Their numbers are small, but unit morale, cohesion, and discipline could be harmed.
The appearance of 40 active-duty US soldiers on a social networking site known as the "fascist Facebook" appears to add credibility to a controversial government report released in April about extremism in the military.
Presented to congressional committees Friday, the revelations by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) – covered in depth by the military-oriented newspaper, Stars and Stripes – also raises new questions about how serious the Army is about rooting out rank-and-file neo-Nazis – and their potential impact on morale and military discipline.
In contrast to the 12,500 gay service members discharged in the last 15 years because of potential impact on unit morale, SPLC spokeswoman Heidi Beirich says: "There are many people in the military using new technology to put up racist profiles, racist music and ... books that they love that are racist, and as the regulations stand today that's not grounds for being tossed out of the military."
The SPLC, a civil rights organization based in Montgomery, Ala., delivered its report to the House and Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees today. The organization says it found 40 profiles on NewSaxon.org, a white supremacist site, that could be confirmed as active-duty military members.