It wasn’t enough to feminize the US military (China and Russia send their regards, we’re sure).
According to the Associated Press, the Pentagon is now warning that ‘extremism’ within the ranks is increasing – requiring ‘detailed new rules’ that prohibit service members from engaging in certain activities.
The announcement comes after senior defense officials tell AP that fewer than 100 military members are known to have been involved in ‘substantiated’ instances of extremist activity over the past year, but the number may grow – particularly among veterans.
In short: the Pentagon is clamping down over a potential threat.
The policy doesn’t necessarily change what is prohibited – but is “more of an effort to make sure troops are clear on what they can and can’t do,” particularly on social media.
The new policy lays out in detail the banned activities, which range from advocating terrorism or supporting the overthrow of the government to fundraising or rallying on behalf of an extremist group or “liking” or reposting extremist views on social media. The rules also specify that commanders must determine two things in order for someone to be held accountable: that the action was an extremist activity, as defined in the rules, and that the service member “actively participated” in that prohibited activity. -AP
Previous policies banned extremist activities but didn’t go into such great detail, and also did not specify the two step process to determine someone accountable. -AP
The changes come after a focus group concluded that service members wanted better definitions of what was not allowed. That said, the new rules don’t provide a list of allegedly extremist organizations – and instead leave it up to commanders to determine if a subordinate is actively conducting extremist activities based on the definitions. The new rules lay out six broad groups of ‘extremist activities,’ as well as 14 definitions that would constitute active participation.
The rules, said the officials, focus on behavior not ideology. So service members have whatever political, religious or other beliefs that they want, but their actions and behavior are governed.
In addition to the new rules, the Pentagon is expanding its screening for recruits to include a deeper look at potential extremist activities. Some activities may not totally prevent someone from joining the military, but require a closer look at the applicant. -AP
In a Monday message, Defense Secretary Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin said that the department believes that just a few service members are extremists, but that “even the actions of a few can have an outsized impact on unit cohesion, morale and readiness – and the physical harm some of these activities can engender can undermine the safety of our people.”
And of course, there’s a national security threat which goes hand in hand with extremist views, according to the report.