Richard Sisk, Military.com, February 12, 2020
Membership in a white supremacist or neo-Nazi group won’t necessarily get a U.S. service member tossed out of the military, defense officials told a House subcommittee Tuesday.
The officials, including representatives of Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Army‘s Criminal Investigation Division, appeared to make a distinction between membership in an extremist organization and “active participation” in deciding on recruitment and retention.
Several of the subcommittee members pointed to the case of Air Force Master Sgt. Cory Reeves, allegedly a leader in the Colorado branch of the supremacist group Identity Evropa, who posted racist memes and spread far-right propaganda.
In November 2019, the Air Force demoted Reeves to technical sergeant, but he was initially allowed to remain in the service. In December, the Air Force announced that proceedings had begun to dismiss him from the service.
In a separate panel at the hearing, advocacy groups warned of the spread of white supremacist and hate group ideology in the military.
“I want to start by saying that, right now, the white supremacist movement in the United States is surging and presents a distinct and present danger to this country and its institutions, including the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Recent investigations have revealed dozens of veterans and active-duty servicemembers who are affiliated with white supremacist activity,” Brooks said.