A newly published report has revealed the difficulty the military is having containing the spread of white supremacy in its ranks.

The Department of Defense’s account, finalized in October and now made public by Roll Call, shows officials struggling to find ways to identify extremists, as white supremacists brag online that they openly recruit while serving.

Military leadership has found itself limited in screening volunteers because it lacks both the knowledge to identify obscure symbols and the right to pry too deeply into the lives of private citizens. Extremists who slip by can brandish coded messages in plain sight, finding each other through T-shirts or tattoos.

Some don’t even bother with code.

“I was 100% open about everything with the friends I made at training. They know about it all,” a man posted on the neo-Nazi forum Iron March. "I'd say the craziest [expletive] and get away with it.”

A far-right demonstrator makes the OK hand gesture at a rally in Portland, Oregon in August 2019 -- some say the simple signal has white supremacist overtones, but the Anti-Defamation League says far-right sympathizers use it to troll the left
A far-right demonstrator makes the OK hand gesture at a rally in Portland, Oregon in August 2019 -- some say the simple signal has white supremacist overtones, but the Anti-Defamation League says far-right sympathizers use it to troll the left AFP / John Rudoff

Even if extremists are discovered, only the Navy has a standing order to discharge them. Combined, the culture of tolerance has led to enough supremacist presence to justify a 60-day stand-down order from President Biden to confront the issue.

The report warns that white supremacist military personnel are particularly dangerous due to their “proven ability to execute high-impact events." At least 27 of those facing charges from the Capitol Riots have former or ongoing associations with the military, CNN found.

The report’s accounts from white supremacists come largely from the online forum Iron March, archived by Ars Technica. The man who bragged about being open in his beliefs during training would eventually co-found the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as a “series of terror cells that work toward civilizational collapse” with a history of “violent crimes including murder and alleged plots to attack civilians.”

While the military is still searching for steps forward, a number of measures have already been suggested. While officers are limited in their knowledge and jurisdiction while screening volunteers, a partnership with FBI forces dedicated to fighting extremism could resolve both of those weaknesses.

Legislators are also suggesting the recommendations of the report be put into law, as well as extending the stricter protocols the Navy has to cover the other branches of the armed forces.

"Just because this secretary of defense wants to address it and stay committed to it doesn't mean that the next one will or that the next administration will, and so I think that's why it's important to codify this and make it clear law," Rep. Peter Aguilar, D-Cali., told CNN.

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