An annual report on extremism in the American military has revealed a rise in suspected cases US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during a meeting last month at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. © Getty Images / Anna Moneymaker
Extremism in the ranks remains a troubling trend for the US military, as evidenced by the fact that 78 service members were suspected of being advocates for the overthrow of their own government, an annual Pentagon report has revealed.
The report, released this week, also showed that 44 service members were suspected of supporting or engaging in terrorism in the past year. Overall, the 183 allegations of extremism across all branches of America’s military marked a 25% increase from the previous year’s level.
In addition to cases in which service personnel allegedly advocated revolution or supported terrorism, the study documented cases of criminal gang activity, the promotion of widesp
Under Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s push to root out extremism in the military, the Pentagon issued new rules in December 2021 advising troops on banned activities, ranging from advocating terrorism to “liking” extremist views on social media. He also ordered stronger screening during the recruiting process and the creation of an investigative unit to identify potential extremists in the ranks.
The crackdown came at least partly in response to concerns raised by the January 2021 US Capitol riot, in which dozens of military veterans and a few active-duty troops took part in trying to disrupt congressional certification of Biden’s presidential election victory.
The Pentagon’s latest annual extremism review found that the US Army had the most alleged cases among all military branches, with allegations made against 130 soldiers. The Air Force had 29 cases, while the Navy and Marine Corps had ten each. More than 30% of the overall allegations were investigated and found to be unfounded or unsubstantiated.
Austin said in a February 2021 video message to troops that extremism had long been a concern in the US military. “What is new is the speed and the pervasiveness with which extremist ideology can spread today, thanks to social media and the aggressive, organized and emboldened attitude that many of these hate groups and their sympathizers are now applying to their recruitment and to their operations.” (RT)