With the Biden administration, a new year starts with an old refrain. In December 2023, the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) released to the public its Defense Department-sponsored study on violent extremists in the military. The IDA analysis sheds little new light on what the Biden administration considers a significant problem –active duty, reserve, and veteran military members who want to engage in anti-American violence. Clearly, the White House and Pentagon are fixated on what they are convinced is a problem.
As was the case when Liberty Nation reported on this issue in May, the Department of Defense (DOD) struggles to come up with but a few individuals who meet the definition of violent “extremists.” Congress thought the search for violent extremists in the military so wasteful of taxpayer dollars that the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act concluded that “to combat exceptionally rare instances of extremism in the military is an inappropriate use of taxpayer funds and should be discontinued by the Department of Defense immediately.” Congress’ reaction was to the Biden administration’s knee-jerk response by directing the Pentagon to analyze just how many extremists there were in the military. Less than 100 was the study’s conclusion. Of a population of 2.1 million active-duty and reserve military, that is less than 0.005%, or one in every 21,000. You can see why Congress thought the DOD was on a fool’s errand.
Media Keeps Violent Extremists in the News
With the recently released IDA analysis, the subject is again in the news. To be fair, the IDA study was completed in June of 2022 but has only recently been made available to the public. Nonetheless, more progressive news outlets have published accounts of the study as if it were a current problem. For example, Will Carless, writing for USA Today, asserted in December: “Earlier this year, a USA Today investigation found that the military had little progress to show on its efforts to combat extremism and that many important initiatives appeared to be stalled or incomplete.” However, Carless went on to say that the initiative that was completed, the IDA study, took seven months to release – but it was made public.
Though the general press is enthusiastic to find a violent extremist in every nook and cranny of the Pentagon and military installation, studies do not support such a notion. With only a modest perusing of the 262-page IDA study, we find an analysis with the seminal conclusion:
“IDA’s review found no evidence that the number of violent extremists in the military is disproportionate to the number of violent extremists∗ in the United States as a whole, although there is some indication that the rate of participation by former service members is slightly higher and may be growing. IDA also found no evidence of violent extremist behavior by DOD civilians.”
The asterisk explains that a comparison between military and civilian participation rates for non-violent forms of extremism prohibited for the military are not banned for civilians. Finding that the incidents of violent extremism are proportional to the US population as a whole should come as satisfying news to the DOD woke extremists who want the military to mirror American society.
No Data to Support Assertions of Violent Extremists
Additionally, the IDA study found in existing DOD data “no information at all on extremist activity in the larger military community (including veterans, civilian employees, and contractors) and no basis for assessing whether levels of activity in this community are proportionate or disproportionate to levels of activity in the population as a whole.”
Americans want to be confident in their military members upholding the values and sense of service to the country that historically have been a hallmark of soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen, and Guardians. The constant drumbeat of accusations by the progressive left that the US armed forces are a hotbed of insurrection with violent extremists is demonstrably not true. It is a fabrication of those who project their own failings in not calling out the violent Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA thugs, arsonists, and criminals who burn down buildings. Look to those groups for violent extremists – you’ll find more.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.