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Research project on countering extremism in NATO militaries

A team led by Dr. Yannick Veilleux-Lepage (Institute of Security and Global Affairs) and Joris Larik (Leiden University College The Hague) have secured research funding from the Canadian Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces funded RWE-CAF Research Network.

The team will examine and compare the legal frameworks, regulations, and best practices of six NATO member states (Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and France) to counter radicalization and extremism within their armed forces. 

Safeguards against radicalization and extremism within the armed forces

Recent headlines in several NATO countries have sparked a public fear of a potential extremist threat against liberal-democratic forms of government originating within the armed forces established to protect them. Although numbers involved are very small when compared to those currently serving or who have previously served in the military, concerns regarding potential recruitment to, or sympathy for, extremist ideologies angroups cannot be lightly dismissed. The threat posed by the presence of radicalized military personnel is a growing concern across NATO as a 'community of values' seeing how extremist groups have deliberately attempted to recruit individuals with military experience to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat.

With this in mind, the research project aims to examine to what extent are safeguards against radicalization and extremism within the armed forces present or absent across the six countries studied; what are the most significant gaps between legal, regulatory, and policy frameworks in effectively addressing radicalization/extremism within national armed forces of these NATO members; what lessons can be learnt from these respective approaches; and to what degree are they transferable to other countries?

Supported by

Dr. Veilleux-Lepage and Dr. Larik are supported by graduate research assistants Anne Peterscheck (Institute of Security and Global Affairs) and Sophie Ebbecke (Crisis and Security Management student), and a Leiden University College research clinic composed of Elise Schermers, Anne Lotte Romkes, and Kaya van der Horst. 


The Network for Research on Hateful Conduct and Right-Wing Extremism in the CAF (RWE-CAF Research Network) brings together Canada’s leading scholarly experts and practitioners to examine policy-relevant issues on hateful conduct and right-wing extremism (RWE) in the CAF.

To learn more, continue to explore their website.

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