June 12 2021
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Published on March 15, 2021 2:30 AM

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Lawmakers with former intelligence and military experience weigh Capitol security concerns
(CNN)Michigan Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin served three tours in Iraq alongside the US military as a CIA analyst before becoming a member of Congress, so the violent insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 was unfortunately by no means the first time she had been in a life-threatening situation.

What kept her relatively confident in war zones compared to what she witnessed during the attack against the Capitol and has experienced since was knowing the security and communication plan for what to do and who was in charge in a crisis. "I served in Iraq. Insurgents and terrorists were trying to kill us all day long, every day," Slotkin said in an interview with CNN. "But I knew that the folks at the gate and the security plan that was in place was designed to keep me safe and do the absolute most it could to protect me." It's been more than two months since the attack on the Capitol and there are real questions about what actions are being taken and who is in charge. A series of hearings have revealed how chaos and miscommunication made an already bad situation even worse. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for a 9/11 style commission to investigate January 6, but partisan gridlock over the makeup and scope of the commission has seemed to screech progress to a halt. Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, at the behest of Pelosi, published Monday a series of security recommendations for the physical Capitol complex, the Capitol Police force and members, but the question becomes when, how and if Congress will take up those recommendations and secure the funding needed to turn the recommendations into reality. All of this, while the National Guard and barbed wired fencing continue to remain at the Capitol. Steeped in crisis communication and trained to operate under a clear chain of command, former intelligence officers and veterans now serving in Congress offer a unique perspective on the kind of streamlined communication that needs to be adopted and the types of briefings and shared information lawmakers should be expecting in the wake of January 6. Their experience sheds light on what the serious intelligence holes are, and how the lack of information contributes to the underlying stress about when members can feel like the Capitol is safe again. 'Who is piloting the aircraft?' The attack of the Capitol showed that serious changes need to be made to the decision-making process as it relates to security at the Capitol, especially in a crisis.