Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate

Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the U.S. Senate
Michael C. Stenger.jpg
Incumbent
Michael C. Stenger

since April 16, 2018
AppointerElected by the Senate
Term lengthUntil a successor is chosen
Inaugural holderJames Mathers
Website[1]

The Sergeant at Arms of the Senate or originally known as the Doorkeeper of the Senate[1] from the First Congress until the Eighth Congress (April 7, 1789 – March 3, 1803) is the highest-ranking federal law enforcement officer in the Senate of the United States. One of the chief roles of the sergeant at arms is to hold the gavel used at every session.[2] The Sergeant at Arms can also compel the attendance of an absent senator when ordered to do so by the Senate.[1]

With the Architect of the Capitol and the House Sergeant at Arms, he serves on the Capitol Police Board, responsible for security around the building.

The Sergeant at Arms can, upon orders of the Senate, arrest and detain any person who violates Senate rules.[1] or is found in contempt of Congress.[3]

The sergeant at arms is also the executive officer for the Senate and provides senators with computers, equipment, and repair and security services.[1]

In March 2014, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that Terrance W. Gainer was planning on retiring as Senate Sergeant at Arms, and would be replaced by Senate Deputy Sergeant at Arms Andrew B. Willison.[4] On January 6, 2015, the Senate swore in the sergeant at arms for its current term, Frank J. Larkin,[5] who later retired in early 2018.[6]

On April 16, 2018, after Frank J. Larkin retired, Michael C. Stenger was nominated as the 41st Sergeant at Arms under Senate Resolution 465, put forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. This resolution was submitted in the Senate, considered, and agreed to without amendment by unanimous consent.[7]

Sergeant at Arms Terrance Gainer (right) escorting President Obama to his 2011 State of the Union Address

Staff and organization[edit]

The office of the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate has between 800 and 900 staff, of the approximately 4,300 working for the Senate overall. Its budget is on the order of $200 million per year. Top officials reporting to the sergeant at arms include a deputy; a chief of staff; assistant sergeant at arms for intelligence and protective services; a CIO; an operations chief; Capitol operations; a general counsel; two legislative liaisons; and a CFO.[8]

The main office of the sergeant at arms is in the Postal Square Building in Washington, D.C. The core computer operations are in that building, and the staff manage Internet and intranet connections to offices of senators both in the Capitol complex and back in their home states.[8][9]

List of the Sergeants at Arms of the Senate[edit]

Officer Tenure[1]
James Mathers April 7, 1789 – September 2, 1811
Mountjoy Bayly November 6, 1811 – December 9, 1833
John Shackford December 9, 1833 – August 16, 1837
Stephen Haight September 4, 1837 – January 12, 1841
Edward Dyer March 8, 1841 – September 16, 1845
Robert Beale December 9, 1845 – March 17, 1853
Dunning R. McNair March 17, 1853 – July 6, 1861
George T. Brown July 6, 1861 – March 22, 1869
John R. French March 22, 1869 – March 24, 1879
Richard J. Bright March 24, 1879 – December 18, 1883
William P. Canaday December 18, 1883 – June 30, 1890
Edward K. Valentine June 30, 1890 – August 7, 1893
Richard J. Bright August 8, 1893 – February 1, 1900
Daniel M. Ransdell February 1, 1900 – August 26, 1912
E. Livingston Cornelius December 10, 1912 – March 4, 1913
Charles P. Higgins March 13, 1913 – March 3, 1919
David S. Barry May 19, 1919 – February 7, 1933
Chesley W. Jurney March 9, 1933 – January 31, 1943
Wall Doxey February 1, 1943 – January 3, 1947
Edward F. McGinnis January 4, 1947 – January 2, 1949
Joseph C. Duke January 3, 1949 – January 2, 1953
Forest A. Harness January 3, 1953 – January 4, 1955
Joseph C. Duke January 5, 1955 – December 30, 1965
Robert G. Dunphy January 14, 1966 – June 30, 1972[10]
William H. Wannall July 1, 1972 – December 17, 1975
Frank "Nordy" Hoffmann December 18, 1975 – January 4, 1981
Howard S. Liebengood January 5, 1981 – September 12, 1983
Larry E. Smith September 13, 1983 – June 2, 1985
Ernest E. Garcia June 3, 1985 – January 5, 1987
Henry K. Giugni January 6, 1987 – December 31, 1990
Martha S. Pope January 3, 1991 – April 14, 1994
Robert Laurent Benoit April 15, 1994 – January 3, 1995
Howard O. Greene, Jr. January 4, 1995 – September 6, 1996
Gregory S. Casey September 6, 1996 – November 9, 1998
James W. Ziglar November 9, 1998 – August 2, 2001
Alfonso E. Lenhardt September 4, 2001 – March 16, 2003
William H. Pickle March 17, 2003 – January 4, 2007
Terrance W. Gainer January 4, 2007 – May 2, 2014
Andrew B. Willison May 5, 2014 – January 6, 2015
Frank J. Larkin January 6, 2015 – April 16, 2018
Michael C. Stenger April 16, 2018 – Present[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Sergeant at Arms". United States Senate. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  2. ^ "Office of the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper". United States Senate. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  3. ^ Wolfe, Jan (May 6, 2019). "Explainer: How hard-hitting are U.S. Congress subpoenas, contempt citations?". Reuters. Archived from the original on May 6, 2019. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  4. ^ Berman, Russell (March 20, 2014). "Senate sergeant at arms to retire". The Hill. Archived from the original on June 19, 2018.
  5. ^ "Frank J. Larkin". United States Senate. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  6. ^ Lesniewski, Niels (February 26, 2018). "Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Frank Larkin to Retire". Roll Call. Archived from the original on February 27, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  7. ^ a b Mitch, McConnell (April 16, 2018). "S.Res.465 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): A resolution electing Michael C. Stenger as Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate". Congress.gov. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  8. ^ a b Testimony of Frank J. Larkin, Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate to the Senate Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, Committee on Appropriations. March 1, 2016
  9. ^ Gantz, Stephen (March 8, 2010). "Senate sees exponential rise in computer attacks, might be time to rethink security posture, not just spend more to respond". Security Architecture. Archived from the original on October 6, 2019.
  10. ^ "Obituaries". The Washington Post. January 21, 2006. p. B05. Archived from the original on August 11, 2016.

External links[edit]