DoD

May 18, 2012

Guidelines outline political activities for military, DOD civilian personnel

by 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

With the start of the U.S. presidential election season upon the nation, the Air Force usually takes this time to remind its Airmen about what political activities are permissible for military members and federal civilian employees alike.

While there may be guidelines that outline what constitutes a prohibited political activity, Air Force leaders along with DOD leaders support each person’s participation in the democratic process. In order to clarify what is and isn’t allowed, the Base Legal Office has provided some feedback on this subject in the following question and answer session:

 What guidance outlines what military members can and cannot participate in during this election cycle?

Air Force Instruction 51-902, Political Activities by Members of the U.S. Air Force, 12 Nov 2010.

Members generally may vote, encourage others to vote, join political clubs or attend meetings (while not in uniform) and attend other political events, including fundraisers, when not in uniform and no inference of official sponsorship can be drawn. Members may also make monetary contributions to a political organization favoring a particular candidate, display a political bumper sticker on a privately owned vehicle, and wear a button or t-shirt when not in uniform and not performing military duties.

Members generally may not participate in partisan political events as more than a spectator, they may not solicit votes for a particular candidate or issue, serve in an official capacity or sponsor a political club, speak in front of a partisan political gathering or solicit funds for partisan political fundraising. Members may not display large political signs, posters or banners on their cars or residences (bumper sticker exception), sell tickets for partisan political dinners or fundraising events, participate in uniform during marches, rallies or public demonstrations and lastly they may not use contemptuous words against the President or other high officials.

 Why is it important military members know the rules regulating their involvement in political activities?

They can be subject to disciplinary actions including discharge for violating them. Consider Marine Corps Sergeant Gary Stein who has been discharged with an other-than-honorable service characterization for posting disparaging comments about President Barack Obama on Facebook.

 Who is subject to these guidelines? Is it only military, civil service, etc?

There are separate guidelines for active duty military and federal civilian employees. Additionally, civilians are further limited in their freedom of expression on military installations. The Hatch Act of 1939 applies to federal civilian employees, and employees also are subject to widely published DOD guidance that discusses participation in political campaigns and elections.

Generally, the commander of a military installation may restrict freedom of expression if it prevents a clear and present danger to the orderly accomplishment of the mission or to the morale, discipline or loyalty.

Is there a website Edwards personnel can go to inquire more about this?

AFI 51-902 is the best resource. There is an additional instruction, AFI 51-903, on dissident and protest activities as well.

For more information, please contact the Base Legal Office at (661) 277-4310. Legal assistance attorneys are available 10-11 a.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 3-4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday. Paralegals can provide power of attorney and notary services 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday.

For more information, please contact the Base Legal Office at (661) 277-4310. Legal assistance attorneys are available 10 to 11 a.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 3 to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday. Paralegals can provide power of attorney and notary services 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday.

Editor’s note: Information courtesy of 1st Lt. Thomas Colby, Chief of Legal Assistance.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Commissary hours The Commissary will be closed Dec. 25 and 26. Regular hours will resume Dec. 27. The Commissary will be open regular hours Dec. 31, and closed Jan. 1, 2015. For more information, call 661-277-9175. Museum hours The Air Force Flight Test Museum will be closed for the Christmas holidays starting Dec. 22 and...
 
 

412th Force Support Squadron Holiday Hours

Christmas Eve: Dec. 24 OPEN: Aero Club: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Arts & Crafts/Auto Hobby: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Airman & Family Readiness: 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Child Development Center: 6:15 a.m.-5 p.m. Family Child Care: 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. High Desert Inn: Open seven-days a week, 24-hours a day Information, Tickets & Tours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Library: 9...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Edwards First Sergeants council wraps up Christmas programs

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber The annual Angel Tree program will provide gifts for around 300 Edwards children this year. The Edwards First Sergeants Council puts on the event to help Airmen unable to buy their children...
 

 
afmc-q-and-a

Lean thinking, process improvement highlight Busch’s time at AFMC

During the last 16 years and six assignments in Air Force Materiel Command, Vice Commander Lt. Gen. Andrew Busch was challenged to find new methods to operate more efficiently in one of the most complex and diverse commands tha...
 
 
flu

Flu season: What you need to know

Flu is officially upon us. If you have ever had the flu, you know it can knock you out ó with members of your family, friends and co-workers not far behind. Today, it’s more important than ever to get your facts straight...
 
 
driving-safety

Driving safely on snow or icy roads

Unless you’re traveling through the mountains of Southern California in the winter, driving in the snow doesn’t occur very often. First off, don’t assume your vehicle can handle any road condition. Even four-w...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>