US Navy recruits are being told service men and women are permitted to openly support Black Lives Matter (BLM) while in uniform but forbidden to discuss other “politically partisan issues,” according to official training slides.
As part of a training course on “extremism,” the Navy classifies the divisive BLM organization as a “public policy issue.” Instructional slides tell recruits that taking up the cause of the pro-Marxist social movement while in uniform is allowed as long as their conduct is lawful, reports the Daily Mail.
In the “scenarios for discussion” training material provided to Fox News, Navy staff were questioned whether they believe BLM is “political stuff” that their commanders are “not supposed to be talking about at work.”
The official response revealed the Navy classifies BLM as a “public policy issue” and promoting the far-left group was permitted “as long as the behavior is otherwise lawful and the advocacy is not politically partisan in nature.”
The policy comes after defense secretary Lloyd Austin demanded a stand down across the entire military last month after meeting with US military branch leaders. Branch leaders are facing immense pressure to show advancements in fighting extremism after current and former military personnel were discovered to have taken part in the Jan. 6 protests at the US Capitol.
The slides, which were procured from a US military official who participated in the training program at the Pentagon, asserted: “Advocating for or against a public policy issue (as here) is authorized as long as the behavior is otherwise lawful and the advocacy is not politically partisan in nature (e.g. it doesn’t specifically address a political party).
“If the discussions make you uncomfortable, discuss the matter with your boss or another supervisor.”
On Monday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby was questioned whether discussion about BLM on the job is “considered partisan.” Kirby replied he “was not able to answer that question” because to do so would “go down a rabbit hole on a million different things.”
“What we’re trying to get after here is the kind of ideology that inspires conduct and behavior and it’s not about one side or the other on the aisle,” Kirby added.
“It’s not about what God you worship or choose not to worship. It’s about ideology that inspires you or can inspire others to bring harm inside the force,” he said. “And that’s what we’re trying to get after.”
Kirby stated the Pentagon was taking the fight against extremism “seriously” while acknowledging the topic is “a hard problem to get our arms around.”
“But we can’t just put our head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist. We can’t just say: ‘Well, it’s not a problem.’ It is a problem,” he continued.
“The other problem is, we don’t know how big it is. And so that’s what we’re trying to learn. And I think you’re gonna see this unfold over time.”
“I’m not going to be able to come to the podium this week, next week, or the week after with a plan and say: ‘This is it. This is how this is how it’s defined,’” Kirby stated.
“And this is exactly how deep the problem is. This is going to be something and Secretary Austin has made very clear he’s going to work on every day that he’s the Secretary of Defense.
“It’s not something that you can take your foot off the pedal on.”
US military officials conceded in February they were uncertain how to tackle the issue of white nationalists and other “extremists” rumored to be serving. Officials confirmed intentions for a military-wide stand down, halting normal exercises within the next 60 days to deal with the alleged issue.