Defense Secretary Mark Esper has reversed his earlier decision to return active-duty military troops deployed in Washington, D.C., back to their home bases.
The Department of Defense brought in roughly 1,600 troops to the region earlier this week. The Trump administration has considered deploying them to the streets as protests over the death of George Floyd intensified. They hadn't yet been used to support law enforcement.
Active-duty military forces haven't been deployed to the streets of D.C. since Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination sparked widespread riots in 1968.
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump said he would deploy the military if state and local officials did not do more to quell the protests.
Esper had previously said Wednesday that current conditions do not require military assistance for law enforcement but later reversed that decision.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press the reversal came after Esper attended a White House meeting with Pentagon officials.
The National Guard has activated thousands of members to help law enforcement respond to protests in D.C. And a U.S. defense official says even more are on their way.