The Pentagon is looking at how extremist groups are recruiting new members to the military, making particularly “aggressive” efforts to attract members who want to leave the service.
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“Some of these groups are very organized. Veterans will soon be recruited very aggressively,” Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said at a news conference on Monday.
Rooting the radicalization of the military has been a top priority for defense officials, especially after the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol. The FBI has since arrested dozens of suspects, some of whom were working for law enforcement or former military personnel at the time.
Officials believe that extreme ideology and advanced military training have encouraged former members of the military to pledge their support for right-wing groups.
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Kirby reminded military officials to “spend some time” and remind their troops of the oath they took to protect the nation’s constitution and dismissed “behavior instigated and inspired by such ideologies.” His remarks echoed the mood of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who officially gave military leaders 60 days to hold talks with their subordinates.
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Kirby said some members of the military may be encouraged to “take the oath again,” adding that the military “should look at how to educate potential recruits before signing the dashed line.”