Culture Wars/Current Controversies

One Year After Jan. 6 Attack, Push For Quick Reaction Force Is Dead On Capitol Hill

By Jacqueline Feldscher, Defense One

After the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol that left members hiding in offices or crouching under desks on the House floor, lawmakers clamored for a military quick reaction force that could protect against more violence.

One year after the attack, the idea of a military unit to respond quickly has fizzled on Capitol Hill.

Last March, the Capitol Security Review Task Force recommended that Congress establish a quick reaction force within the D.C. National Guard to respond to crises at the Capitol. That followed the Jan. 6 attack, in which a mob of right-wing extremists overpowered police, entered the building, destroyed property, and threatened lawmakers. It took three hours for National Guardsmen to arrive on the scene, and they remained at the Capitol until May.

The report recommended that the quick reaction force consist of law enforcement personnel, rotations of military police from National Guard units across the country, or a permanent military police battalion within the D.C. National Guard.

In May, the House passed a $1.9 billion supplemental funding bill that included $200 million to establish a military quick reaction force. But that language was not in the version the president signed in July.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said she “strongly supported” the plan to create a quick reaction force.

“Unfortunately, opposition in the Senate led this proposal to be dropped from the final version of the Emergency Security Supplemental to Respond to January 6th,” she said in a statement.

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