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Residents of Capitol Hill have greeted the news of the planned departure of troops with gratitude and a desire to return to some degree of normalcy.

WASHINGTON During his first press conference as Pentagon chief, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III confirmed that members of the National Guard are expected to leave the United States Capitol within a few weeks of here March 12.

Mr Austin also claimed there was no request from federal authorities or lawmakers to keep troops in the Capitol complex after the March departure date.

Right now, in terms of our planned stay, it’s March 12, Austin said on Friday. And we have no additional requirements or requests from another federal agency to provide them with support.

Nearly 5,000 members of the National Guard currently patrol the Capitol, compared with 25,000 troops deployed for the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris.

Representative Adam Smith from Washington, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said the National Guard is continuing its security mission due to continuing threats from adherents of the QAnon plot.

The extremist group’s online chatter supports the misconception that former President Donald Trump could still be invested on March 4.

Now why this is relevant, God knows, Smith said in a defense hearing on Wednesday. Now they’re thinking, maybe we should get together again and storm the Capitol on March 4th. It’s circulating online.

VIDEO: @DeptofDefense Sec. Austin says ** March 12 ** will be the last day for National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol …

Second. Austin says there is NO request to extend the stay, answering @JenGriffinFNC’s question during his first briefing as secretary. @ WUSA9 @CBSNews #CapitolRiots pic.twitter.com/4IBRBkdyx8

– Mike Valerio (@MikevWUSA) February 19, 2021

Residents of Capitol Hill have greeted the news of the planned departure of troops with gratitude, as well as a desire to return to some degree of normalcy.

They were happy to have been here, especially in the cold and far from home and family, neighbor Farooq Heyer said in an interview on Friday. But until those fences and barbed wire are gone, it still won’t feel like you really live in America.

No plan is in place to remove the security fences, with lawmakers and law enforcement suggesting the towering barriers could remain until September.

While Austin said the Defense Department was focused on returning troops on March 12, the secretary left room to change the date if circumstances change.

[Guard members] know and understand that if our lawmakers need help, if they need protection, they are ready to provide that protection, said Austin. My plan is not to keep them a day longer than necessary.

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