A task force appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to review and make recommendations to bolster security at the Capitol is recommending a dedicated “Quick Reaction Force” to be on permanent standby in the region.
The task force, led by Army Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Russel L. Honoré, released a report on Monday that said it recommended a “robust, dedicated” QRF that could deploy to the Capitol to assist Capitol Police and that could be staffed, among other sources, by members of the military.
The report said:
Our national capital is a prominent tourist destination, venue for many peaceful First Amendment activities, and a high-value target for foreign terrorists or domestic extremists, yet it has no dedicated QRF for response to crises. The USCP relies on augmentation from other civilian law enforcement agencies for emergency support, but we recommend establishment of a robust, dedicated QRF, not only for the USCP, but to serve the nation’s capital writ large.
The report noted that National Guard members are currently mobilized to supplement the Capitol Police — a “temporarily sufficient but not a permanent solution.”
“We propose three long-term options for consideration, all of which involve the Executive Branch,” the report said.
“The first would be to establish a QRF from existing federal law enforcement entities with appropriate legal authorities and appropriations to staff, train and equip such a force.
“The second would be to build a QRF under the command of the D.C. National Guard. This could be done by mobilizing military police from Guard elements across the U.S. on rotations of three to six months.
“Another option would be to create a QRF that permanently resides within the D.C. Guard by reestablishing a military police battalion and staffing it with Active Guard Reserve troops who live in or near the city year-round, perpetually on active duty,” it said.
After several hundred protesters engaged in violence or entered the Capitol on January 6, the Pentagon authorized 7,000 National Guard to assist local and federal law enforcement authorities, including the Capitol Police.
That presence was beefed up to more than 26,000 for the January 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden.
There are currently about 5,000 National Guard members deployed to the Capitol. Republican lawmakers have questioned why they are still deployed to the Capitol without a “credible threat.”
The deployment from January 6 to March 12 will cost $483 million in American taxpayer funds. The U.S. Capitol Police last week requested that the National Guard forces stay an additional two months.
The report also recommended adding 854 more personnel to the Capitol Police staff, better trained intelligence personnel, and better integration with federal and regional authorities.