony on the 17th, including road closures, pedestrians, parking restrictions and other measures, from the 17th to 21st.
On the 17th, the reporter saw in downtown Washington that more than ten square kilometers of Washington’s core area were no longer allowed to enter vehicles, and streets were not allowed to park.
This blockade area is nearly 5 kilometers long from east to west and nearly 3 kilometers from north to south.
Vehicles entering and leaving the blockaded area are subject to inspection, and pedestrians entering the core sites are also subject to strict security checks.
This unprecedented “lockdown” is extremely strict.
Road traffic between Washington and Virginia in the south has almost been interrupted, and the main bridge across the Potomac River to Washington will be closed.
Moreover, armed boats of the military and police patrol the river to prevent people from being “smuggled”.
Netizens joked that the Potomac River had become a “trench” for the battle, and Washington had become a tight fortress.
National troop mobilization to defend the capital
In order to maintain security on such a large scale, the Pentagon initially mobilized more than 6,200 National Guard soldiers from Maryland, Virginia, New York and other places to Washington, D.C., but at the request of the U.S. Secret Service, the mobilization scope was expanded to 50 states and three overseas territories of the United States.
As of last week, the number of troops deployed to Washington has reached 11,000 and will reach about 25,000 by the 20th.
This size is almost the same as the number of U.S. troops in South Korea (26,184 as of August 2020), which is far more than the total number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.
On the surface, Washington has become a semi-military management city.
Many streets are uninvisible, but soldiers and military vehicles can be seen everywhere.
Moreover, all the troops operating in the core are equipped with M4 rifles.
The U.S. National Guard is a reserve force, and large-scale mobilization in such a short period of time in peacetime is relatively rare.
Lieutenant Colonel Alysia Benson, an officer of the Washington, D.C. Air National Guard, told the U.S. media that the conscription and deployment speed may have set a record for the National Guard.
Usually, it will take months to deploy troops of this size, and it will take months to coordinate air transportation alone.
The army was screened to eliminate extremists.
The presence of a large number of troops disrupted the normal life of Washington citizens and caused more trouble. In the face of the worsening epidemic, many people worry that the virus may spread further.
In addition, the spread of extremism within the army has also aroused public vigilance.
According to U.S. media reports, several active or retired soldiers were arrested in the protest against the conflict at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, at least one of whom was a member of the Virginia National Guard.
More than a dozen Democratic senators jointly pressured the Department of Defense to rectify the issue of white supremacy within the army.
To this end, the Pentagon’s internal oversight body announced on the 14th that it would investigate the spread of extremism within the army.
The statement said that the Ministry of Defense prohibits active-duty soldiers from advocating (racial) supremacy, extremist ideology or participating in related activities. The Office of the Inspector General of the Ministry of Defense will check the implementation of the ban.
William Walker, commander of the National Guard in Washington, D.C., told Defense One on the 16th that all the National Guard officers and soldiers deployed in the capital have been undergoing background checks to exclude extremists.
However, the military did not disclose how many people were screened out.
The sight of heavy street presence in Washington still disturbs Americans, despite the military saying that the military will use their weapons cautiously and “use minimal force for self-defense”.
Walker said he hoped that the deployment of troops in Washington would be terminated as soon as possible, but the specific withdrawal time will depend on the situation after the inauguration ceremony on the 20th.