RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
Involvement in the political process is an important inalienable right, but as an active duty service member, certain rules must be followed.
The political activities Air Force members can take part in may be restricted in order for the Air Force to reach the goal of a politically neutral military establishment.
The Air Force provides guidance on what are permissible and impermissible political activities in Air Force Instruction 51-902, Political Activities by Members of the US Air Force.
Below are some authorized political activities Air Force members may participate in:
- Register to vote, vote, and express a personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the Air Force
- Make monetary contributions to a political organization
- Attend political meetings or rallies as a spectator when not in uniform
- Join a political club and attend its meetings when not in uniform
- Serve as an election official, if such service is not as a representative of a partisan political party, or does not interfere with military duties
- Display a political sticker on the member's private vehicle or wear a political button when not in uniform and not on duty
Below are some prohibited political activities Air Force members may not participate in:
- Use official authority or influence to interfere with an election
- Participate in partisan political management, campaigns or conventions, or make public speeches in the course of such activity
- Serve in any official capacity or be listed as a sponsor of a partisan political club
- Speak before a partisan political gathering of any kind
- Participate in any radio, television, or other program or group discussion as an advocate of a partisan political party or candidate
- Perform clerical or other duties for a partisan political committee during a campaign or on election day
- March or ride in a partisan political parade
Violations of AFI 51-902 are punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and Air Force service members are highly encouraged to contact their installation legal office for more guidance on what is authorized.