Gangfighters Weblog

January 11, 2010

DoDs New Rules for Gangs in the Military (not a good idea)

Filed under: DoD DIR 1325.6, DoDI 1325.6, gangs in the military, h.r. 1585, h.r. 4986 — carterfsmith @ 3:36 am

The DoD recently followed Congress’ directive by instruction for “Handling Dissent and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces.”

Under the revised instructions,contained in the NEW DoD Instruction:

“Military personnel must not actively advocate supremacist doctrine, ideology, or causes, including those that advance, encourage, or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin or that advance,encourage, or advocate the use of force, violence, or criminal activity or otherwise advance efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.”

And then 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 and in other organizations that advocate supremacist doctrine, ideology, or causes; attempt to create illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin; advocate the use of force, violence, or criminal activity; or otherwise engage in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.

Active participation in such gangs or organizations is prohibited.

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.”

That’s it — just wordsmithing . . . wow, and we waited a year and a half for that!

As noted in Can you prevent membership in organized criminal groups if you are the SecDef?, H.R. 4986: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 Section 544 – became law (Public Law 110-181), and required the Secretary of Defense to prescribe regulations to prohibit the active participation of military personnel in street gangs (National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA], 2008, Sec. 544). The bill was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President back in January 2008, and it took until November 2009 to make it happen.

Yes, I realize there were other priorities, but at least we could do something that had a chance of working.

Legislative efforts to prohibit street gang members from joining the military were initially added to a defense-spending bill (Public Law 110-181, 2008). The legislation included the provision to add active membership in a street gang to the standing prohibition against active group membership by military members in extremist groups. The legislation was intended to extend the prohibitions of Department of Defense (DoD) Directive 1325.6, which has its history in preventing members of organizations considered subversive and openly anti-government from joining the military in the interests of the national security (Executive Order 10450, 1953). The history of this recent legislation demonstrates a lack of understanding of the requirements for limiting the negative impact of gangs on military communities.

Here’s the problem.

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.

I was part of a small group of investigators who saw a gang problem in the military in the early 1990s.

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 when they ask “whether the employment or retention in employment in the Federal service of the person being investigated is clearly consistent with the interests of the national security. . . not limited to:

(1) Depending on the relation of the Government employment to the national security:
(i) Any behavior, activities, or associations which tend to show that the individual is not reliable or trustworthy.
(ii) Any deliberate misrepresentations, falsifications, or omissions of material facts.
(iii) Any criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral, or notoriously disgraceful conduct, habitual use of intoxicants to excess, drug addiction, sexual perversion.
(iv) Any illness, including any mental condition, of a nature which in the opinion of competent medical authority may cause significant defect in the judgment or reliability of the employee, with due regard to the transient or continuing effect of the illness and the medical findings in such case.
(v) Any facts which furnish reason to believe that the individual may be subjected to coercion, influence, or pressure which may cause him to act contrary to the best interests of the national security.
(2) Commission of any act of 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.
(3) Establishing or continuing a sympathetic association with a saboteur, spy, traitor, seditionist, anarchist, or revolutionist, or with an espionage or other secret agent or representative of a foreign nation, or any representative of a foreign nation whose interests may be inimical to the interests of the United States, or with any person who advocates the use of force or violence to overthrow the government of the United States or the alteration of the form of government of the United States by unconstitutional means.
(4) Advocacy of use of force or violence to overthrow the government of the United States, or of the alteration of the form of government of the United States by unconstitutional means.
(5) Knowing membership with the specific intent of furthering the aims of, or adherence to and active participation in, any foreign or domestic organization, association, movement, group, or combination of persons (hereinafter referred to as organizations) which unlawfully advocates or practices the commission of acts of force or violence to prevent others from exercising their rights under the Constitution or laws of the United States or of any State, or which seeks to overthrow the Government of the United States or any State or subdivision thereof by unlawful means.
(6) Intentional, unauthorized disclosure to any person of security information, or of other information disclosure of which is prohibited by law, or willful violation or disregard of security regulations.
(7) Performing or attempting to perform his duties, or otherwise acting, so as to serve the interests of another government in preference to the interests of the United States.
(8) Refusal by the individual, upon the ground of constitutional privilege against self-incrimination, to testify before a congressional committee regarding charges of his alleged disloyalty or other misconduct.

Note that nowhere in the document is the word “gang” used.

There is and should be a difference between keeping up with people who think that folks of another race are worthless and those who form groups with the intent of committing crime . . .

So now the DoD Reissues DoD Directive 1325.6 as a DoD Instruction. It also contains prohibitions against writing Web sites, BLOGS, and other electronic communications) during duty hours. I can definitely see a connection!

What do you think?

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?

May 20, 2008

Gangs in the Military Ranks — it’s really nothing new (and neither is the debate)

Filed under: gangs, gangs in the military, govtrack, h.r. 1585 — carterfsmith @ 7:36 am

At least it’s nothing new that non-conformists who act in concert to disrupt the peace and tranquility of the community live among us . . .

Street gangs were found as early as the 1600’s when groups of roving peasants attacked villages and travelers in England. These early gangs had unique symbols and hand-signs to identify themselves (Tornabene, 2005). In the United States, most urban neighborhoods were (and often still are) divided by ethnic groups (Italian, Jewish, Irish, German, Polish, etc.). Curry and Decker (2003) observed that gangs have existed in the United States since at least the 1870s, and have transformed through several periods of growth since that time. Gangs from the late 1800s and early 1900s were comprised primarily of immigrants who committed crimes and represented the bottom of the economic and cultural scale (Curry & Decker, 2003). The members of gangs in the mid-1900s, however, appeared to have a slightly different composition, primarily comprised of racial minorities – both African-American and Latino, but still representing those at the bottom of the economic scale (Curry & Decker, 2003).

Gangs have evolved to where they are today — a very real threat to the safety and security of our communities. The gang “problem” is no longer simply an immigrant problem, and gang membership is increasingly represented across ethnic and racial differences (Butler & Garcia, 2006). Gang members come from all walks of life, represent a variety of household incomes, and often have stable households (aside from the existence of a gang member in them). Gang members are individuals from many ethnicities, races, and nationalities. Gangs have evolved to become what the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention referred to (back in 2000) as “an increasingly significant social policy issue” (Strategies, 2000).

Gang members can be seen in various businesses, and are employed in many organizations in the public sector. A presence in each of these areas can cause subtle changes to the actions and activities of the gangs, though the gang mentality exists in them all. The question we need to consider is whether allegiance to a gang creates a problem with employment – specifically employment in the military.

The Veterans Voice says: There have always been people in the military that had gang affiliations from back home. Good old white boys who had been members of the KKK or inner-city persons who had been street gang members. Back in the day when the military had a draft, being an ex-gang member was not a reason for keeping you from being forced into the armed services. The Department of Defense just looked the other way.

Moblito reports: in December 2007, Congress passed a bill that was intended to ban members of street gangs and other unsavory organizations. It’s been called The 2008 Defense Authorization Bill and it calls for the Pentagon to put membership in a criminal street gang on the list of prohibited activities for service members. The language of the bill prohibits membership “in any organizations that ‘espouse supremacist causes; attempt to create illegal discrimination … advocate the use of force or violence; or otherwise engage in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.’”

Well the Klansmen who were doing double duty in the military were ignored, and the bill to criminalize gang membership in the military was vetoed by the President. I won’t add a commentary on my suspicions, but you’ll note that there were more than enough votes for passing the legislation to override the veto, and yet we’ve heard nothing about one.

Perhaps there was some concern about, as Dreadnaught reported, . . . while it is obvious that having active gang members in our Armed Forces is dangerous and should be avoided, it is not clear how the military will view past involvement in a street gang.

Or it could be something like rochester veteran’s concern about the recent series with “Gangland: Basic Training” . . . that it could leave the gullible believing that our brave men and women in the US Armed Forces are bloodthirsty criminals and a danger to the civilian world.

But, like Right Mind observed: If DoD wants to get serious on gang issues, it needs to make participation in gangs as a disqualifying factor in enlistment.

But it think there’s more to it than that . . . check the numbers for yourself — here.

What do you think?

References

Butler, R. & Garcia, V. (2006, April). The parole supervision of security threat groups: A collaborative response. Corrections Today, 68(2), 60-63.
Curry, G. D. and Decker, S. H. (2003). Confronting gangs: Crime and community (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury.
Strategies to deal with youth gangs. (2000, November). Organized Crime Digest, 21(21), 6.
Tornabene, R. (2005). Gangs 101 for School Personnel, G.A.T.E. America Inc.

Gangs in the Military Ranks — it’s really nothing new (and neither is the debate)

Filed under: gangs, gangs in the military, govtrack, h.r. 1585 — carterfsmith @ 7:36 am

At least it’s nothing new that non-conformists who act in concert to disrupt the peace and tranquility of the community live among us . . .

Street gangs were found as early as the 1600’s when groups of roving peasants attacked villages and travelers in England. These early gangs had unique symbols and hand-signs to identify themselves (Tornabene, 2005). In the United States, most urban neighborhoods were (and often still are) divided by ethnic groups (Italian, Jewish, Irish, German, Polish, etc.). Curry and Decker (2003) observed that gangs have existed in the United States since at least the 1870s, and have transformed through several periods of growth since that time. Gangs from the late 1800s and early 1900s were comprised primarily of immigrants who committed crimes and represented the bottom of the economic and cultural scale (Curry & Decker, 2003). The members of gangs in the mid-1900s, however, appeared to have a slightly different composition, primarily comprised of racial minorities – both African-American and Latino, but still representing those at the bottom of the economic scale (Curry & Decker, 2003).

Gangs have evolved to where they are today — a very real threat to the safety and security of our communities. The gang “problem” is no longer simply an immigrant problem, and gang membership is increasingly represented across ethnic and racial differences (Butler & Garcia, 2006). Gang members come from all walks of life, represent a variety of household incomes, and often have stable households (aside from the existence of a gang member in them). Gang members are individuals from many ethnicities, races, and nationalities. Gangs have evolved to become what the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention referred to (back in 2000) as “an increasingly significant social policy issue” (Strategies, 2000).

Gang members can be seen in various businesses, and are employed in many organizations in the public sector. A presence in each of these areas can cause subtle changes to the actions and activities of the gangs, though the gang mentality exists in them all. The question we need to consider is whether allegiance to a gang creates a problem with employment – specifically employment in the military.

The Veterans Voice says: There have always been people in the military that had gang affiliations from back home. Good old white boys who had been members of the KKK or inner-city persons who had been street gang members. Back in the day when the military had a draft, being an ex-gang member was not a reason for keeping you from being forced into the armed services. The Department of Defense just looked the other way.

Moblito reports: in December 2007, Congress passed a bill that was intended to ban members of street gangs and other unsavory organizations. It’s been called The 2008 Defense Authorization Bill and it calls for the Pentagon to put membership in a criminal street gang on the list of prohibited activities for service members. The language of the bill prohibits membership “in any organizations that ‘espouse supremacist causes; attempt to create illegal discrimination … advocate the use of force or violence; or otherwise engage in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.’”

Well the Klansmen who were doing double duty in the military were ignored, and the bill to criminalize gang membership in the military was vetoed by the President. I won’t add a commentary on my suspicions, but you’ll note that there were more than enough votes for passing the legislation to override the veto, and yet we’ve heard nothing about one.

Perhaps there was some concern about, as Dreadnaught reported, . . . while it is obvious that having active gang members in our Armed Forces is dangerous and should be avoided, it is not clear how the military will view past involvement in a street gang.

Or it could be something like rochester veteran’s concern about the recent series with “Gangland: Basic Training” . . . that it could leave the gullible believing that our brave men and women in the US Armed Forces are bloodthirsty criminals and a danger to the civilian world.

But, like Right Mind observed: If DoD wants to get serious on gang issues, it needs to make participation in gangs as a disqualifying factor in enlistment.

But it think there’s more to it than that . . . check the numbers for yourself — here.

What do you think?

References

Butler, R. & Garcia, V. (2006, April). The parole supervision of security threat groups: A collaborative response. Corrections Today, 68(2), 60-63.
Curry, G. D. and Decker, S. H. (2003). Confronting gangs: Crime and community (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury.
Strategies to deal with youth gangs. (2000, November). Organized Crime Digest, 21(21), 6.
Tornabene, R. (2005). Gangs 101 for School Personnel, G.A.T.E. America Inc.

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