military

Extremism In The U.S. Military

Feb 16, 2021
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
Shafkat Anowar / AP

A significant contingent of the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 included people with a military background, from active duty personnel to veterans.

Defense secretary Lloyd Austin has called for a military-wide stand down to address extremism within the ranks.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

President Biden on Monday repealed a controversial Trump-era ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. military.

Biden signed an executive order on the issue as he met in the Oval Office with new Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and Vice President Harris.

Speaking briefly to reporters, Biden said the order will allow all "qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform."

As a violent mob descended on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, lawmakers and aides hid wherever they could, waiting for the military and police to arrive. But many of those who stormed the Capitol were military veterans themselves, who had once sworn to protect the Constitution. In fact, an NPR analysis has found that nearly 1 in 5 people charged over their alleged involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol appear to have a military history.

Donald Trump campaigned hard on military issues.

He vowed to bring "endless wars" to a close, "rebuild" the fighting forces and compel allies to pay their fair share, saying the U.S. would no longer be "suckers."

That message resonated among voters and helped propel him to the White House in the 2016 election. Among troops, he seemed to enjoy fairly strong support. A Military Times poll showed that 46% had a favorable view of him at the start of his term, 10 points higher than President Barack Obama had in January 2017.

The Senate voted Friday to overturn President Trump's veto of the mammoth annual defense bill in an unprecedented act that assures the decades-long continuity for that legislation. It follows a House vote earlier this week.

The House voted on Monday to overturn President Trump's veto of the gargantuan annual defense authorization bill.

The vote, 322-87, was a highly unusual response to a highly unusual move by a president in rejecting the legislation, which sets policies and establishes other priorities every year for the military services.

The Senate's next moves on the matter are still uncertain, but senators were set to return to Washington on Tuesday.

Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET

President Trump has followed through on his threats to veto the annual defense bill, triggering plans for Congress to return from its holiday break to potentially override him for the first time in his four-year administration.

"My Administration has taken strong actions to help keep our Nation safe and support our service members," Trump wrote in a message to the House of Representatives. "I will not approve this bill, which would put the interests of the Washington, D.C. establishment over those of the American people."

Updated at 3:26 p.m. ET

President Trump's done it again.

The man who threatened to cause a ruckus in Washington — and has done so over his four years in office — introduced a new round of disarray Tuesday night.

Trump's pre-Christmas chaos includes:

Black members of the U.S. Air Force are treated differently than their white counterparts in a wide range of areas, including promotions and military justice, a new internal investigation reveals.

Update at 2:38 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday introduced his nominee for defense secretary despite some lawmakers' concerns about naming a recently retired military officer to the key civilian Pentagon post.

The White House will bring home 2,500 troops from Afghanistan and Iraq by the end of the year against the guidance of top military officials, a drawdown order that reduces the American presence by about a third, from 4,500 to 2,500 in Afghanistan and 3,000 to 2,500 in Iraq, according to a U.S. official.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has been "terminated," President Trump wrote in a tweet, and will be replaced by Christopher C. Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

"Chris will do a GREAT job," Trump tweeted shortly after noon. "Mark Esper has been terminated. I would like to thank him for his service."

Sources say Esper already had a resignation letter ready to go — because Trump threatened to fire him in June over a disagreement about using active duty troops to quell street protests — and had recently updated it.

Only 10 of the Navy's 268 admirals are African-American, most are rear admirals and none holds the two highest ranks, according to data from a task force that's examining the history of discrimination in the Navy. Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, who heads the One Navy Task Force for the Chief of Naval Operations, concedes that those numbers are small.

President Donald Trump speaking to supporters in Circleville.
Nick Evans / WOSU

Thousands of Trump supporters swelled the Pickaway County fairgrounds on a chilly Saturday, even as Ohio State held its first football game of the season. The president’s visit to Circleville was part of a last minute swing through four battleground states.

The U.S. is planning to withdraw nearly half of the number of U.S. troops deployed to Iraq, according to a senior U.S. military official.

CENTCOM Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie, who is responsible for U.S. forces in the Middle East, says that the U.S. will reduce its troop levels in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 and that the cuts will be made this month.

He said the decision reflects confidence in Iraqi security forces.

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