The White House has forfeited an opportunity to specifically address the very real and dangerous issue of extremism in the military.
Its Statement of Administrative Policy on the FY 2024 NDAA only broadly refers to DEIA provisions, a critical need within our military to be sure and one that should be fully funded, but doesn’t explicitly condemn provisions eliminating the countering extremism working group (598) formed by Secretary Austin in 2021 or advisory committees to address ‘social’ aspects including race, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation (1046). Given the rise of violent far-right extremist and mass casualty events just in the last few years and the abundance of data showing military members’ disproportionate involvement in these events, it is incumbent upon the Administration to lead on this issue and address it head on, especially since it’s clear that Congress will not.
Counteracting extremism in the military protects our troops and our veterans from potential radicalization and recruitment, and protects those who have been targeted for bigotry and violence within the ranks. The vast majority of our dedicated troops have no involvement with extremism of any kind, and acknowledging that some do is not a failure, but a strength, which helps ensure our military readiness and our national security and we encourage President Biden to specifically and forcefully speak out.