WASHINGTON – Washington was thrown into chaos on Wednesday when a pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol to disrupt Joe Biden’s certification as next president. As a result, thousands of National Guardsmen are moving towards DC as lawmakers demand that Trump be indicted or removed from office under the 25th Amendment.
Many of these measures have implications for the national security community. Here are the top events Defense News has been following.
This list of the newest items above will be updated as necessary. The last update was at 10:05 p.m. EST January 7th.
– 10:05 p.m. Rob Greenway, a top Middle East adviser to President Donald Trump, is expected to step down Thursday as part of an exodus on the National Security Council after Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill on Wednesday, an official with knowledge of the situation told Defense News .
Overall, Greenway’s departure means that at least six National Security Council employees have resigned since Wednesday. These include the Senior Director for Africa, Erin Walsh; Anthony Ruggiero, director of the NSC’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Office; the top advisor for Europe and Russia, Ryan Tully; Mark Vandroff, senior director of defense policy for the NSC; and Matt Pottinger, assistant national security advisor.
– 4:15 pm: President-elect Joe Biden is pressuring Congress to swiftly approve its candidates for the national security role. However, it turns out that the congressional calendar does not allow his election for Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to be made on inauguration day. Lloyd would need to quit the job because he recently retired from the military as a general. It’s unclear who will take on the role immediately, and the in-depth administration hasn’t announced its plans.
However, the Senate Armed Forces Committee has announced a January 19th at 3:00 p.m. Confirmation hearing for Austin who will begin the formal process.
– 3:59 pm: Boeing is handing out a statement from CEO Dave Calhoun on the president’s transition, reported Jon Ostrower, editor of The Air Current.
“Boeing proudly plays an important role in our USA. Government clients defending democracy here and around the world, ”Calhoun explained. “The popular vote and the peaceful transition of government are at the core of our democracy. Our company has worked with elected officials for many years. In a spirit of bipartisanism, we encourage them to work with President-elect Biden to unite our nation. “
– – 3:54 pm: Energy Minister Dan Brouillette condemned “politically motivated violence” but said he would not resign until January 20, according to a statement from Politico. As Secretary of Energy, Brouillette oversees the National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages America’s nuclear warheads. The NNSA has been under the agency’s management since agency director Lisa Gordon-Hagerty resigned after a collision with Brouillette.
– 3:11 pm: In a statement released by the Pentagon, Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller described yesterday’s violence as “reprehensible and contrary to the principles of the United States Constitution”.
“In the midst of this tragedy, I was proud of the professionalism of our Defense Department staff. I would like to expressly acknowledge the service of the District of Columbia National Guard. They have acted with honor, integrity, and promptness to protect people and property from illegal activity, ”Miller wrote. “I condemn these acts of violence against our democracy in the strongest possible terms. I and the people I lead in the Ministry of Defense continue to perform our duties under our oath of office and will carry out the traditional peaceful transfer of power to elected President Biden on January 20th. “
– 3:10 pm: Defense News has learned that Mark Vandroff, senior director of defense policy for the National Security Council and retired Navy captain, has resigned. In his resignation letter, Vandroff did not specifically say why he was stepping down, and the official declined to speak to reporters.
– 3:05 pm: Trump’s former National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster tweeted, “President Trump and other officials have repeatedly compromised our principles for partisan advantage and personal gain.” McMaster, a retired Army officer general who worked for Trump for about a year, added, “Those who used disinformation and demagoguery to pursue self-interest have given up responsibility to the American people.”
– – 2:48 pmEric Fanning, President and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), made a statement that read in part: “We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the violence of yesterday and those who incite such violence. Ensuring a peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy. We have to commit ourselves as a nation. “AIA is one of the largest defense trade associations.
– – 2:09 pm: Top House and Senate Democrats have joined a growing demand for President Donald Trump to be removed from office – either by his cabinet invoking the 25th amendment or by Congress indicting him. The list so far includes the new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif .; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., And Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith, D-Wash., With Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., As the only Republican to date.
– Bloomberg reported that national security advisor Robert O’Brien plans to stay until the end of the administration. On Wednesday evening there were numerous reports that O’Brien, who has held this position since September 2019, was considering resigning.
– Hawk Carlisle, director of the National Defense Industries Association, made a statement saying that the “despicable acts of yesterday’s mob, inspired by irresponsible rhetoric, include these values and the fundamental document that made America the shining city on the hill Millions have lured, an abomination is a better way of life. “Carlisle, a retired Air Force general, added,” America and Americans are better than this. NDIA and its members are committed to being part of the solution while continuing to be at the center of defending this great nation, its people and the values that matter to us. “
– Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intelligence and Security, John Costello, member of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, announced his resignation. Working on cybersecurity issues, Costello said President Donald Trump had “instigated” the “violent incitement to hatred” against Congress.
– General Stephen Townsend, head of US Africa Command, issued a message apparently addressed to the command’s armed forces that “America has faced much greater and more severe challenges in the past,” and that the American people expect that the command “remains” steady “on its mission. It is unusual for a combat squad to make a statement on domestic issues.
– On a Twitter thread, Lieutenant General Clint Hinote, chief of the Air Force Strategy Bureau, stated, “To be clear, I personally believe that we are in danger of losing our republic. Real danger. “He also stated,” As bad as 9/11 was, I have a feeling that our situation today is worse. “
– The majority of House Republicans still voted against voting from Arizona and Pennsylvania, including new senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Mike Rogers, R-Ala., Who had previously condemned violence in the capital.
– In an astonishing statement from an industry group, the head of the National Manufacturers Association urged Vice President Mike Pence to “seriously consider working with the cabinet to bring the 25th Amendment to work” and removing Trump from power. The association, which represents more than 14,000 companies across the country, previously worked with President Donald Trump on a number of industry issues. Board members include representatives from Raytheon, Boeing, Textron Aviation, and Ball Corporation.
– Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger resigned Wednesday night after several reports. A former journalist and China expert, Pottinger was a member of the National Security Council throughout President Donald Trump’s tenure and was seen in national security circles as a rational actor working to keep the process of cooperation going. National security advisor Robert O’Brien Pottinger praised Pottinger as “with distinction” in a tweet.
– Former Defense Ministers Jim Mattis and Mark Esper condemned the rioters and President Donald Trump’s attack on the Capitol on Wednesday for its role in the violence. “Today’s violent attack on our Capitol, an attempt to subdue American democracy through mob rule, was fueled by Mr. Trump,” Mattis said in a statement. Esper, who replaced Mattis and was also fired by Trump, called the attack on the Capitol “appalling and un-American”.
– The Georgians elected Jon Ossoff to the US Senate and gave the Democratic Party control of Congress and the White House for the first time in ten years. Senator Jack Reed, D-R.I., Stands ready to chair the Senate Armed Forces Committee, among other things.
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