Transcript

Background Briefing on the Countering Extremist Activity Working Group Report and Next Steps

Dec. 20, 2021

STAFF: We're going to dive right in here. I just wanted to -- just a couple of ground rules at first. It's a background conversation. These are senior defense officials. I'll go through who they are. And then, of course, we'll redact the names and titles from the transcript that we post.

But just so you know who you're talking to, we've got [Defense Official 3], [REDACTED]. We have [Defense Official 1], [REDACTED]. [Defense Official 2], [REDACTED]. And [Defense Official 4], [REDACTED].

I think, [Defense Official 1], you've got a couple of opening comments just to kind of kick it off and then we'll get right to questions. We'd like to have this wrapped up in about half an hour if possible. And we know you guys have lots of questions. So I'm going to turn it over to our senior defense official 1.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: Okay. Again, with the time that we have I'll try to keep my comments brief to give you an opportunity to ask your question.

 We wanted to announce to you that this afternoon the department will be rolling out a culmination of several months of work as it pertains to countering extremist activity within the Department of Defense. And we'll be primarily rolling out three products. The first will be a memo from the Secretary to the force that will announce the final report from the Countering Extremist Activity Working Group. That report details the actions that we've taken in compliance with his original 9 April memorandum. And it also makes several recommendations which he has enacting in that memo moving forward.

And then we are also releasing the revised instruction, DOD Instruction 1325.06, which my colleague [Defense Official 2] can speak to in greater detail too. And we wanted to make sure that we provide an opportunity to answer any questions you may have on those products. I can go into a little bit of detail about what we did on the initial actions and the additional recommendations, if that would be helpful.

As some of you may recall, the original memorandum from April directed four immediate actions all of which are now complete. The first one, was review and update, the instruction to clarify prohibited extremist activity for both service members and commanders. And [Defense Official 2] will talk to that in greater detail. We were also directed to update the service member transition checklist to help veterans guard against recruitment by extremist groups during transition from the military. We have updated our transition assistance program assistance courses and we have provided additional information on recruitment activities by extremist organizations and then information on how to contact their local law enforcement or the FBI tip line, if they would like to report any contact therein.

We've also reviewed and updated some of our recruiting screening questionnaires to standardize information and processes across the military services, and to clarify that providing false information could provide the basis of dismissal later on. And last but not least, we did commission a study to gain greater fidelity on the scope of extremist activity across the force. The working group itself really represented a Tiger Team to focus on this issue within the department, but we want to make sure that we afford ourselves the experience and expertise of outside forces in this process. And so that -- that work is ongoing by the Institute for Defense Analysis and we expect their information later on this summer.

In addition to those actions that we accomplished over the last few months, the Countering Extremist Activity Working Group made a series of additional recommendations which really focused on enhancing some of our existing capabilities, standardization, increased training and education, reviewing our contractor and our civilian policies, and bringing them in alignment as close as we can to the instruction that we're announcing today. And then enhancing our Insider Threat Program, particularly the analysis and response capabilities, to better augment the department and its response to this issue, but particularly to help unit leaders on the ground.

STAFF: Okay, thank you. We'll go ahead and start with questions.

The last thing I didn't say at the outset was that the comments today are embargoed until the end of our discussion today and then you guys are free to go.

So with that, we'll go to questions. Meghann Myers, you first.

Q: All right, so this definition doesn't have anything about, obviously, groups or group membership, so that part is still allowed under the new DODI. Can you guys explain, you know, just for the record why lists of groups are not included in this and it is very limited to actions rather than passive memberships?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: Hi, Meghann. This is [Defense Official 2].

So the Military Justice and Policy Subcommittee that looked at this issue wanted to push forward with the same standard that we had in our previous iterations of this policy, which is that active participation. So it was really important to us that we preserve First Amendment rights to the extent that we could and that we focus on an individual’s action regardless of whether they did that on their own or as part of an organization.

So we did focus again on that active participation, and we did not think as we listed out all the categories of active participation that we needed to focus on membership, on particular entities. And if you -- once you have an opportunity to review the policy you'll see that any way that someone could sort of actively become a member of an extremist organization, we’ve accounted for those. So we don't think that there is a way for someone to be a member of an extremist organization in any meaningful way. Does that answer your question?

Q: It does. Thank you.

And was there any consideration to sort of the political/partisan nature of some of these groups and trying to keep that out of this instruction by not listing them?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: Absolutely. We were very conscious of not focusing on any particular ideology or any political organization, focusing exclusively on actions.

Q: Great. Thank you.

STAFF: Okay. Bryan Bender, Politico?

Q: Hey there. Thanks for doing this. Two questions if I might.

One, it sounds like the working group is not going to put out any numbers or any estimates of how many troops may or may not be connected to interacting with et cetera extremist groups. If that's true, why is that? And the reason why I ask is because, you know, about a year ago or eight, nine months ago you guys were all saying that, well, we don't really know how much this might be a problem in the ranks. In other words, the extent of extremist views and/or activities. And so, did you try to get a handle on the extent of the problem or is that something that you didn't do?

And then the second question is what about social media? Can you talk about whether there are new rules or vetting (inaudible) to see whether troops are interacting with some of these groups online, which is obviously the main way of recruiting these days?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: Sure. This is [Defense Official 1]. I can speak to the data piece and then hand it off to my colleague on the social media piece.

You will see in the report there is a section that covers data, and really we -- the working group took a hard look at this in terms of looking at what data we had internally and then also looking at what data was available externally.

And really we focused on DOD IG case management system, the Military Criminal Investigative Organization systems, the Military Justice systems, and the (inaudible) systems as some of the primary means by which these events or incidences are reported.

And what we acknowledged in the report is that while our ability to track those cases has improved since 2018 with the introduction of systems for flagging or coding cases that has that element, those systems have come online at different points over the last several years.

So it makes it a bit challenging to compare data against one year to another, but from what we could look at in terms of our data and juxtaposing that against external data we feel comfortable in saying that case rates per military service were in the low double-digits over the last several years, culminating in about 100 cases in 2021, which represents we believe an increase. Now whether that is an increase because our data fidelity has gotten better or whether it's an increase overall is something that we'll have to look at closely in years to come as data fidelity improves.

But certainly looking at case rates of domestic violent extremism across the country as a whole could be a precursor to what we may be experiencing or could experience in the military.

And then as it pertains to the social media piece, the policy that we are rolling out today does provide greater clarification on left and right limits, if you will, of expectations for social media engagement, and [Defense Official 2] can talk to that in greater detail.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: Well, we went from having absolutely no policy on social media rules to actually incorporating policies on social media rules in the new DODI 1325.06. So it basically clarifies, as [Defense Official 1] was just saying, that service members are responsible for the content that they publish on all personal and public internet domains, including social media sites, blog websites, and applications.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: And I think just to round off that question we'll hand it off to our colleague, [Defense Official 4], who can speak to how that information is actually looked at. [Defense Official 4]?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 4: Sure. Thank you.

So as you all may already be aware, the department have been pursuing for quite some time the context of background investigation the ability to screen publicly available electronic information.

So the review of publicly available electronic information, or PAEI as we call it because it's quite a mouthful, includes social media within appropriate limits and is authorized in law and federal policy. The DNI is the security executive agent of the government and in a secure executive agent (inaudible) as applied. It talks about -- which is online. You can look for it.

It talks about the -- you know, the purposes for conducting background investigations. That is where we review publicly available electronic information. And it's in that context it is one data source that we could use to assess the adjudicative guidelines where appropriate.

So that is something that the department has (inaudible) for quite some time, and we (inaudible).

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: And this is [Defense Official 1].

If just may add, I think just important to note is that, you know, the department's not actively screening, you know, accounts or social media feeds of service members, but as an incident comes to light and as authorities are looking at the context of that case, then that social media information could be one point among many that would be taken into consideration.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 4: Thank you, [Defense Official 1]. That's a really good clarification point.

STAFF: Okay. Tom Bowman.

Q: Yes, thanks for doing this.

I want to get back to membership. You say you don't want to restrict First Amendment rights. But if you're in the military your First Amendment rights are restricted already. You can't make disparaging comments against a senior officer or a commander in chief, Secretary of Defense, first of all.

And also you said to be -- I guess under your new rules, which we haven't seen, it would be difficult for someone to be a member or an organization, I guess, just not an active member.

But for example, there's still clan groups out there that still use the name Ku Klux Klan. Let's say I'm just a member of one of those clan groups and I'm a senior officer or even a junior officer; what -- what do you think that would do to morale?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: I think it would crush unit morale, which is why when you have an opportunity to review the policy you'll see that one of the categories of active participation is knowing taking any other action in support of or engaging in extremist activities when such conduct is prejudicial to good order and discipline or service discrediting.

Q: And could you address the First Amendment issue?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: Right.

Well, as you know, and clearly from your question you're cognizant of it's threading a very fine needle when we're engaging in prohibiting conduct that may be protected by the First Amendment.

So you're right that we have more flexibility than we do with the civilian population. Nonetheless, we're still aware of trying to protect service members' rights to the ability that we have but there's always going to be this balancing that goes on that we acknowledge with making sure that the military is effective and can effectuate its mission and protect the nation, and at the same time, protecting their First Amendment rights.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: I think, you know, as it pertains to the revision of the instruction, just to hit home a point [Defense Official 2] made earlier is that we were very much focused on the activity that could in any way, shape or form constitute membership in an organization.

The more recent data that we've seen really indicates that individuals who are perpetuating acts of violent extremism are not necessarily subscribing to one organization or one group. They may be influenced by multiple different ideologies, which is why it's, I think, very important to focus on the prohibited actions by membership in any certain group.

And what we've also learned through our partnership with the interagency is that those organizations reform very quickly, even in NGOs that keep list, they're constantly having to update those lists because as soon as an organization is named on that list they quickly splinter, they reform. And so for that reason we wanted to take the approach with the policy that it was group agnostic and it was really focused on the broader prohibited activities associated with any sort of extremist ideology.

STAFF: Okay. Oren Liebermann, CNN.

Q: I just wanted sort of a broad look at this. It -- is there something that was allowed yesterday that will not be allowed tomorrow. 

And a second question, I was just curious as to -- as to where Bishop Garrison is in all of this? Because if I'm not mistaken he was the one sort of spear heading this effort at the beginning.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: So I can take the -- the first part of that question.

No, if something was prohibited yesterday, it's not changed; it will still be prohibited today, which was a clarification as opposed to widening the aperture of what would be considered prohibited extremist activity.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: And I think that was very important to us based on the feedback that we received from the stand down. One of the very useful aspects of the secretary's directed stand down was the feedback that we received from the force in making sure we incorporated more clarification and the policies, which also goes to the training and education component. [Defense Official 3]?

   DEFENSE OFFICIAL 3: Yes, so this is [Defense Official 3].

[REDACTED]. The big pieces of feedback we got were the requirement for -- for clarity in the policy, which -- which the DODI revision has done. And then of course consistency of the training because there's varying -- varying degrees -- the training was handled across the services in different components, in different manners.

So we want to make sure that the -- the DODI is clarified, there's consistent training and of course the other piece was addressing social media participation.

STAFF: Okay. Karoun Demirjian from the Washington Post.

Q: Hi. So I have a question about basically enforcement of this. I mean you made the point a moment ago about how you're not actively monitoring and screening social media accounts all the time. And you're looking at this stuff as instance come to light.

So whose responsibility is it to bring these things to light? Are -- are service members supposed to be looking at each other's accounts and kind of being the -- the -- the reporting agencies. And if that's the case, how are they supposed to report this. I mean what if it's a personal -- their senior officer is posting. You know what are the channels through which you actually report? What is the incident that you're referring to mean? So how is this actually going to be applied?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: I think that's a good question and it's something that I think that training addresses as well with different reporting streams if an incident occurs or if someone observes an incident or has a concern.

As I mentioned before, you know it can be reported to the DOD HE, it can be reported to the military criminal investigative organization. It can be reported to the JAG, to the commanding officer, it can be reported through NEO or EOO channels. So there's multiple different ways to report. We also do find that through partnerships with our law enforcement agencies that we'll receive reports from other agencies and make sure that we are adjudicating those appropriately and informing commanders.

And so I think considering the broad spectrum in which these incidences can manifest themselves, I think it's important to have the different reporting streams and we need to make sure that all of those -- the leaders involved in those different reporting streams understand the mechanisms and the ways to address concerns and to adjudicate them in cooperation with commanders on the ground.

One of the things we haven't talked to very much but I think is a really important aspect of the role that we're doing today is the value of the insider threat program. That's one of the key findings from the working group was that that program is really poised to do more for the department and do more for commanders on the ground in helping to review these cases, look at the context surrounding in the incident and to help advise commanders.

And again, [Defense Official 4] can speak to that with greater specificity.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 4: Sure. Thank you.

So as you all maybe already aware Insider Threat Program stems from a 2011 executive order requiring each department agency to establish an Insider Threat program (inaudible) to prevent and mitigate risk from an insider.

This was initially for the cleared population and the protection of classified information. The department has since default to that that program to (inaudible) and mitigate any manner of threats from both from within and outside threats to the workforce, both cleared and non-cleared.

So the focus of the counter extremism activities working group, entire threat recommendations were on enhancements and optimization of that already existing program to better enable the department to detect and mitigate concerning behaviors, including extremism.

And really, you know, the Insider Threat Program is -- really DOD has evolved it to be a resource for commanders, and some of the recommendations we made in the report were to ensure that commanders have sort of this reach back capability to ask questions, to say hey, I've got this concerning behavior. That's something I need -- you know, I need to be concerned about. What actions can I take to mitigate this risk? You know what (inaudible) you know getting way before our department (inaudible).

I'm sorry. Someone has a hot mike. It's really hard to hear.

STAFF: Yes, if you could mute your phones, please.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 4: So again, you know, we kind of zoomed out and took a look at what, you know, in theory if you are looking to ensure you don't have extremists in your ranks and what kind of programs do you need and that, and that, you know, you have a strong vetting system and you have a strong -- a robust Insider Threat Program.

And so, we looked at both of those programs and making sure the enhancements that we make to better serve the secretary's strategic goals here.

STAFF: Okay. On to Mosheh or Courtney from NBC. I'm not sure which one of you is one.

Q: I'm here, but I actually don't have any questions. Thank you, though.

STAFF: Okay. Tara Copp, Defense One?

Q: Hey. Thank you for doing this. I have a couple of questions just to clarify. 

So with the social media, can you give us some examples like if a service member -- if there's like an extremist post on a social media site and the service member clicks like, is that participating that would get you in trouble? If they're just viewing the content does it get you in trouble? Can you give us some very specific -- like if they write a comment where is the line here? And then I have one other question for you. It was 100 service members or so that you identified. Were those all active duty or is that active duty and veterans?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: So I'll handle the data piece and then hand it off to [Defense Official 2] for the rest of the question.

Those were current service members, active or R.C. component, and that really represents those substantiated cases. So not including veterans.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: And then the second part was regarding cyber activities. If I can just pull away for a moment, there's really two parts to this instruction. The first part would be assessing whether or not the conduct itself rises to the level of extremist activity. And then the second part is assessing whether or not the member has engaged in active participation. So assuming that the first part is met and you said liking, was that it? I'm sorry. Liking a post?

Q: Yes. Say like on Twitter or Facebook or something like that?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: Yes, it's specifically addressed in the policy whereas liking something with the intent to promote or endorse an extremist activity would be violative of the policy.

Q: What about just viewing the content?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: Again, that potentially there has to be a knowing element to it, so there has to be sort of an amplification of a message is what we're looking at. So somebody who just stumbles across content wouldn't be necessarily sufficient depending on the facts to violate this policy, but if it's their -- it'll be very, very fact specific, something the commander's going to have to look at along with their legal counselor to assess.

So I don't want to say yes or no specifically because, again, it will be so dependent on the facts of the ace.

Q: And then could you talk a little bit about how you looked at the recruiting issue because until they sign the dotted line they're a private person? So how are you able to vet and screen the social media for extremist views and activity?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: So as of this time we are not redoing the social media content of recruit. We do ask a series of questions during the recruiter interviews, and then we do look extensively on past involvement with law enforcement to include arrests, charges, citations, paroles, probation, detention. We also do an advanced fingerprint check and an FBI name check, which serves as a preliminary screening for any screening of this activity.

We look at that and the city, county, and state of residence at the time of enlistment. We also look for any offensive, racist, supremacist tattoos, including those that may reflect gang affiliation. Then we have a robust partnership with the FBI Cryptology and Racketeering Records Unit to be able to look at symbology as it may be evolving across the United States because, again, that's on of the things that we found is that this changes so quickly and it can vary a lot region-to-region, state-by-state.

And so, you know, we feel that we have a robust process that looks at this for people who are coming into the military, but as [Defense Official 4] mentioned as our ability to look at publicly available electronic information matures then that would be one additional point of data to look at upon -- among many as part of the initial background information check.

STAFF: Okay. David Martin, CBS?

Q: One housekeeping question and then a substantive question.

How are we going to get copies of these documents? They haven't shown up in my e-mail yet?

STAFF: Oh, go ahead, [Staff 2].

STAFF 2: The documents will be publish to defense.gov, so you'll get that here within -- I would say within an hour that should be posted.

Q: Okay.

And the question is give me an example of a new question that you will be asking recruits that you hadn't asked before. And give me an example of how you are going to change the counseling of people out processing from the military.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: Well, in terms of what we're asking recruits, the services had different questions that they asked as part of their recruiting questionnaires and interviews and have for awhile. What we did throughout this process is try to make them a little bit more standardized in partnership with (inaudible) and with law enforcement to make sure that we were really asking good questions.

And so, you know, some of the -- those questions would include, you know, has an individual ever participated in acts of treason, terrorism, sedition against the United States? Have they ever associated or sympathized with individuals who are attempting to commit an act of treason, terrorism, or sedition? Have they had any association with an individual or a group that advocated, threatened, or use force or violence to overthrow the U.S. government or any state or local government to deny civil rights?

Some of these questions are ones that are asked in some form or fashion in SF 86 background investigation. That is the SF 86 doesn't actually occur until we have a contracted recruit.

So some of these are questions that we're trying to ask earlier in the recruitment process to get a better sense of someone's prior history with any of these groups. It doesn't -- if an answer to any of those questions is yes it doesn't necessarily mean it's an automatic bar to military service. But much as we look at conduct waivers or other types of waivers in the accession process we like to have a better understanding what the nature of that engagement was in the past, how much time has elapsed, and just ensure a good standing within the community before moving forward to the next steps in the process.

And then as it pertains to on the back end an individual who is separating, as I mentioned, we've updated our content and our Transition Assistance Program to help better educate some of the recruiting techniques and practices that these organizations may use and then if they are contacted and would like to report that, what are the best means to do it.

Q: And that information on -- including tactics used by extremist groups, that was not part of out-processing until now?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: Not necessarily, no.

Q: Okay.

STAFF: Okay. Ellen Mitchell, from The Hill.

Q: I don't have a question at this time, thank you.

STAFF: All right. Odette Yousef from NPR, do you have one?

Q: Yes. Thanks for taking this.

Just a quick question about the data, but looking forward, you know, you spoke about multiple reporting streams, I'm curious to know what kind of -- you know, is this all collated centrally? What kind of data fields are you all gathering? And looking forward, are you going to be tracking this sort of regularly to see if there trends in which organizations people might be a part of? You know, what the outcome of those investigations and so?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: No, that's a good question.

So what we've done to date is we've incorporated additional, as I mentioned, either flagging or coding mechanisms such as check-boxes, radial buttons, drop-down menus to try to make sure that where there is an element of prohibited extremist activity, we were capturing that within the case adjudication regardless of where it came from. But what we're -- we will be able to do with the new instruction, because it provides more clarity and more detail, we will be able to add that additional clarity and detail to the data tracking system. There was, I think, an aspect of subjectivity as those initial flagging systems went into place and what we're going to do is standardize that data collection process. And then we will be leveraging, you know, both our Insider Threat Program and our DOD IG to help better collate that data moving forward. And then certainly, as you mention, try to understand some of the underlying factors involved in the cases.

STAFF: Okay. Paul Shinkman.

Are you there, Paul?

Q: No question, thanks.

STAFF: All right. And so the last one here, Ben Makuch from Vice News, I hope I didn't get your last name to badly.

Q: No, no problem at all.

So (inaudible) here, I'm just -- I'm wondering, it sounds an awful lot like the Pentagon is sort of making sure -- or leaving it to individual service members to report on extremist activities, but is there not going to be some sort of law enforcement agency within DOD that's going to be going after people or monitoring this more closely?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: Certainly the NCIOs have and will continue to have an important function to play, much in the way that they receive any sort of insight either from within the service or are receiving tips from outside of the service. That's whether it's hazing, bullying, extremism, we do rely on an aspect of reporting these incidences. And certainly commanders, senior enlisted advisers play a very important role to understand what is going within their units. So it really is a holistic approach. But the NCIOs have and always will be an important and valuable aspect of that.

STAFF: Right, okay. All right. Thanks, everybody. I think we got to everybody. Again --

Q: I think -- hold on, I didn't get a question. Reuters didn't get a question. Is it possible for us to get one in there?

STAFF: Of course. Go ahead, Phil. Sorry about that.

Q: Yes. No, it's okay. It's all right.

Real quick, just two quick follow-ups. 

The review of the social media posts, is that retroactive that someone had made posts in the past that would be taken into consideration, whatever this review was? Or is it -- is it forward looking from the date of this -- enactment of this new policy. That's the first question.

And also my second question was about just to make it very explicit that if someone wants to be a member of, you know, a member of the Oath Keepers or the -- or a Klan or something else, another extremist group, but that's still not prohibiting under this new policy. That just the idea of active membership, which is hopefully defined in these documents will -- will be the line.

Thank you.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: I think the overarching response is that the new instruction prohibits membership in any meaningful way. It would be very difficult to really be any form of an active participant or member in any organization that was espousing extremist views or acts.

And [Defense Official 2], you could certainly add to that.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: I think that's exactly right.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: Okay, well stated. And then I'll differ to my colleague [Defense Official 4] on the social media question.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 4: Sure.

So I understand your question of: Are we going to be looking real retroactively or actively screening social media? Is that correct, is that what you're asking?

Q: Yes, I'm asking like if someone had liked, you know, retired General Flynn's comments about America being a country of one religion. But -- but you know that was before this new policy was announced. Would you take that into consideration or would you only look at -- at post or likes that happened from this date?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 4: Right.

Well, so our pursuit of publicly available electronic information for the purpose of background investigations or the Insider Threat Program, we do not have a capability to actively screen social media on, you know, 3.2 million, you know service members. So we are in the piloting phase of this right now and so we don't -- we don't currently have a system that I could describe to you about how exactly this is going to work.

But have you -- I would say that it will be a snap shot in time probably if, you know, information comes to light that we -- we need to be looking at this persons social media, for instance. So again, we are not pursuing and don't anticipate having that capability to actively screen all social media and it's just not feasible.

Q: Hey, John. It's Luis Martinez. Can I ask one question too?

STAFF: Yes, go ahead, Luis.

Q: Please. Okay. Thank you.

You know, in the lead up to this report, a lot was made up that you were going to come up with a new definition because the previous one was, let's say, a little outdated or maybe it was too vague to give a clear picture. So I mean how different really is it than what we've already on the books? Which was what we said earlier made it really difficult to track these kind of numbers.

And with regards to the numbers, in the past you said it's very difficult to get an idea or get a handle on it and you've referred us in the past to these FBI numbers. And so how different is this new number that you have and would this provide a new different data set or is it very similar to what we've heard from the FBI?

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 1: Well, I think with respect to data, you know I think some of the information that we shared before was either referrals from the FBI or other cases that they be looking into. What we are very -- and certainly we are always going to pay attention to allegations, investigations, et cetera.

But what we were very interested in and looking at was substantiated cases, particularly those where there was some form of action taken.

And so that's what we wanted to make sure we understood in terms of the nature of those activities, but our -- the information that we received from our federal law enforcement partners will always continue to be of importance to us.

And then I think I'll hand it back over the [Defense Official 2] with respect to the definition.

DEFENSE OFFICIAL 2: Sure, so I'd like to draw your attention to four things that are different between the old policy and the new policy. The first thing, as you've noted and as we've already elaborated on, there's much more specific guidance with what constitutes extremist activity. There's six groups that we think cover what the department means when it's talking about extremist activity.

The second part would be the -- as I've already mentioned, the two-part test. Just because there is an extremist -- or an alleged extremist activity doesn't mean that a service member is violating the policy. There needs to be that secondary analysis of active participation. And again, we've outlined 14 separate categories of what constitutes active participation.

And there's much more specific guidance to commanders about their authorities and responsibilities, and then lastly, as we've covered a little bit, there's specific guidance on social media. So these are the four things I'd draw your attention to.

STAFF: Okay, are we good? Anybody else?

Q: Yes, Kirby, it's Barbara.

All of this underscores I think it's very tough to wait an hour, which I think you indicated -- your staff indicated it would be before we got any documents. I don't think it's even remotely possible to write accurate stories until we see this material. So is there a way you can move it up and we don't have to sit here for an hour?

STAFF: We'll get them to you as soon as possible, Barb.

Q: That would be useful.

STAFF: Okay, thank you. Thanks everybody.