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Joint Chiefs chairman: Military response on Jan. 6 was 'super fast'

Joint Chiefs chairman: Military response on Jan. 6 was 'super fast'
© Greg Nash

U.S. Army Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyPentagon insists vaccine rollout a success despite spotty data Overnight Defense: US reportedly considering sending warships to Black Sea to support Ukraine | Intel community warns of fragile future | Austin traveling to Israel, Europe Pentagon may send warships to Black Sea in support of Ukraine MORE, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the military response to the deadly rioting by former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE's supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 “super fast” in his first public comments since the siege. 

Milley on Monday stood by the military’s actions before and during the breach of the Capitol, saying officials acted in a “sprint speed,” The Washington Post reported.

He told reporters traveling with him in Colorado that Pentagon leaders approved requests for help in about an hour, and the D.C. National Guard members took several hours to be fully deployed. 

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“This is the D.C. National Guard that went from a cold start, and they had troops there in two and a half, three hours. They reacted faster than our most elite forces from a cold start,” Milley told reporters, according to the Post.

“For the Pentagon, that’s super fast. That’s like sprint speed,” he said.

Current and former police officials, including those from Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, have chastised the Pentagon for what they said was a delayed response as their officers were being overtaken on the ground.

But the chairman noted that he could see why the Pentagon’s reaction would be perceived as slowed by those responding in real time to the raid.

“If you were down there and you’re in the Capitol being attacked, an hour is a lifetime. So I can clearly understand their feelings that that was a very slow response,” he said, according to the Post. “But from a technical military standpoint, from the receipt of the phone call, to alerting National Guard forces from a cold start, to them being on the scene, was very fast.”

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“I think it’s a bit of a mischaracterization or a misunderstanding of response times for the military,” he added.

Milley also reportedly responded to Trump’s claim that the former president had called for 10,000 National Guardsmen to be deployed on the National Mall for the demonstrations, saying he was not aware of any request.

“As chairman of the Joint Chiefs, if there was an order for 10,000 National Guardsmen, I would like to believe I would know that,” he said. “I know that that was never transmitted to me by anyone — the president or secretary of Defense or anyone else — for sixth of January.”

The Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman’s remarks come as Congress prepares for another hearing on Wednesday into the military and police response to the riot. Maj. Gen. William Walker, the commander of the D.C. National Guard, will join those testifying in front of a Senate panel.