Membership in a white nationalist group would not be enough to keep a man or a woman out of the military, a U.S. defense official told a House subcommittee.
A Military Times poll released earlier this month found that more than one-third of active duty service members and more than half of minority service members say they have witnessed white nationalism or “ideological-driven racism” in the service.
The poll surveyed 1,630 active-duty Military Times subscribers last fall on their views about political leaders, global threats and domestic policy priorities. It offers a troubling snapshot of troops’ exposure to extremist views while serving despite efforts from military leaders to promote diversity and respect for all races.
The 2019 survey found that 36 percent of troops who responded have seen evidence of white supremacist and racist ideologies in the military, a significant rise from the year before, when only 22 percent — about 1 in 5 — reported the same in the 2018 poll.
Rep. Jackie Speier said “I don’t think the military takes this threat seriously enough, has the tools it needs or dedicates sufficient resources to the threat.” Adding, “Our accessions and vetting enterprise lumps white supremacist activity in with gang affiliation rather than treat it as a national security issue on par with foreign terror.”