House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named Major General William Walker, head of the District of Columbia National Guard, as the next House sergeant-at-arms, she announced Friday, making him the first African American to hold office.
House security will now be headed by someone with a military background. The change of leadership follows the deadly Capitol riots on January 6, after which the security chiefs of both the House and Senate resigned along with the chief of the Capitol Police. The Senate also selected a former military leader, retired Lt. Gen. Karen Gibson, as its sergeant-at-arms.
Walker led the Army and Air Force components of the DC National Guard, according to his official biography. He was tasked with ensuring that units are “manned, trained, equipped, and ready for war and any national emergency.”
Walker testified at a Senate hearing on the Jan. 6 attack, saying there was an “unusual” delay in getting approval to send aid to the Capitol during the riot.
“Throughout his long and dedicated career in public service, General William Walker has proven to be a leader of great integrity and experience who will bring his steadfast and patriotic leadership to this vital role,” Pelosi said in a statement. “His historic appointment as the first African American to serve as Sergeant at Arms is an important step forward for this institution and our nation.”
For 30 years, Walker served as a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration and simultaneously as a member of the National Guard.
“His experience will be an important asset to the House, particularly in light of the January 6 insurrection. It is essential that we work to strengthen our institution and keep our Capitol community, and all who visit it, safe,” he said. Pelosi.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy also praised the selection in a statement.
“I am confident that you have the experience, skill set and vision to carry out the broad responsibilities of the Office of the Sergeant at Arms,” he said.