Jason Beardsley: Pentagon's 'extremism' blunder – this move could make US military even more political

在 2012, it amended DOD Instruction 1325.06, which outlines activities from which military personnel are prohibited.

The rule was reasonably clear before – it said active-duty personnel cannotactively advocate supremacist doctrine, ideology or causes, including those that advance, encourage or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, 信条, 颜色, 性别, 宗教, ethnicity or national origin…It also said 军事 personnel can’t actively participate in any groups that advocate this discrimination.


在 2012, DOD added the word “极端分子” into the rule. 自那时候起, military personnel have been prohibited from advocating “极端分子” doctrine or actively participating in groups that advocate “极端分子” doctrine.

A few weeks ago – nine years after the rule change – DOD admitted it has no idea what it meant to add the word “极端分子” into the rule. 在四月 9, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said officialswant better guidance about what extremist activity really is,” and that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin heard ahunger for more information and context about what we’re talking about here.


现在, DOD appears to be ready to take two new steps. The first is to defineextremism,” something DOD said it will do in the next version of the rule. 第二, we suspect, is to move closer to outright prohibiting military personnel from being members of “极端分子” groups – DOD appears to recognize how bad it would look to state this goal explicitly, so we expect word games that offer more confusing hints in this direction.

These steps are a mistake that would compound the error DOD made in 2012. Here are five reasons why definingextremismis another move in the wrong direction:

**Defining this term is not necessary. If the Biden administration is looking for a way to expel military personnel who participated in the Jan. 6 国会大厦暴动, it already has that authority. Members of the U.S. armed forces are banned from taking place in rallies in uniform and can’t engage in activities with a group that seeks todeprive individuals of their civil rightsif those activities aredetrimental to good order, discipline or mission accomplishment or are incompatible with military service.If a member of the military chucked rocks at the Capitol to pressure Congress to overturn the election, that service member is in trouble today.

A DOD definition ofextremismwill be a political definition, one that fits the Biden administration’s political point of view