The US military wants to tackle racism and extremism in its ranks and announced its plans on Wednesday. Throughout the armed forces, regular activity will be halted once in the next 60 days to denounce the subject, but the Ministry of Defense is not sure how.
The decision to discontinue regular operations comes from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the first black American to serve as chief of the Pentagon. In his Senate hearing, Austin stressed that he wants to rid the military of “racists and extremists.”
The minister gave the order after a meeting with the commanders of the army units. They are under pressure to progress in tackling extremism after the Capitol attack on January 6 revealed several perpetrators to be military or former military.
However, the Pentagon has yet to decide how to deal with extremism and has not previously estimated the number of military personnel who have racist ideas around. The Defense Department has also not disclosed how many soldiers have ever been punished for extremism.
“We do not yet know how we are going to do this in a meaningful, productive and tangible way, and that is why we had this meeting today, and that is why the minister has ordered an end to the activities,” said a spokesman for the ministry of Defense.
Whether the communication implies concrete steps to be taken or whether it is merely a symbolic move is not clear. Nor is it clear whether the cessation of activities will last minutes or hours and what is expected of officers.