National Guard forces currently being deployed to Washington, DC to help strengthen security around the Capitol building complex for Inauguration Day will be armed, The New York Times cited unnamed Defence Department officials as saying.
They referred to a decision by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy who earlier allegedly said those National Guard troop stationed around the Capitol on 20 January will carry weapons.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon authorised up to 15,000 National Guard personnel from across the country to be deployed to Washington to support law enforcement before and during Biden's inauguration.
Defence Department officials said that even the National Guard troops directly involved in securing the Capitol complex and deployed elsewhere in the Washington area, "would not be far" from their arms.
The officials also claimed the White House had signed off on a move to arm those National Guard troops who are not active-duty military forces.
Their remarks followed General Daniel R. Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, saying on Monday that they want these individuals "to have the right to self-defence” and that "if senior leadership determines that that's the right posture to be in, then that is something we will do".
The National Guard deployment to Washington comes amid reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is bracing for armed protests being planned in all 50 state capitsls across the country, including the US Capitol, in the days ahead of Biden's inauguration.
"The FBI received information about an identified armed group intending to travel to Washington, DC on 16 January. They have warned that if Congress attempts to remove POTUS via the 25th Amendment, a huge uprising will occur", an FBI memo reportedly claimed.
The developments were followed by Democrats' push to launch new impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump and invoke the 25th Amendment to remove POTUS from office. The US president slammed the efforts as a "hoax" and a "continuation of the greatest and most vicious witch hunt" in US history, adding that the 25th Amendment is "of zero risk" to him.