Troops fear SecDef Austin’s stand-down will single out one form of extremism, ignore others

Susan Katz Keating
Just the News

February 10, 2021

The pending military stand-down to address “extremism in the ranks” may bring results that go beyond what Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expected to achieve, according to active duty service members who are scheduled to attend the mandatory sessions.

Austin on Friday ordered all uniformed and civilian leaders in the Defense Department to set aside a day soon to discuss “impermissible behaviors” related to extremism.

“Service members, DOD civilian employees, and all those who support our mission, deserve an environment free of discrimination, hate, and harassment,” Austin wrote in the Feb. 5 memo. “It is incumbent upon each of us to ensure that actions associated with these corrosive behaviors are prevented.”

Several military personnel who spoke to Just the News said they question whether the mandatory events will focus on politically expedient discussions singling out expansively defined right-wing extremism, while neglecting violent extremism rooted in other political or religious ideologies.

“Is this just the same narrow focus they had to walk back last fall?” one enlisted service member said, referencing a controversial incident from 2020. 

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