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Defense Department releases timeline of National Guard involvement with Capitol Hill riot

The Defense Department characterizes the Capital Hill riot as “the Jan. 6, 2021, First Amendment protests in Washington, D.C.” and has released a detailed planning and execution timeline of the involvement of the National Guard with the incident.

Wait — what? I understand execution but National Guard involvement was planned ahead of time?

Well, sort of. They planned to provide traffic control support. They didn’t plan for a rampaging mob.

The timeline begins on New Year’s Eve with a written request from the Mayor of Washington, DC, Muriel Browser, for the support of the District of Columbia National Guard.

On Saturday, New Year’s Day, the acting Secretary of Defense talked over the request with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and with the Secretary of the Army.

On Sunday, January 3, the Defense Department spoke with the Capitol Police Department to confirm that the Capitol Police Department was not requesting support from the Defense Department. The acting Secretary of Defense met with “select Cabinet members” to discuss law enforcement support from the Defense Department. Finally, the acting Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with the President, who agreed to the activation of the DC National Guard.

On Monday, January 4, the Secretary of the Army received confirmation from the Capitol Police that no support from the Defense Department was needed. The acting Secretary of Defense met with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of the Army, and the Defense Department General Council to review plans for support of civil authorities. These plans called for a total of 300 personnel for traffic control points, Metro station support, a weapons of mass destruction civil support team, and internal command and control. And additional 40 personnel were staged to Joint Base Andrews as a quick response team.

On Tuesday, January 5, Mayor Browser confirmed no further support would be needed. DC National Guard troops arrived and began manning traffic control points alongside DC police.

On the morning of Wednesday, January 6, the acting Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff review the support plans. Shortly after 1 p.m. ET, the acting Secretary of Defense receives “open source” reports of demonstrators moving on the Capitol.

Again, what? Was he watching a Twitter feed? A news channel?

Just before 1:30 p.m., the Capitol Police order the evacuation of the Capitol complex — in the middle of the certification of the November election. Shortly thereafter, requests for additional support come in from Mayor Browser and Chief Sund of the Capitol Police.

Not until 3 p.m. are more National Guard personnel directed to help in securing the Capitol complex.

So the rioters had at least an hour and a half to romp through the halls of Congress.

By 4 p.m., the Virginia National Guard had also been mobilized. The Maryland National Guard would arrive the next day in support.

By about quarter after 6 p.m., a western perimeter was established.

By 8 p.m., the Capitol was declared secure.

From the bare bones timeline, it appears that nobody expected “First Amendement protestors”s to turn into a rampaging mob.


  1. This article is a pre-emptive CYA exercise because the inquiries into this mess will begin shortly after the new Administration takes over.

    1. Author


      Thank you for reading Orange County Breeze, and for taking the time to comment on this article.

      I agree that the Department of Defense wanted to put something out before others set the story line in concrete, but I hesitate at the harshness of “CYA.”

      Military authorities must be granted permission to operate within the borders of the United States, including the District of Columbia. Civil authorities must request the support of the military.

      After receiving a request for minimal support — traffic control! — from Mayor Browser, military authorities asked the Capitol Police whether they also wanted military support. They declined the offer.

      From the timeline, it appears that civil authorities failed to accurately read the political tea leaves, assumed that the Trump Rally would amount to no more than a lot of huffing and puffing and foot-shuffling. They acted on their faulty reading.

      To me, the biggest mistake was made by the Chief of the Capitol Police in turning down the offer of assistance. If I remember correctly, he has already resigned.

      I look forward to a thorough investigation. All kinds of interesting things may turn up, including whether the rioters really thought that taking over the Capitol would change the outcome of the election certification, who shot the female Trump supporter, and who killed the Capitol Police officer.

      Again, thank you for reading Orange County Breeze.

      Shelley Henderson
      editor, Orange County Breeze

      1. Source: Forbes

        Andrew Solender Forbes Staff
        Updated Jan 9, 2021, 05:26pm EST

        Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday that the Department of Defense “repeatedly denied” requests to authorize deployment of Maryland’s National Guard troops to help quell violence at the Capitol on Wednesday.

        And thank you in advance for reading Forbes magazine.

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