Pentagon updates process for urgent use of D.C. National Guard
As the one-year anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot approaches, debates rage about how the US Defense Department responded to the attack.
The Pentagon announced Thursday that it would streamline the process for approving the use of National Guard forces in Washington, nearly a year after the deadly attack on the US Capitol.
The Pentagon was chastised for its slow response during the January 6 attack on Congress by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, which resulted in five deaths and dozens of injuries.
Due to a slew of bureaucratic requirements, it took military officials more than three hours to deploy the National Guard to Congress as it was besieged by rioters.
According to the Pentagon, the Secretary of Defense will now be "the single approval authority for all requests" for emergency use of District of Columbia National Guard personnel inside Washington.
In a statement, Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said, "By clarifying and refining the request process... the Department will be able to respond to requests efficiently, quickly, and effectively.”
It is worth mentioning that the US capital has a special status that prevents local officials from sending military, police, or National Guard forces to the US Capitol, which is a federal building. It is separate from the bordering states of Maryland and Virginia and is not a state in its own right.
When asked to assist Capitol police when they were overwhelmed by rioters, Pentagon officials later stated that they were hesitant to send uniformed and armed reservists to Congress for fear of exacerbating tensions.
Hundreds of National Guard reservists stationed in Washington during massive anti-racism protests the previous summer had been chastised for their behavior toward demonstrators.
Hundreds of supporters of former US President Donald Trump’s stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2020, in a bid to overturn his election defeat, battling police in the hallways, and delaying the certification of US President-elect Joe Biden’s victory for hours. This move, which later became later known as the US Capitol riots, ended with five deaths, according to local police.