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Gangs, Extremists Groups, and the Military: Screening for Service,

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The purpose of this report is to examine the feasibility of instituting or improving measures for screening military enlistees for gang or extremist group involvement. The report begins with an extensive review of the literature on right-wing extremism and street gangs, with a specific emphasis on the implications of these phenomena for the United States Armed Forces. This review includes an in-depth discussion of three main approaches to understanding right-wing extremism, and an examination of actual cases of extremist activity in the military. Next, the review considers documented and potential cases of gang activity in the military. Throughout this review, opportunities for identifying and screening gang members and extremists are highlighted, as are some drawbacks and caveats regarding such screening. The second major section of the report reviews the militarys current responses to the problems of gangs and extremism among enlisted personnel. It begins by discussing the enlistment process, including prescreening by recruiters, aptitude and medical screening at Military Entrance Processing Stations MEPSs, background screening during the pre-enlistment and pre-accession phases of the enlistment process, and further enlistee observation occurring at Recruit Training Centers RTCs. Next, a variety of Department of Defense DoD Directives and Service policies regarding active-duty personnel are discussed. Here, particular attention is given to how such policies have been changing in response to the rise of problems like gang and extremist activity among military personnel and to how the different Services have approached such problems. Finally, the militarys current efforts to research gang and extremist problems further are examined.

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  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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