Since the uprising, Sund has resigned and the leadership of the Capitol Police has changed hands, but communication between the police and the officers responsible for deploying the National Guard does not appear to have improved. On Thursday night, at least 5,000 National Guard forces were evicted from the Senate office building and forced to reposition themselves in a nearby parking garage that lacked warmth and had minimal facilities. This move appears to be under orders from the Capitol Police – and it’s not hard to believe that it may have been influenced by the police’s decision to deploy the guard when it was urgently needed.
As CNN reports, the military’s “relocation accounts” are likely to lead to further investigation. What they should. In a call to reporters on Thursday, Lieutenant General Walter Piatt admitted that “he may have raised concerns” about using guards at the Capitol. It was unclear whether Flynn’s brother, Deputy Chief of Staff to Army General Charles Flynn, spoke on the call.
There are certainly reasons to worry about getting regular forces onto the streets of an American city, and several officials – both civilians and military – were sidelined when Trump attempted to deploy active army and naval units during the summer protests . There was no doubt at the time that Trump was making coordination between military and civilian officials difficult. Eventually, the National Guard from multiple states was deployed against BLM protests, along with forces cobbled together by William Barr, ranging from counterinsurgency units of the Bureau of Prisons to members of the U.S. Marshal Service. The use of these highly irregular forces only made the situation more confusing, and the situation only got worse in the past few months as Trump raided the Pentagon and replaced seasoned officials with Trump loyalists.
There is sure to be enough strength between the Capitol Police, Metro DC Police, DC National Guard, and the National Guard units of neighboring states to deal with any foreseeable emergency. What does not exist is a good communication and cooperation system. The main reason for this is that Washington, DC is not a state. This creates confusing, overlapping responsibilities and confers the power to summon the National Guard forces to military officials in a manner not found elsewhere. The final deployment of the armed forces on Jan. 6 does not appear to have taken place until after Mike Pence was looped in – and Trump intentionally left out.
It is imperative that the House and Senate investigate what happened on January 6th and determine where this disorganized system failed. However, the answer to the problem does not lie in more levels of communication. It’s about making DC a state. Then a single call from Governor Bowser can die Douglass National Guard. Just like it should.