‘Not a large problem’: The Pentagon investigation into extremism proves successful, but in a surprising way

Despite a vow from U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to weed “racists and extremists” from the United States military and a near-endless amount of rhetoric from Democrats, activists, and the media, the Department of Defense identified less than 100 confirmed cases of extremist activity among soldiers in 2021.

“The Pentagon’s most recent search for extremists within the ranks was just the latest failure to find evidence that the military is a breeding ground for violent radicals,” according to a new Fox News review.

While the December report from the Pentagon may have shocked Liberals, the news that the U.S. military is not, in fact, teeming with white supremacists came as no surprise to the more than 30 current and former service members who spoke to Fox.


Those interviewed ranged in rank from cadet to major and represented five branches of the military and a variety of political viewpoints. Their service records date back as far as 1980.

“I noticed zero extremism during my time in the military,” said Matthew Griffin, a former Army Ranger. “None. Didn’t witness it at all.”

A former command sergeant major pointed to the Pentagon’s inability to locate even 100 extremists among military members “is a success story and shows that extremism is not a large problem.”

According to many who spoke to Fox, the service actually works against extremism, as extreme ideologies are harmful to unit cohesion, which is crucial to combat effectiveness. Furthermore, the military is a natural melting pot, in which recruits are often exposed to new people with unfamiliar cultures.

“Even if you are kind of a piece of s–t, you have to be able to depend on the people with you or else you’ll die or get hurt real bad,” said retired Army Ranger Jariko Denman. “All of the kind of ignorance that leads to extremist behavior, it’s squashed because you’re immersed in all these other cultures, you’re immersed with all these other types of people.”

The push to find an extremist problem where none exists requires a lot of time and resources, and according to the service members, it will ultimately come at a price to combat readiness. But, although senior officers know this isn’t actually a widespread problem, they fear speaking up will lead to lost promotions, the service members said.

“I believe Austin and [Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark] Milley went along whole heartedly,” said former Green Beret Tyler Allcorn, noting Milley’s claim to Congress that he wanted to understand “white rage.”

According to Allcorn, who is running as a Republican for Congress in Colorado, senior officers won’t challenge their superiors because they “lack the moral courage to say, ‘Hey boss, that’s really stupid.”

Meanwhile, liberal activists and political pundits cite the “one bad apple” adage and point to the more than 150 people killed by a decorated veteran —  Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.

“The numbers might be small, but they are like a drop of cyanide in your drink,” Army criminal investigator Carter Smith told the New York Times in 2019.

And address it, the DoD did.

Should anyone in the military stumble across one of the elusive extremists, the DoD updated its guide to identifying and handling them to include forbidding service members from liking or sharing anything that is deemed “extremist content” on social media.

“If the American government is going to go and surveil the social media accounts of over two million military patriots and heroes for extremism, then I think they should also monitor the social media accounts of Joe Biden’s administration, Nancy Pelosi, and probably all the Democrats in Congress,” said Allcorn. “I guarantee you’re going to find more than a hundred extremists in that group.”

But in the military, insists the service members, extremism is unsustainable.

“If someone had that kind of behavior that they exhibited and acted on or something, they would not last,” explained a soldier who retired as sergeant major with Special Forces after serving for 27 years in the Army. “There’s so many checks and balances in the military that it’d really be hard to hide those kinds of feelings.”

In fact, according to Fox, not a single one of the service members it interviewed said, either on or off the record, that they witnessed extremism while they were in the military.

One Army veteran who did four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan stated, “Over three decades in the military, I never saw this as an issue.”

“I think the media is definitely exacerbating the issue,” stated Griffin. “They had their hypothesis that the military is full of extremists and they’re willing to go down on the ship just to state so.”


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