There does not seem to be an excess of political extremists in the military, according to the Department of Defense-commissioned report that examined military extremism.
There were less than 100 substantiated occurrences per year of extremist activity by members of the military in recent years. This was the finding of the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA)-led research.
A growing concern among officials of the Biden administration is the infiltration of right-wing extremists and white supremacists into the military prompted the need for research. Most notably, the Capitol riot of J6 sparked concerns, leading to accusations and suspicions.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby characterized the matter as “vexing,” while Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called the “insurrection” a “wake-up call.”
The connection between right-wing extremism among the public and inside the military was not explained.
While researchers did find sexism and racism to be pervasive in the military, they did not uncover a higher concentration of violent extremists inside the military compared to the general population.
Kirby remarked that many people went to great lengths to conceal their opinions. He added that their purpose is not to silence dissenting voices. The inquiries would suggest otherwise.
Of the 700 federal cases with charges made public a year after the unrest, “less than 10” people were enlisted in the armed forces. There is no indication that military personnel were subjected to charges different from those of the general population.
According to the IDA study, which is based on over a hundred interviews with veterans and military officials, the Pentagon lacks consensus on what constitutes extremism.
Various terms, phrases, and concepts have been used by the “DOD” to define the prohibited behaviors and acts of extremists. As a result, the IDA group received feedback from military personnel at all ranks who were either unfamiliar with the terminology or puzzled about its present use.
Many on the right are looking forward to the rooting out of leftwing extremism in the military, but no one is holding their breath.