DOD Reviews Definition of ‘Prohibited Extremist Activities’ Among Troops; Gen. Lloyd Austin Quoted

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The White House National Security Council released the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism and the Department of Defense (DOD) is now assessing and updating its definition of “prohibited extremist activities” among uniformed service members in line with the strategy, Defense One reported Thursday.

DOD will also look at policy recommendations to address such activities among contractors and civilian employees, according to the 32-page document. A senior administration official said DOD is considering “quite literally how they define ‘extremism’ for these purposes.”

“They are working that quite hard, both as a policy matter with the security experts and with lawyers at the Defense Department and elsewhere to ensure they’re doing this in a way they feel ratchets up the protections but also respects expression and association protections,” the official added.

Lloyd Austin, secretary of DOD and a 2021 Wash1000 Award winner, said the strategy is a “milestone” in U.S. efforts to address domestic terrorism.

He said DOD will do its share in support of the new strategy, such as maintaining relationships with federal law enforcement agencies and refining policies to address the threat within the Pentagon.

The new strategy has four pillars: understanding and sharing domestic terrorism-related information; preventing domestic terrorism recruitment and mobilization to violence; disrupting and deterring domestic terrorism activity and confronting long-term contributors to domestic terrorism.

Each pillar has specific strategic goals. For the first pillar, the White House outlined three objectives: enhancing domestic terrorism-related research and analysis, improving information sharing across all levels within the federal government and illuminating transnational aspects of domestic terrorism.

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