WASHINGTON, D.C. (KDKA) — For 20 years, Dennis Lejeck trained American soldiers on how to face the enemy in Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
But what the National Guard is being asked to do in our nation’s capital is something Guard troops haven’t faced in modern history.READ MORE: Pennsylvania Lawmaker Introduces Bill That Makes It Illegal For Any Employer To Require Workers To Be Vaccinated
While the guard has been on the front line against protestors, this potential foe is different.
“In this case you have a group of people that believes in something so passionately that, you know, in some cases of extreme terrorists are willing to die for that belief,” says the owner of Black Knight Security, a Pittsburgh based security firm that secures large facilities and special events.
Lejeck says the preparations since the January 6th attack on the Capitol have overcome the numbers issue that occurred that day when police were simply outnumbered.
The influx of more than 20,000 National Guard members has created a fortress around the Capitol.
Lejeck understand Americans don’t like the image of a fortified capitol, “We’re probably embarrassed by those images because this is America. This is supposed to be the land of the free, but that’s, that’s where we are right now that’s the reality of it all. We had people die as a result of what occurred at the Capitol building, and the security measures they had in place. Last week didn’t work. And so we can’t do the same thing we have to do something differently.”
Watch as KDKA’s John Shumway reports:
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Securing the inauguration outside on the west side of the capitol, Lejeck says is not easy, “When you have something outside that you’re trying to secure is way more of a challenge. You have to establish a perimeter and then, you know, it’s just a matter of trying to secure the perimeter.”
For the men and women of the National Guard, this is a far cry from securing a storm ravaged town or filling sand bags to protect against flooding.
A little more than a week ago, these soldiers were at home living their private lives.
“Now all of a sudden, they’re activated. And to your point, potentially to put their life on the line, so it is a tricky thing. They all went through basic training and it’s kind of really quickly they have to get in that readiness mindset of ‘this is real, I have a loaded weapon, I have bullets in my weapon, and you know you can only hope with that moment that they have received the proper training and that they’re prepared to deal with that and react accordingly.”
Plus, the potential adversaries are American citizens.
“But we also know and again, we have all the evidence we need last week in regard to their threat to America,”
Lejeck says, “And, you know, they’re a threat to that individual National Guardsmen and their safety as well.”
Regarding the potential for using deadly force, Lejeck says, “I don’t think the conversation is going to be, you’re not permitted to use deadly force. I think the conversation is going to be. ‘Here’s the different examples of when deadly force would be appropriate.'”MORE NEWS: New Stanton Drug Bust Turns Up More Than $1 Million Worth Of Cocaine And Heroin
And Lejeck doubts this ends after Wednesday, “I do not think that it’s all going to go away after the inauguration and I think that we would be foolish as Americans to think that it’s just going to go away.”