Troops deploying to Washington, D.C.

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The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (August 2019)

Washington (CNN) — An active duty military police battalion consisting of some 200 to 250 military personnel is now in the process of deploying to Washington, D.C., and could be in the nation’s capital as soon as tonight, three US defense officials tell CNN.

The troops are expected to provide security but not perform law enforcement duties such as the arrest and detention of protesters, according to the officials.

Two defense officials said the troops will be coming from a unit at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina.

Because of Washington’s unique status, the deployment can be authorized by federal officials rather than the city’s authorities.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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