House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped Maj. Gen. William Walker, the head of District of Columbia National Guard, as the next House sergeant-at-arms, she announced Friday, which would make him the first Black American to hold the post.
The House's security will now be led by someone with a military background. The change of leadership follows the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot, after which the heads of security in both the House and Senate resigned along with the chief of 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 D.C. National Guard, according to his official biography. He was charged with ensuring units are "manned, trained, equipped and ready for war and any national emergency."
Walker testified at a Senate hearing about the Jan. 6 attacking, saying that there was an "unusual" delay in getting approval to deploy help to the Capitol during the riot.
“Throughout his long, dedicated career in public service, General William Walker has proven to be a leader of great integrity and experience who will bring his steady and patriotic leadership to this vital role,” Pelosi said in a statement. “His historic appointment as the first Black 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 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, safe," Pelosi said.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy also praised the selection in a statement.
"I am confident he possesses the experience, skill set, and vision needed to run the expansive responsibilities of the Office of the Sergeant at Arms," he said.