Armed Forces News

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A RAND Corporation study has suggested the US Military consider putting in place a terrorism prevention framework to address current forms of extremism within its ranks.

The California-based think tank, which is partly funded by the US government, offered a series of recommendations in light of news that some 12 percent of those arrested and charged with participation in the Jan 6 Capitol riots were current or former members of the US military.

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Online messaging could foster community education and resilience and reduce risk at the earliest stages, specifically directing communications toward “a vulnerable population or one that is in the early stages of radicalization.” Interventions would be aimed at influencing those who have become radicalized and are considering violence. These would include referral promotion, law enforcement training, and intervention programming. Late-phase interventions would seek to redirect people who have either committed violent acts or are planning to do so. Such help could be provided, for example, by prison-based mental health care and support services.

RAND also advised the military to reach out with warnings, media literacy education, online outreach, community resilience exercises and monitoring of activities. Military law enforcement should be trained to recognize signs and assist when situations arise as well.

The study offered these recommendations for the Defense Department:

•      Consider adopting identified terrorism prevention programs.
•      Continue assessing the presence of extremism in the ranks.
•      Learn how extremism “manifests itself.”
•      Learn how extremism works within the context of unit dynamics.
•      Conduct ongoing research that can “inform the creation of terrorism prevention interventions and assess their impact.”

Study available online here: Countering Violent Extremism in the U.S. Military

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