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Guard activations expected to rapidly increase

The National Guard is expecting a rapid increase in unit activations over the next few weeks, leaders said at the Pentagon Thursday, filling roles like coronavirus testing and potentially law enforcement.

Governors in 27 states have already activated elements of their National Guard forces, but everywhere in the country, state leaders have declared states of emergency, said Air Force Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

“With COVID-19, it’s like we have 54 separate hurricanes in every state, territory and the District of Columbia,” Lengyel said. “Unlike a hurricane, we don’t know when this will dissipate or head out to sea. But a historic event requires a historic response.”

More than 2,000 Guard personnel have been activated in total so far.

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