House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has appointed Gen. William J. Walker, commanding general of the D.C National Guard, to serve as the next House sergeant-at-arms. Walker — a decorated veteran guardsman and former special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration — is the first Black person to hold the post, which is responsible for maintaining law and order in the House.
Announcing the appointment on Friday, Pelosi noted Walker’s “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.
“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,” she added.
Walker succeeds Paul D. Irving, who resigned as sergeant-at-arms on Jan. 7, a day after pro-Trump insurrectionists violently stormed the U.S. Capitol. A few days after Irving’s resignation, Timothy P. Blodgett was sworn in as the acting sergeant-at-arms.
Walker has been vocal in his criticism of Pentagon leadership over their handling of the riot. He said the Pentagon restricted his authority ahead of the insurrection, which he said led to unnecessary delays in the dispatching of D.C. Guard troops.
Walker’s historic appointment is one of many recent firsts in the U.S. government. Earlier this month, the Senate confirmed Deb Haaland, a member of New Mexico’s Pueblo of Laguna, as interior secretary, making her the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history.
The Senate also confirmed Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services. Levine is the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the chamber.