Military Removes Training Document Conflating Socialists With Terrorists

A manual used in the Navy's anti-terrorism courses lumped “anarchists, socialists and neo-nazis” together as examples of "political terrorists."

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND - MAY 24:   US Navy's Blue Angels fly over the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium during a graduation ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy May 24, 2019 in Annapolis, Maryland. The graduating class will be sworn into the Navy as ensigns or into the Marine Corps as second lieutenants in the ceremony.   (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels fly over a graduation ceremony at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on May 24, 2019. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. Navy has removed a training document that appeared to conflate socialists with terrorists, following The Intercept’s publication of that document on June 22.

“The course manager directed the immediate removal of the ‘Training Guide / Assignment Sheet 2-1-2 / Introduction to Terrorism/Terrorist Operations’ on June 23, and the command is conducting a focused review on terrorism-related curriculum to ensure we don’t have unintended messaging,” said Dave Hecht, a spokesperson for the chief of Navy personnel.

A second department official not authorized to speak publicly confirmed that the document had been removed from training manuals.


U.S. Military Training Document Says Socialists Represent “Terrorist” Ideology

The document included a list of questions for trainees, including the following: “Anarchists, socialists and neo-nazis represent which terrorist ideological category?” The correct answer, a Defense official told me, was “political terrorists.”

The training guide was part of an approved curriculum for anti-terrorism officer courses, according to Hecht.

“While each [Naval Education and Training Command] course undergoes a formal course review every three years, the Center for Security Forces has been directed to review this and related curriculum for other such references,” Hecht said.

The document’s problematic language illustrates the challenges of developing a curriculum on political extremism in the military, especially when it comes to politically fraught subjects such as socialism.

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