WASHINGTON — Like all the branches of the U.S. armed forces, the Navy has made clear it will not tolerate extremism in the ranks. It has announced its plans for a 60-day stand-down to get that message to everyone in the service.
Initially ordered by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a February 5 memo to the individual services, the Navy has now announced its expectations for a "period of reflection" that all commands must complete by April 2.
"Our greatest military strength is our people. Therefore, operating in an environment free of discrimination, free of hate and harassment while accomplishing our mission is paramount to our success," said United States Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Phil Davidson.
He told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday that racism and extremism, along with sexual assault and sexual harassment, have no place within the ranks.
"Such abhorrent behaviors are inconsistent with our values and the principles we are sworn to defend," said Davidson.
Lawmakers wanted to know if a one-day stand-down per unit is enough.
"Are there other steps that the DoD should take to root out the violent extremists in the ranks?" asked Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).
Responded Davidson: "Well, I think certainly, Senator, the stand-down was intended just to be the first step on this."
Among other things, the Navy will require its 347,000+ active officers and enlisted sailors to reaffirm their oaths to the Constitution.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby spoke again Tuesday about extremism in the military.
At a briefing, he said, "Extremist ideology is prejudicial to good order and discipline and can lead to and inspire actual criminal acts against our teammates within the Department of Defense."