DC Nationwide Guard commander says he should not reply to the Capitol revolt
As reported by the Washington Post, local National Guard commanders usually have the authority to act independently in emergencies. You don’t need to get approval from anyone higher up the chain to respond to a situation where there is a significant threat to life or property and the need to act quickly.
In an interview on Tuesday, DC National Guard commander William Walker told the Post that the Pentagon had changed the rules of operations in DC to not allow troops to respond to a “panicked call from the Capitol Police chief, who warned of rioters “could send to enter the US Capitol. ” Sund apparently called Walker about 25 minutes before the first insurgents entered the Capitol to warn him that a request for National Guard forces was “imminent.” But Sund was then forced to address the request to the Pentagon, and there was a delay of over three hours before the move actually reached Walker. Even the 40-man Rapid Response Unit that was put together that day to get into critical areas was left on the sidelines.
However, the restrictions Walker faced did not appear to be applied immediately prior to the Trump rally. Instead, they were used in the summer after guard helicopters were used to spread protests against Black Lives Matter. These actions and the aggressive use of thousands of National Guard forces during the protests following the police murder of George Floyd were a cause for concern at the Pentagon. In most states, these concerns didn’t result in significant changes, but in DC the watch is controlled by a process that can already be confusing. The Pentagon responded by taking away much of Walker’s autonomy.
Former Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy the post said that, “After June the authorities were withdrawn from the Ministry of Defense. Every time we employed troops and guardsmen in the city, they had to go through a rigorous process. “
Months later, those restrictions appeared to be still in place, and they apparently affected Walker, who complained that he lacked the authority to respond to “protection of property, life, and in my case federal functions – federal property and life.” On the other hand, it is not clear to what extent Walker was involved in issues such as the inadequate use of helicopters to intimidate protesters and other events during the summer.
Walker and McCarthy will be in front of the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into January 6th. It seems clear that they involve contradicting positions: Walker complains that his ability to act has been restricted by not being given orders to clarify emergency measures with the Pentagon himself; McCarthy said the reason for the restrictions was that local security guards took inappropriate and aggressive measures against protesters over the summer.
Both men may be right. But it is also true that the Pentagon had eight months to resolve the problem so that the DC National Guard could take appropriate and effective action. Everyone failed in this mission.