News & Politics

The National Guard Is Departing Capitol Hill After Four Months

But the Capitol complex will remained closed to the public.

Photograph by Evy Mages

Capitol Hill—the complex and the neighborhood—will look a little less like a militarized zone starting this week. After more than four months, or 137 days to be exact, the National Guard ended its mission in DC on Sunday. More than 2,000 troops are leaving, following an announcement from the Pentagon last week that it had not requested an extension of the Guard’s presence at the Capitol.

Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who oversaw a security review of the Capitol complex for Congress following the Jan. 6 insurrection, said in an interview with Face the Nation on Sunday, “the Capitol is secure.”

It’s a step closer to normal for everyone who calls DC home, and especially Hill denizens, but not exactly an immediate return to the days when Washingtonians (or well-meaning tourists) can stroll around the Capitol campus. The complex is still closed off, due to the continued strain on Capitol Police, Honoré said, whose “numbers are down over 230.”

On Thursday, the House passed a $1.9 billion emergency spending bill to increase security on the Hill. “We have to harden the Capitol,” Honoré said on Face the Nation. The Senate has not yet voted on the legislation.