Military explosives arranged in the shape of a swastika. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Feb. 3 called for a stand-down to confront extremism in the services. (Screenshot from Twitter account @Jacobite_Edward)
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has called on the services to conduct a 60-day stand-down on the issue of extremism in the military, prompted by the Jan. 6 attack on the the Capitol and subsequent reports of both active-duty and former service members attending a rally calling to overturn the 2020 election and the riot that ensued.
Austin held a meeting Wednesday of the service secretaries and Joint Chiefs, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters, to ask them about their concerns, and ideas for improving the situation.
“Even though the numbers might be small, they may not be as small as we would like them to be, or we believe them to be, “Kirby said of the prevalence of troops with extremists views, ties or activities. “And that no matter what it is, it is not an insignificant problem.”
Military Times’ own polling has shown that, anecdotally, more than one-third of active-duty troops, and more than half of minority service members, have witnessed signs of white supremacy in their colleagues. Further, survey respondents ranked white nationalism as a bigger national security threat domestic terror groups affiliated with Islam, for instance.