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More Troops in D.C. For Biden Inauguration Than In Iraq and Afghanistan

Over the past few years, there has been a shift in the mindset of top-ranking domestic and foreign security officials – one that is perhaps most vividly represented by the stark contrast in the number of troops set to be stationed in Washington for Biden’s inauguration and those stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On January 20th, for Joe Biden’s inauguration, there will be up to a staggering 25,000 National Guard troops in Washington. Currently, there are roughly 5,000 troops spread across Iraq and Afghanistan. The influx in troops in the capital in direct response to the events that took place at the Capitol on January 6th, which led to five deaths.

The siege on the capitol is seen by many officials as a culmination of the division in America and representative of the most pressing form of terrorism today, which is driven by homegrown extremism. The difference in troop numbers exemplifies a shift in what the US government considers the greatest threat to the homeland.

Even before January 6th, the imminent threat was noted by the Department of Homeland Security. In October of 2020, the department released a report warning that violent white supremacy would remain the most persistent and lethal threat in the homeland. Their report stated that “foreign terrorist organizations will continue to call for Homeland attacks but probably will remain constrained in their ability to direct such plots over the next year.”

In the wake of events like the deadly neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville in August of 2017, law enforcement’s tone across the US has mirrored the sentiment of the Department of Homeland Security’s report. Similarly, the FBI Director, Christopher A. Wrap told congress in 2019 that “a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacy, but it includes other things as well.”

Though many have been suggesting at this shift in mentality, the capitol siege and subsequent inauguration day security measures are evidence that this shift has already taken place. Former CIA analyst and Pentagon official, Democratic Representative Elissa Slotkin, tweeted the following: “The post 9/11 era is over. The single greatest national security threat right now is our internal division. The threat of domestic terrorism. The polarization that threatens our democracy. If we don’t reconnect our two Americas, the threats will not have to come from the outside.”

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