A Jan. 6, 2021, After Action Report

What if we didn’t do one?

Do we really need an after action report (AAR) for the events of Jan. 6, 2021?

There are many excuses being offered for why an AAR isn’t needed by having a independent and bipartisan commission modeled on the 9/11 Commission do a thorough investigation of who instigated the riot, who participated and their motivation. Most importantly, we must look at what is needed to prevent this from happening again, and it is not all about security measures.

Here’s a statement from three past Department of Homeland Security secretaries, one Republican and two Democratic appointees:

Statement From Former Secretaries of Homeland Security Chertoff, Ridge, Napolitano, and Johnson on the January 6 Commission

Washington, DC — Former secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security Chertoff, Ridge, Napolitano, and Johnson have issued the following statement in advance of the upcoming Senate vote to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed on H.R. 3233, the National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act:

“As national security leaders who have dedicated ourselves to keeping our country safe, and have worked for Democratic and Republican Administrations, we call on the Senate to put politics aside and create a bipartisan, independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol. We must understand how the violent insurrection at the Capitol came together to ensure the peaceful transfer of power in our country is never so threatened again.”

The statement was organized by Protect Democracy.


Protect Democracy is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing American democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government.

Eric again: As you look at the world, authoritarian regimes are on the rise. Recently Benjamin Franklin's quote has gotten a lot of play, Which is this,
"Franklin was walking out of Independence Hall after the Constitutional
Convention in 1787, when someone shouted out, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?”

To which Franklin supposedly responded, with a rejoinder at once witty and ominous: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

The United States remains a young democracy, something to consider when you see political forces stressing the nature of our democracy. This includes how we vote, how we rule ourselves and the essence of America which has to do with decency, equality and fairness—traits not seen in authoritarian nations.
Eric Holdeman is a nationally known emergency manager. He has worked in emergency management at the federal, state and local government levels. Today he serves as the Director, Center for Regional Disaster Resilience (CRDR), which is part of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER). The focus for his work there is engaging the public and private sectors to work collaboratively on issues of common interest, regionally and cross jurisdictionally.
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