Congresswoman Luria Participates in Hearing Combating Racism in the Armed Forces

February 12, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today Congresswoman Elaine Luria participated in a House Armed Services Committee Military Personnel Subcommittee hearing investigating how to stop white supremacism in the military.

“Racism and bigotry have no place in our society and especially not within our military,” Congresswoman Luria said. “DOD must create comprehensive and transparent policies to make it clear that racism will not be tolerated within our armed forces and it will be dealt with swiftly and severely.”

According to the Department of Defense (DOD) there have been 21 criminal cases among all four military services involving white supremacy. Recently, the military began tracking investigations into white supremacy and extremism under separate categories. This was done to promote transparency and access to the data and increase the ability of the information to be shared with the FBI. The number of non-criminal cases handled administratively by commanders that resulted in administrative discharged is still unknown.

During the hearing, Congresswoman Luria questioned Mark Pitcavage from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism regarding DOD’s policy on extremist activity. She cited testimony that referenced a recent Military Times poll finding that over one-third of respondents and over half of minority respondents say they personally witnessed white nationalism or ideological-driven racism within the military in recent months. Noting that the DOD’s policy regarding racism and white supremacy dates to 2009, Congresswoman Luria asked witnesses how the policy can be updated to increase relevance and enforceability.

Click above to watch Congresswoman Luria’s questioning during the hearing.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.