tv Discussion on White Supremacy in Law Enforcement Military CSPAN October 6, 2021 1:13am-2:03am EDT
can do to address the issue. >> thank you so much danielle, it's a pleasure to be here today for someone to introduce both of our panelists. starting with senator jones, welcome former u.s. senator from alabama, doug jones, who will be one of our two panelists in today's conversation at the u.s. attorney for alabama, senator jones prosecuted to kkk members whether role in the 1963, 16th street baptist church bombing and he is been a prominent civil rights advocate throughout his career. notably center jones has action as a distinguished senior fellow focusing on racial equity for social justice issues as well as criminal justice and democracy reform.
and i'm also very exc i'm very excited to welcome representative anthony brown from the fourth congressional district serving on the house armed services committee as well as the committee of the new democratic coalition and the military record dating more than our current century as an aviator officer with the distinguished military service also the author of legislation and arm services. and then to get the conversation started finally white supremacy poses one of those legal threats to american democracy and security. senator jones you prosecuted
not gone on to the website to see this blueprint please do that. take a look at it and encompasses so manyas good recommendations but provides a basis for where we are today. and the devil is in the details. so it is incumbent upon doj to establish a federal advisory committee to be a whole of government approach to implement strategies andnt that is the key to implement strategies across the spectrum and with any white supremacist action. and then to think about violence in a larger context. that is the most significant threat we face from extremist
violence.ar and we need to talk about the department of defense and resources to prevent infiltration and to detect white supremacist and the associated risk. remember all members of our military today willl be veterans one day. between the two groups the infiltration of white extremist is extremely troubling we have seen it time time again that starts with the department of defense and veterans affairs you can develop recruitment and clearance strategies and do more on the questionnaires and recurring background checks to monitor. the military is very rigid but they are also rigid for a purpose and with that comes the ability to monitor better
have to update and clarify the programs. and those enforcement policies they cannot talk about the military without talk about the department of veterans affairs. with regard to mental health it begins in part with department of defense i'm glad each of you joined us today and to chair the virtual stage with congressman brand on —- brown from maryland. you divided your life and
career. or the goal love rooting out extremism in the military. that is something you are passionate about. and with this kind of legislation coming from congress not just the executive branch of government. and thank you for your decades of service to the nation thank you for your service and u.s. senate and also thank you to
cap action for inviting me. let me start by saying. having spent 30 years in the military. i do know the threat our country faces that the military takes on every day it's not just a threat on distant battlefields from foreign adversaries i know that you know of that national strategy blueprint is much overdue and greatly appreciated document. and for decades is not more than a century. we have grappled withhi ideology. homegrown even in the military ranks.
so what i set out to do in partnership with my colleagues in the house and the senate is to give the department greater tools and authority and then it is a report so then in reporting 2022 congress and it is a real threat and the greater authorities and greater tools. and then to clarify the secretary of defense has the authority to exclude from participation in the military and separate from military service anyone who not only participates in extremist
activity than extremist of a in organization it is important to after the membership piece as well and i'm sure we'll talk more about that but then we clarify that authority direct the secretary to define extremism and the procedures that will be fair and clear and eliminate those numbers so the next thing that you do quite frankly overlaps riwith the blueprint is data collection and then you get a varying degree of responses some commanders willl tell you it's by rank. that is wrong someone say yes we have a serious problem but we don't know the full extent so we do data collection and reporting and analysis.
it's important that we train everyone from the private to the four-star admiral or general what do we mean by extremism or promote the values against which extremism is inconsistent. and there final piece not just for military but those who are transitioning at a veteran status but the final piece to develop an institutional capacity the monitoring and the training and the education because we know that so long as extremism is in america the military will be the object, not the subject the target of extremist groups to recruit from the military to
collection can you get the buy-inm to try to make sure the data is collected appropriately even with sexual crimes and sexual harassment issues of the department of defense there's been a low level of data collection. had we make this better when it comes to white supremacy. >> it will be a challenge and an uphill battle regrettably to get the department of cdefense to work with congress on this issue. and with that level of funding
for other procurement accounts it seems to work better with the dod and when it comes to the issues surrounding protecting military families and personnel sexual assault was mine and unfortunately addressing extremism, the department just recently sent their policy statement to congress in which they outlined the provisions that are in the house version of the 50 or 22 authorization acts and that is concerning. one of the items they identified as onerous is the data collection reporting requirements.
everyone who is looking at this issue understands critical fundamental to get after the problem so hopefullyhe we can look at their true concern but what we are looking at even before this year to improve things like the surveys that are conducted everyte year asking servicemembers about their experience to understand the prevalence and what it really looks like. the other piece is encouraging the dod to work with other agencies of homeland security, fbi to share the information to harmonize with the database looks like. down to the field that you populate so the information
can be easily shared and analyzed. tand then to report to congress the data they are collecting look at how many instances are reported not only in surveys but what about disciplinary action that involve extremist behavior and separation and administrative action, criminal punishment so broadly only then do we have a full understanding of the scope of the problem in the military. >> of never seen any government agency or private sector people that want to collect data. what you're doing is so
important laying out the data collection is important across the board. >> i want to do again some more with an interesting conversation of data collection. and you reference with law enforcement. and with the law enforcement sector it's extremely challenging and at one point there was a proponent we really don't like to collect the data in the sense that somehow it reflects badly on their communities mayors and county commissioners and chiefs of police, they don't want their communities to be tagged as a hate crime community they also now know
there comes a lot of publicity so there has been a reluctance i have seen it especially here in alabama you would think that you are just a bastion of quality and diversity and we know that that is not the case. and it has e exacerbated now with extremism on the right and on the left with the national association of attorneys general and then had an incredible conference and those that did not come because they felt it was a political issue targeting them on the right. the political right. so the challenge now is a practical challenge not
wanting to be tagged or labeled but also a political dynamic that one way or the other and that is something we just got to get over and get past that. >> you both have distinguished careers in law enforcement in the military can you talk about your engagement with veteran communities to develop the legislation you have done and talk about how they have been receptive to the reforms you are outlining quick. >> we have a number of things for example i participated in a conference with the association of defense communities i want to make omclear they are not promoting any policy provision to address extremism but they did
have an open forum to discuss the topic in the issue. and then they have taken a look at this and have done a study in the extent of the problem. so that is why for example the provision that we put forward we waited defined extremism we differed to the military so working with the department of justice coming up with a definition that would withstandd constitutional scrutiny. also in those conversations deferred to the department to establish the procedures and just democrats and republicans tell us about procedures will
be if you are separating members because of extremist ideology to defer to the military. but just to name one. to tap into that thinking to understand the way truly view them as tools but the military their primary mission and when deterrence fails to fight and win the t next war. the sometimes that effort to
focus winning that were we forget about the men and women and their families. so this is an opportunity to same don't forget the good and the bad and the indifferent take the tools and the authorities important to good use because we do not want the military to be undermined by extremist nor do we want extremist groups to use number military participation as propaganda tools. >> i think it's so important that congressman brownwn is doing here. this comes from congress, the house andomon the senate. this seems to be in all of government approach. and geared toward the department of defense, i don't think it would be appropriate to just rely on that department of defense or the executive branch and congress needs to step up and speak out
because it will be both right and left extremism clearly white supremacy is the biggest issue in the military and across the country when it comes to violence and domestic terrorist. but all of these can be applied in any number of ways to root out extremism. so just like last year with the ndaa issues we put in language to make sure the department of defense went to the issue of renaming the assets for confederate generals and officers. this is very similar to let them know congress is serious. >> also let me add on the
whole government approach mentioning at least twice the national strategy the biden administration published to counter domestic extremism puts a huge premium more focused somewhere priority on the whole of governmentho approach not just the department of defense or the department of justice patrolman insecurity and veterans affairs. quite frankly health and human services where if you underlying the causes of seextremism behavior and ideology and then it really takes a whole of government approach the federal government working with the tribal governments and with international partners and while we are talking about domestic areas of extremism
that is originating we do have transnational affiliation think of the rising right-wing factions in germany and in austria just tod name two countriese in europe it is a whole government approach and that is the focus of the biden administration and also of congress. >> thank you for mentioning that the white house strategy is so important that's a good thing to end on. so a question for both of you is so pass the domestic policy council and was reading this work to tackle the problems in the root causes including the military but across society. so what do you think are the key actions for the domestic
policy council to consider and similarly what is necessary for congress to do with this bill or in general to tackle this in the session? >> some of the things we have already talked about which is collecting information to make sure it is shared broadly. i know for example congress is response to the january 6 insurrection, we tried to create an independenton commission with that post 9/11 to look at information sharing across government to focus on january 6 or extremism so with that strategy is a greater resources but also the us
attorneys or state attorney general's are reading off the same sheet of music sharing resources coordinating efforts and then with investigation but also i mentioned this earlier to be one of the important pillars of the strategy goes after the long-term issues that contribute to domestic terrorism what is perpetuating the hatred in the division that we live in a zero sum economy? how do we foster equality of opportunity where everyone feels like they have a fair shot at the american dream?
those are the tellers that we are working on and congress stands ready to support heinitiatives coming out the policy council and any other branch of government willing to work together with domestic terrorist. >> those are all perfect and i have to be honest we are very proud of the fact that so much of the biden administration blueprint that what we did with the mccain institute. a recognition and the congressman is right we are trying to leverage the executive branch in the united states government to enhance the responsibilities across the government from state and federal we have to prioritize the threat.
this was the spotty problems here and there we have seen this is a priority. it is a national security issue because of the contacts overseas and domestic we have to elevate the threat and you can do that with carrots and sticks by working together with local law enforcement but on occasion you have to have federal funding with the local communities and state investigative authorities that they rely a on. and to use that leverage of good debt with those priorities that we have here talk about data that is an important part of the recommendation but the qualitative data is so
important the congressman mentioned protecting communities that is important sometimes prosecutors are hung up on the prosecution angle and that's really important but called outut a hate crime for what it is. a hate crime because it sends an incredible message but protecting the community is much more than that it is an after-the-fact prosecution and alleged deterrence. to get the education out there educate the public what is going on and with the problems and thenav to deal with mental health issues never underestimate the mental health part so with that financial and technological
those that are financing these issues these are in part lone wolf they are getting more organized every day we start what happened january 6 and while we have to balance the first amendment we also have the necessary financial tools that is how the kiki caitlin —- the kkk with the southern poverty law center filed a lawsuit and gotnt a judgment and broken we have to make sure we have the ability to go after them financially and then we havean to recognize that the social media platform and technology companies bear some responsibility to public and users as well.
we saw the 60 minute show with regard to the facebook whistleblower. not making allegations one way or another we have to get the technology companies in the social media platforms engaged in this because it can be a blessing but also occurs. thank you for this. great discussion and again to encourage everybody that is interested in this take a look and is an outstanding piece of work. >> i will actually introduce another senior fellow to start addressing some of the audience questions. a significant contributor to the blueprint.
given your expertise contribution can youan talk about if you take the threat of domestic extremism and one actions for today? >> that congressman and the senator both right and have done an extraordinary job on the nationalao security threat white supremacist and then to come up with a strategy to deal with it. having said that they cannot do it on their own they need help and civil society and in general we need to keep the focus and good reporting makes a difference good civil society activist and to shut down online recruitment.
and then it is absolutely crucial. >> another question from the audience what you see is the relationship between racism and white supremacy with the military how successful has been to root out racism? >> i will take that. let me start off by saying by extremism while it is rooted in whiteal supremacy and nationalism is the predominant component and the threat we currently face and it's not new going back to the kkk any immediate aftermath of thel
civil war with the proud boys. but extremism we are not limited to those motivated by racial hatred or religious or hatred and division. it also includes those are just want to disrupt and overturn government money have no affiliation whatsoever with the whiteio supremacist white nationalist group they want to disrupt democracy if you think about the experience and then to be associated with white supremacist groups but then to topple government and overreach but then of course you have some extremists that are single issue minded whether they act out on their
views of abortion or environmental issues or and all rights you see that extremist behavior in the single issue people that yes white supremacy is the primary driver that we see in the military and across the country that's why fbi director ray spoke to congress about that. that's whyt. secretary of defense was ordered to stand down earlier this year and then to speak passionately and appropriately about the lives of white nationalism in the military. it's important to get her hands around it. us senior commanders who have literally said before congress, extremism does not exist in my formation. we know that f is wrong just statistically speaking it isst an accurate.
the dod are committed to extremism and they need to do better reporting better data collection better training so it is incumbent upon them if they are going to be consistent with the president's commitment where congress was to go on this issue, we have got to work together to get after extremism and in this case we are talking primarily white supremacy survey after survey shows that in the military the servicemembers are experiencing more and more racism and some anti-semitism in their language and conduct so we have to get after it and we need the tools. >> i think part of this we have to be very candid it is a
reflection on parts of the society as a whole. as a country becomes more diverse there are people who are fearful of that. they have doubts all along that they are part of a dominant class and when they feel they will not be a strikeout. that is especially true because the military in the hierarchy and the superior officers the people are drawn to thatze and we have to recognize that a little bit it is part of the fear for some folks we have to address that fear to let them know we're in this together. and we are supporting everyone. >> so data collection on the military and law enforcement and that lives up to their
reputation for everybody in america to keep everybody safe. what kind of resources is there currently is sufficient resources or would more be edrequired? i stated this publicly to the secretary of defense austin last week in a hearing happened to be on us evacuation operation in afghanistan but i took it as an opportunity to m make a statement about extremism in the military. while i commended both of them for their actions, you are opposing these provisions explaining the requirement and data collection are onerous. three of the four committees
that are responsible for the level of defense spending in the house senate i think it ewill be four / four soon will be an additional $25 billion to the department of defense this year. 's you cannot tell me that data collection is onerous you cannot tell me that it is onerous you have the resources we are giving you the authority was about doing difficult things and that's what this says. i have no doubt about that but it certainly not because of a lack of resources. >> so the resources in this particular instance are important for the department
of defense but we need to have a reallocation or additional resources that goes to the department of education and goes to hhs for mental health issues it's a form of grants going into the state in the community with a nonprofit organization that try to elevate the issue to root out the cause as well and to talk about a whole of government we need to have a whole of country approach as well because so many things can start at the local level with their families and communities and schools talk about resources we have to think about that as well those who end up in the military but if we havee already educated and have been in a position to her they are not susceptible, we have achieved a monumental go and have gone a long way to
diminish extremism in the military. >> and one other area to be resourced with the veterans get the january 6 insurrection anywhere from 16 or 20 percent those who are indicted with prior military experience. they are all veterans and they need to resourced the department of veterans affairsy so they can stay connected and studies have shown the attraction of the extremist organizations to give veterans who have left the military, the structure and the purpose they see the extremist organization of the substitute community we have to engage with our veterans keep them involved in programs and activities with her health
needs and that can go a long way as well to ensure those men and women in the military are not going to be the target ofru recruitment by these extremey organizations. >> thank you so much for this richer conversation today. you mentioned the whole of government approach so for everyone who is watching today and the timeline virtually and in the future so what is the take away are the one thing they can do in their community to help address the threat of extremism a.m. on enforcement. >> i go back to our friend
john lewis. stand up. speak out. i think part of the problem we have today is so many people in our local communities will not confront the issue. they are afraid for whatever reason they are afraid they bullied online and people have to stand up and speak out and talk to their children about this. they have to demand that they are public officials and candidates running for office and that they are they are now also stand up and speak out this should not b be a republican issue or democratic issue in be can only deal with that when they take a strong stance to stand up for what is right and what we represent.
and then to better educate yourself as individuals and to understand the history of the nation and that we have talkedut about this with the overwhelming number of people involved in the organization today that has to do with white supremacy and nationalism where race is a divisive factor the significance of race is as great today as it was at the height of the fifties and sixties and quite frankly some may argue right at the fall of reconstruction. so understand the history and the efforts to provide opportunities regardless of race or ethnicity or geography it's actually an effort to bring the country together to
demonstrate everyone has an opportunity toun pursue the american dream. but our country was founded on a document of the constitution that embedded racism into our founding document that perpetuated that. so anyes effort to overcome beyond that it should be viewed as being medial and not creating division that doesn't already exist we are trying to ameliorate to get beyond those odivisions to go back centuries and that takes a lot to do for the man and woman on the street because a lot of members of congress have difficulty understanding that as well. >> thank you so much for being here today and the dedication
thank you representative brown for your service and in the military and all you are doing thank you to everyone for participating in today's conversation please continue to follow the website for the materials that we reference with upcoming events please visit american progress action.org. please turn off your cameras as we close out the event.