Three Women Will Lead The Office Of The Senate Sergeant At Arms, The First All-Female Leadership Team Since The Position Was Created In 1789
Washington, D.C. – Today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the new Senate Sergeant at Arms (SAA) leadership team with Karen Gibson serving as Sergeant at Arms, Kelly Fado as Deputy Sergeant at Arms and Jennifer Hemingway as Chief of Staff. The Senate Sergeant at Arms serves as the protocol and chief law enforcement officer and is the principal administrative manager for most support services in the Senate. This will also be the first time since the office was created in 1789 that the SAA leadership team will be comprised entirely of women.
“I am excited to announce the new and historic leadership team in the office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms,” said Leader Schumer. “Lieutenant General Karen Gibson, Kelly Fado and Jennifer Hemingway are all exceptionally qualified for this vital Senate office, which not only serves the institution but also the country. This will also be the first time in our nation’s long history that this office will be led by a team of women, and we know they will be successful in their tenure.”
Lieutenant General Karen Gibson, Sergeant at Arms:
Lieutenant General Karen Gibson retired in 2020, culminating her 33-year active duty military career in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for National Security Partnerships.
In the wake of the January 6th Insurrection, Ms. Gibson joined a six-week effort led by Lieutenant General (Retired) Russel Honore to identify actions or decisions that could be taken immediately to improve the near-term security of the Capitol and its members. As a career intelligence professional, Gibson examined the use of intelligence by security personnel to inform daily operations, force protection decisions, and contingency planning.
A seasoned combat veteran, Ms. Gibson has a depth of experience in the intelligence and cyber fields directly supporting U.S. national security objectives in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Africa, Korea, the Pacific, and across the Middle East. As Director of Intelligence for U.S. Central Command, she wielded National and Defense intelligence assets ranging from clandestine ground operatives to the most exquisite technical collection from space to support national security objectives and military operations in one of the world’s most complex operating environments.
Throughout her career, she worked closely with allies and foreign partners from many continents to develop partnerships that protected national interests while supporting mutual goals. Her deep background as an intelligence practitioner gives her unique insights into how best to employ data collection, integration, and analysis to solve thorny, real world problems. Ms. Gibson holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, a Master of Science in National Security Studies from the National Defense University, and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Georgetown University teaching Strategy, Policy, and Military Operations.
Ms. Gibson will work to improve the Senate’s security profile to ensure a safe and secure working environment for Senators, press, visitors, Capitol employees, and Senate staff, including staffers of color.
Kelly Fado, Deputy Sergeant at Arms:
Kelly Fado has spent over 25 years in the Senate, working on Senate Committees and as the Director of Operations for former Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. Hired by Senator Schumer in 2011 as the Director of Oversight for the Senate Rules Committee, she also planned and organized the 2013 Inauguration, became the Rules Committee Staff Director in 2014, and was appointed Democratic Liaison to the SAA when Senator Schumer became Democratic Leader.
As Deputy Sergeant at Arms, Ms. Fado will function as the chief operating officer, and work to modernize the services available to Senate offices and committees. She will continue Leader Schumer’s longstanding focus on enhancing ADA access to Senate buildings and services, increasing the diversity and inclusivity of Senate offices and operations, improving the efficiency of Senate operations, and expanding the training options available to Senate staff. Ms. Fado earned a B.A. in English and History from the University of California at Irvine.
Jennifer Hemingway, Chief of Staff:
Jennifer A. Hemingway became the Acting Sergeant at Arms of the United States Senate on January 7, 2021. Ms. Hemingway most recently served as Deputy Sergeant at Arms. During the 115th Congress, Ms. Hemingway served as Director of House Operations for Speaker Paul D. Ryan. Prior to joining the Office of the Speaker, she served for nine years on the professional staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, including as Staff Director. Ms. Hemingway served for eight years on the professional staff of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Early in her career, she served as Associate Director for Government Affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation and Chief of Staff to Congressman Joe Scarborough. As Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the BlueCross BlueShield Association, she gained private sector experience. Ms. Hemingway earned a B.S. in Economics and B.A. in Political Science from the University of Florida and an M.P.A. from The George Washington University.
Background on the Senate Sergeant at Arms:
The Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper, elected by the members, serves as the protocol and chief law enforcement officer and is the principal administrative manager for most support services in the United States Senate.
When the first Congress convened in 1789, the Office of Doorkeeper was established to address the single-most-pressing problem confronting the Senate at its birth—its inability to keep a majority of members in the Capitol long enough to organize and begin the business of government.
A doorkeeper was also necessary to control access to the Senate sessions, which were private for the first six years. Later, when the sessions were open to the public, the doorkeeper was responsible for maintaining order on the floor of the Senate and in the galleries. The title of Sergeant at Arms was added in 1798 to reflect the expanded administrative duties of the position.
Read more about the Senate Sergeant at Arms HERE.