Joe Biden’s Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, didn’t waste much time early in his tenure before ordering a “stand-down” across the entire U.S. Military to determine the extent of extremism such as white nationalism therein, and what possible steps could be taken in order to weed it out.

According to The Hill, Austin’s order was at least in part motivated by a large number of current and former members of the armed forces in the Capitol insurrection of January 6, 2021.

January 6 Capitol Riots via Flickr / Tyler Merbler

Even before the attacks on the Capitol, though, concerns of extremism in the ranks were growing.  An Army private admitted to joining a neo-Nazi group to “cause the deaths of as many of his fellow service members as possible,” for just one example.

Over a third of active-duty troops said that they had witnessed examples of white nationalism in the ranks first hand, according to a 2020 survey, with one expert noting recently “a higher percentage of extremists attempting to join the military.”

Via Twitter

After a group of 124 former former high ranking military officers referring to themselves as “Flag Officers 4 America” wrote an open letter back in May supporting the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump,three retired generals wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post citing the aforementioned letter as a reason why the current, active military needs to take steps to protect the country from another, similar, insurrection following the 2024 election.

The Hill notes that “If 124 gullible flag officers could be hoodwinked into believing the 2020 election was stolen, it is clearly grounds for alarm.”

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Christopher Powell