Armed Forces News

U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno (retired), administers the Oath of Enlistment to Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division reenlisting during his visit to Fort Drum, N.Y. Oct. 25, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade)

As the 2020 Presidential election heats up, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper has issued a reminder to keep politics and work separate.

“As citizens, we exercise our right to vote and participate in government,” Esper stated in a Feb. 5 memo addressed to all soldiers and civilian employees. “However, as public servants who have taken an oath to defend these principles, we uphold DoD’s longstanding tradition of remaining apolitical as we carry out our official responsibilities. Maintaining the hard-earned trust and confidence of the American people requires us to avoid any action that could imply endorsement of a political party, political candidate or campaign by any element of the Department.”

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He called upon service leaders to review the regulations that address participation in political activities by soldiers and civilians, and ensure that everyone under their supervision understands them.

“Military and civilian leaders should regularly discuss ethics and values with their teams in the normal course of leading and decision-making,” Esper wrote.

DoD policy holds that all military personnel avoid the inference that their political activity is in any way endorsed by DoD, or that DoD endorses, approves or sponsors any political candidate, campaign or cause.

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