An image captured from an official threat brief from Andrews Air Force Base. (Air Force amn/nco/snco)

In a world where the US military faces threats from a variety of hostile nations, ideologies and rogue factions, the US Air Force is on the lookout for “incels.”

Airmen at Maryland’s Joint Base Andrews were warned of the “involuntarily celibate” scourge during a dead-serious threat brief regarding an “increase in nationwide activity” by incels.

For those not in the know or simply logging onto the internet for the first time, “incel” is a term used to describe sexually frustrated men who cannot find female partners, and thus take their frustrations out on women, be it through memes or, in rare cases, violence.




According to Task & Purpose, a screenshot of the brief was shared to the Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page earlier this week and later verified by the USAF.

“The screenshot was taken from a Joint Base Andrews intel brief created following basic threat analysis on an increase in nationwide activity by the group,” 11th Wing spokesman Aletha Frost wrote in a statement.

There have only been a few cases of incels actually causing mass mayhem, the most notable example being 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who shot and killed six women in Isla Vista, California as “retribution” for years of being rejected. The killing inspired a copycat attack in Canada not long after.


The presentation at Andrews made heavy use of memes as examples of incel behavior, including the “Virgin vs. Chad” meme, which pits a weak and effeminate male against a hypermasculine one. A female version of the meme also exists, known as the “Becky vs. Stacy” meme.

While memes have become a driving force in everything from social media banter to driving policy and swaying elections, it seems the US military hasn’t quite figured them out yet.

“[Incels believe] they are owed attention from ‘Beckys,'” the legitimate USAF threat presentation read. “Most Incels believe only men can be Incels as women could engage in sexual activity if they wanted to.”

However, meme correlation does not equal meme causation. The universality of memes often makes them relatable and applicable to a variety of audiences for a variety of reasons. An example of this would be the “Virgin shooting vs. Chad rampage” meme shared by Brian Isaac Clyde, the short-term US Army veteran who proved to be the former example after he was gunned down in Dallas earlier this week, having inflicted no casualties upon the public.



It is unknown who created the threat briefing, or if it will be used in future presentations across the Air Force.

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