Gangfighters Weblog

August 1, 2012

Stuff gang bangers in the military can’t do with DoD Instruction 1325.6 in place

We looked at this a bit in Further attempts to give teeth to DoD Instruction 1325.6, with 
Change 1, February 22, 2012 to DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1325.6. 


The guidance includes:

PREVENTIVE ACTIVITIES


a. Commanders should remain alert for signs of future prohibited activities. They should intervene early, primarily through counseling, when observing such signs even though the signs may not rise to active advocacy or active participation or may not threaten good order and discipline, but only suggest such potential. The goal of early intervention is to minimize the risk of future prohibited activities.


– these are all feel good guidelines. The reality is that Commanders (and other unit leaders) remain alert for signs of bad morale and things that affect the mission. They usually don’t see “what someone does off duty” as something that falls into those categories. What they don’t get is that these gang members are 1) smart enough to conceal their affiliation, 2) learning trades they can use to help the gang, and 3) using their military experience and exposure to access the logistics pipeline to help drug and weapons trafficking endeavors, etc. 


– The military is not and is not designed to be engaged in anything resembling early intervention or minimizing the risk of future prohibited activities. Those are activities for communities where there are youth gangs who can be deterred from crime. All military members are adults, and those who are gang members and military service members are far from intervention time.


b. Examples of such signs, which, in the absence of the active advocacy or active participation addressed in paragraphs 8.a and 8.b are not prohibited, could include mere membership in criminal gangs and other organizations covered under paragraph 8.b. 

  • mostly explained by active participation in prohibited groups by fundraising; demonstrating or rallying; recruiting, training, organizing, or leading members; distributing material; knowingly wearing gang colors or clothing; having tattoos or body markings associated with such gangs or organizations; or otherwise engaging in activities in furtherance of the objective of such organizations that are detrimental to good order, discipline, or mission accomplishment or are incompatible with military service

These do not appropriately represent the breadth of gang crimes that should be included in “criminal gang offense.” They appear more like some of the indicators used by Departments of Correction and a few police departments to confirm gang membership. From Tennessee:

1. Self Admission

2.  Tattoos

3. Hand Signs/Symbols/Logos

4. Wearing of Gang/STG colors, gang clothing, gang paraphernalia.

5. Possession of Gang/STG documents  

6. Possession of commercial Gang/STG publications.

7. Participation in commercial Gang/STG publications.

8. Consistently in contact with Gang/STG members

9. Contact with Gang/STG members.

10. Participating in a photo with Gang/STG members. 

11. Outside jurisdiction documents. 

12. Correspondence with Gang/STG members.  

13. Named a Gang/STG member in correspondence.

14. Confirmation through outside agency gang unit or database.

15. Engaged in Gang/STG Crime or activity.

In fact, they are a carryover from the wrongly positioned history of this DoD Instruction. As addressed in DoDs New Rules for Gangs in the Military (not a good idea)

At the time the directive was initially published in 1969, the DoD was concerned with the infiltration of anti-war and anti-military organizations. The directive focused on dissident and protest activities within the military, and especially on activities such as underground newspapers, on-post demonstrations, and serviceman organizations.

In 1986, the Secretary of Defense updated the directive. The directive’s language prohibited “active” participation in “extremist organizations.” This comes from language in Executive Order (EO) 11,785 issued in 1953, during the height of the Cold War, when the government feared Communist infiltration. It was later changed to forbid designating any groups as “totalitarian, fascist, Communist, or subversive” and forbade any circulation or publication of a list of such groups.

* * *

We had problems linking the directive to gangs because of it’s history (originally launched from an Executive Order (EO 10,450: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/10450.html) prohibiting communist groups from infiltrating, then war protesters, now extremists. 

It’s pretty clear what actions they wanted to prohibit:
 

         * * *

sabotage, espionage, treason, or sedition, or attempts thereat or preparation therefore, or conspiring with, or aiding or abetting, another to commit or attempt to commit any act of sabotage, espionage, treason, or sedition

         * * *

Advocacy of use of force or violence to overthrow the government of the United States

So when the explanation for the new Instruction explains that:

Signs could also include possession of literature associated with such gangs or organizations, or with related ideology, doctrine, or causes. While mere membership or possession of literature normally is not prohibited, it may merit further investigation and possibly counseling to emphasize the importance of adherence to the Department’s values and to ensure that the Service member understands what activities are prohibited.

I am tempted to ask what they are talking about when it comes to literature. Are they talking about Gang/STG documents: rosters, procedures, bylaws, codes, etc.? What about Gang/STG commercial publications? What about illustrations or artwork?


Unfortunately, these are the same questions that would allow a defense attorney to claim the instruction is vague and over-broad, and that’s an indication that more thought should be invested in it in the first place.


What do you think?

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July 21, 2012

Further attempts to give teeth to DoD Instruction 1325.6

Back in January 2010, I wrote DoDs New Rules for Gangs in the Military (not a good idea) 
which identified the first attempt by the DoD to address section 544 of Public Law 110-181, noting

. . . there’s a very short part about gang affiliations: 

“Military personnel must reject active participation in criminal gangs pursuant to section 544 of Public Law 110-181 

* * * 

Active participation includes, but is not limited to, fundraising; demonstrating or rallying; recruiting, training, organizing, or leading members; distributing material (including posting on-line); or otherwise engaging in activities in furtherance of the objective of such gangs or organizations that are detrimental to good order, discipline, or mission accomplishment or are incompatible with military service.”

Well, here’s the follow up!

Change 1, February 22, 2012 to DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1325.6 says:


Military personnel must not actively advocate supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine . . .
* * *
b. Military personnel must reject active participation in criminal gangs pursuant to section 544 of Public Law 110-181 (Reference (i)) 
* * *
Active participation includes, but is not limited to, fundraising; demonstrating or rallying; recruiting, training, organizing, or leading members; distributing material (including posting on-line); knowingly wearing gang colors or clothing; having tattoos or body markings associated with such gangs or organizations; or otherwise engaging in activities in furtherance of the objective of such gangs or organizations that are detrimental to good order, discipline, or mission accomplishment or are incompatible with military service.


(emphasis added to highlight additions)


So we added examples of basic gang activity to clarify active participation. 


Knowingly wearing gang colors or clothing; having tattoos or body markings associated with such gangs or organizations are things that all gang members do. The gangsters in the military are usually more advanced that your everyday, run-of-the-mill gangbanger, though. They are members of the Second, and often the Third Generation (see 3G2), and these minor additions will do little (that’s a nice way of saying nothing) to help in their detection, capture and conviction. 


Then again, there doesn’t seem to have been a full onslaught by the DoD to limit the gang infiltration of the military. There have been somewhat thorough reviews by each of the branches — Army CID (2004-2009), Air Force OSI (2007), and Navy NCIS (2012) (which included references to Marine CID investigations). Additionally, the FBI has maintained their inquiry into military-trained gang members since 2007.

I still think the developing prohibitions are contained in the wrong laws (see previous posts), but at least we are detailing what is active participation — and it makes sense. 


I anticipate problems with proving the offender was knowingly wearing gang colors or clothing unless there is a mass movement to educate service members on what gang colors or clothing look like — and then requiring them to report what they see. I don’t see that going very far. The easy defense is that gang clothing has now permeated our culture and clothing, tattoos, and even showing a color preference are all more than gang-related choices. 

The apologists in our DoD investigation units’ public relations departments have been practicing that spin for years . . .

More laws with more teeth directed at more advanced gangs with more investigations — that’s the solution!


What do you think?

March 11, 2011

Perceptions of Gang Investigation Regarding Presence of Military-Trained Gang Members

View this document in ProQuest

Abstract (summary)

Communities everywhere have experienced the negative effects of street gangs. Gang activity in the form of crime and violence has had a devastating effect on the lives of citizens and the safety of our communities. The presence of military-trained gang members (MTGMs) in the community increases the threat of violence to citizens. The problem addressed in this quantitative correlational research study was the apparently growing presence of military-trained gang members in civilian communities. The purpose of the study was to more closely examine the nexus between the perceived presence of military-trained gang members and the perceptions of gang investigators regarding the presence and the size of their jurisdictions, the proximity of their jurisdictions to a military installation, and the extent to which investigators participate in anti-gang activities. An online survey, the Military Gang Perception Questionnaire (MGPQ), was created to collect responses from the 260 active members of the Tennessee Gang Investigators Association (TNGIA). The electronic distribution of the survey was facilitated by Google Documents. A sample size calculation was computed for a multiple regression analysis involving seven predictors, a significance level of .05, a power of 80%, and a medium effect size (f 2 =0.15). That power analysis indicated that N =103 was sufficient to detect this size of effect. The statistical analyses used to test the hypotheses in this study were Pearson and Spearman Correlation Coefficients, independent means t tests, and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Regression analysis. Many of the 119 respondents felt anti-gang prohibitions would limit the activity of MTGMs. Respondents reported a mean of 11% of the gang members in their jurisdictions were MTGMs. The Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve were identified as the largest sources of MTGMs and the Bloods, Crips, and Gangster Disciples were the gangs most represented. There was a statistically significant positive correlation (ρ=.24, p <.05) between MTGM presence percent score and jurisdiction size. There was also a statistically significant positive correlation (ρ=.28, p <.05) between MTGM presence percent score and the distance from the nearest military installation (computed). Recommendations included that military leadership should conduct cumulative tracking and analysis of gang threats, and apply an all-hands approach to identifying gang members in the military. When an installation shows a decrease in gang-related activity, solutions that led to the decrease should be identified. Military leadership should identify and examine all suspected military gang members and policy makers should identify gangs and related groups as Security Threat Groups.

Indexing (details)

Subjects Criminology, Public policy, Military studies
Classification 0627: Criminology, 0630: Public policy, 0750: Military studies
Identifiers / Keywords Social sciences, Gangs, Street gangs, Military, Armed forces, Gang members, Military-trained
Title Perceptions of Gang Investigation Regarding Presence of Military-Trained Gang Members
Authors Smith, Carter F.
Publication title ProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Number of pages 202
Publication year 2010
Publication Date 2010
Year 2010
Section 1443
ISBN 9781124391373
Advisor House, John
School Northcentral University
School location United States — Arizona
Degree Ph.D.
Source type Dissertations & Theses
Language of Publication English; EN
Document Type Dissertation/Thesis
Publication / Order Number 3437991
ProQuest Document ID 845233422
Document URL http://rap.ocls.ca/ra/login?url=/docview/845233422
Copyright Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2010
Last Updated 2011-01-27

November 30, 2010

Perceptions of gang investigators regarding presence of military trained gang members

The problem addressed was the presence of military-trained gang members in civilian communities. The purpose was to determine the perceived presence of military-trained gang members and to examine whether there was a relationship between the perceptions of gang investigators regarding that presence and the size of their jurisdictions, proximity of jurisdictions to military installations, and extent to which investigators participated in anti-gang activities.

The Military Gang Perception Questionnaire collected responses from the 260 active members of the Tennessee Gang Investigators Association. Respondents reported a mean of 11% of the gang members in their jurisdictions had military training. The Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve were identified as the largest sources of MTGMs, and the Bloods, Crips, and Gangster Disciples were most represented.

There was a statistically significant positive correlation between MTGM presence percent score and jurisdiction size. There was also a statistically significant positive correlation between MTGM presence percent score and the distance from the nearest military installation (computed).

Recommendations included that military leadership conduct cumulative tracking and analysis, and apply an all-hands approach to identifying gang members in the military. When there is a decrease in gang-related activity, solutions should be identified. Military leadership should examine all suspected gang members and policy makers should identify gangs and related groups as Security Threat Groups.

August 2, 2008

Divided Loyalty for military gang members

Filed under: active participation, gang member, gangs in the military, military, police — carterfsmith @ 4:21 pm

  • I am an American Soldier.
  • I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
  • I will always place the mission first.

These lines start the Soldier’s Creed. They also (if tested) would end the military careers of many gang members.

When examining the various aspects of gang life, loyalty within the gang organization often receives little or no attention. It is important that this concept be recognized, since violence is often a forced product of the underlying assumptions that hold street gangs together (Ruble & Turner, 2000), and violence is something that the military trains most service members to respond to (and sometimes deliver).

Loyalty becomes an issue in many organizations, but nowhere is it more critical than in the public service sector. The military and police departments across the United States have been infiltrated by gangs who seek access to weapons or sensitive information regarding investigations (Witkowski, 2004). The threat to these organizations does not come from the traditional worker.

Those in the military who are trained to fight in battle are not the only positions in which the loyalty of a gang member would be an issue. Those who control the finances and personnel assignments, as well as those who oversee logistics shipments can exploit their positions for the gang’s benefit. Those in and affiliated with policing and corrections may have access to criminal records, prisoner assignments, and transportation.

The indoctrination phase of these institutions cannot be compared to that used by the gang, and those holding dual positions (a member of the gang and the military or police) should be watched. They will not be intimidated by drill instructors. They will not admit their gang affiliation to investigators. They will not brag to their co-workers that they were able to join the military even though they were gang members.

Some military installations brief new arrivals and their family members on the dangers of gangs. Periodically, military installations will conduct tattoo inspections or publish local addresses situated near military installations of known gang hangouts that are considered off-limits to military personnel (Witkowski, 2004). Despite these briefings, many military leaders publicly deny the existence of gang members in their organizations, or at a minimum deny that their presence in the organization is a problem.

Nonetheless, members of nearly every major street gang, including the Bloods, Crips, Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Hells Angels, Latin Kings, The 18th Street Gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Mexican Mafia, Nortenos, Surenos, Vice Lords, and various white supremacist groups, have been found throughout private and public sector employment, and even the U.S. Military. They are present in most branches and across all ranks of the military, especially the junior enlisted. Estimates of their effect on and participation in these areas are hard to obtain because many gang-related incidences are un-reported or exclude references to gang affiliation and there has been no record of a Department of Defense survey to locate military gang members.

Gang members often enter the workforce at the lower levels, but some may work their way into more career-oriented positions. Many join the military to escape their current environment or troubled gang lifestyle. Others may enlist in the military as an alternative to incarceration; to receive combat training; to obtain access to weapons and supplies; to learn basic first aid and medic skills that can later benefit their gang; or to take advantage of opportunities to commit crimes; and to recruit new members for their gang.

Those who enter the military to leave the gang lifestyle have a perfect opportunity. But those who enter the military to establish connections for drug running and weapons trafficking also have an opportunity. None of the military departments have an effective strategy for 1) identifying and 2) tracking the reformation of gang members, or truly 3) cracking the code. Current law prohibits only “active” participation, which means that those who enter or are sent to learn tactics or make connections would not be seen as active. We learned (again) with the war on terrorism that young men are quite capable of hiding their intentions.

Perhaps we should allow gang members into the military. To do so without oversight, though, is a mistake.

What do you think?

References

Ruble, N. M., & Turner, W. L. (2000). A systemic analysis of the dynamics and organization of urban street gangs. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 28(2), 117-132.
Witkowski, M. J. (2004). The Gang’s All Here. Security Management. Arlington: May 2004, 48,(5) 95.

Divided Loyalty for military gang members

Filed under: active participation, gang member, gangs in the military, military, police — carterfsmith @ 4:21 pm

  • I am an American Soldier.
  • I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
  • I will always place the mission first.

These lines start the Soldier’s Creed. They also (if tested) would end the military careers of many gang members.

When examining the various aspects of gang life, loyalty within the gang organization often receives little or no attention. It is important that this concept be recognized, since violence is often a forced product of the underlying assumptions that hold street gangs together (Ruble & Turner, 2000), and violence is something that the military trains most service members to respond to (and sometimes deliver).

Loyalty becomes an issue in many organizations, but nowhere is it more critical than in the public service sector. The military and police departments across the United States have been infiltrated by gangs who seek access to weapons or sensitive information regarding investigations (Witkowski, 2004). The threat to these organizations does not come from the traditional worker.

Those in the military who are trained to fight in battle are not the only positions in which the loyalty of a gang member would be an issue. Those who control the finances and personnel assignments, as well as those who oversee logistics shipments can exploit their positions for the gang’s benefit. Those in and affiliated with policing and corrections may have access to criminal records, prisoner assignments, and transportation.

The indoctrination phase of these institutions cannot be compared to that used by the gang, and those holding dual positions (a member of the gang and the military or police) should be watched. They will not be intimidated by drill instructors. They will not admit their gang affiliation to investigators. They will not brag to their co-workers that they were able to join the military even though they were gang members.

Some military installations brief new arrivals and their family members on the dangers of gangs. Periodically, military installations will conduct tattoo inspections or publish local addresses situated near military installations of known gang hangouts that are considered off-limits to military personnel (Witkowski, 2004). Despite these briefings, many military leaders publicly deny the existence of gang members in their organizations, or at a minimum deny that their presence in the organization is a problem.

Nonetheless, members of nearly every major street gang, including the Bloods, Crips, Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Hells Angels, Latin Kings, The 18th Street Gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Mexican Mafia, Nortenos, Surenos, Vice Lords, and various white supremacist groups, have been found throughout private and public sector employment, and even the U.S. Military. They are present in most branches and across all ranks of the military, especially the junior enlisted. Estimates of their effect on and participation in these areas are hard to obtain because many gang-related incidences are un-reported or exclude references to gang affiliation and there has been no record of a Department of Defense survey to locate military gang members.

Gang members often enter the workforce at the lower levels, but some may work their way into more career-oriented positions. Many join the military to escape their current environment or troubled gang lifestyle. Others may enlist in the military as an alternative to incarceration; to receive combat training; to obtain access to weapons and supplies; to learn basic first aid and medic skills that can later benefit their gang; or to take advantage of opportunities to commit crimes; and to recruit new members for their gang.

Those who enter the military to leave the gang lifestyle have a perfect opportunity. But those who enter the military to establish connections for drug running and weapons trafficking also have an opportunity. None of the military departments have an effective strategy for 1) identifying and 2) tracking the reformation of gang members, or truly 3) cracking the code. Current law prohibits only “active” participation, which means that those who enter or are sent to learn tactics or make connections would not be seen as active. We learned (again) with the war on terrorism that young men are quite capable of hiding their intentions.

Perhaps we should allow gang members into the military. To do so without oversight, though, is a mistake.

What do you think?

References

Ruble, N. M., & Turner, W. L. (2000). A systemic analysis of the dynamics and organization of urban street gangs. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 28(2), 117-132.
Witkowski, M. J. (2004). The Gang’s All Here. Security Management. Arlington: May 2004, 48,(5) 95.

Divided Loyalty for military gang members

Filed under: active participation, gang member, gangs in the military, military, police — carterfsmith @ 4:21 pm

  • I am an American Soldier.
  • I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
  • I will always place the mission first.

These lines start the Soldier’s Creed. They also (if tested) would end the military careers of many gang members.

When examining the various aspects of gang life, loyalty within the gang organization often receives little or no attention. It is important that this concept be recognized, since violence is often a forced product of the underlying assumptions that hold street gangs together (Ruble & Turner, 2000), and violence is something that the military trains most service members to respond to (and sometimes deliver).

Loyalty becomes an issue in many organizations, but nowhere is it more critical than in the public service sector. The military and police departments across the United States have been infiltrated by gangs who seek access to weapons or sensitive information regarding investigations (Witkowski, 2004). The threat to these organizations does not come from the traditional worker.

Those in the military who are trained to fight in battle are not the only positions in which the loyalty of a gang member would be an issue. Those who control the finances and personnel assignments, as well as those who oversee logistics shipments can exploit their positions for the gang’s benefit. Those in and affiliated with policing and corrections may have access to criminal records, prisoner assignments, and transportation.

The indoctrination phase of these institutions cannot be compared to that used by the gang, and those holding dual positions (a member of the gang and the military or police) should be watched. They will not be intimidated by drill instructors. They will not admit their gang affiliation to investigators. They will not brag to their co-workers that they were able to join the military even though they were gang members.

Some military installations brief new arrivals and their family members on the dangers of gangs. Periodically, military installations will conduct tattoo inspections or publish local addresses situated near military installations of known gang hangouts that are considered off-limits to military personnel (Witkowski, 2004). Despite these briefings, many military leaders publicly deny the existence of gang members in their organizations, or at a minimum deny that their presence in the organization is a problem.

Nonetheless, members of nearly every major street gang, including the Bloods, Crips, Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Hells Angels, Latin Kings, The 18th Street Gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Mexican Mafia, Nortenos, Surenos, Vice Lords, and various white supremacist groups, have been found throughout private and public sector employment, and even the U.S. Military. They are present in most branches and across all ranks of the military, especially the junior enlisted. Estimates of their effect on and participation in these areas are hard to obtain because many gang-related incidences are un-reported or exclude references to gang affiliation and there has been no record of a Department of Defense survey to locate military gang members.

Gang members often enter the workforce at the lower levels, but some may work their way into more career-oriented positions. Many join the military to escape their current environment or troubled gang lifestyle. Others may enlist in the military as an alternative to incarceration; to receive combat training; to obtain access to weapons and supplies; to learn basic first aid and medic skills that can later benefit their gang; or to take advantage of opportunities to commit crimes; and to recruit new members for their gang.

Those who enter the military to leave the gang lifestyle have a perfect opportunity. But those who enter the military to establish connections for drug running and weapons trafficking also have an opportunity. None of the military departments have an effective strategy for 1) identifying and 2) tracking the reformation of gang members, or truly 3) cracking the code. Current law prohibits only “active” participation, which means that those who enter or are sent to learn tactics or make connections would not be seen as active. We learned (again) with the war on terrorism that young men are quite capable of hiding their intentions.

Perhaps we should allow gang members into the military. To do so without oversight, though, is a mistake.

What do you think?

References

Ruble, N. M., & Turner, W. L. (2000). A systemic analysis of the dynamics and organization of urban street gangs. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 28(2), 117-132.
Witkowski, M. J. (2004). The Gang’s All Here. Security Management. Arlington: May 2004, 48,(5) 95.

July 17, 2008

Can you prevent membership in organized criminal groups if you are the SecDef?

With more than 750,000 criminal street gang members in the United States (approximately the population of Austin, TX), government officials at all levels are searching for ways to restrict the negative impact of gang-related activity on the community. Many of these attempts have been challenged in the courts, in academia, and the media, having been deemed overly broad in scope, though specifically limiting solutions have been used with some success.

H.R. 4986: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 Section 544 – became law (Public Law 110-181), and requires the Secretary of Defense to prescribe regulations to prohibit the active participation of military personnel in street gangs.

The bill was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President back in January, yet here we are, more than six months later, with no changes to military policy on gang membership.

It didn’t take that long to pass the USAPATRIOT Act.

Perhaps we are being more careful. Or, perhaps we are trying to see if denial works yet . . .


Gangs aren’t a new blip on the radar screen — over twelve years ago, the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense were told, “Gang-related activities appear to be more pervasive than extremist activities as defined in Army Regulation 600-20.”

This was from an investigative Task Force formed in response to an Extremist-related killing that was looking to see if there was a problem with Extremists in the Army. The task force visited 28 major Army installations in the United States, Germany, and Korea during January and February 1996. After conducting over 7,000 interviews and 17,080 written surveys, the task force concluded that there was minimal evidence of extremist-group activity in the Army . . .

They did note there was more of a “security concern” with street gangs.

They said “Yes, But . . .” when responding to the Secretary. Their response essentially was “Yes, there are a few more of those hate-mongers in the military, but there’s a related problem that you really ought to pay attention to — street gangs!”

That’s akin to inspecting a car for someone who asked you to see if the car needed belts, tires, fluids and you respond with, “Yes, we need to schedule all that, but you need to know that the tread on your front tires is dangerously low.” Or, imagine asking a private investigator to see if your spouse is visiting the racetrack and he responds with, “She bets on the horses about once a week, but she visits a hotel room with a different guy every Tuesday and Friday while you are working.”

Do you wait twelve years to process this new information?

So here we are twelve years later, Congress AND the President agreed with the Task Force’s report, and after six months . . . nothing. The NFL gets it, why not the Secretary of Defense?

What’s it going to take?

Can you prevent membership in organized criminal groups if you are the SecDef?

With more than 750,000 criminal street gang members in the United States (approximately the population of Austin, TX), government officials at all levels are searching for ways to restrict the negative impact of gang-related activity on the community. Many of these attempts have been challenged in the courts, in academia, and the media, having been deemed overly broad in scope, though specifically limiting solutions have been used with some success.

H.R. 4986: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 Section 544 – became law (Public Law 110-181), and requires the Secretary of Defense to prescribe regulations to prohibit the active participation of military personnel in street gangs.

The bill was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President back in January, yet here we are, more than six months later, with no changes to military policy on gang membership.

It didn’t take that long to pass the USAPATRIOT Act.

Perhaps we are being more careful. Or, perhaps we are trying to see if denial works yet . . .


Gangs aren’t a new blip on the radar screen — over twelve years ago, the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense were told, “Gang-related activities appear to be more pervasive than extremist activities as defined in Army Regulation 600-20.”

This was from an investigative Task Force formed in response to an Extremist-related killing that was looking to see if there was a problem with Extremists in the Army. The task force visited 28 major Army installations in the United States, Germany, and Korea during January and February 1996. After conducting over 7,000 interviews and 17,080 written surveys, the task force concluded that there was minimal evidence of extremist-group activity in the Army . . .

They did note there was more of a “security concern” with street gangs.

They said “Yes, But . . .” when responding to the Secretary. Their response essentially was “Yes, there are a few more of those hate-mongers in the military, but there’s a related problem that you really ought to pay attention to — street gangs!”

That’s akin to inspecting a car for someone who asked you to see if the car needed belts, tires, fluids and you respond with, “Yes, we need to schedule all that, but you need to know that the tread on your front tires is dangerously low.” Or, imagine asking a private investigator to see if your spouse is visiting the racetrack and he responds with, “She bets on the horses about once a week, but she visits a hotel room with a different guy every Tuesday and Friday while you are working.”

Do you wait twelve years to process this new information?

So here we are twelve years later, Congress AND the President agreed with the Task Force’s report, and after six months . . . nothing. The NFL gets it, why not the Secretary of Defense?

What’s it going to take?

Can you prevent membership in organized criminal groups if you are the SecDef?

With more than 750,000 criminal street gang members in the United States (approximately the population of Austin, TX), government officials at all levels are searching for ways to restrict the negative impact of gang-related activity on the community. Many of these attempts have been challenged in the courts, in academia, and the media, having been deemed overly broad in scope, though specifically limiting solutions have been used with some success.

H.R. 4986: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 Section 544 – became law (Public Law 110-181), and requires the Secretary of Defense to prescribe regulations to prohibit the active participation of military personnel in street gangs.

The bill was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President back in January, yet here we are, more than six months later, with no changes to military policy on gang membership.

It didn’t take that long to pass the USAPATRIOT Act.

Perhaps we are being more careful. Or, perhaps we are trying to see if denial works yet . . .


Gangs aren’t a new blip on the radar screen — over twelve years ago, the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of Defense were told, “Gang-related activities appear to be more pervasive than extremist activities as defined in Army Regulation 600-20.”

This was from an investigative Task Force formed in response to an Extremist-related killing that was looking to see if there was a problem with Extremists in the Army. The task force visited 28 major Army installations in the United States, Germany, and Korea during January and February 1996. After conducting over 7,000 interviews and 17,080 written surveys, the task force concluded that there was minimal evidence of extremist-group activity in the Army . . .

They did note there was more of a “security concern” with street gangs.

They said “Yes, But . . .” when responding to the Secretary. Their response essentially was “Yes, there are a few more of those hate-mongers in the military, but there’s a related problem that you really ought to pay attention to — street gangs!”

That’s akin to inspecting a car for someone who asked you to see if the car needed belts, tires, fluids and you respond with, “Yes, we need to schedule all that, but you need to know that the tread on your front tires is dangerously low.” Or, imagine asking a private investigator to see if your spouse is visiting the racetrack and he responds with, “She bets on the horses about once a week, but she visits a hotel room with a different guy every Tuesday and Friday while you are working.”

Do you wait twelve years to process this new information?

So here we are twelve years later, Congress AND the President agreed with the Task Force’s report, and after six months . . . nothing. The NFL gets it, why not the Secretary of Defense?

What’s it going to take?

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