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Troops See White Nationalism As Bigger Threat To US Than Afghanistan And Iraq
With ISIS on the ropes after losing crucial strongholds in Mosul and Raqqa, U.S. service members are turning their attention to a domestic threat they see as more dangerous than the distant battlefields of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria: white nationalism in the ranks.
More than 30% of service members see white nationalism as a significant threat to national security, according to a Military Times poll of 1,131 troops between Sept. 7 and 25, weeks after violent clashes at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, launched the specter of extremism within the armed forces into the national spotlight. By comparison, only 27% said the same about Syria, 22% for Afghanistan, and 17% for Iraq — results that suggest a fighting force increasingly wary of domestic threats to good order and discipline.
Every branch of the military currently prohibits association with extremist organizations inconsistent with both the responsibilities of service and the principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. But in 2008, an FBI report found that “white supremacist leaders are making a concerted effort to recruit active-duty soldiers and recent combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” suggesting that most hardcore extremist groups “have some members with military experience, and those with military experience often hold positions of authority within the groups to which they belong.”
After revelations that several key leaders of the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that heightened tensions in Charlottesville were veterans (or engaged in such activity while on active duty), the Department of Defense has sought to tighten recruitment restrictions to filter out potential extremist elements. According to the Military Times poll, 60% of active-duty troops “would support activating the National Guard or reserves to handle civil unrest arising from white nationalist activities” like Charlottesville.
Most interestingly, the data suggests that the issue of white nationalism isn’t a question of racism or social justice shaped by a service member’s personal experience within the military: Yes, 42% of non-white troops said “they have personally experienced examples of white nationalism in the military” compared to just 18% of their white colleagues. But given that 76% of those polled identified themselves as white, the stark relationship between white nationalism and foreign war zones as perceived threats suggests that service members of all races and background are currently on watch for the scourge within their ranks not as a bastion of racism, but a threat to the U.S. armed forces’ mission.
"You're always concerned with what's right in front of you," a retired Air Force colonel told Military Times. "What you saw happen in Charlottesville is right in your face. It's here in the U.S., as opposed to Pakistan or Syria."
The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.
The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.
An F-15 is rocking a WWII paint job to honor a B-17 pilot who gave his life to save a wounded crewman
An F-15C Eagle is sporting a badass World War II-era paint job in honor of a fallen bomber pilot who gave everything to ensure his men survived a deadly battle.
A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.
Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.
Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.
After 70 years, service members are finally filing medical malpractice claims against the US military
Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.
Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.
It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.
Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.
A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.
Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.
With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.