“Extremist ideology threatens to compromise the unity and effectiveness of our Armed Forces, and in turn jeopardizes the national security of the United States.”
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) led a group of 14 Democratic senators in calling for the Department of Defense to investigate and address white supremacy and extremist ideology in the ranks of the military following the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week. Several of the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol have been identified as active duty servicemembers, reservists, retirees, and veterans.
“The issue of white supremacy and extremist ideology within the ranks of our military is not new, but the attack on the Capitol makes clear this alarming trend must be immediately addressed,” the senators wrote in a letter to Department of Defense Acting Inspector General Sean O’Donnell. “The spread of white supremacist ideology is dangerous for the military and threatens to rupture civil-military safeguards that our democracy requires.”
A 2020 poll found that approximately one-third of all active-duty respondents said they saw “signs of white supremacist or racist ideology in the ranks” and research shows that right-wing extremists deliberately target servicemembers and veterans to capitalize on their specialized experience. Noting this extreme vulnerability, the senators pressed the Department of Defense to “support servicemembers when they transition out of the military so that our active duty and veteran populations are less vulnerable to recruitment by extremist organizations, and more resilient in the face of misinformation and conspiracy theories – the perpetuation of which the FBI has deemed a domestic terrorism threat.”
The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Bob Casey (D-PA). The full text of the letter to available here.