The Pentagon Restates Existing Policy With Clarifications For Service Members

Yesterday the Pentagon issue a “new” policy regarding extremism that in almost every way was a re-statement of its long-standing policies regarding service members participating in criminal gangs and extremist organizations and activities. When Secretary of Defense Austin ordered a top to bottom review of this policy, saying combatting extremism was going to be a focus of his tenure as secretary it was widely derided as someone looking for a problem where none really existed.

This review by Austin was prompted in some part by the so-called “Insurrection” at the Capitol that took place on January 6th after President Donald Trump was defeated by former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 general election. Of the more than 700 charged with offenses in connection with the riot at the Capitol on that day, not a single defendant has been charged so far under 18 U.S. Code § 2383, Rebellion or Insurrection. Critics point to this fact as proof that claims of a rebellion led by insurrectionists are just political hyperbole.

Democrats have called for the military to pursue and root out any extremism within its ranks as Congressman Anthony Brown(D-MD) stated during an NPR interview on Monday, “…one extremist in the ranks is just one too many.”

Republicans for their part tend to downplay the presence of extremism in ranks as all but non-existent.  Congressional hearings on extremism in the ranks were called just “political theater” by Congressman Patrick Fallon (R-Texas).