Human Rights Advocates Urge Defense Secretary to Report Progress on Extremism in Military

WASHINGTON – Human Rights First today, leading a coalition of more than 35 organizations and individual experts representing veterans, military families, faith communities, racial justice advocates, civil and human rights advocates, researchers, and others, sent a letter urging Secretary of Defense Austin to report progress made by the Department of Defense (DoD) in confronting extremism impacting the military and veteran communities.

“We urge the DoD to continue the essential work you have begun in addressing white supremacy and other forms of extremism in the military – and to inform Congress and the American public about progress made towards fulfilling these critical commitments and recommendations,” said the letter calling for a report on DoD’s progress in confronting this threat. “As close observers in this field, we understand the urgency of this threat and the impact it has on servicemembers, veterans, and their families.”

The last time the DoD released a report from the Countering Extremist Activity Working Group that included recommendations and actions to address extremism was in April of 2021.

“Especially because violent extremists target military and veteran communities for recruitment, DoD must be transparent about their response to this insidious attack on military readiness and cohesion, as well as national security,” said Human Rights First CEO and U.S. Army veteran Michael Breen. “It’s time for the Defense Department to update the public on the implementation of their own report’s recommendations and plans to mitigate this dangerous threat to democracy.”


Published on September 13, 2023


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