My Coast Guard
Commentary | July 15, 2022

New anti-extremism policy announced

By Chief Warrant Officer 4 Allyson E.T. Conroy, MyCG Staff

Extremist activities go against the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty. In fact, some activities may be classified as extremist, therefore may be prohibited in some circumstances where such activities would be constitutionally protected in a civilian setting.

Coast Guard policies regarding extremism, First Amendment protections, and prohibited activities are outlined in the Discipline and Conduct Manual and in the Handling Protest, Extremist, and Criminal Gang Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces, Department of Defense Instruction 1325.06; the latter also applying to Coast Guard members. 

“As a service, we do not stand for hatred, intolerance, nor extremism in any form,” said Capt. Monique Roebuck, Coast Guard Office of Military Policy. “Being members of one of the six armed services, as well as members of a federal law enforcement agency, we have a special obligation to each other and the citizens we serve.” 

Defining extremism

The Handling Protest, Extremist, and Criminal Gang Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces, Department of Defense Instruction, defines “extremist activities” as the following:

  • Advocating or engaging in unlawful force, unlawful violence, or other illegal means to deprive individuals of their rights under the United States Constitution or the laws of the United States, including those of any State, Commonwealth, Territory, or the District of Columbia, or any political subdivision thereof.
  • Advocating or engaging in unlawful force or violence to achieve goals that are political, religious, discriminatory, or ideological in nature. 
  • Advocating, engaging in, or supporting terrorism, within the United States or abroad.
  • Advocating, engaging in, or supporting the overthrow of the government of the United States, or any political subdivision thereof, including that of any State, Commonwealth, Territory, or the District of Columbia, by force or violence; or seeking to alter the form of these governments by unconstitutional or other unlawful means (e.g., sedition).
  • Advocating or encouraging military, civilian, or contractor employees within DoD or the Coast Guard to violate the laws of the United States, including any state, commonwealth, territory, or the District of Columbia, or to disobey lawful orders or regulations, for the purpose of disrupting military activities (e,g. subversion), or personally undertaking the same.
  • Advocating widespread unlawful discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Active participation
The Handling Protest, Extremist, and Criminal Gang Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces, Department of Defense Instruction defines active participation to include, but not limited to, knowingly taking action in support of, or engaging in, extremist activities, when such conduct is prejudicial to good order and discipline or brings discredit on the service. Taking part in electronic and cyber activities regarding extremist activities, or groups that support extremist activities – including posting, liking, sharing, re-tweeting, or otherwise distributing content – when such action is taken with the intent to promote or otherwise endorse extremist activities is active participation.

Members should be familiar with policy contained in the Coast Guard External Affairs Manual and the Coast Guard Social Media Policy.

Commanding officers (CO) and officers in charge (OIC) have the authority and responsibility to prohibit service members from active participation in extremist activities, and other activities that adversely affect good order and discipline within the command. If a CO/OIC receives a credible report, s/he will contact U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) and their servicing legal office. 

All service members are expected to cultivate an environment free from extremist activities. If you suspect extremist activity, criminal gang activity, insider threats, or any other crimes, you can report them anonymously to CGIS TIPS. Another resource is the Insider Threat Program.  

Policy and procedures on prohibited activities will be included in accessions, command cadre, professional military education, and other service training programs.

The Office of Military Policy (CG-133) will update the Discipline and Conduct Manual and establish policy to further implement the Department of Defense Instruction within the Coast Guard. Direct policy questions to: HQS-PolicyandStandards@uscg.mil. 

Resources:

  • Discipline and Conduct Manual and in the Handling Protest, Extremist, and Criminal Gang Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces, Department of Defense Instruction 1325.06
  • Coast Guard External Affairs Manual
  • Coast Guard Social Media Policy