Accession Number:



Reducing the Risk of Extremist Activity in the U.S. Military

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Research Report]

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



In recent years, news headlines have highlighted the involvement of current or former U.S. military personnel in protest violence supremacist groups the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and other forms of violent extremism spanning different political and ideological spectra. The threat of extremism is not new, but the proliferation of social media has made it easier for radical ideas to spread quickly and for extremist groups to organize, even reaching into the military community e.g., service members, military spouses, military dependents, civilian employees, and contractors to expand membership and gain operational capabilities. This Perspective outlines a framework to help commanders reduce the risk of extremism in the military. First, we provide highlights from research on extremism, including a framework for understanding these types of activities. Second, we use this framework to outline four strategies for reducing the risk of extremism in the military. Third, we recommend a community-based approach that leverages existing military programs to better support commanders as they carry out their responsibilities to prevent and mitigate exposure to extremism by members of the military community.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Military Forces and Organizations

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]