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The DOs and DON’Ts of Politics in the Military

It is important for Marines to know their part in politics during election years. The Department of Defense has outlined rules about engaging in partisan political activities. Be smart, know your part.

Every few years Marines and other service members have the opportunity to support their favorite political candidate by voting. As important as it is to vote, Marines also need to know what they can and can’t do in politics.

The Department of Defense has a longstanding, well-defined policy regarding political campaigns and elections to avoid the perception of DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of any political candidate, campaign or cause. The department encourages service members to fulfill the civic obligation to vote, but makes clear members of the Armed Forces on active duty should not engage in partisan political activities.

| More: Be in the know this election day. |

Below is a list of what service members can and cannot do each election year. This list is not all-inclusive.

Remember, supporting a candidate is ok but endorsing one is not — not even on Facebook.

For more information, click here.

For voting information visit

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26 Responses

  1. John Forbes says:

    That is about right. Now all of this social media is new but basicaly the thought seems to be they can’t stop what you do on your own site but you can not put things on other sites. I do understand that there could be some confusion but the simplest way to go is if you want to talk politics stay on your personal sites, don’t re-post what other people say, and don’t pretend that you reprisent the government.

  2. John Forbes says:

    No you are not allowed to wear it to a “gay” rally, “strait” rally, or any other political rally!

  3. says:

    It’s good to be a civilian again. By the way, every person who has ever served and has a web presence is being monitored daily. Sorry to say, but we’re liabilities to some, threats to others, and I don’t think it will be long before privacy infringement rights go straight out the window.

    Semper Fidelis.

  4. Tim Christopher says:

    So much for “FREEDOM”

  5. Luis Agostini says:

    Actually I’m kind of confused about the part where you are allowed to express a personal opinion, I’m assuming through social media since that’s what this blog is all about, and allowed to like/follow candidates/party pages, but cannot post to a candidate/political party page or tweet/retweet (republishing a link to the party/candidate web site). On Facebook, if a Marine likes a certain page, which according to up top a Marine would be allowed to do, it will show up on his/her timeline as a published link to a direct page. According to up top, that breaks the rules and is punishable by UCMJ. Also I am assuming this means you are allowed to express personal opinion only on your personal social media profile, just not comment on the political party/candidate’s social media site?

  6. Gilberto Gonzalez says:

    lol full bird corporal Evan!

  7. Edohiguma says:

    It’s a partisan event. It’s about political actions and legislation, making it purely political.

  8. Edohiguma says:

    But they’re not campaigning for sexual orientation. They’re campaigning for political action. “Gay rights” require legislation. It’s not a mere “social issue” as some people seem to believe. A social issue is solved by society itself, which is not the case here, thus they’re campaigning for a political idea and that means, by logic, they’re not allowed to wear uniform during such events.

  9. Robert Piper says:

    What’s funny is that as easy as this is to understand, Marines will still do something they shouldn’t.

  10. 4thRecline says:

    There is a difference between political parties and sexual orientation. Giving the impression that the Marine Corps supports republicans opposed to democrats, or the opposite, is a lot different than giving the impression that the Marine Corps supports the rights of its homosexual members to freely pursue homosexual relationships.

  11. Derek Coe says:

    Why do you want to cause a big problem for OBAMA, he’s on the right side of every issue. Go ahead and vote for and you will see that to GOP is going to cause a big problem for everybody. Don’t base your vote on HATE.

  12. Jeremy Vought says:

    Exactly…I’m confused.

  13. CPT Hardcore says:

    That assumes that all members of the military are anti-Obama or pro-GOP which is hardly the case. You can say what you want personally, but if in uniform don’t forget that the President is our Commander-In-Chief. Check your politics at the door.

  14. jambay says:

    I’m glad to see that there are “Do” and “Do Not” but to be honest, as much as I would like to do as much and more as there is on the “Do” list, there a a few things on the “Do Not” list that you can’t restrict… regardless of affiliation. If I am in uniform, and am “captured” in a photo/video, have something to say, I cannot be responsible for the interpretation other than my presence at an event. Hopefully my family – including the corps, understands.

  15. Tim Rubel says:

    DoD Directive 1344.10 needs to be updated. I don’t believe it addresses commenting on Websites. A website discussion is none other than a discussion and should not be construed as encouraging others in the same command to also voice their opinion. What the USMC and other services want its to be able to maintain good order. IF we the military all speak up we could cause a big problem for OBAMA.

  16. Mark Krug says:

    Can you say totally confusing and contradictory…

  17. Nate Gumbert says:

    DoD Directive 1344.10, February 19, 2008 spells out everything a Serive Member is and is not permitted to display, participate, donate and everything in between. Great knowledge for everyone. Semper Fi ! ! !

  18. Karon Walkner says:

    They seem to pretty easy to avoid. I just hope that all the guys and girls that are not home vote anyway!! I know it’s tough, but since you are defending the country, you need to have your say too!! VOTE!

  19. Charge55 says:

    Gay is not a party… If it was a democratic gay parade then no you couldn’t. It is just a parade. That is the line I think they are drawing here.

  20. WTG!!! says:


  21. Franklin Robinson says:

    the difference is that a republican rally is partisan political event, while a Pro-gay march is a non partisan event. One supports a specific political party while the other is about Social Issues.

  22. Simon Boulanger says:

    Best advices ever as usual. Who is responsible to make them in force?

  23. Simon Boulanger says:

    Best advices ever, as usual.

  24. Radglock says:

    Hahaha….if only the DoD leadership followed these rules and stayed apolitical while in uniform. I love the Corps and will always hold her dear, but it is so nice to be a civilian who is allowed to actually effect change in a nation that sorely needs it. Get involved, Devil Dogs!! You all are the future leaders of our country.

  25. mamabear says:

    what about a bumper sticker? is that considered campaigning for a candidate?

  26. Full Bird Corporal Evan says:

    So I can’t wear my uniform to a Republican rally… but the gays can wear their uniform in pro-gay marches…

    seems legit…