Floor Speech

Date: July 13, 2022
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, in September of 2020, FBI Director Christopher Wray, while testifying to Congress, stated that the greatest threat to the homeland were lone actors radicalized online. He went on to talk about domestic violent extremists, homegrown violent extremists, and racially motivated violent extremists.

The fact of the matter is that in our Nation, we are seeing an increase in extremism and the threat of domestic violence extremism across the country. From Charlottesville to the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, we are seeing this increase in our communities. No community is free from it, and no segment of our society is immune from the threat.

In May of this year, in an unclassified presentation by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency titled ``Insider Threat and Extremist Activity Within the DOD,'' they laid out a very clear presentation defining what is domestic violence extremism, laying out the stages of development, and highlighting seven cases of extremism in Active-Duty and former military servicemembers. They went on to describe for commanders steps they could take in prevention and reporting: alertness, early intervention, communication.

My amendment would require the Department of Defense, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security to report on extremism or threats of extremism within our military or within our uniformed services. Threats of neo-Nazi, white supremacist activity, or any other extremist activity that could be a threat not just within the services but including servicemembers separated from the service or Federal law enforcement, whether it is due to white supremacist or neo-Nazi incidents. The amendment requires the agencies to develop a plan to prevent those incidents in the future.

Such behavior, such extremism is a threat to us in all segments of society. There is no reason to believe that our military is any different. These are exceptions. They are rare. But we must do everything we can to identify them and to thwart them before risks become reality.

This amendment in no way denigrates the many fine, overwhelming in number, vast, vast majority of fine people who serve in our military and uniformed services.

But the fact is, we have had incidents, and this is, again, from that report I mentioned earlier: a mass casualty attack, a uniformed officer killing fellow soldiers, threats against religious communities, threats against media and government communications, and bomb-making instructions, material support to terrorists.

These are not made-up examples. They are real examples. They are exceptional. They are exceedingly rare, but it is incredibly important, critically important that we identify these threats before they become incidents, before lives are lost.

We need to make sure we are getting this information and taking the appropriate action. It is something we can do together. I hope we can do it in a bipartisan way.

Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege of representing Naval Station Great Lakes. Every single recruit to the Navy--whether they enlist in California, in the Carolinas, or even from overseas--comes to Naval Station Great Lakes for basic training.

I have had the privilege of speaking to them at their graduation from boot camp. I see the exceptional character of all the people who go through. The men and women who put on the uniform to defend our Nation are the best our Nation has to offer. I am exceedingly proud of them.

The presence of even one person embracing extremism, embracing racism, embracing hatred denigrates our entire military forces. Our forces represent us as a Nation and, again, they are the best we have to offer.

This amendment doesn't denigrate but celebrates our Armed Forces by asking our Armed Forces and uniformed services to report to Congress. It looks to us as Representatives to do our job in oversight, making sure they have the resources they need to ensure that everyone in our military represents the best values we have as Americans.

This is not a denigration; it is a celebration. It is an important amendment. I urge all my colleagues to support it.