Retired Army General to Lead Review of Security at the U.S. Capitol Complex

January 15, 2021 by Dan McCue
Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré

WASHINGTON – Russel Honoré, a retired lieutenant general best known for commanding the military relief effort in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, will lead an in-depth review of security at the U.S. Capitol Complex, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Friday.

“Last week, we suffered a devastating attack on the Capitol that threatened the lives of and traumatized members of Congress, staff and support workers,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“To protect our Democracy, we must now subject the security of the U.S. Capitol Complex to rigorous scrutiny. To that end, I have asked Lt. General Russel Honoré, a respected leader with experience dealing with crises, to lead an immediate review of the Capitol’s security infrastructure, interagency processes and procedures, and command and control,” she said.

Honoré, who retired from the Army in January 2008, was serving at the time as commander of the U.S. First Army at Fort Gillem, Ga.

Prior to his appointment to that position, he served in a variety of command and staff positions in South Korea and Germany, including commanding general, 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea; vice director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C.; deputy commanding general and assistant commandant, United States Army Infantry Center and School, Fort Benning, Ga.; and assistant division commander, Maneuver/Support, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

His arrival in New Orleans in 2005 came after what was widely believed to be a poor performance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its director Michael Brown to respond to the post-Katrina flooding crisis that inundated the city and saw residents struggle to survive.

Honoré gained media celebrity with a gruff management style that earned him the nickname “Ragin’ Cajun” (he’s actually of Creole background).

Even New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was impressed, telling an interviewer that President George W. Bush described Honoré as “one John Wayne dude down here that can get some stuff done.”

Pelosi and other members of House leadership remembered that well, and on Friday the speaker hailed his “strategic and patriotic leadership.”

“The general will be calling upon other subject matter experts as to how we go forward,” she said of the review he’s about to undertake.

“Members of Congress are moving forward inside the Congress with strong oversight from their committees, and there is strong support for an outside commission to conduct an after action review. In the meantime, I am grateful that Gen. Honoré has agreed to address our immediate security concerns,” Pelosi said.

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