As Gov. Larry Hogan began mobilizing the Maryland State Police and Maryland National Guard for quick dispatch to Washington, D.C., where a violent mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol, he received a call from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
Hoyer, whose district includes part of Anne Arundel County, told Hogan that the Capitol had been overrun and that the governor needed to send reinforcements. Hogan had already started to send the state police, but he could not send the guard.
Even though the guard was ready to deploy to D.C., Hogan’s requests to send them were denied, he said during a news conference Thursday in Annapolis.
Because the call for assistance came from Capitol Police, a federal agency, the Maryland National Guard needed Department of Defense authorization to respond. In most cases, the Maryland governor does not need DOD approval before he activates the guard, said Lt. Col. Rose Forrest, staff judge advocate for the Maryland National Guard.
The Maryland National Guard was eventually deployed after Acting Secretary of Defense Christian Miller gave his authorization, which was conveyed to Hogan by Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy. The guard will be able to assist through Jan. 20, Hogan said, when it will help provide security during the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Before the guard is deployed, two questions need to be answered, said Forrest, an Annapolis resident who is the first woman to hold her position. Who is requesting the guard? What is the status in which they would respond?
The guard is most commonly deployed in state active duty status, under the control of the governor and funded by the state.
Under Maryland law, Hogan has the ability to call up the guard for a variety of services, including the recent request for help with vaccine dispersal.
In this status, the guard can be sent to other states, as it has in the past, including to North Carolina for help with water rescue after a storm or Puerto Rico to assist with water purification, she said. The guard can cross state lines in state active duty status through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which allows states to assist each other.
Hogan used the compact to send Maryland State Police to D.C., he said during his news conference at the State House.
If Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requested the Maryland National Guard’s help Wednesday, or if she does so in the future, she would ask Hogan through an EMAC request, which would mean that Maryland would pay for the guard’s work in D.C. with reimbursement from the city coming later. This would not need Department of Defense approval.
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But D.C. is a complicated territory, with part of it federal property and part of it city property. Bowser does not have jurisdiction over federal property, including the Capitol. That means she could not ask for Maryland National Guard help.
Instead, that request must come from a federal agency, such Capitol Police, Forrest said. Congress is not considered a federal agency and cannot request Maryland National Guard assistance.
The guard can also be called in by the president, under U.S. Code Title 10, with the national guard being federally funded and controlled. This can happen in the case of a foreign invasion or if there is a rebellion or danger of a rebellion against the government, according to the law.
Right now, the Maryland National Guard is still working on its mission of helping with vaccine dispersal, as well as helping in D.C. It is also currently undergoing planning of what it will do during the inauguration, depending on how the inauguration looks this year.
Having multiple missions at once is not common, Forrest said. Of her 22 years in the guard, this has been one of the busiest. Besides the help with the vaccine dispersal, the Maryland National Guard has had other pandemic-related missions and it was called in to assist in D.C. in June, also under a Title 32 request.
“These are very unusual times,” she said.