Saturday, January 28, 2023
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, January 12, 2012
Political activities: What every Marine and DOD civilian should know
By Selected News Articles @ 10:25 PM :: 8528 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

DVIDS Story by Cpl. Isis M. Ramirez, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii – Just like everyone else in the United States, Marines and Department of Defense civilians have opinions. As citizens, they have the freedom to generate and express their beliefs. However, as the 2012 presidential elections draw near, it is a good time to be reminded of the do’s and don’ts in regard to service members and civilian government employees participating in the election process, as well as how opinions can be appropriately expressed in a public forum.

The guidelines for any federal employee’s participation in political activities are stated in Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, which applies to service members, and the Hatch Act, which applies to federal civilian employees. Both groups are prohibited from using their official capacity to influence an election.

Service members may express their personal opinion on political candidates and issues, join political clubs and attend their meetings, attend political fundraisers and make donations, when not in uniform, as a spectator and private citizen only. However, aside from making donations, they may not assist any partisan political activity, candidate or cause. The key to being within regulations while in attendance at a political event is remaining a spectator and not becoming a participant and not attending in uniform.

“The DOD directive allows individual service members to support whatever political party [or] candidate they want,” said James J. O’Donnell, the attorney advisor at staff judge advocate, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. “They can express their personal opinion but not as a representative of the armed forces. You don’t do it in uniform.”

It is unlawful for a service member to participate in any interview or group discussion as an advocate for or against any party. It is also prohibited for any active duty service member to make a public political speech or serve in any capacity for any partisan political campaign, convention or group, whether in uniform or not.

According to Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, service members can show their support for a political candidate or party by placing a bumper sticker on their private vehicles or displaying signs at their homes, if the home is not on a military installation.

They can also support a candidate, party or idea on their personal social media website as long as it’s not a part of a communication campaign and they do not appear to represent the view of the armed forces. A service member cannot post links to official campaigning websites or forums; however, it is permissible to "like" a campaign's page. They cross the line into participating in the campaign by posting or commenting on the campaign and/or candidate's page.

Nearly all federal civilians at MarForPac are classified as less restricted under the Hatch act, which allows them to endorse candidates and attend, participate, be active members or hold office in political clubs as private citizens when no inference or appearance of official endorsement can be reasonably drawn; however, they cannot engage in any political activities in any federal building, while on duty or when using a federally-owned or leased vehicle.

Service members who fail to follow Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 may be punished under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. The potential consequence for civilians is dismissal from federal service.

“(They need to) be sure that any activity they do is clearly in a personal capacity and doesn’t potentially give an inference that it is in an official capacity,” O’Donnell said.

For more guidance on what political involvement is permitted service member aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar can contact the SJA at 858-577-1656. Service members may also refer to the Department of Defense Directive 1344.10. Federal civilian employees may refer to the Hatch Act.


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Back da Blue Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii