Army Report Shows Gang Activity on the Rise

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: The army issued a report showing minimal evidence of extremist activity in the service but reported an undercurrent of subtle racism in the ranks. The report came from a task force commissioned last December after the killings of a black couple near a Fayetteville, North Carolina military base. The study concluded that although membership in hate groups is small, rules regarding active or passive participation in such groups must be clarified. However, because such rules come from the Department of Defense -- and not the Army -- the panel recommends that the Army push Defense to tighten the ban on active participation in hate groups by the troops. More troubling for an institution long praised for its racial integration are findings that racism is on the rise: "Gang-related activities appear to be more pervasive than extremist activities on and near Army installations and are becoming a significant concern for many soldiers. Much gang activity was territorially and racially defined," the report notes. "The army has an approximately 21 percent turnover rate every year," says Pentagon correspondent Mark Thompson, "and so reflects the racial attitudes and problems of society as a whole. But most experts still say that the army is still a much more level paying field."