My Take On The D.C. National Guard Colonel’s 6 January Memo To Congress

Earlier John noted the reporting about COL Matthews’ memo to Congress alleging that the Department of the Army is attempting to cover its six (for the non veterans reading this, read six as tuchas) regarding decision making made by LTG Piatt, the Army’s then Director of the Army Staff, and (now) GEN Charles Flynn, then the Army’s Director of Operation and currently the Commanding General of US Army Pacific (USARPAC), in regard to deploying the DC National Guard to relieve the Capitol.

I’ve read the reporting of COL Matthews’ allegations, much of which was previously reported about LTG Piatt’s, GEN Flynn’s, then Army Secretary McCarthy’s, and then Acting Secretary of Defense Miller’s actions and decision making on 6 JAN, and here’s my take. COL Matthews would not have written and submitted this memo without at least the tacit blessing of his former 2 star boss from that day in order to get this information out to rebut the Army IG’s report. The 2 star, MG William Walker, who on 6 JAN was the Commanding General of the DC National Guard, cannot come out and make these allegations himself because of general officer politics and because of his current position as the House Sergeant at Arms. As a result, COL Matthews, who was his Staff Judge Advocate (SJA), has made the allegations to defend both the DC National Guard’s and MG Walker’s reputations. To prevent both from becoming the Army’s official scapegoats.

I can’t prove this. But I’ve served as the senior advisor to a several 2 and 3 star generals and that’s my professional read on the situation. Given that the Staff Judge Advocate is, of course, an attorney and attorney’s memorialize everything of importance, I would expect that COL Matthews has contemporaneous notes. I can’t prove that either, but it would not surprise me.

Beyond that I do not know MG Walker, COL Matthews, LTG Piatt, GEN Flynn, or, as far as I know, anyone at the Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA) Inspector General’s office. I know nothing of them other than what has been reported. But this has all the hallmarks of a general officer to general officer dispute over responsibility for actions or lack thereof taken on 6 JAN.

It will now be up to the House Special Select Committee for 6 JAN to determine who is telling the truth and who is not.

Open thread!

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