Rep. Pete Aguilar introduced the Shielding Our Military from Extremists Act legislation to help prevent white supremacists and other domestic extremists from enlisting in the US Military last Thursday, Feb. 18. The introduction of the bill follows the publication of a recent report by the Department of Defense (DoD), which was commissioned by language Aguilar previously secured in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2020. The report confirms that white supremacist organizations have actively worked to infiltrate the US military in recent years in order to gain combat and tactical training, identify new recruits and use the presence of active duty service members to bring recognition to their organizations.
“This report confirms that white supremacist extremists are attempting to use our military to acquire training, new recruits and validity for their hateful and violent causes. I’m introducing the Shielding Our Military from Extremists Act to codify the recommendations laid out by the Department of Defense so that we can prevent these extremists from putting our service members in harm’s way for their own gain. It’s clear that we need cooperation across our government to solve this problem, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress, the Department of Defense and the Biden Administration to get it done,” said Rep. Aguilar.
The Shielding Our Military from Extremists Act would help to prevent white supremacists and other extremists by codifying seven recommendations contained in the report. Those recommendations include:
- Continuance of DoD coordination with the FBI to use the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP) to evaluate questioning/concerning tattoos.
- Coordination with the FBI’s Cryptology and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU) to interpret tattoo meaning and significance where appropriate.
- Collaboration with the FBI to develop an unclassified version of the FBI’s Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism training.
- Collaboration with “pertinent government stakeholders” to develop a consistent definition of Domestic Extremist (DE) ideologies.
- Collaboration between the Office of the Under Secretary for Defense for Personnel and Readiness (OUSD(P&R)) and Office of the Under Secretary for Defense for Intelligence and Security (OUSD(D&I)) as a means to gain further insights into capabilities that will help DoD meet recruiting needs.
- OUSD(D&I) should engage in an interagency review of Standard Form 86 (Questionnaire for National Security Positions) to make questions on the form “more precise, easily understood and well-defined.”
- OUSD(I&S) and OUSD(P&R) should consider adding a designator to Defense Form 214 (discharge papers) due to DE.