Researchers of extremism in America from West Point and George Washington University recently filed a report on the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Of the 357 people who were arrested and have been criminally charged for the invasion of the Capitol, 43 had military experience; 40 were veterans, three were on active duty. That represents 12 percent of those arrested at the Capitol, almost twice the seven percent of Americans who have served.
And among that military group, 16 — 37 percent were members of White supremacist groups like The Proud Boys or The Oath Keepers. That was more than four times the membership level of the rest of the crowd.
Both of these over-representations might have been expected; because those far-right — White makes right — groups actively recruit among military personnel.
“We believed there would be a civil or race war,” says Jeff Schoep, for 25 years the leader of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, before he quit in 2019, “and those skills were obviously valuable.” “People with military experience, ” he says, “were better leaders, they had more discipline, they fit better with the organization and they were [more skilled at] molding our troops.”
The penetration of America’s military and ex-military community by the White supremacist movement is something that concerns our guest today, Ryan Andrew Brown, a senior behavioral/social scientist at the RAND Corporation who also recently published a most interesting paper about the recruitment of radical-right extremists and ways to wean them of their radicalism.
Ryan Andrew Brown is a senior behavioral/social scientist at the RAND Corporation, focusing on improving the lives of rural and remote populations, assessment of Special Forces operations, urban American Indian health, and improving techniques for vetting, screening, and monitoring of internal and external national security threats. He codirects the Center for Qualitative and Mixed Methods at RAND, which sponsors innovation and development of novel analytic methods for text, social media, and other semi-structured data. Brown is currently conducting work focused on: (a) pathways in and out of radical extremism, (b) culturally centered substance use interventions for urban American Indian and Alaska Native youth, (c) behavioral health care access for rural and remote service members, and (d) improvements to US Government screening, vetting, and monitoring. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in anthropology from Emory University.