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Air Force Recruiters Mistakenly Said That Applicants Had Extremist Affiliations, Then Let Them Join Anyway

Air Force recruiters mistakenly marked 34% of a sample of prospective Air Force recruits as having backgrounds in gangs or extremist groups, but recruits were still going through the application process, according to Pentagon (DoD) monitoring. determined by the agency.

The Defense Department’s Inspector General (IG) investigated 76 Air Force applicants as part of an audit of the military’s ability to weed out recruits affiliated with criminal gangs and extremist groups, 26 of which were misrepresented by recruiters. It turned out that I checked “yes” on the application form. a system of indicating associations that would normally be disqualified, according to to the report. But a review of the recruiter’s notes revealed that some of the applicants had made no mention of gang members or extremist activities in their interviews.

The recruiter’s mistake did not affect the futures of affected applicants because the Air Force’s recruit processing system did not exclude members affiliated with extremist groups, the report said. Squadron commanders typically need to approve special exceptions on a case-by-case basis. (Related article: ‘Unattainable’: Senate considers troop cuts, worried about declining draft standards)

Air Force recruiters should ask, “Have you ever or currently been associated with any extremist/hate organization or gang?” According to documents, at the first admission interview. The Army has similar requirements.

Officials, including the chief of operations, reviewed and commented on the annotated interview notes throughout the immigration process, but made no mention of any prohibited conduct disclosures, further evidence that the recruiter ticked the wrong checkbox. provided. On another screening form, no applicants marked yes in boxes indicating extremist or gang affiliation.

In 21 cases, it was evident that the recruiter had mistakenly checked the “yes” box during the interview and self-selection form. The remaining five did not pass the initial interview for reasons unrelated to extremism or gang affiliation, but IG did not include what recruiters would ask applicants about their affiliation. , could not conclusively determine whether the recruiter was wrong.

These cases came from 17 companies in 17 states, and none were from the same recruiter, suggesting that the problem was neither systemic nor confined to a particular geographic location. I’m here.

Twenty recruiters admitted to IG that they accidentally checked the wrong box.

The Air Force agreed and introduced a modification to its processing system that would block applicants from proceeding unless they had the approval of the squadron commander.

All services agreed to send a note throughout the command reiterating the importance of completing all screening requirements.

The Pentagon has long Ban Military personnel are prohibited from expressing certain public political expressions or activities inconsistent with the Oath of Service.But after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol in 2021, which included several veterans and active-duty military personnel, the secretary of defense placed There is renewed emphasis on combating ideological extremism by the military.

movement received criticism Republicans criticized it for creating a vague and overly broad definition of extremism and fostering partisan divisions within the military.

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