Review Says Pentagon Was Appropriate Response to January 6 Riots
Washington –An independent review concludes that the Defense Department and its senior commanders acted appropriately before and during the January 6 rebellion at the U.S. Capitol, despite sharp criticism from some local leaders and Congress that the military did not respond quickly enough because the protesters broke the law. Building.
The Defense Ministry’s Office of the Inspector General, in a report released Wednesday, said the military and defense chiefs “did not delay or obstruct” the ministry’s response. She said the decisions made by two officials at the time, Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller and Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, “were reasonable in light of the circumstances that were in place that day and the requests of D.C. officials” and the Capitol Police.
Criticism centered on the fact that it took about three hours for members of the District of Columbia National Guard to respond to the Capitol—a timeline defended by the Pentagon as appropriate and necessary to define mission, equipment, and citizen readiness for rioting—and get the new orders approved and delivered to commanders.
The IG report is one of a number of investigations and reviews of that turbulent day, which saw violent mobs storm police barricades, storm the Capitol and search for lawmakers, including then Vice President Mike Pence, who had to be escorted quickly. out of harm’s way.
The Pentagon’s Inspector General is, by law, an independent authority that conducts audits, evaluations, and investigations of Pentagon activities.
The inspector general has focused narrowly on the military response to the January 6 riots, while other investigations are looking closely at the roles of then-President Donald Trump and his supporters, including whether they fueled or planned the attack. Many gathered at a rally before the riots and then marched to Capitol Hill.
More than 600 people were arrested and accused of having links with the rebellion, and seven people died during or after the riots, including Trump supporter Ashley Babbitt, who was killed while storming the House chamber.
Jacob Chansley, the spear-wielding hooligan whose horned fur hat, bare chest and face paint made him one of the most well-known figures in the attack on the Capitol, was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison. Chansley, who pleaded guilty to a felony obstruction of formal proceedings, was among the first rioters to enter the building.
The Pentagon’s inspector general found the Army’s process to be appropriate, and noted that many of the Guards were not trained in law enforcement. He described the situation as “chaotic and confusing” and said initial reports to the Ministry of Defense were contradictory.
The report also stated that McCarthy, the Army’s secretary at the time, was within his power to require the DC Guards to develop an important plan before authorizing their deployment. Others questioned this decision, saying it delayed the forces’ response.
Major General William Walker, commanding general of the Capital Guard, told senators in March that the then Capitol Police chief requested military support in a “cracking sound with emotion” on a 1:49 p.m. call as rioters began pushing toward the Capitol. Walker said he immediately transferred the request to the military but only learned after 5 p.m. that the Department of Defense approved it.
The IG report found that defense officials correctly went through the approval process.
The report concluded that “military personnel are trained to respond to civilian emergency events, not by sending personnel into an uncertain situation when they become available, but by assembling and deploying a force capable of conducting critical operations.” “Military doctrine requires that commanders first identify the essential details, conduct a mission analysis, and then develop a comprehensive plan.”
IG made several recommendations. She said the department should develop specific plans for a military response to civil unrest within the National Capital Region, including how federal agencies would request support. It recommended conducting military training with federal and local agencies on how to better coordinate when planning large-scale events.
It also recommended that the guards should be provided with reliable radio communications equipment.
The report dismissed suggestions that concerns about the optics of sending Guards troops to the Capitol while Congress was in session led to any delays, saying that McCarthy asked Miller to approve sending troops “within minutes” after contacting Capitol officials. She said such concerns “did not affect” the Pentagon’s response.
National security writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.
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