June 2, 2022 –
In an era of social media, the lines between physical and virtual realities have become blurred. This is especially evident in recruitment activities by violent extremists. This article compares five case studies from the white power and militia movements to learn how extremists attract new members. The findings suggest that recruitment occurs through iterative interactions in virtual and physical spaces. These spaces are not isolated to a single movement; individuals instead move between them. The findings did not reveal a divergence between civilian vs military recruits. Nevertheless, more research is needed on the extent to which veterans recruit their peers.
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Dr. Kim Cragin is the Distinguished Research Fellow for Special Operations and Counterterrorism at the National Defense University’s Center for Strategic Research (CSR). The views expressed are the authors own and do not reflect those of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.