January 6th Fallout: US Capitol Identifies Need for “Quick Reaction Force”
A Capitol security review published on the 5th of March has identified the need for a “quick reaction force” and put forward a series of recommendations that will be debated in Congress.
The Capitol security review, commissioned by the Congressional Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, required the creation of a team of “experienced professionals” within law enforcement, law, security and politics which was named Task Force 1-6. The task force was directed to review and provide recommendations in the following areas:
After meeting with officials across multiple levels of the military, security services, and government, Task Force 1-6 recommended the creation of a “robust” and “dedicated” quick reaction force (QRF) to support the US Capitol Police (USCP) and “serve the nation’s capital [at] large”. The task force proposed three long term options involving the Executive Branch:
The Capitol security review used the justification that the USCP were “understaffed, insufficiently equipped and inadequately trained to secure the Capitol and Members when violently attacked by a large mob”. The task force found “several institutional challenges unique to securing the Capitol, including the “inherent tension between public access and physical security”:
“Any security measure that reduces physical access to the Capitol Complex makes it less accessible to the public it serves” but “openness can create physical security vulnerabilities.”
Thus, the task force recommended that a “bicameral approach to security improvements is essential to reducing vulnerabilities and safeguarding Members of the Capitol and in their Districts”. The security review focussed on “increasingly threatening domestic elements” who actively use the internet to propagandize and organize political violence such as that on the 6th of January.
The review concluded:
“In the coming days, against the backdrop of inquiry and investigation, Congress will engage in spirited debate over the Capitol’s current security arrangements and the change necessary to better secure the Capitol and safeguard its Members, staff, and employees. As you consider the recommendations of this Task Force, we must not forget it was the riotous actions of an angry mob that laid bare the vulnerabilities of the Capitol Complex. We must not long endure any discourse that prevents or delays efforts necessary to strengthen the security of the U.S. Capitol Complex and enhance the safety of those who serve the American people in Congress.”