The Defense Department has issued new guidelines for service members to curb a supposed rise in “extremist activities,” according to reports.
Pentagon officials reportedly told The Associated Press on Monday that “fewer than 100 service members” of the 2.1 million in the ranks have been “involved in substantiated cases of extremist activity” over the last year.
The officials said that the rules don’t change much, but the new rules seem to be “far more specific about social media” and what activities are permitted in that domain.
From the AP:
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.
The military has long been aware of small numbers of white supremacists and other extremists among the troops. But Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other leaders launched a broader campaign to root out extremism in the force after it became clear that military veterans and some current service members were present at the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Without specifying what constitutes as “extremism,” the Pentagon lays out that troops may possess “extremist materials” and “observe extremist” rallies, but they can’t “distribute” or “participate” in them.
“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,” the AP reported.
This comes after several retired generals recently called for the military to prepare for an “insurrection” after the 2024 presidential election, claiming former President Trump will lose the race.
The military has been undergoing an ideological purge of its ranks following the January 6 Capitol protest, and partnered with a George Soros and Obama-linked tech startup to do it.
In fact, the Biden administration released a directive in June 2021 called the “National Strategy for Countering Domestic Extremism” claiming that questioning the 2020 election, supporting Trump, criticizing Black Lives Matter, or resisting mandatory COVID vaccines may lead to “white supremacist” violence.
Enduring DVE [Domestic Violent Extremist] motivations pertaining to biases against minority populations and perceived government overreach will almost certainly continue to drive DVE radicalization and mobilization to violence. Newer sociopolitical developments–such as narratives of fraud in the recent general election, the emboldening impact of the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol, conditions related to the COVID–19 pandemic, and conspiracy theories promoting violence–will almost certainly spur some DVEs to try to engage in violence this year.
Mike Berry, the Pentagon’s Counter-Extremism Working Group (CEWG) adviser, warned in June that the DoD would be expanding the law-enforcement definition of “extremism” to include any speech or ideology that counters the Left.
“Ironically, the CEWG has yet to define what it means by ‘extremism,’” he wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner. “Extremism is usually defined as the threat or use of violence to achieve an ideological agenda. But the Pentagon is now poised to expand upon that definition to include constitutionally protected speech. In other words, sticks and stones may break our bones, but words are the biggest threat.”
“The existing definition — which has been around for years and has developed really through a law enforcement perspective — it seems to be pretty adequate,” Berry added in a Breitbart interview. “It sufficiently captures what needs to be captured. And if they want to expand it, they’re really going to expand it to things that have been traditionally protected by the Constitution.”
To be clear, the Pentagon is overhauling its ranks on an ideological basis because approximately 100 members of its 2.1 million-strong troops – or about 0.00476% of its forces – allegedly engaged in “extremist activity,” which in today’s time could simply mean they attended a Trump rally or shared a controversial news article.