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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 145-96
March 21, 1996

STATEMENT BY DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM J. PERRY REGARDING ARMY'S TASK FORCE ON EXTREMIST ACTIVITIES REPORT

Defending American Values, the report of the Secretary of the Army's Task Force on Extremist Activities, concludes that "there is minimal evidence of extremist activity in the Army."

Reviews by the other services reach the same conclusion. However, Department of Defense policy leaves no room for racist and extremist activities in the military. We must--and we will--make every effort to erase bigotry, racism and extremism from the military. Extremist activity compromises fairness, good order and discipline, and, potentially, combat effectiveness. The armed forces, which defend the nation and its values, must exemplify those values beyond question.

Secretary West has directed the Army to take actions to root out extremist activity. I have asked the Defense Equal Opportunity Council, which is chaired by Deputy Secretary White and includes the service secretaries, to review the report and its recommendations to determine if changes are necessary in Department of Defense policies and regulations. I will act quickly on the Council's recommendations.