The estimate appeared as the country came close to a month since the disorders that ended in at least 5 dead, among them a police officer, and hundreds arrested and left the U.S. Capitol in complete shock. Chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby recently announced that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had committed to directing all units to "stand down" in the next 60 days.
Officials explained that the nearly $500 million covers the costs of transporting Guard troops from their states to Washington, their salaries and benefits, as well as keeping the roof over their heads and many other essentials. The officials were not permitted to publicly talk about internal figures and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Because the troops were activated by the federal government for more than 30 days, their health benefits are likewise included, of course further adding to the price of the deployment.
Between 5,000 to 7,000 troops will stay in D.C. until mid-March, a notable decline from the 26,000 that were deployed to help secure the inauguration.
The deployment brought troops in from all 50 states and four territories as law enforcement agencies attempted to secure and lock down the Capitol for the inauguration of the new President Joe Biden. Thousands of Guard members poured into the nation's capital and were placed across the city to block traffic and defend lawmakers and landmarks.
A spokesman previously verified that D.C. The National Guard would "remain on orders until March 31, 2021."
Acting Army Secretary John E. Whitley stated at the end of last month that the Guard had gotten requests for follow-on support from the U.S. Secret Service and other law enforcement entities in D.C.
"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 announced at the time.
The sustained presence of the Guard has inspired criticism from some.
"The lesson of the Capitol riot is not that we should quarter a standing army at the Capitol just in case, but rather that our security measures should be calibrated to the actual threats," Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said at the end of last month.
The Department of Homeland Security has issued a terrorism bulletin warning about possible additional violence.