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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Pentagon updates its rules on extremism in the military

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon on Monday issued new guidelines to combat extremism in the US military, warning that “liking” white nationalist and extremist content on social media and similar activities could result in disciplinary action. .

The guidelines come nearly a year after the Capitol attack on January 6, in which dozens of current and former service members took part, led to a reckoning at the Pentagon on extremism in the ranks.

The involvement of military personnel in the Capitol riots infuriated senior Pentagon officials so much that Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III ordered the completion of a 60-day “stand down” in April to address the issue. During that period, most units of the armed forces discussed why white supremacy and extremism had no place in the military.

In those conversations, a young service member said that for the first four months after joining his army unit, a flag representing right-wing extremist militia, called the Three Percentors, was on a wall in the foyer of his barracks. was hanging. A Black Marine described feeling sick when he saw the red and gold flag representing his service during the Capitol attack. A white brigadier general was privately concerned whether former President Donald J. Service members can get in trouble for supporting Trump.

After the stand down, Mr. Austin set up a working group to investigate how to better recruit and educate service members targeted by extremist organizations. The group then submitted recommendations, which Defense Department officials said they hope would help commanders better root out extremism.

Pentagon chief spokesman John F. Kirby said officials found about 100 service members involved in confirmed cases of extremist activity in the past year.

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In a memo to the department on Monday, Mr Austin said the Pentagon is updating its screening of recruits and will also look at how to prepare retirees who retire from being targeted by extremist organizations after leaving the military.

“The overwhelming majority of the men and women of the Defense Department serve this country with respect and integrity,” Austin said in the memo. “They honor the oath taken to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

He continued, “We believe that very few people violate this oath by participating in extremist activities, but the actions of even a few can have a huge impact on unit cohesion, morale and readiness.” and some of these activities may cause bodily harm. Undermine the security of our people.”

One of the most significant changes is the guidelines on the use of social media. Reposting or “liking” extremist content would be seen as advocacy for the content, Kirby said.

Still, he said the Defense Department would not scroll through Facebook accounts looking for trouble.

“There’s no method,” said Mr. Kirby. “The Department of Defense has no ability to monitor the individual social media accounts of each member of the Armed Forces.” Instead, he said, when problems emerge through “various streams of reporting,” commanders are expected to speak to their troops to determine whether further steps are needed. .

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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