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 MilleyOvernight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Watchdog warns US will repeat mistakes of Afghanistan Adaptability remains a constant — even as the 'character of war' changes MORE, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the military response to the deadly rioting by former President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' 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.