April 14, 2021
The Biden administration is on the offensive against extremism. However, it is having trouble defining the term.
The newly installed defense secretary, Lloyd Austin, has signed a memo ordering several “immediate actions,” including military-wide “stand downs,” to weed out “extremism” in the ranks of the military. Actions also included a review of and update to the DoD’s definition of extremism and a review and standardization of the screening questionnaire — “[t]o solicit specific information about current or previous extremist behavior, and to clarify that any demonstrably false answers provided in response could form the basis for punitive action for fraudulent enlistment.” Defense officials said the Pentagon is reversing Trump-era policies that banned transgender people from serving in the military. The Pentagon will also issue new rules that will broaden transgender people’s access to medical care and cosmetic surgery to imitate members of the opposite sex. Opposition to these policies may be considered extremist.
Democrats are also calling for the vetting of National Guard members. D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser said, “When you have Guardsmen and women coming from all over the nation at this time, I do think that it is prudent to make sure that they are being vetted and that anybody who cannot pledge allegiance to their missions, and may be pulled by other views, needs not only to be removed from this duty, they need to be removed from the Guard.” Rep. Steve Cohen claimed, “The guard is 90-some-odd-percent male … only about 20 percent of white males voted for Biden. You’ve got to figure that in the Guard, which is predominantly more conservative — I see that on my social media, and we know it. They’re probably not more than 25 percent of the people that are there protecting us who voted for Biden. The other 75 percent are in the class, the large class of folks, who might want to do something.” The Associated Press tweeted, “Defense officials tell AP they fear possible inside attack at inauguration and are having National Guard troops in DC vetted.”