House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has appointed the commander of the D.C. National Guard to be the new House Sergeant at Arms, putting him on track to be the first African American to hold the role.
Major General William Walker will be the first permanent House SAA since Paul Irving resigned in the wake of the January 6 Capitol attack. Timothy Blodgett served as acting SAA in between.
“His experience will be an important asset to the House, particularly in light of the January 6 insurrection,” Pelosi wrote of Walker in a statement, adding: “His historic appointment as the first Black American to serve as Sergeant-at-Arms is an important step forward for this institution and our nation.”
Walker testified at a recent joint Senate committee hearing on security lapses during the attack, dropping the bombshell that a full three hours elapsed between when he notified his superiors that the National Guard was ready and when he received authorization to deploy. Meanwhile, Capitol police officers were utterly overwhelmed by the pro-Trump mob.
He shed light on the immense red tape in place that day that kept him from acting quickly, while testifying that the chain of command is able move very rapidly in the face of a recognized threat.
He also said that senior Army leadership expressed a concern about the bad “optics” of having uniformed guards stationed at the “Stop the Steal” rally earlier that day.
Walker was commanding the Guard during the racial justice protests that roiled D.C. last summer, after the police killing of George Floyd. Two Guard helicopters flew extremely low during the protests, an incident that has become the subject of a Defense Department inspector general probe.
If Walker is confirmed by a majority of the House, he’ll join the Senate Sergeant at Arms team in making history. That chamber swore in its new law enforcement leadership on Monday, all women for the first time.