According to a 1949 executive order signed by President Harry Truman, command of the D.C National Guard is delegated to the Secretary of Defense.
The question comes as Vice President Mike Pence was briefly reported on Wednesday to have ordered the guard’s activation, before subsequent reports clarified that Pence was “consulted” but that acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller ordered the unit’s activation.
But it doesn’t answer questions around why requests from D.C. officials and House leadership to activate the unit were initially rejected and delayed by the Department of Defense. That comes amid reporting that President Trump was initially unwilling to approve the request.
At a Thursday press conference, Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) referenced the mystery — and Miller’s authority — saying that the acting Secretary of Defense “has to answer for where the National Guard was yesterday.”
Per an order issued the same year by Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, control of the unit is further delegated to the Secretary of the Army.
This provides some semblance of clarity amid chaos over why there was an initial refusal on Wednesday in responding to a request from D.C. officials to deploy the National Guard unit.
Reports are still conflicting.
But the Washington Post said that pursuant to the delegation order, Defense Secretary Miller made the decision to deploy the D.C. National Guard.