ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Imagine going through your Facebook feed and stumbling upon a friend’s post. They are making a second income by selling protein powder. Their post shows them in uniform at their work center with the caption “The only way to get strong in the U.S. military is to use Military Protein Mix.” Later the next week, you see your friend in blues having to talk to their commander. What could have gone wrong?
"Don't post anything you wouldn't show the commander,” said U.S. Air Force Airman Jeremy Wentworth, Public Affairs social media manager assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing. “Chances are if you do, it will end up on their desk.”
Many people earn a second income by selling an array of health, beauty and life improvement products. Service members need to be ensure their first and second job do not intermix.
“We as federal employees have an obligation to separate our civilian lives from our federal employment, so you have to be very careful,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Matthew Snell, judge advocate assigned to the 97th Air Mobility Wing. “I know online sales are a big thing now, but you should not be using your uniform or your representation as a military member as a part of that.”
Joint Ethics Regulations states: “Endorsement of a non-Federal entity, event, product, service, or enterprise maybe neither stated or implied by DoD or DoD employees…” as well as “DoD employees may not use or allow the use of their official titles, positions or organization names in connection with activities performed in their personal capacities…”
“The truth to the matter is we have a spectrum, we have areas of when you should wear your uniform and areas it’s prohibited,” said Snell. “Those things include going to political rallies, associating with anything that would impact on the military and then one of the explicit directions is about personal commercial solicitation as well as you’re off duty employment.”
This shouldn’t discourage anyone from finding employment outside their current military service, before job hunting service members will have to talk to their supervisor to start the process.
“You need to identify where you want to work, you have to provide that information to your supervisor who will review it with your job and if it conflicts with it,” said Snell. “You’d go over that with your immediate supervisor and he or she will make a recommendation as to whether that should be approved. That’ll be send over to the legal office, we’ll review it as well then finally it is sent to your commander for final approval.”
For more information contact the legal office at (580) 481-7294 or firstname.lastname@example.org.