Pentagon orders ‘stand down’ throughout navy to research extremism within the ranks

President Biden’s newly appointed Pentagon chief Wednesday issued a “stand down” for the following 60 days, ordering navy leaders to spend time speaking to troops in an effort to weed out extremism of their ranks, after it got here to mild that a lot of former and present navy members participated within the riot on the U.S. Capitol final month.

Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a Division of Protection-wide “stand down” to debate the issue of extremism within the ranks, Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby mentioned in a assertion. The “stand down” will happen over the following 60 days, Kirby mentioned, permitting that “every service, every command and every unit can take the outing to have these wanted discussions with the women and men of the drive.” Coaching supplies will likely be developed and despatched out to items to allow them to have discussions in regards to the subject.


Austin, alongside Military Gen. Mark A, Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees, has met with service civilian leaders and repair chiefs to debate the issue of extremism. Whereas extremism has been an issue within the navy prior to now, Kirby advised reporters on the Pentagon that the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol, which left 5 folks lifeless, was a “wake-up name” for navy leaders.

He mentioned Austin desires to get a greater deal with on the breadth of the issue.

Acknowledging a number of the extremists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 have been lively obligation service members and others have been navy veterans, Kirby maintained that “the overwhelming majority of women and men who serve in uniform and the navy are doing so with honor, integrity and character, and don’t espouse the kinds of beliefs that result in the sort of conduct that may be so detrimental to good order and self-discipline and actually is felony.”

Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin visits Nationwide Guard troops deployed on the U.S. Capitol and its perimeter, Friday, Jan. 29, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Picture/Manuel Balce Ceneta, Pool)

In a gathering with navy leaders, Austin mentioned that whereas the numbers could also be small, they don’t seem to be as small as anybody would love. And Kirby additionally advised reporters on the Pentagon that, “It doesn’t matter what it’s, it’s … not an insignificant downside and must be addressed.” Austin continues to be mulling over how he desires to arrange the hassle to assault the issue from an institutional perspective, probably with a activity drive.

Biden declared home extremism an pressing nationwide safety menace within the wake of the riot. The gang that breached the constructing as lawmakers have been making ready to certify his election was overwhelmingly White and included members of far-right teams, the Related Press reported.


The Nationwide Guard deployed about 26,000 troops to Washington to assist safe the Jan. 20 inauguration and is retaining between 5,000 to 7,000 troops within the metropolis till mid-March on the request of federal legislation enforcement businesses. The Division of Homeland Safety has issued a terrorism bulletin warning about attainable extra violence.

On the similar time, a dozen members of the Nationwide Guard have been both despatched house or not allowed to deploy to Washington as a result of the FBI flagged an issue, together with potential ties to extremist teams.

Rooting out extremism throughout the ranks – very similar to efforts to dispose of racism and violence towards ladies – is tough. Kirby mentioned a part of the issue is defining extremism. Service members could maintain no matter political or different beliefs they need, however they’re held to a lot stricter requirements on actions they’re allowed to take.

Beneath the Code of Navy Justice, service members cannot actively advocate for extremist, supremacist or felony gang doctrine, ideology or causes, or take part in any means. That would come with quite a lot of issues, akin to fundraising, organizing, coaching, distributing supplies or having tattoos or carrying clothes related to such organizations.


Stand downs will not be unusual within the drive. They usually final a day or extra and often contain conferences between commanders and their items a few particular topic. Typically navy providers order security stand downs when numerous plane or ships are grounded, and troops go over working and security pointers. In different circumstances, they can be utilized to handle points akin to sexual assault or suicides.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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