WASHINGTON (WAVY) – Congresswoman Elaine Luria announced on Sunday she has joined a bipartisan effort demanding the immediate review of Department of Defense policies regarding “extremist and white supremacist ideology.”
In a letter to DoD Secretary Mark Esper, Luria and her colleagues say that a review of existing active-duty personnel policy regarding these practices is necessary to safeguard the American people and U.S. service members.
“White supremacist ideology and extremist behavior have no place in the U.S. military and undermines the critical mission of our armed forces,” said Luria. “Secretary Esper has a duty to our troops and our national security interests to immediately review DoD policy and take specific and effective steps to ensure that extremist ideology and behavior is prohibited among active-duty personnel.”
The letter urges answers to the following:
- Are servicemembers prohibited from membership in an organization that espouses an ideology or doctrine covered as prohibited activities under current DoD policy (DODI 1325.06)? If not, is it the position of the Department of Defense that it is acceptable for a service member to be a member of an extremist or white supremacist organization?
- How does the Department currently track incidents of active participation (as defined in DODI 1325.06) in prohibited activities undertaken by servicemembers?
- How does the Department define “supremacist” and “extremist” as referenced in DODI 1325.06? Are white supremacist groups covered by such terms?
- What is the current policy for servicemembers who admit or are found to actively participate in extremist or white supremacist groups? Are they administratively separated? Are they subject to Non-Judicial Punishment? Is any action subject to the discretion of the commanding officer (i.e., not mandated or required)?
- Was the Air Force aware that Staff Sergeant Carrillo was sympathetic to or an adherent to Boogaloo ideology?
- What resources are devoted to addressing violations of DODI 1325.06? Are military criminal investigative organizations employed to investigate violations of this policy?
- How does the Department assess potential recruits for membership in or affinity for white supremacist or extremist ideology?
- Does Department policy allow former members of such groups, or those that have shown sympathies with supremacist or extremist ideologies, to join the Armed Forces? Are recruiters trained to recognize potential warning signs in prospective recruits?
- What training does the Department provide to servicemembers to increase awareness about extremist or white supremacist attempts to recruit them? Do they receive counterintelligence training regarding extremist or white supremacist organizations?
- Provide an update on the status on the implementation of Sec. 593 of the FY2020 NDAA on the incorporation of questions regarding extremism in surveys administered by the Department of Defense, to include which surveys were modified, the questions that were added, any preliminary data that has been collected, and how these surveys are being used to assess the prevalence of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, white supremacy and other forms of bigotry.
See the full letter here.