Secretary of the Army Togo D. West, Jr., today announced that his "Task Force
on Extremist Activity: Defending American Values" found no widespread or
organized extremist activity in the Army.
The task force, formed Dec. 12, 1995, did find that individuals or small,
informal groups of individuals hold extremist views. Allegations or suspicions
of widespread, concerted recruitment of soldiers for extremist causes, and
participation by soldiers in organized extremist activities, were not
"This tells us that the Army is composed of soldiers who reflect the American
belief that extremism is unacceptable in our society and in the Army. It also
recognizes the continuing challenge posed by even a minimal number of
individuals who hold extremist views which are contrary to good order and
discipline," Secretary West said.
The task force report addresses the assessment of extremism in the Army and
human relations climate. It includes a review of current policies and the
circumstances surrounding the Fayetteville homicides. Additionally, it
contains conclusions, recommendations, background and methodology.
Based on the overall findings, Secretary West directed the Army to take
immediate steps to improve its approach to extremist activities and its efforts
to provide a human relations environment that fosters teamwork, respect for
human dignity, and pride in oneself and the Army.
He directed that the Army:
· revise, strengthen and clarify the current regulation governing
involvement in extremist organizations;
· write and implement comprehensive regulations governing policies and
procedures for quality of life initiatives;
· make substantial changes to the current Army Equal Opportunity Program.
This program will be expanded to embrace all human relations issues, to
include, but not be limited to, the elimination of extremism in the Army.
Two of the actions will involve the Department of Defense. Secretary West
directed his staff to coordinate with the Under Secretary of Defense for
Personnel and Readiness, Edwin
Dorn, in a review of enlistment policies to see if there are ways to screen
applicants who participate in extremist organizations. Secretary West also
asked for Under Secretary Dorn's support in reviewing DoD's equal opportunity
and race relations training.
Secretary West created the task force after the murders of Michael James and
Jackie Burden on Dec. 7, 1995 in Fayetteville, N.C. Three soldiers assigned to
the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg have been charged with the murders.
The task force charter was to assess the influence of extremist groups in the
Army and examine the effect of those groups on the Army's human relations
The task force conducted interviews at 28 installations in 16 states, Germany
and Korea within a six-week period. More than 50 officers, noncommissioned
officers, and Army civilian employees assisted the task force members in this
effort. Less than one percent of the 7,638 interviewed reported that a soldier
or civilian employee was an active participant in an extremist group. Less
than one percent reported having any type of contact with extremist groups on
or near Army installations.
The Army Research Institute analyzed 17,080 surveys completed by Army
personnel. In the survey, 3.5 percent of the participants reported they have
been approached to join extremist organizations since joining the Army. Also,
7.1 percent reported they knew another soldier whom they believed to be a
member of an extremist organization.
The task force was led by Maj. Gen. Larry R. Jordan, Deputy Inspector General
and task force members included Karen S. Heath, Principal Deputy Assistant
Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs; John P. McLaurin III,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Military Personnel Management and
Equal Opportunity Policy; Brig. Gen. Daniel Doherty, Commanding General, U.S.
Army Criminal Investigation Command; and the Sergeant Major of the Army, Gene
Although the task force found minimal evidence of extremist activity in the
Army, it identified areas of concern.
· The Army regulation on participation in extremist organizations is
misunderstood and confusing to soldiers and junior leaders.
· Existing Army training programs and assessment tools do not adequately
· Gang-related activities appear to be more pervasive than extremist
activities on and near Army installations and are becoming a significant
security concern for many soldiers.
· Existing open installations combined with less regulated barracks
policies have degraded commanders' knowledge about soldiers' activities after
The efforts of the Task Force have given the Army a good idea of where it can
focus its efforts to improve the environment in which soldiers, civilians and
families work and live.
For further information contact Maj. Sharan Daniel, Master Sgt. Rebecca
Marcum, or 1st Sgt. Dawn Kilpatrick at 703-695-1717.