Potential consequences for servicemembers failing military vetting against seditious or white supremacist sympathies

Inspired by this (still sketchy and unconfirmed) breaking news report:

Narrowly construed, this falls under the existing topics in P&E related to what might happen at the upcoming inauguration.

But I think there’s an opportunity here for a broader discussion. Namely:

  • Do you believe this vetting is justified, because the problem is pervasive enough that it warrants attention, or is this an overreaction, a hunt for the rare exceptions sprinkled through an otherwise professional and reliable population, solely for the benefit of public perception?

  • How intrusive should this vetting be? Should a servicemember be obligated, for example, to open their social media profile(s) for review, without limit? These are commonly considered personal and off-limits in the private sphere; is there (or should there be) a different standard for the military?

  • What should be the consequence if a servicemember fails this vetting process? Presumably, in the immediate context, they won’t be permitted to work the inauguration. But is that it? If they’re found to be sympathetic to the insurrectionists, for whatever reason, then should their wearing of the uniform be itself at risk?

  • Should there be a flexible range of consequences depending on the severity of the failure? For example, at one end, we might have flashing the OK symbol on camera = we can’t divine your intent, but we also can’t fully trust you, so in the interest of safety you are barred from serving at the inauguration and other political events, but there’s no further punishment. At the other end, if you were actually in the Capitol Dome that day, you’re going to Leavenworth. Or does military discipline require that there be a more zero-tolerance policy for anyone even vaguely adjacent to seditious and disruptive causes?

  • We can assume, given the revelations over the last week and a half, that a nonzero number of active-duty servicemembers will fail the vetting process. This is connected to the first bullet, about general pervasiveness. In this particular context, specifically how much of a problem will be uncovered? Out of the 25k Guardsmen being subjected to this review, how many do you expect will be barred from the inauguration? Single digits? Dozens? Hundreds?

  • Further expanding on the first bullet, how widespread, more generally, is this form of moral rot? Is it a genuine problem for the services, in terms of force cohesion and military effectiveness, such that this kind of vetting should be expanded and made standard as a prerequisite for wearing the uniform? Or is it a background problem that affects the military only in unusual cases, like this one, where their role requires setting aside personal beliefs and loyalties in order to neutrally support a political process, but otherwise doesn’t affect military performance? Or is it not really a problem at all, with only a small handful of offenders who will be quickly rooted out now that the military’s attention is on them? Whatever your opinion here, have you changed your views in the context of the news about active and retired military and police forces having participated in the Capitol riot?

  • If you believe it’s a genuine widespread problem, does this reflect a failure of military leadership, turning a blind eye as it were, allowing it to get to this point? Or were they legitimately in denial about the scope of the problem? Or given the broader political context, were the brass doing what they could, splitting the difference and taking a more hands-off approach, so as not to attract attention and invite political meddling in their operations?

  • If you don’t believe it’s a widespread problem, how can military leadership (both civilian leaders and uniformed brass) combat the growing public perception that it is?

There, that should be enough fodder for a Great Debate.

It’s neither sketchy not unconfirmed

Thank you, that’s more recent news than I had seen.

For those who can’t read the Post:

Maj. Gen. William J. Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, said in an interview with Defense One that the screening represented an “extra layer” of security for this deployment, on top of the continuous monitoring that the U.S. military does of its service members.

“For this deployment everybody is screened additionally, but it’s more of a reassurance, because we do everything we can do [to] know our Guardsmen, our soldiers and airmen,” Walker said.

Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy, who is overseeing the D.C. Guard and the military’s preparations for the inauguration, said in an interview with the Associated Press that so far the vetting process hasn’t flagged any issues with the troops coming to help protect the inauguration.

“We’re continually going through the process, and taking second, third looks at every one of the individuals assigned to this operation,” McCarthy told the AP, which reported that the screening is being carried out by the FBI and is scheduled to be completed by Inauguration Day on Wednesday.

Non paywalled story.

Yes justified.

Yes obligated to share much of what might otherwise be private.

The standard for not being on this detail would be different than a standard for discharge.

Being part of the insurrection would be grounds for discharge. Political views not.

A significant fraction may have expressed views that disqualify them from this detail. Abundance of caution. A third of Americans believe in Trump’s lies and one suspects the military has an over representation of those people.

I like your flexible range of consequences concept. Holding questionable views isn’t uncommon for younger adults, and there are plenty of those in the military. I remember reading about the Tuskegee Airmen, and that story gives me some hope that white supremacists can lose that view in a fully integrated military.
I don’t know if it’s a widespread problem, but I’m going to trust commanders and an investigation to find out.
The police worry me a bit more. There are extensive background checks to work with them (I know, I’ve been checked), but the history of the forces is quite different.

More specifically, a third of Americans support the sedition. This isn’t about the people who voted for him, or who think he mostly did a good job. This is about the people who literally want to overthrow the government that they’re supposed to be protecting.

I’m still not fully clear what the term “vetting” means or implies in this context-any help appreciated.

From the article -

So not just “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Republican Party?” :slight_smile:

It seems absolutely justified. History records a number of cases of people offed by their supposed bodyguards. A person who fails the vetting would be removed from guard but, in the absence of any evidence of their actually preparing for action, should not be discharged. But it has to remain on their record for the future. Too bad. This is not a game.

The military has had an issue with this for quite some time. Hopefully the events from last week (and the last year even) will motivate senior leadership into taking substantial action against these people.

And here’s Beau of the Fifth Column’s take on it:

Watch me! Watch me!

There is no right of privacy in the military and the troops are often told what they are to believe. Anti white supremacy will take time to be absorbed and integrated into the culture, but it will happen - assuming the upper echelon has bought into it.