USAF Leaders Send Videos, Instructions to Units for Extremism Stand Down

Department of the Air Force leadership has distributed videos and instructions for how local commanders can hold their Defense Department-ordered one-day stand down to focus on extremism, with the goal of small group discussions about core values in service.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., speaking to reporters during the Air Force Association’s virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium, said the headquarters sent four videos “to give some situations and allow me to talk about extremism.” Commanders will schedule small groups to talk about the dangers of extremism, and how to create “the environment where all your members can reach your full potential,” Brown said.

While the U.S. Navy reportedly will have its members reaffirm their oath as part of the stand down, Airmen will not be forced to do the same. However, Brown said he wants the discussion to focus on what the oath means and the importance of USAF’s core values.

Brown did not provide specifics on when these meetings will occur. He said after they occur, the Air Force will need to report back to Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III on how it went “and it’ll be helpful for me to understand where we are.”

Austin on Feb. 3 ordered the stand down to occur within about 60 days. The order comes after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, with dozens of current and former military members charged with taking part.

Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. James C. “Jim” Slife said the issue of extremism “has reared its head” in his command, and that there are ongoing military justice cases related to the problem.

AFSOC leaders have talked about the issue and about how to execute the stand down order, he said.

“We have had commander conversations about how to address this, and how we would know to what extent there is a problem inside the formation,” Slife said.