Politics|Pentagon Updates Its Rules connected Extremism successful the Military
“Liking” achromatic nationalist and extremist contented connected societal media could effect successful disciplinary action, Defense Department officials said.
Dec. 20, 2021, 5:41 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon connected Monday issued caller guidelines meant to basal retired extremism successful the U.S. military, informing that “liking” achromatic nationalist and extremist contented connected societal media and akin activities could effect successful disciplinary action.
The guidelines travel astir a twelvemonth aft the Capitol onslaught connected Jan. 6, which dozens of current and erstwhile work members attended, starring to a reckoning astatine the Pentagon implicit extremism successful the ranks.
The information of subject unit successful the Capitol riot distressed elder Pentagon officials truthful overmuch that Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III ordered a 60-day “stand down,” completed successful April, to code the issue. During that period, astir units successful the equipped forces discussed wherefore achromatic supremacy and extremism person nary spot successful the military.
In those conversations, 1 young work subordinate said that for the archetypal 4 months aft helium joined his Army unit, a flag representing the right-wing extremist militia called the Three Percenters hung connected a partition successful the foyer of his barracks. A Black Marine described feeling sick erstwhile helium saw the reddish and golden emblem that represents his work being flown during the Capitol attack. A achromatic brigadier wide disquieted privately astir whether work members could beryllium successful occupation for supporting erstwhile President Donald J. Trump.
After the basal down, Mr. Austin acceptable up a moving radical to analyse however to amended vet recruits and amended work members who whitethorn beryllium targeted by extremist organizations. The radical past submitted recommendations, which Defense Department officials said they hoped would alteration commanders to amended basal retired extremism.
John F. Kirby, the Pentagon’s main spokesman, said officials discovered that astir 100 work members were progressive successful substantiated cases of extremist enactment implicit the past year.
In a memo to the section connected Monday, Mr. Austin said the Pentagon was updating its screening of recruits and would besides look astatine however to hole troops who are retiring from being targeted by extremist organizations aft leaving the military.
“The overwhelming bulk of the men and women of the Department of Defense service this state with grant and integrity,” Mr. Austin said successful the memo. “They respect the oath they took to enactment and support the Constitution of the United States.”
He added, “We judge lone a precise fewer interruption this oath by participating successful extremist activities, but adjacent the actions of a fewer tin person an outsized interaction connected portion cohesion, morale and readiness, and the carnal harm immoderate of these activities tin engender tin undermine the information of our people.”
Guidelines connected societal media usage are among the astir important changes being enactment into place. Reposting oregon “liking” extremist contented volition beryllium viewed arsenic advocating the content, Mr. Kirby said.
Still, helium added that the Defense Department would not beryllium scrolling done Facebook accounts looking for trouble.
“There’s nary methodology successful there,” Mr. Kirby said. “There’s nary quality for the Department of Defense to show the idiosyncratic societal media accounts of each subordinate of the equipped forces.” Rather, helium said, erstwhile problems travel to airy done “various streams of reporting,” commanders would beryllium expected to speech to their troops to find whether further steps were needed.