BY NAVEED JAMALI AND TOM O’CONNOR ON 2/8/21
The U.S. Navy is pushing to purge its ranks of extremist ideologies and diversify its ranks, according to a new official report.
Released less than a month after the deadly Capitol riot showcased problematic ties between largely white anti-government groups and former members of the military, the report contains dozens of recommendations for attracting people of color as recruits, and to make them feel more welcome and accepted when they serve.
Roughly 20% of the people arrested for their involvement in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol were military veterans. Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral John Nowell, Jr., who helped author the Navy Task Force One report, said the Navy is taking a zero-tolerance approach to those harboring radical beliefs, which he said go against the culture of equality the service seeks to foster.
“The Navy does not and will not tolerate supremacist or extremist conduct,” Nowell told Newsweek. “Discrimination of any kind, for any reason, goes against the Navy’s core values and will not be tolerated. Sailors participating in supremacist or extremist activities are acting in direct contradiction to the professionalism standards we expect Sailors to follow.”
Any individuals found to be in violation of these principles upon investigation “will be held accountable,” he said.
In an effort to shore up the internal war on domestic extremism, the Navy’s Task Force One issued 56 recommendations as part of a 142-page report released last week. The goal, according to the authors, was to “analyze and evaluate issues in our society and military that detract from Navy readiness, such as racism, sexism and other structural and interpersonal biases.”
The intent was to then implement reforms based on the findings.
As Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the first Black Pentagon chief, institutes a 60-day standdown to address the insider threat of extremism throughout the armed services, former personnel say these changes are both badly needed and long overdue.