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SUBJ/PUBLIC AFFAIRS POLICY GUIDANCE CONCERNING POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS AND
REF/C/5 U.S.C, Sec. 7321-7326, The Hatch Act of 1939, as amended in 1993
REF/D/5 C.F.R. Parts 733-734, Political Activities of Federal Employees
AMPN/REF A is Department of Defense Election Year Policy Public Affairs
REF B is Department of Defense Directive 1344.10 Political Activities by
Members of the Armed Forces.
REF C is 5 U.S.C, Sec. 7321-7326, The Hatch Act of 1939, as amended in 1993.
REF D is 5 C.F.R. Parts 733-734, Political Activities of Federal Employees.//
RMKS/1. This guidance governs activities relating to federal, state, and
local political campaigns and elections. Ensure widest dissemination,
implementation and compliance. Leaders will brief all personnel on relevant
laws, regulations, and policies outlined below no later than August 14, 2020.
2. Support of Political Activities by Department of the Navy (DON)
Personnel: Members of the Armed Forces should carry out the obligations of
citizenship, including voting and encouraging others to vote. However,
active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities. Avoid
political activities that imply or appear to imply Department of Defense
(DoD) sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign
or cause. Examples of prohibited political activities: campaigning for a
candidate, soliciting contributions, marching in a partisan parade, and
wearing the uniform to a partisan event. Consult ref (b) for permissible and
a. Wearing of the Uniform: Active duty members, members of the reserves
not on active duty, and retired members will not wear military uniforms at
political campaign or election events. This prohibition is not applicable to
Armed Forces color guards who perform at opening ceremonies of the national
conventions of the Republican, Democratic, and other political parties
formally recognized by the Federal Election Commission.
b. Protests and Social Forum Participation: Be mindful of policy and
guidance. As an American citizen, you may express personal opinions and
experiences; however, service members should not imply any DoD or DON
endorsement of such personal opinions.
3. Social Media Use: Service members enjoy broad freedom of speech and
expression on social media. There are some restrictions. Refer to the Navy
Social Media Handbook as a resource for appropriate conduct online:
a. In general, all federal employees and active duty members may use
social media and email to express their own personal views on public issues
or political candidates, much the same as they may write a letter to the
editor of a newspaper. If a social media site/post identifies the member as
on active duty (or if the member is otherwise reasonably identifiable as an
active duty member), then the entry clearly and prominently will state that
the views expressed are those of the individual only and not those of the DoD
b. An active duty member may become a friend of, ?like,? or follow
social media accounts of a political party or partisan candidate, campaign,
group, or cause. However, active duty members will not engage in activities
with respect to those social media accounts that would constitute political
activity. This includes, for example, suggesting that others like, friend,
or follow the political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group,
or cause, or forwarding an invitation or solicitation to others.
c. On social media, service members may not:
(1) Engage in any political activity while on duty or in the
(2) Use official titles or positions in political activity at any
time. If your social media identifies you as a member of DoD/DON, you must
provide a disclaimer that the opinions are yours and those of not of the
(3) Suggest or ask anyone to make a political contribution at any
time, including providing links to a political contribution page of any
partisan group or candidate in a partisan race, or "liking," sharing, or
"retweeting" a solicitation from one of those entities to a political
(4) Post or link to partisan political articles, letters, or
endorsements that solicit votes for or against a partisan political
party, candidate, or cause.
(5) Use contemptuous words against the President, the Vice
President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military
department, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or against the Governor or
legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which the
service member is on duty or present.
d. DON members not on active duty are not subject to the social media
restrictions listed above so long as the member does not act in a manner that
could reasonably create the perception or appearance of official sponsorship,
approval or endorsement by the DoD or the DON.
4. Teleworking: Employees are limited in what they can do while teleworking
or using government resources, to include:
a. Employees may not "follow," "friend" or "like" a political party or
candidate running for partisan office, and may not post links to, "share" or
"retweet" comments or tweets from the social media account of a political
party or candidate running for partisan.
b. Employees should not wear campaign t-shirts, hats, or attire while
participating in work-related video conference calls. They should also
ensure any partisan materials, like campaign signs or candidate pictures, are
not visible to others during the call.
c. Employees may not use candidate images, campaign slogans, or
political party symbols for profile pictures associated with official
accounts or when communicating on official matters.
5. Voting Assistance: DON provides voting assistance via the Federal Voting
Assistance Program, which works to ensure service members, their eligible
family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and
have tools and resources to successfully do so ? from anywhere in the world.
DON also provides voting assistance officers at the unit level to facilitate
in -person assistance when required.
6. This message, together with references (a) through (d), provides
comprehensive guidance on policies for election year support. Reference (a),
the Department of Defense (DoD) election year public affairs policy guidance
(PAG) is available through your respective Public Affairs Officer and posted
7. Released by Mr. Andrew S. Haeuptle, Director, Navy Staff.//