Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped the head of Washington, D.C.,’s National Guard, Maj. Gen. William Walker, as the House’s new top security official.
Walker, a 39-year military veteran, will become the House’s permanent sergeant-at-arms, Pelosi announced Friday. He succeeds Timothy Blodgett, who took over the post temporarily in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
The previous permanent sergeant-at-arms, Paul Irving, was pushed out of the job after Jan. 6, amid recriminations over the security failures that allowed a mob of thousands of Donald Trump’s supporters to occupy the Capitol and delay Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results.
“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,” Pelosi said in a statement. The California Democrat also noted that Walker had a long career as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Walker has provided key information about the timeline of events that led to the security breakdown on Jan. 6. In Senate testimony earlier this month, he said he relayed an urgent plea from the head of the Capitol Police to senior Pentagon officials seeking backup for the overwhelmed police force.
But that request languished for more than three hours, Walker has said, until final approval just after 5 p.m. That delay in the official dispatching of the guard has become a key focus of lawmakers’ investigations into the riot.
Walker also has described a 2:30 p.m. phone call between Capitol Police and Pentagon brass and said senior Pentagon officials seemed to lack urgency despite frantic pleas from those inside the building.
Walker was the 23rd commanding general of the D.C. National Guard and previously spent three decades as a guardsman and DEA agent.