“Our military cannot become a training ground for extremist individuals and organizations who seek to use the skills learned in our armed forces to attack our democracy,” said Brown, a candidate for attorney general in Maryland. “Alarm bells have been ringing for years, which is why this Senate decision to shut down counter-extremism programs within the Department of Defense is so misguided.”
Small numbers, big problem
The University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, or START, found that 17% of those charged with crimes in the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 had military ties. , and most of them were veterans, according to Bill Braniff, director of START.
Over the past 31 years, domestic violent extremist attacks by veterans and active-duty service members have killed more than 300 people and injured nearly 2,000 others, the Speaker of the House of Veterans Affairs said. Mark Takano, D-Calif., at a March hearing of his committee.
At issue are not only white supremacists or right-wing fanatics, but also gangs, left-wing groups, jihadists and others.
As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drew to a close, extremist groups sought to recruit military personnel and veterans to their causes, experts say.