ADL CALLS ARMY REPORT ON EXTREMISM "STEP IN THE
New York, NY, March 21, 1996...The Anti-Defamation League
(ADL) expressed its support for recommendations contained in an Army investigative
report released today that addresses the problem of extremism within military
The report was prepared by the Secretary of the Army's Task Force on Extremist
Activities, which was formed in the wake of the December murders of two
African-Americans, allegedly by Fort Bragg, NC, soldiers associated with
the neo-Nazi skinhead movement. Following the murders, Abraham H. Foxman,
ADL National Director, urged Defense Secretary William Perry to reevaluate
existing policies on extremist activity by armed services personnel.
Today's Army report calls for clarification of a Defense Department policy
that distinguishes between "passive" and "active" participation
in extremist organizations and activities by soldiers. "Passive"
participation, which is currently permitted, includes belonging to hate
groups and receiving their literature. "Active" participation,
such as recruitment and fund raising, is already proscribed.
"This report is an important step in the right direction," Mr.
Foxman said. "We have felt that extremist activity by members of our
armed forces represents a serious threat to order in the ranks, and ultimately
to the morale and effectiveness of the troops.
"Whatever changes may be made to the policy on extremism," Mr.
Foxman continued, "the Pentagon needs to ensure that the policy and
the military's strong views against bigotry and hate group involvement are
transmitted effectively to the rank and file and are vigorously enforced."
He pointed out that the constitutional free speech and association rights
of armed services personnel are subject to greater limitation than are those
The Army report suggests that only a small percentage of soldiers belong
to extremist groups or participate in extremist activity. Mr. Foxman said
it was not surprising that the number of actual extremist group members
in the Army would be small, just as it is in the general population. But,
he added, "the armed services need to remain vigilant against attempts
by extremists to recruit military personnel, or to obtain weapons or training
from contacts in the military."
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.