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(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. David Intriago)

The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and other attacks have raised questions as to why current and former military members would associate with extremist movements. A RAND Corporation report, “Reducing the Risk of Extremist Activity in the U.S. Military,” outlines how the Defense Department can combat domestic extremism among service members.

  • Marek Posard, military sociologist at the RAND Corporation and report co-author, said it is essential to provide support to commanders so they can spot early signs of extremism in service members, who are often young and impressionable.
  • Posard said now is a good time to assess the effectiveness of various intervention measures, including routing individuals with questionable beliefs to counseling services and chaplains.
  • Determining a standard definition of extremism is challenging due to its volatile nature, and there is a difficult balance between service members’ rights and efforts to combat extremism, said Posard.

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