March 02, 2021

Duckworth Presses Former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Combatting Extremism, Misinformation in Military Ranks


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — During a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing today, combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) highlighted the need to counter extremism in the ranks and work toward restoring good order and discipline across the military. Duckworth, who served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years and is Chair of the SASC Airland Subcommittee, spoke in the wake of the January 6th violent insurrection, in which the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol and left Americans dead included Veterans and active duty servicemembers. She pressed Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, former Trump Administration National Security Advisor, on what we must do to halt radicalization of members of the U.S. Armed Forces and combat misinformation campaigns, conspiracy theories and extremist propaganda. Video of the Senator’s remarks can be found here.

“With President Biden in the White House, I’m confident that we have a Commander in Chief who understands the importance of restoring alliances is critical to advancing national security interests. Yet, my relief at the arrival of the current occupant of the Oval Office does not lessen my concern over the significant and lasting damage former President Trump inflicted on the principle of good order and discipline. And on January 6th, our Nation witnessed the consequences of such reckless behavior as President Trump incited his followers, which disgracefully included Veterans and active duty servicemembers, to engage in violent acts of sedition and insurrection. Effectively addressing external security challenges abroad demands that we swiftly correct internal deficiencies in good order and discipline within the ranks.”

In the days following the insurrection, Duckworth sent a letter to the Pentagon demanding an investigation into allegations that troops and military retirees played a role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol. During Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s confirmation hearing, Duckworth raised the issue of addressing the rise of extremism within the ranks. She joined her colleagues to call on the Department of Defense to investigate and address white supremacy and extremist ideology in the ranks of the military following the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Last week, she spoke with General David Berger, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps (USMC), to discuss actions that can be taken to combat the rise of white supremacy and other extremist ideologies among servicemembers.