Gangs in the Military…Zero Tolerance
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Gangs in the Military…Zero Tolerance. “Are there members of the military that belong to gangs? No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.” - Provost Marshal Maj. Robert Ray, USA. How Big is the Problem?.

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“Are there members of the military that belong to gangs? No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

- Provost Marshal Maj. Robert Ray, USA


How big is the problem
How Big is the Problem? No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Though the number of active duty military gang members is not large, members of nearly every major street gang, and some prison and outlaw motorcycle gangs, have been identified on both domestic and international military installations

  • Exact numbers are difficult to determine since many enlisted gang members conceal their gang affiliation and military authorities may not recognize gang affiliation


How big is the problem1
How Big is the Problem? No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Gang members are found among all branches and most ranks, but are most common among the junior enlisted ranks

  • Military transfers have resulted in gang members, both service members and dependents, moving to new areas and establishing a gang presence


Dependent children
Dependent Children No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Dependent children are at particular risk for gang recruitment, in part, because the frequent transfers and transient nature of their families often makes them feel isolated, vulnerable and in need of companionship


What is a gang
What is a Gang? No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • A group composed of three or more members

  • Members share an identity, often linked to a name, signs, symbols or territory

  • Collectively engage in criminal activity that creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation

    Although gangs vary extensively regarding membership, structure, age, and ethnicity, three basic types have emerged:

    Street Gangs

    Prison Gangs

    Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs


Street gangs
Street Gangs No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Of the three gang types, street gangs pose a significant threat because they are the largest and control the greatest geographical area

  • National level street gangs have been associated with drug trafficking and other criminal organizations in foreign countries


Prison gangs
Prison Gangs No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Prison gangs originated within the penal system, but continue to expand into the community as members are released. They are typically structured around racial or ethnic lines

  • They pose a serious domestic threat, as they are affiliated with foreign drug trafficking organizations and often maintain substantial influence over street gangs


Outlaw motorcycle gangs omgs
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • OMGs use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal activity. They are highly structured and known for their violence and trafficking in weapons and drugs

  • The Military Misfits is an active-duty military motorcycle club with USN and USMC members. It is not an OMG, but it serves as a support club for OMG’s.


Extremist hate groups
Extremist Hate Groups No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Unlike gangs that tend to be linked to a name, signs, symbols or territory, extremist groups advocate supremacist causes and attempt to create illegal discrimination

  • Extremist groups advocate the use of force and are associated with hate crimes motivated by racial bias or racial/ethnic prejudice


Extremist hate groups1
Extremist Hate Groups No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

In January of 2004, an extremist group was addressed by its leader with the following statements:

"Don't operate like a battleship!" he shouted. "Operate like a Nazi submarine! Use your periscope! We have to infiltrate! Infiltrate the military! Infiltrate your local governments! Infiltrate your school board! Infiltrate law enforcement!"


Gang identifiers
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Graffiti

    • One of the first indicators of a gang’s active presence in the community

    • Marks territorial boundaries

    • Warns rival gangs and law enforcement of their presence

    • Can also be used to threaten or challenge rivals, as an advertisement the sale of drugs, or as a memorial for a fallen gang member


Graffiti interpretation
Graffiti Interpretation No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

Additional Gang Graffiti

Numbers rather than letters may appear in graffiti. Usually, this is a fairly easy code to break; gangs generally use the number which corresponds to the place the letter falls in the alphabet as in:

12.12.12 = L.L.L. = Love, Life, Loyalty


Gang identifiers1
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Gang graffiti is now being seen in Iraq


Gang identifiers2
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Hand Signs

    • Used by street gangs and prison gangs as a silent language to communicate with others

    • Frequently used as a means of identifying gang members or as a way of showing allegiance to their gang and disrespect to rival gangs


Gang identifiers3
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Hand Signs


Gang identifiers4
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Language

    • Like graffiti and hand signs, gang members use a unique writing system to communicate

    • The system can include pictures or a coded alphabet to write encrypted messages

    • The alphabets often vary from gang to gang and set to set

Example of a gang Alphabet


Gang identifiers5
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Tattoos

    • Have long been used by gang members for a variety of reasons, to include:

      • Identification of gang membership

      • Intimidation

      • Record of the wearer’s personal history (such as skills, specialties, accomplishments and convictions)

      • Personal expression

    • Certain tattoo designs have developed recognized coded meanings

      • Double lightning bolts are used by white supremacists to indicate the number of stabbings they’ve committed


Gang identifiers6
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Tattoos


Gang identifiers7
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Tattoos


Gang identifiers8
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Clothing/Accessories

    • Sports teams, logos, brand names are often worn by gang members, not in support of a particular product or team, but because the letters or symbols have a special meaning to a gang

    • Sports apparel logos can either represent a gang or relay a specific message


Gang identifiers9
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Clothing/Accessories

    • Accessories can also indicate gang membership

    • Common accessories include:

      • Bandanas

      • Jewelry – necklaces, bracelets, rings

      • Pins

    • One problem today is that much of the street gang attire has crossed over into youth culture and is worn by kids with no gang affiliation


Gang identifiers10
Gang Identifiers No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

Clothing and Military Uniforms

  • One side starched and the other iron pressed only (gang alignment side is starched)

  • One boot is highly shined and the other is brush shined (gang alignment side is highly shined)


What is the effect of gangs in the navy and marine corps
What is the Effect of Gangs in the Navy and Marine Corps No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • If there aren’t a lot of gang members in the DON, then why are we concerned?

    • The spread of gang culture within the ranks

      • disrupts good order and discipline

      • increases criminal activity on or near installations

      • threatens base security

      • undermines the professionalism of the Department of Navy


How are gang members getting into the navy and marine corps
How are Gang Members Getting into the Navy and Marine Corps? No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Falsifying criminal histories

  • Concealing gang affiliations

  • Recruiters turning a blind eye

  • Lack of recognition of tattoos/signs


Why would a gang member join the military
Why Would a Gang Member Join the Military? No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

Pros:

  • To escape their current environment or gang lifestyle

  • As an alternative to incarceration

    Cons:

  • Encouraged by gang leadership to join in order to receive training in weapons, combat, tactics, and other related fields

  • Learn, and pass on to other members, urban warfare skills to wage war against law enforcement, rival gangs and ordinary civilians

  • Gain access to weapons, explosives, gas masks, and other materials


Dod policy
DoD Policy No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • DoD Instruction 1325.06, 27Nov09

    • Military personnel must not actively advocate supremacist doctrine, ideology, or causes that deprive individuals of their civil rights

    • Military personnel must reject active participation in criminal gangs and organizations that advocate supremacist doctrine

      • Active participation includes, but is not limited to, fundraising, rallying, recruiting, training, organizing, distributing material – including posting on-line – orany activity in furtherance of gang objectives that is contrary to good order, discipline or mission accomplishment.


The cost of gang life
The Cost of Gang Life No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • In July 2005, 25-year old Army Sgt. Juwan Johnson died in his barracks room in Kaiserslautern, Germany, following injuries sustained during a “jump in” – an initiation ceremony for a gang – which lasted 6 minutes and involved 9 soldiers and airmen dealing over 200 blows

  • After the assault, his fellow soldiers -- his new “family” -- left Johnson in his barracks room, where he subsequently died

  • His “family” partied at a local club while Sgt Johnson languished in his room

  • Juwan Johnson’s life as a gang member lasted 12 hours

Sgt Juwan Johnson


Ucmj articles
UCMJ Articles No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • When a military gang member commits a crime, the primary charges are connected to that crime (i.e. Narcotics, Aggravated Assault, Homicide, etc…), however the UCMJ allows for additional charges to increase judicial and/or non-judicial punishments:

    • Article 81 – Conspiracy

    • Article 83 – Fraudulent Enlistment, Appointment or Separation

    • Article 107 – False Official Statements

    • Article 116 – Riot or Breach of Peace

    • Article 117 – Provoking Speeches or Gestures

    • Article 134 – General Article related to conduct to bring discredit to the armed services


Gang related investigations
Gang-Related Investigations No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • NCIS has investigated a number of cases involving known or suspected gang members. The investigations concern a wide range of criminal activity, to include the following:

    • Murder

    • Narcotics (possession, transportation, distribution)

    • Assault

    • Armed Robbery

    • Communicating a Threat

    • Active Participation in a White Supremacist Hate Group


Caution
Caution No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”

  • Be wary of stereotyping and prejudice:

    • People who disagree with you or have different beliefs are not, by virtue of that fact, extremists

    • A sailor wearing gang or extremist tattoos may be trying to leave gang life behind

    • Gang gestures, attitudes, and slang may only reflect young people being “cool”


Questions
Questions? No doubt about it. But the military is not rampant with gang members.”


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