For the first time in history, a Black person has been tapped as the new sergeant-at-arms of the U.S. House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Friday that she is appointing DC National Guard Major Gen. William J. Walker to serve as the House’s top law enforcement officer. The House must hold a majority vote to confirm his appointment by the speaker.
Walker played a very instrumental role in neutralizing the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol where the lives of the lawmakers were at stake.
“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… 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 in a statement.
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The House sergeant-at-arms is mainly responsible for maintaining order and implementing the House rules but also sits on the Capitol Police Board and coordinates with Capitol Police on security.
The incoming top security official has served in the military for nearly four decades, with his most recent position being the 23rd Commanding General of the District’s National guard. His replacement is yet to be announced by President Joe Biden.
He assumed that position in 2018, after serving as Acting Commanding General of the DC’s National Guard. He was responsible for training, strategic leadership, operational employment, readiness, and the overall performance of the city’s Army and Air Force.
Walker has worked at the highest-level command within the U.S. Army in the capacity of a high-level official at the Pentagon and Major Commands.
Per DCist, Walker oversaw the 113th Wing F-16 Fighting Falcon, which secures D.C’s relatively flat skyline, as well as the C-40 Clipper that transports members of Congress and other dignitaries.
As a Special Agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for three decades, where he served in roles from Special Agent to Deputy Administrator for Strategic Warning, Walker also simultaneously served as a National Guardsman.
In conjunction with his work with the DEA, he was also the Vice-Chairman on the board of directors of the Young Marines which has 10,000 members. It is a national youth program that encourages its members to stay away from drugs.
Walker is a University of Illinois alum and holds a Master of Science at Chicago State University, a Master of Science from the National Intelligence University, and a Master of Arts from American University.
Aside from his main degrees, he has also completed several leadership programs at schools like Harvard, George Washington, and Syracuse Universities.