Air Force

April 11, 2014

Airmen do’s, don’ts regarding political activities

Many Airmen face one question every four years or so, “How politically active can I be?

This article provides a brief description of the limitations applicable to service members when it comes to political activity.

The political activities of service members are governed by DOD Directive 1344.10, and Airmen in particular are subject to the additional guidance of AFI 51-902. These key documents make clear that, while Airmen can register to vote and cast their vote, no Airman can express a political opinion or engage in political activities when acting in his or her official capacity, or under circumstances that imply official endorsement by the Department of Defense.

What does that mean? It means that an Airman can express personal political opinions, join partisan political groups, serve as a non-partisan election official, sign petitions for legislative action, write letters to the editor in a private capacity, make monetary contributions to a political candidate, display a political bumper sticker on his or her private vehicle, and attend partisan political fundraising activities as a spectator, but only in a private capacity and never in uniform or under other circumstances that might lead to an inference that he or she is acting on behalf of the Department of Defense.

For example, an Airman could attend a political rally if he or she is not in uniform and is only attending as a private citizen. However, if that same Airman gave a speech at the rally, or attended in uniform, he or she would likely face discipline for engaging in prohibited political activity. Other prohibited activities include using one’s official authority to influence an election or solicit votes for a particular candidate or issue, publishing partisan political articles and serving in an official capacity as a sponsor of a political club. Furthermore, Airmen should not speak before partisan political gatherings nor should they participate in media programs or group discussions that promote a partisan candidate or cause.

Airmen also cannot march or ride in partisan political parades or display political signs at their residence on a military installation, even if that residence is part of a privatized housing development. And while an Airman can display a bumper-sticker sized sign on his or her private vehicle, he or she is prohibited from displaying any political sign, banner or poster of a larger size. Finally, no Airman can run for a partisan federal or state office while on active duty.

The rules and regulations governing political activities serve both to protect individual first amendment rights and to protect the institutional integrity of the military and its members. The bottom line is that while servicemembers have the right to engage in politics in a personal capacity, they should steer clear of any activity that may reasonably be viewed as directly or indirectly associating the Department of Defense or the military with a partisan political activity, or that is otherwise contrary to the spirit or intent of the rules described above.

If you have questions about what political activities you may engage in, please contact the Edwards Legal Office at (661) 277-4310.




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


 
 

 

News Briefs August 15, 2014

Fitness Center open Effective Aug. 16, the Rosburg Fitness Center will be open 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturdays. For more information, call 661-275-GYM1. CHP, LAPD entrance exam There will be law enforcement opportunity briefs by the California Highway Patrol and entrance exam testing with the Los Angeles Police Department Sept. 9 at the Airman & Family...
 
 
tobacco

Tobacco cessation in-person group classes

Quitting tobacco use can be an uphill battle, but fortunately there are resources to help you overcome this battle. The Health and Wellness Center at Edwards AFB offers confidential small group cessation classes based on the Am...
 
 
school

Edwards Air Force Base schools

Edwards Air Force Base school students return to the classroom Aug. 18. Base officials want to remind Team Edwards to obey posted speed limits and watch out for children walking to and from school.
 

 

Victim Advocate of the month

Name: Staff Sgt. Eli Rodriguez Duty title: Project “Speckled Trout” crew chief Organization: 412th Flight Test Squadron Years in the Air Force: Seven Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz. Why did you become a volunteer victim advocate? I volunteered to be a victim advocate to become part of something that helps the entire community and helps foster a...
 
 
Air Force photo by Rebecca Amber

Education Center hosts 2014 annual education fair

Air Force photo by Rebecca Amber Renetta Watts, University of Maryland Advanced Military Education coordinator, shares school brochures at the annual Education Fair Aug. 13. Watts represented one of 59 schools at the fair that ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

New AF Inspection System changes inspection culture

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Kimberly Strong, 412th Test Wing Inspector General Wing Inspection Team lead, works in the new Management Inspection Communication Tool. Strong is instrumental in organizing Wing Inspection...
 




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>