Sailors engaging with an offensive post regarding white supremacism on social media could themselves be viewed as contributing to extremism in the service, according to Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr.
“Just by posting, retweeting, or liking an offensive post on social media — you could be participating in extremism,” Nowell said in a new video shared on Facebook.
“You may not personally know any shipmates with extremist beliefs,” Nowell said. “But I assure you that those forces of darkness are among us.”
The video coincides with the release of a new naval administrative message that directs commanders and commanding officers to conduct a stand-down, before April 2, to address extremism in the service, in accordance with a directive from the Pentagon issued earlier this month.
Commanders and commanding officers will be provided materials including a discussion guide, supplementary slides and other resources to facilitate discussions as part of the stand-down, the NAVADMIN said. Although leaders have the flexibility to customize the training, the stand-down must reaffirm and cover the meaning of the oath of office/enlistment, behaviors that violate the oath, Uniform Code of Military Justice direction on extremist activities, what is acceptable behavior on social media, and the duty to report cases of extremism.
Among other things, the stand-down must also include listening sessions focused on the Navy’s core values and Culture of Excellence campaign, along with the findings of Task Force One Navy, which were unveiled Feb. 3.
“The intent of this stand-down (which may be conducted virtually or in-person with the appropriate COVID-19 mitigations) is to ensure service members and civilian personnel clearly understand the damaging effects of extremism and begin developing more effective, sustainable ways to eliminate the corrosive impacts extremist activity can have on our Force,” the NAVADMIN says.