The U.S. military, like American society, is under political strain after years of divisive politics. A small minority of military servicemembers have refused orders to get vaccinated, after that issue became politicized, and some participated in the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
Following the riot, the Biden administration, which took office on Jan. 20, spent much of the year working to clarify its definition of extremism and what kinds of military participation in extremist activity to explicitly prohibit, unveiling the results on Monday.
The new definition includes everything from prohibiting "liking" extremist content on social media to fundraising or demonstrating for an extremist organization. Punishment, if there is any, could be up to local commanders.
Still, the Pentagon stopped short of prohibiting membership in any group, from the Proud Boys to the Oath Keepers and the Ku Klux Klan, and avoided weighing in on specific scenarios, like a soldier's view of the legitimacy of Biden as president.