Members of white nationalist groups can join US military, official says
Membership in extremist group won’t keep recruits out of US military, defense official tells congressional subcommittee.by Marcy Oster, JTA
Membership in a white nationalist group would not be enough to keep a man or a woman out of the military, a US defense official told a House subcommittee.
Robert Grabosky, deputy director of Law Enforcement at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, told the Armed Services subcommittee at a hearing Tuesday that membership in a white nationalist group “is not prohibited,” but “active participation” in the group could lead to an administrative discharge at a commander’s discretion, Military.com reported.
Active participation is defined as fundraising, rallying, recruiting and organizing.
A Military Times poll released earlier this month found that more than one-third of active duty service members and more than half of minority service members say they have witnessed white nationalism or “ideological-driven racism” in the service.
At the hearing, subcommittee members suggested that military reporting and punishment policies regarding white nationalism and extremism should be updated to reflect a resurgence of domestic terrorism in the United States, Connectingvets.com reported.
Military recruiters use background checks, fingerprint scans and tattoo identification to screen potential recruits for participation in extremist groups. Subcommittee members said that the military should monitor social media to identify dangerous extremists in an effort to keep them out of the military, according to the report.
“I don’t think the military takes this threat seriously enough, has the tools it needs or dedicates sufficient resources to the threat,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif. “Our accessions and vetting enterprise lumps white supremacist activity in with gang affiliation rather than treat it as a national security issue on par with foreign terror.”