(U//FOUO) Due to indications of an increase in extremist activity by former and current military personnel, evidenced by a spike in open source reporting, the ARTIC has produced this report examining 22 cases of current and former DoD members expressing support for and or allegedly affiliated with extremist groups while serving in or having recently separated from the military from 2017 – 2019. For the purposes of this report, the ARTIC considered an organization to be “extremist” if its core ideology espouses racially motivated hatred, such as Neo-Nazism, white supremacism, or black separatism, and or religious hatred, such as espoused by al-Qa’ida or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The majority of the information within this report was obtained via open sources. Due to the nature of open source reporting, and the possibility of ongoing investigations involving DoD personnel within this report, some of the allegations presented may prove to be unfounded.
(U//FOUO) Twenty out of the 22 reports examined by the ARTIC from 2017 to 2019 involved military members allegedly demonstrating support for white supremacist or neo-Nazi ideology and or associating with explicitly white supremacist or neo-Nazi organizations. Two reports involved alleged support for ideology in support of foreign terrorist organizations, namely ISIS. In all 22 reports the suspects were male.
(U//FOUO) Of the 22 cases examined, 13 involved Soldiers, six involved Marines, two involved Airmen, and one involved a member of the Coast Guard. Seven out of the 22 members engaged in, or discussed engaging in, violent acts involving explosives and or firearms.
(U//FOUO) Nine of the cases involved members of “Identity Evropa”, which re-branded as the American Identity Movement (AIM), an alt right white supremacist group; three cases involved members of “Atomwaffen Division” (AWD), a violent anarchist neo-Nazi group that became active in 2016; two cases involved individuals fighting with far-right paramilitary groups in Ukraine; two cases involved supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS); two cases involved individuals belonging to an alleged white supremacist affiliated group called “Ravensblood Kindredone; one case involved a member of the “Patriot Front (PF), a pro-white nationalist, anti-multicultural and anti-immigrant organization; and three were unspecified.
(U//FOUO) It is likely that most if not all service members who embrace extremism were exposed to extremist ideology via the internet or social media applications. While the ARTIC found no evidence of extremist organizations specifically targeting DoD members through social media or other means, according to open source research, social media platforms play an important role in the likely self-radicalization processes of US extremists. According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), in 2016 alone, social media contributed to the radicalization processes of nearly 90% of extremists contained within their database. Right-wing extremist networks in particular use Twitter, post videos on YouTube, establish Facebook pages, create Instagram accounts, and communicate on social media sites with minimal moderation such as Gab and 8chan.
(U//FOUO) The ARTIC notes that based on investigations conducted by the Army Criminal Investigative Command (CID), CID does not assess a danger of white supremacy or any other form of racially motivated violent extremism becoming a pervasive issue across the Army. According to CID, focused collection on extremist activity within the past year revealed a common thread for the Soldiers identified as participating in extremist groups being that they are commonly isolated in units, failing to fully integrate into Army life, rather than emerging as influential among their Soldier peers. Although the ARTIC has not coordinated with investigative agencies from other military branches, based upon the reporting reviewed, we judge the findings by CID are likely applicable across the military.
(U) Atomwaffen Division (AWD)
(U) According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the AWD is a small neo-Nazi group that became active in 2016. The group is believed to have originated online from a now-defunct Neo-Nazi forum called Iron March, which was known for its extreme content and calls for violence. According to the AWD website, they are “a revolutionary national socialist organization centered around political activism and the practice of an autonomous fascist lifestyle.” They promote the idea that societal and governmental “systems” are collapsing and that democracy and capitalism have “given way to Jewish oligarchies and globalist bankers resulting in the cultural and racial displacement of the white race.”
(U) Members train in preparation for an impending race war and promote the use of violence to reach their goal of “uncompromising victory.” In a promotional video published on 21 JAN 18, members, dressed in military-styled camouflaged fatigues, shout “gas the Kikes” and “race war now” as they fire weapons and practice tactical maneuvers.
(U) In December 2017, one of AWD’s leaders, John Cameron Denton (AKA Vincent Snyder), laid out the group’s plans on their Siege Culture website: “Our responsibility right now is resistance, anything that happens after that we’ll simply adapt to it and work with what we have.” Denton, who lives in Texas, has attended white supremacist rallies and events in Houston and Austin alongside members of the White Lives Matter movement and the Aryan Renaissance Society. (ADL, 2019; Open Source, 01 FEB 18)
(U) American Identity Movement (AIM)
(U) According to the ADL, the AIM is an alt right white supremacist group that began in 2019 as a rebranding of Identity Evropa, one of the largest groups within the alt right segment of the white supremacist movement.
(U) On 08 MAR 19, during Identity Evropa’s annual conference, the group’s leader, Patrick Casey, announced the dissolution of Identity Evropa and the creation of AIM. During the conference, all Identity Evropa members in good standing were invited to join AIM. (ADL, 2020)
(U) Azov Regiment (AR)
(U) The Azov Regiment is a combined arms special task unit of the Ukrainian National Guard comprised of contract solders to include foreign fighter volunteers. It was formed in May 2014 as a volunteer military battalion to counter Russian-backed proxy forces fighting in the Azov sea coastal region of Mariupol. In November 2014 it was incorporated into the National Guard and updated to a Regiment in January 2015. The regiment, considered ultra-national, includes elite units trained in Reconnaissance and EOD specialties by former Ukrainian Army Special Forces. According to open source, Azov is rooted in neo-Nazism based on ideologies expressed by leadership and embalms associated with the group. In 2018, US Congress pass legislation blocking military aid to Azov due to suspected white-supremacy goals.
(U) Patriot Front (PF)
(U) The Patriot Front is considered a pro-white nationalist, anti-multicultural, anti-immigrant, and anti-Semitic organization. The Patriot Front broke from the white-nationalist group Vanguard America in August 2017 following the August 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Patriot Front believes the United States’ unique cultural identify was forged by pan-European pioneers, explorers, visionaries, and is being compromised by a dysfunctional and tyrannical government. The Patriot Front claims to seek a return to the traditions and values (political, social, and religious) defined by America’s forefathers. The group embraces imagery depicting American patriotic and traditional fascist themes. The Patriot Front is known to distribute propaganda through fliers and stickers, often at universities and synagogues. During public demonstrations, the Patriot Front has called for the deportation or marginalization of non-whites. Reporting indicates the Patriot Front has not directly engaged in violent activity.
(U) The Base
(U) The Base is identified as a white nationalist survivalist group that proclaims to defend the European race while establishing a network of supporters willing to use violence to overthrow the current social and political order and hasten in a perceived impending race war. The Base was formed in 2018 and operates primarily in the US although reporting indicates some low level activity in Europe. The Base reportedly draws inspiration from the neo-Nazi hate group Atomwaffen Division (AWD) and writings by prominent Neo-Nazi Authors The Base reportedly includes members from the AWD and the far-right environmental groups such as the Eco-Fascist Order. (Open Source, 25 JAN 20; Open Source, 16 NOV 19; Open Source, 2020)