NEWS & ANALYSIS

Pentagon Orders Military Pause to Address ‘White Supremacy’ in Ranks


The U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered all branches of the military to enact a “stand down” within the next 60 days to address supposed internal threats of white supremacy and extremism. 

On Wednesday, the Pentagon said it was still uncertain how to combat the supposed issue, so this pause would allow troops and commanders to focus on it and have discussions, NBC News reports. 

Austin, the first black secretary of defense, ordered each branch to stand-down at some point over the next 60 days to discuss the threat posed by white supremacy and extremism following the Capitol riot. 

The order came forth during a meeting with the leaders of each military branch, and according to Austin, “there wasn’t one being in the room that didn’t agree that there wasn’t a problem.” 

The Pentagon has studied the issue over the years, but still doesn’t have a full understanding of the problem. 

“We don’t know how we’re going to be able to get after this in a meaningful, productive, tangible way and that is why he had this meeting today and that is why he certainly ordered this stand down,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said. 

“There may be cultural issues we have to deal with here,” he added. 

In the military, “stand-downs” are designed to zero in the attention of the entire force on a serious problem, according to NBC News. Previous stand-down orders have addressed problems like suicide, sexual assault and racism.