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Gang Activity in the U.S. Military

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The FBI report concludes that while allowing gang members to serve in the military may temporarily increase recruiting numbers, US communities may ultimately have to contend with disruption and violence resulting from military-trained gang members on the streets of US cities. Furthermore, most gang members have been pre-indoctrinated into the gang lifestyle and maintain an allegiance to their gang. This could ultimately jeopardize the safety of other military members and impede gang-affiliated soldiers' ability to act in the best interest of their country.

Army Disagrees

In sharp contrast to the FBI report, an Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), Gang Activity Threat Accessment for FY 2006, calls the threat of gang activity in the Army LOW. Their report concludes:

  • Overall, the assessment of the threat of gang activity in the Army is considered LOW.

  • There are indicators that gangs remain active in some military communities. During FY 2006, the CID initiated 16 gang investigations and reported 44 gang related incidents which occurred on Army installations or in Army communities.

  • Reports indicated there is a small number of Soldiers involved in gangs or gang related activity. However, there has been an increase in violent gang related investigations in FY06. Gang related violence in FY06 resulted in the loss of life of one US Army Soldier.

  • The majority of subjects in gang related investigations are junior enlisted (E-1-E-4) and/or youthful civilian dependent family members. During the period of October 2003 to September 2006, a total of 35 CID investigations were identified as felony crimes with gang related activity There have been no Senior NCOs or Officers identified in any gang related incidents or investigations.

  • Military communities continue to be a more stable, secure and lawful environment than their civilian counterparts, especially given recent access control and other security enhancements.

  • Much of the gan growth across the US can be attributed to the influence of the gang subculture rather than actual gang migration. Many communities are experiencing gan emulation of nationally recognized gangs.

  • Forming multi-agency task forces and joint community groups is an effective way to combat the problem. However, decreases in funding and staffing to many task forces have created new challenges for civilian communities. Limitations on recourses for authorized spaces, especially criminal intelligence spaces, have had a similar effect on CID's ability to be proactive in this area.
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