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A retired Army Ranger mentioned the army was a melting pot that already stamped out racist tendencies even earlier than the Pentagon began launching initiatives.
The Department of Defense below Secretary Lloyd Austin has taken a number of steps aimed toward eliminating extremism from the service and increasing fairness. But extremism and racism aren’t points inside the ranks, since such beliefs are incompatible with unit cohesion – a essential factor for fight victory, the previous Ranger, Jariko Denman, instructed Fox News.
“You as an individual are not important,” he mentioned. “The mission is important, and your teammates are important.”
“You always put your teammate before yourself,” Denman, who served 20 years within the Army, added.
Most not too long ago, the Pentagon launched its “Equity Action Plan,” which goals to “establish a holistic strategy for continuing to cultivate enduring and equitable change.” It was a part of the Pentagon’s evaluation “to identify potential barriers that underserved communities and individuals face,” the report mentioned.
The plan outlines actions the division will take, resembling searching for “new investments in underserved communities around military bases and installations” and driving “towards more equitable outcomes for students of color, students with disabilities, and other underserved students in DoD schools.”
“While the Department has historically focused on increasing equity within the DoD community, the collective actions described in this plan represent a shift in the Department’s approach and focus to better ensure that we leverage our capabilities to create opportunities for all Americans,” the report mentioned.
The plan additionally features a “summary of accomplishments,” which notes how Austin final 12 months issued a one-day stand down order “for discussion of the principle that all those who support DoD’s mission deserve an environment free of discrimination, hate, and harassment.”
A 2017 Military Times survey discovered that almost one-quarter of troops polled mentioned they witnessed White nationalism inside the ranks. The publication reported comparable ends in subsequent polls.
Denman mentioned racism and different types of bigotry is most frequently seen amongst new recruits who haven’t been beforehand uncovered to a various inhabitants. But these preconceived notions disappear quickly after becoming a member of the army’s melting pot, the retired Ranger mentioned.
“People come from all walks of life to come to the military,” Denman, who retired in 2017, instructed Fox News. “People that came in with some of those views – they were racist, they were sexist, they were homophobic – it didn’t take long for them to lose it.”
“All of the kind of ignorance that leads to extremist behavior, it’s squashed because you’re immersed in all these other cultures,” Denman added. “You’re immersed with all these other types of people.”
Austin’s stand down order additionally “included a focus on how extremist or dissident ideologies violate the fundamental principles of the Department,” the fairness plan mentioned.
“The overwhelming majority of those who serve in uniform and their civilian colleagues do so with great honor and integrity, upholding our core military values and oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution,” Maj. Charlie Dietz, a Pentagon spokesman, instructed Fox News. “However, we owe all of our people an environment free from prohibited extremist activities, and we owe our country a military that reflects the founding values of our democracy.”
More than 30 present and former service members, together with Denman, mentioned they’d by no means witnessed extremism among the many ranks, Fox News reported in a earlier investigation. The Pentagon and out of doors teams have repeatedly failed to supply proof that the army is a breeding floor for violent radicals, Fox News discovered.
“Seeing all these people of all walks of life, different races, different creeds, different sexual orientations, all this, doing great things together and then to have our government come in and say ‘the military has an extremism problem,’ it’s a slap in the face,” Denman, who got here from a army household, mentioned.
The Defense Department recognized lower than 100 cases of confirmed extremist exercise in 2021, the Pentagon reported in December. It didn’t present a exact determine or determine any particular cases.
“While we know that case rates of prohibited extremist activities per military service have been in the low double digits over the past several years, we believe that we can always do better,” Dietz mentioned. “Our service members are worth it. And, good order and discipline demand it.”
In response to the Pentagon’s discovering and the stand down order, the service members instructed Fox News that dedicating time to rooting out extremism might hurt fight readiness.
“For us to be focusing organizational energy within the military on problems that don’t exist is worrisome,” Denman mentioned.