Col. Gavin Gardner, commander of Joint Munitions Command, took a hard line against extremism in three virtual stand down events to train the JMC workforce in response to a Department of Defense-wide directive from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Gardner opened each of the events by reminding the JMC team that there is zero tolerance for extremism and echoed a statement from Austin that “extremist ideologies, particularly those that undermine the oath we each took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, have no place within the Department of Defense.”
During the training, the workforce viewed a video message from Austin.
“There is not a single doubt in my mind that you take seriously your oath to the Constitution and that you serve this country with honor, dignity and character and that you believe in and uphold our core values each and every day,” Austin said in the message.
Also during the training, a video was presented by the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School. In this video, an extremist organization was defined (AR 600-20), prohibited activities were identified (DoDI1325.06), guidance was provided regarding use of social media (think, type, post), and the moral and ethical responsibility to report extremism was addressed.
Gardner stated that people are the Army’s number one priority and actively espousing ideologies that encourage discrimination, hate and harassment against others will not be tolerated within the JMC enterprise.
“I expect the core principles of dignity and mutual respect to guide the actions of military and Civilians at Headquarters, JMC and at all of our installations, at all times,” said Gardner.
Each session covered the meaning of the oaths that all service members and DOD Civilians swear, a discussion of impermissible behaviors, how to report suspected or actual extremist behavior and how trust and cohesive teams are essential for executing JMC’s mission.
The commanders of JMC subordinate installations, like all commands DOD-wide, conducted their own sessions to impress upon their own teams how contradictory extremism is to the Army’s values.
“The Army’s success depends on the competence, resilience, discipline and trust we build in our teams,” Gardner said. “Discrimination, hate and harassment in the ranks corrode the Army’s ability to build these teams and break trust with the Army’s number one priority, its people.”
Gardner closed the training sessions by saying he, and all the JMC installation commanders, have a responsibility to maintain good order and discipline and the inherent authority to take appropriate actions to accomplish this goal.
As of March 26th, 97% of the JMC enterprise has received the mandatory extremism training. “We will continue to train the workforce until we are at 100%,” said Gardner.