An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Commentaries : Display
NEWS | March 3, 2008

Politics as usual - unless you're in the military

By Capt. Karen Jordan and Airman 1st Class Rona de la Cruz 1st Fighter Wing Legal Office

Campaign season has already kicked into high gear, and political debates spark our interest in the national election. 

As patriots, we want to show support to choose our new leaders and our new commander in chief. However, there are guidelines and restrictions that apply to military members who seek to express themselves politically. These guidelines are contained in Air Force Instruction 51-902, 1 January 1994, Political Activities by Members of the U.S. Air Force.

Military members can:
* Serve as an election official/poll worker if not in uniform
* Make monetary contributions to a political organization or political committee favoring a particular candidate
* Attend political meetings or rallies if not in uniform and only introduced as private citizen 
* Place bumper stickers supporting specific candidates or parties on private vehicles
* Promote and encourage others and subordinates to vote and take political interest as long as you do not provide coercion or influence to vote for specific candidates or parties
* Sign a petition for a candidate or legislative action, if signing as private citizen, not including rank or job title

Military members cannot:
* Make monetary contributions to a partisan political candidate
* Attend political meetings or rallies or vote while in uniform
* March or ride in a partisan political parade
* Take part in a political discussion against a specific candidate or party via the media while in uniform
* Display large political signs, banners or posters on the top or side of a private vehicle
* Use government facilities as political hubs, i.e., post political party signs, bumper stickers and paraphernalia in work centers
* Solicit or otherwise raise funds in a federal office, including military installations, for a partisan political cause or candidate

Military members give up a number of political rights to ensure the preservation of our country's freedom and legislative system. However, we are unique in the fact that we have a say in choosing who will be our boss. Therefore, don't forget to vote. Absentee ballot information can be obtained from your Secretary of State's Web site. The 2000 election serves as a reminder that your vote counts. For more information or further advice, please contact the 1st Fighter Wing Legal Office at 764-3277.