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Trump’s new National Guard ‘regional response units’ could deploy for election unrest: report

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President Donald J. Trump visits approximately 200 National Guard troops Saturday, Aug, 29, 2020, at Cougar Stadium in Lake Charles, La., during his visit to view damage caused by Hurricane Laura. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

A new unit of mostly military policemen has been established by the National Guard Bureau in response to ongoing civil unrest in the coming days leading up to Nov. 3.

“The unit, which also could be used to respond to natural disasters and other missions, was formed in September and initially described as a rapid-reaction force,” Dan Lamothe wrote in Friday’s Washington Post. “But as one of the most divisive elections in American history closes in, National Guard officials have softened how they characterize the service members, instead referring to them as ‘regional response units.'”

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“As governors across the nation continue to request support to law enforcement, they frequently turn to the National Guard,” Wayne Hall, a National Guard Bureau spokesman, said in a statement. “A National Guard Regional Response Unit was created to quickly provide additional Military Police to state or territory to augment their own responding units.”

“They determine how we are used in support of their efforts to address those kinds of situations,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Daryl L. Bohac, the adjutant general of the Nebraska National Guard. “The bottom line here is we are not in charge.”

National Guard members who are working as poll workers will not be tasked with responding to any violence, said Army Brig. Gen. Robyn Blader, the assistant adjutant general of the Wisconsin National Guard.

“If there is any civil unrest, it will go through the normal 911 channels,” she said.

Lindsay Cohn, a professor who studies civil-military relations at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., said, “The more political and more violent these things get, the less the Guard is going to want to have to do with them,” she said. “But the larger or more violent the situation is, the more likely the state is to need Guard support.”

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The response might look different in Washington, D.C. considering it’s under federal jurisdiction.

“I would not be surprised to see something similar to this past summer play out, especially since D.C. is likely to be the focus of protests almost no matter what happens,” Cohn said.

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2020 Election

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2020 Election

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2020 Election

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