The Department of Defense posted a detailed planning & execution timeline¹ for the National Guard’s involvement in the deadly siege of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

What struck me most was apparently slow response of the law enforcing agencies (SECARMY and DCNG) to direct call for help. Here's excerpt which took my attention:

  • 1334: SECARMY phone call with Mayor Bowser in which Mayor Bowser communicates request for unspecified number of additional forces
  • 1500: SECARMY directs DCNG to prepare available Guardsmen to move from the armory to the Capitol complex, while seeking formal approval from A/SD for deployment. […]
  • 1702: Departure of 154 DCNG from D.C. Armory in support of USCP. Arrive at Capitol at 1740, swear in with USCP, and begin support operations.

After the Capitol Police failed to sustain the Capitol defense, Mayor Bowser requested Secretary of Army (SECARMY) for armed support.
Which took him merely 1 ½ hours to direct the National Guard (DCNG) to the place.
Who arrived there more than 2 ½ hours later and full 4 hours after the initial request.

Question: was the armed response timely?

By "timely" I understand whether the response time matches the requirements specified in security protocols, and by "security protocols" I understand documents available to public (contrary to any secret ones that surely exist).

From this question and its answer I learned that the Capitol Police (and Muriel Bowser herself) had only prepared for peaceful protesting and did not anticipate the violence that occurred. However, once the events took a tragic turn, could they react faster to avoid further casualties?

I'm sure the rest of the operation was timely enough. For example, VP Pence and the Congress have been evacuated almost instantly (1326), even before the call for help.

¹) Complete report, relevant pages below (full size on click):

Page 2 Page 3

1 Answer 1


You ask about protocols, but there are no protocols for the situation as it occurred. The DC police's primary backup arrangements are with other police departments in the region, that's what the protocols deal with.

The problem was not at the DOD; the delays were driven by considerations of politicians and political appointees who were responsible for Capitol security. They had explicitly requested that the National Guard NOT plan for deployment. At the heart of the matter were the instructions of D.C. mayor Murial Bowser (in a letter to acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller, and Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy):

"To be clear, the District of Columbia is not requesting other federal law enforcement personnel and discourages any additional deployment without immediate notification to, and consultation with, MPD if such plans are underway,"

Similarly, congressional leadership was more concerned with appearances than security. Even the New York Times admitted that politicians issued instructions to the Capitol Police severely hobbled the response.

Summarizing the relevant portion of the official Senate report:

Opaque Capitol Police Board processes slowed requests for National Guard support

  • Capitol Police Board members did not understand the statutory and regulatory authorities of the Capitol Police Board
  • USCP did not submit a formal request for National Guard assistance to the Capitol Police Board prior to January 6
  • The USCP Chief of Police lacked authority to unilaterally request National Guard support, even in the midst of the attack

Responsibility for the delays lies with the House and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, who the Capitol Police Chief had (days earlier) asked verbally for approval for National Guard assistance. Instead, they denied his request because of "optics." All three men resigned in the immediate wake of the incident. See NPR article.

See also Executive Order 11485--Supervision and control of the National Guard of the District of Columbia

  • 1
    January 6th was not a "woke" group
    – Joe W
    May 26, 2022 at 16:50
  • What exactly does January 6th have to do with anything "woke". You don't need to be making claims that anything "woke" had something to do with the response on that day.
    – Joe W
    May 26, 2022 at 18:14
  • 1
    The question is asking about responses around the capitol which has nothing to do with being "woke" or what Seattle is doing.
    – Joe W
    May 26, 2022 at 18:25
  • 1
    I still think there are problems with this answer as some of the calls you are referring to needed to come from the President and not other people.
    – Joe W
    May 26, 2022 at 18:31
  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question. The question is not "Why were things slow?", the question is "Was this still within predefined parameters?"
    – Bobson
    May 26, 2022 at 20:07

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