The Pentagon’s anti-extremism watchdog has published its first report, revealing that the US Army had more incidents of alleged racist behavior than any other branch of the military.
A Department of Defense Inspector General report that was published on Wednesday revealed 33 allegations of ‘racially motivated violent extremism’ within the Army, with a similar number, 30, in the Navy between January 1 and September 30 of this year.
The Marine Corps had seven instances while the Air Force reported zero but that branch of the military does not escape criticism – the report found ten allegations of its members attending the January 6th riot in Washington D.C. Air Force bosses lumped all its extremist incidents together, and reported 160 in total, including the unidentified members said to have rioted at the Capitol.
The highest number of racist incidents was in the Army with 34 incidents reported
The Air Force was also the only service to report ‘trespassing at the U.S. Capitol.’
When it came to instances of anti-government/anti-authority behavior, the Army documented 34 instances, 14 in the Navy and 25 from the Marine Corps.
Zero cases were reported by the Air Force but that is not to say they were free from racist and anti-government behavior.
The Air Force instead categorized all of its violent extremism cases, 102 in total, into a category entitled ‘domestic violence extremism participation.’
Anti-government extremism was also found to be much more common in the Marine Corps. No details on any of the incidents of extremism were shared, including the identities of those involved, what they did, and how they were disciplined.
The Air Force was the only service to report ‘trespassing at the U.S. Capitol’
This is the first year the Defense Department has set about cataloging and recording such extremist and racist behavior but it had been ordered to do so by Congress well in advance of the January 6 Capitol siege.
Hundreds of cases were reported in just the first nine months of this year, but the Inspector General found that the services struggled to collect their own data because there was no clear guidance from the defense secretary, Lloyd Austin’s office.
Austin has not given any clear guidance to the various services on the standard practices for reporting and tracking extremist activity and there also appears to be no centralized manner for cataloging such offenses and providing appropriate punishments.
From the cases reported including dozens of racially-motivated, anti-government or ‘domestic violence’ allegations across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, ten resulted in non-judicial punishments, one court martial, 31 received ‘administrative actions’ with a further 18 being dealt ‘unspecified punishments’.
The Marine Corps encountered 25 incidents while Navy had 14 reported
The Army requires all extremism investigations to be reported to Army Criminal Investigation Command but there appears to be a lack of parity across the separate branches.
The Navy track extremism court-martial proceedings centrally; the Marine Corps has also issued guidance for extremist behavior to be reported; and the Air Force is setting up a code for its legal case management system in order to clearly track allegations of extremism.
Each of the services have been working on a case by case basis, working with the FBI when necessary and deferring to the Justice Department if charges are brought.
The numbers of personnel involved has never been centrally tracked with the forces working with the FBI when allegations are made and deferring to the Justice Department when charges are brought.
The Air Force reported no racist incidents but revealed 10 members were at the January 6th siege (file photo pictured)
The FBI, meanwhile, has declined to provide specific numbers on members of the military it has investigated.
A new working definition of ‘extremism’ is also set to be provided to the forces and will be described in a report which had been due out in July but has been delayed.
‘The report is nearing completion,’ Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told Military Times in October, adding, ‘And it will, as we’ve talked about, it will include a new definition set of what extremist activity comprises.’
Until now there has never been an accurate was of recording such incidents. There also does not appear to a standard disciplinary procedure for those found to be participating in such acts. Members of the United States Marine Corps are pictured