In an abrupt reversal, Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday overturned an earlier Pentagon decision to send a couple hundred active-duty soldiers’ home from Washington, D.C.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press that the reversal came after Esper attended a meeting at the White House, and after other internal Pentagon discussions. It was unclear if Esper met with President Donald Trump.
McCarthy said he received notice of the Pentagon order to send about 200 soldiers with the 82nd Airborne’s immediate response force home just after 10 a.m. Wednesday. Hours later, the Pentagon notified him that Esper had reversed the decision. McCarthy said he believes the change was based on ensuring there is enough military support in the region to respond to any protest problems if needed.
“It’s a dynamic situation,” said McCarthy, adding that the 82nd Airborne troops “will stay over an additional 24 hours, but it is our intent to withdraw them and get them back home.”
The AP reported earlier Wednesday that the 82nd Airborne soldiers would be the first to leave and would be returning home to Fort Bragg, N.C. The remainder of the active-duty troops, who have all been kept at military bases outside the city in northern Virginia and Maryland, would get pulled home in the coming days if conditions allowed. But the Pentagon had a change of plans.
Pentagon leaders have consistently said there continues to be no intent to use the active-duty forces in any law enforcement capacity. They would be used to assist the National Guard or other forces.
For additional information visit our friends at the Associated Press.