The Department of Defense unveiled new guidance regarding the promotion of what it defines as political extremism in the ranks.
The rules, which the Pentagon announced on Monday, come nearly a year after some active and retired service members participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot while Congress sought to certify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Specifically, the Defense Department defined “extremist activities” as “advocating or engaging in unlawful force, unlawful violence” or advocating or engaging in violence to achieve political, religious, discriminatory, or ideological goals, according to the report. Service members are also not allowed to engage in or support terrorism or plots to overthrow the government.
“Liking something with the intent to promote or endorse an extremist activity would be violative of the policy,” a defense official told reporters.
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The policy also bars posting, liking, sharing, retweeting, or otherwise distributing content intended to promote or endorse extremist activities. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to answer a question at Monday's briefing about whether posting that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election would qualify.
Some Republicans have raised concerns that anti-extremism policies will be used against commonplace conservative views.
“It basically clarifies exactly that service members are responsible for the content that they publish on all personal and public internet domains, including social media sites, blogs, websites, and applications,” the official said.
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Part of the review, which Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin launched shortly after he took office last January, also looked at how many service members had engaged in such conduct, and it found that roughly 100 service members had in the last year.
Kirby did not go into specifics about what extremist activities those service members engaged in when asked during the briefing.