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Elections Present Questions, but DoD Has Answers

By Yonca Poyraz-Dogan
Navy Office of Information

As midterm elections are at the door, some guidance on the use of social media, military support of political activities and use of government sources could help to distinguish between official business and activities of candidates. Additionally, how about what to avoid while using social media?

The Department of Defense (DoD) has the answers concerning these issues. First of all, DoD encourages all of its members to carry out the obligations of citizenship, including voting and encourages others to vote. However, active duty members should not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause.

A DoD memorandum also indicates that commanders responsible of military post offices will ensure expeditious processing of balloting material and proper postmarking and date stamping of absentee ballots.

Regarding public commentary and endorsement, DoD guidelines state that any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating with DoD, or any component or personnel of the department, with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit should be avoided.

When it comes to online activities and use of social media, DoD memorandum states that Facebook and Twitter are specifically mentioned because of their popularity but, the guidance provided applies equally to all other social media platforms, such as Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. The following policy guidance addresses the use of social media for political purposes:

  • In general, all federal employees and active duty members may use social media and email to express his or her own personal views on public issues or political candidates, much the same as they would be permitted to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper. If a social media site/post identifies the member as on active duty — or if the member is otherwise reasonably identifiable as an active duty member — then the entry will clearly and prominently state that the views expressed are those of the individual only and not those of the DoD. An active duty member may not, however, engage in any partisan political activity. Further, an active duty member may not post or make direct links to a political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause because such activity is the equivalent of distributing literature on behalf of those entities or individuals, which is prohibited by reference.
  • An active duty member may become a friend of or like the Facebook page, or follow the social media account of a political party or partisan candidate, campaign, group or cause. However, active duty members will refrain from engaging in activities with respect to those entities’ social media accounts that would constitute political activity. This would include, for example, suggesting that others like, friend, or follow the political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause, or forwarding an invitation or solicitation from said entities to others.
  • Active duty members are subject to additional restrictions based on the Joint Ethics Regulation, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and service-specific rules, to include rules governing the use of government resources and governmental communications systems, such as email and internet usage.
  • Members of the armed forces not on active duty are not subject to the social media restrictions listed above so long as the member does not act in a manner that could reasonably create the perception or appearance of official sponsorship, approval or endorsement by the DoD or the member’s service.

In addition to being mindful about your political posts, tweets, snaps, etc., don’t forget about expectations for online conduct by Sailors and Department of the Navy civilians.

Do you still have questions? Then, take a look at this:

What is the DoD policy regarding political activities by members of the armed forces?
DoD encourages members of the armed forces to carry out the obligations of citizenship, including voting and encourages others to vote. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause.

What political activities can a service member participate in and which ones are prohibited?
DoD has a longstanding policy of encouraging military personnel to carry out the obligations of citizenship, and certain political activities are permitted, such as voting and making a personal monetary donation. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities, and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause. Examples of political activities that are prohibited include campaigning for a candidate, soliciting contributions, marching in a partisan parade and wearing the uniform to a partisan event. For a complete list of permissible and prohibited activities, please consult DoD Directive 1344.10.

Does that mean a service member can vote, but not actively support a particular candidate or cause?
Unquestionably, service members can exercise their right to vote. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities and will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement. For a list of permissible and prohibited activities, please consult DoD Directive 1344.10.

What about DoD civilians?
DoD civilians may express their opinions about a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race by posting, liking, sharing, tweeting or retweeting, but there are a few limitations. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from:

  • Engaging in any political activity via social media while on duty or in the workplace
  • Referring to their official titles or positions while engaged in political activity at any time (note that including an employee’s official title or position on one’s social media profile, without more, is not an improper use of official authority)
  • Suggesting or asking anyone to make political contributions at any time, including providing links to the political contribution page of any partisan group or candidate in a partisan race or liking, sharing or retweeting a solicitation from one of those entities and invitation to a political fundraising event. However, an employee may accept an invitation to a political fundraising event from such entities via social media.

Does DoD support and encourage its personnel to vote?
DoD encourages all members of the armed forces and federal civilian employees to register and vote. The department actively supports the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) to ensure its personnel have the resources, time and ability to participate in their civic duty. Additionally, department leaders and military commanders appoint voting assistance officers at every level of command and ensure they are trained and equipped to provide voting assistance.

Does DoD provide any voting assistance?
Yes, DoD provides voting assistance via the Federal Voting Assistance Program. FVAP works to ensure service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so – from anywhere in the world via FVAP.gov. The services also provide voting assistance officers at the unit level to facilitate in-person assistance when required.

Finally, the above information doesn’t cover every situation. If in doubt, consult your command’s ethics counselor.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/11/02/elections-present-questions-but-dod-has-answers/ poyrazdogany

Elections Present Questions, but DoD Has Answers

By Yonca Poyraz-Dogan
Navy Office of Information

As midterm elections are at the door, some guidance on the use of social media, military support of political activities and use of government sources could help to distinguish between official business and activities of candidates. Additionally, how about what to avoid while using social media?

The Department of Defense (DoD) has the answers concerning these issues. First of all, DoD encourages all of its members to carry out the obligations of citizenship, including voting and encourages others to vote. However, active duty members should not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause.

A DoD memorandum also indicates that commanders responsible of military post offices will ensure expeditious processing of balloting material and proper postmarking and date stamping of absentee ballots.

Regarding public commentary and endorsement, DoD guidelines state that any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating with DoD, or any component or personnel of the department, with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit should be avoided.

When it comes to online activities and use of social media, DoD memorandum states that Facebook and Twitter are specifically mentioned because of their popularity but, the guidance provided applies equally to all other social media platforms, such as Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. The following policy guidance addresses the use of social media for political purposes:

  • In general, all federal employees and active duty members may use social media and email to express his or her own personal views on public issues or political candidates, much the same as they would be permitted to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper. If a social media site/post identifies the member as on active duty — or if the member is otherwise reasonably identifiable as an active duty member — then the entry will clearly and prominently state that the views expressed are those of the individual only and not those of the DoD. An active duty member may not, however, engage in any partisan political activity. Further, an active duty member may not post or make direct links to a political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause because such activity is the equivalent of distributing literature on behalf of those entities or individuals, which is prohibited by reference.
  • An active duty member may become a friend of or like the Facebook page, or follow the social media account of a political party or partisan candidate, campaign, group or cause. However, active duty members will refrain from engaging in activities with respect to those entities’ social media accounts that would constitute political activity. This would include, for example, suggesting that others like, friend, or follow the political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause, or forwarding an invitation or solicitation from said entities to others.
  • Active duty members are subject to additional restrictions based on the Joint Ethics Regulation, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and service-specific rules, to include rules governing the use of government resources and governmental communications systems, such as email and internet usage.
  • Members of the armed forces not on active duty are not subject to the social media restrictions listed above so long as the member does not act in a manner that could reasonably create the perception or appearance of official sponsorship, approval or endorsement by the DoD or the member’s service.

In addition to being mindful about your political posts, tweets, snaps, etc., don’t forget about expectations for online conduct by Sailors and Department of the Navy civilians.

Do you still have questions? Then, take a look at this:

What is the DoD policy regarding political activities by members of the armed forces?
DoD encourages members of the armed forces to carry out the obligations of citizenship, including voting and encourages others to vote. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause.

What political activities can a service member participate in and which ones are prohibited?
DoD has a longstanding policy of encouraging military personnel to carry out the obligations of citizenship, and certain political activities are permitted, such as voting and making a personal monetary donation. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities, and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause. Examples of political activities that are prohibited include campaigning for a candidate, soliciting contributions, marching in a partisan parade and wearing the uniform to a partisan event. For a complete list of permissible and prohibited activities, please consult DoD Directive 1344.10.

Does that mean a service member can vote, but not actively support a particular candidate or cause?
Unquestionably, service members can exercise their right to vote. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities and will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement. For a list of permissible and prohibited activities, please consult DoD Directive 1344.10.

What about DoD civilians?
DoD civilians may express their opinions about a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race by posting, liking, sharing, tweeting or retweeting, but there are a few limitations. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from:

  • Engaging in any political activity via social media while on duty or in the workplace
  • Referring to their official titles or positions while engaged in political activity at any time (note that including an employee’s official title or position on one’s social media profile, without more, is not an improper use of official authority)
  • Suggesting or asking anyone to make political contributions at any time, including providing links to the political contribution page of any partisan group or candidate in a partisan race or liking, sharing or retweeting a solicitation from one of those entities and invitation to a political fundraising event. However, an employee may accept an invitation to a political fundraising event from such entities via social media.

Does DoD support and encourage its personnel to vote?
DoD encourages all members of the armed forces and federal civilian employees to register and vote. The department actively supports the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) to ensure its personnel have the resources, time and ability to participate in their civic duty. Additionally, department leaders and military commanders appoint voting assistance officers at every level of command and ensure they are trained and equipped to provide voting assistance.

Does DoD provide any voting assistance?
Yes, DoD provides voting assistance via the Federal Voting Assistance Program. FVAP works to ensure service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so – from anywhere in the world via FVAP.gov. The services also provide voting assistance officers at the unit level to facilitate in-person assistance when required.

Finally, the above information doesn’t cover every situation. If in doubt, consult your command’s ethics counselor.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/11/02/elections-present-questions-but-dod-has-answers/ poyrazdogany

Protecting Yourself in the Digital Age

By Capt. Bryan Lopez, Retired
Space and Naval Warfare System Command

Network security in the workplace is of paramount importance to our daily mission, but we can’t forget to protect ourselves against cyber vulnerability in our personal lives as well. Here are a few tips to help:

Operating System Updates and Anti-Virus Software
One of the easiest ways of protecting yourself against potential cyber viruses and attacks is by updating your computer and smart phone’s operating systems. Many companies make this easy with their “auto-update” feature, ensuring consumers are provided with the industry’s most up-to-date security patches as soon as they are available. Along with keeping your operating system up to date, you should keep your anti-virus software loaded with the latest updates as well. That being said, exercise caution when choosing your anti-virus software. Some vendors have known foreign-government affiliations and should be avoided.

Internet of Things
The Internet of Things or “IoT” refers to the proliferating number of networked devices that most of us already have in our homes. Late model TVs, printers, refrigerators, ovens, dish washers, microwaves and even toasters may be smart devices. They wirelessly plug into your home network and collect behavioral information by passively “listening” and, in some cases, “watching” your behaviors. Should we be concerned about this? Yes. Never share any information you don’t have to. Read the small print to find out how to disable the “passive information gathering” features.

Personal Digital Assistants
Personal digital assistants are designed to make your life easier. To do that, they also passively “collect” your personal information for marketing purposes by listening to your conversations. Hackers can use these features to turn personal digital assistants into a wiretap. When you’re not using these devices, shut them off and take the extra step of unplugging them to ensure they’re disconnected.

Social Media and Online Games
Online games are notorious hacker attack vectors. They gather information and expose unsuspecting victims to viruses and attacks. Social media also presents vulnerabilities. Set your privacy settings to “friends only” and then only share personal identifiable information with known contacts you have confirmed are actually your friends. Never accept connections from anyone you don’t know, especially someone who created a profile featuring only one picture.

An information graphic depicting the dangers of cyber attacks. (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)
An information graphic depicting the dangers of cyber attacks. (U.S. Navy graphic/Released)

 

Two Factor Authentication
Two factor authentication requires you to provide a second method of identification verification information, along with your password, in order to gain access. Some methods include a code sent via text message to your phone, a finger print or retina scan, or even a fob. These steps add a few seconds to gaining access, but are well worth the inconvenience. Whenever possible, if your application or web service gives you the option, take advantage of the opportunity to increase the security of your connection through a second factor.

Cookies
Cookies are small bits of code installed on your computer when you visit a website. Even after you close your browser, cookies continue to track your movements on the internet. They are advertised as a convenience by speeding the process of reloading websites you’ve previously visited. This convenience isn’t worth the vulnerability. In your browser’s privacy settings, you can block cookies; however, this might prevent you from accessing some websites you want to visit. Instead, another method of protecting yourself is to temporarily allow cookies, but also set your browser to delete cookies at the end of each browsing session.

Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth
Wi-Fi is vulnerable to attack. Always password protect your Wi-Fi. Ensure your router’s firmware is up to date. Use Virtual Private Networks, which create a secure tunnel and encrypt your data, especially when using free Wi-Fi in public places like airports and coffee shops. Whenever possible only visit websites that use the secure browser extension “https” where you will see a lock icon.

GPS helps us find our way around, but it also allows your movements to be tracked. Disable it when not in use. On some phones, the quick toggle doesn’t shut down your GPS and it continues to run in the background. To be sure, go into settings to disable it.

Bluetooth is another great digital enhancer that allows us to stream audio and even print at close range, but it is vulnerable to hackers who might want to capture your personal identifiable information, passwords and accounts. Turn it off when not in use.

There is no guarantee that these suggestions will protect you from a virus or an attack, but they will go a long way in decreasing your vulnerability in your everyday life.

Editor’s note: SPAWAR develops, delivers and sustains advanced cyber capabilities for our warfighters. SPAWAR, along with its system centers, space field activity and its partnership with three program executive offices, provides the hardware and software needed to execute Navy missions. With nearly 10,000 active duty military and civilian professionals located around the world and close to the fleet, SPAWAR is at the forefront of research, engineering and acquisition, keeping our forces connected around the globe.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/11/02/protecting-yourself-in-the-digital-age/ U.S. Navy

A Message from the Navy Surgeon General: Professional Behavior

The following message was sent by Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Forrest Faison to Navy Medicine commanders world-wide.

Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Forrest Faison
Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Forrest Faison

Shipmates,

It has come to my attention that members of the Navy Medicine team posted highly offensive photos and videos on their personal social media pages involving newborns at our naval hospitals. This content was then shared on various platforms and has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of individuals. Members of the Navy Medicine team represent the Navy 24/7. Unprofessional and inappropriate social media behavior is inconsistent with both our core values of honor, courage and commitment as well as our medical ethics, violating the oaths we took for our profession and office. This type of behavior also has a negative effect on mission accomplishment and good order and discipline.

In an age where information can be shared instantly, what we say and post online must reflect the highest standards of character and conduct, in both our personal and professional lives. As health care professionals, we are entrusted with the lives and well-being of all those who have volunteered to defend our freedom, including their families. We owe them the best care and compassion our nation can offer. We also owe them our unqualified respect. Any behavior that falls short of this expectation will be dealt with appropriately. This type of inappropriate conduct violates two of my core values: (1) be worthy of the trust placed in our hands in the privilege of caring for America’s sons and daughters, and (2) be worthy of the “uniform” we wear, both military and civilian, and all that we represent. At every level of the enterprise, we must send a clear message that Navy and Navy Medicine leadership take every allegation of offensive and unacceptable online conduct seriously and will hold responsible individuals accountable for their actions.

I have directed immediate mandatory all-hands stand downs within 48 hours at all Navy Medicine commands to review our oaths, our pledges, our reasons for serving, as well as Navy Medicine’s policy regarding use of personally owned phones and other recording devices (BUMED INST 3104.2A). Further, all commanding officers will be tasked to ensure no additional patient photos exist on social media and to take immediate action to remove such content. We are committed to working closely with ongoing investigations to ensure we have the facts and take appropriate action. I have also implemented an immediate prohibition of all personal cell phones in patient care areas until further notice. Additionally, I have directed all commanding officers to personally contact current mothers and expectant mothers planning to deliver in one of our facilities to reassure them, inform them of our actions, and address any of their concerns.

I applaud the individuals who took a stand when they witnessed this inappropriate behavior online. They chose not to be silent. This is what I expect of every member of the Navy Medicine team – from the deck plate to our senior leaders. Honor, service, caring and compassion – that is what the Navy Medicine team represents. Because of that, American families rest well at night knowing we have the watch and are committed to the best care for their loved ones. We cannot compromise the trust that has been placed in our hands. Our Sailors, Marines and their families deserve our best.

SG sends

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/09/20/a-message-from-the-navy-surgeon-general-professional-behavior/ U.S. Navy

Do’s and Don’ts for Voicing Your Political Opinion on Social Media

By Jason Kelly
U.S. Navy Digital Media Engagement Director

Graphic of social media icons

Back in 2008, political and media analysts dubbed that year’s presidential election the YouTube election since the candidates used the platform to post videos longer than traditional political ads.

Fast forward to 2016 where now a third of 18- to 29-year-olds say social media is their most helpful source for learning about this year’s presidential election, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

More social media opportunities exist now for Americans to share everything from their favorite cat photos to their personal opinions, including about this year’s presidential election.

So what do Sailors and Department of the Navy civilians need to know before they post, tweet and snap their political opinions? The information below doesn’t cover everything but, if in doubt, consult your command’s ethics representative.

Service members.

Let’s start with Sailors. NAVADMIN 055-16 and DoD Directive 1344.10 spell it out.

Active-duty Sailors may generally express their personal views about public issues or political candidates using social media — just like they can write a letter to a newspaper’s editor. If the social media site or content identifies the Sailor as on active duty (or if they’re reasonably identifiable as an active-duty Sailor), then the content needs to clearly and prominently state that the views expressed are those of the individual only and not those of the Department of Defense (DoD). However, active-duty service members may not engage in any partisan political activity such as posting or making direct links to a political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause. That’s the equivalent of distributing literature on behalf of those entities or individuals, which is prohibited.

Active-duty Sailors can like or follow accounts of a political party or partisan candidate, campaign, group or cause. However, they cannot suggest that others like, friend or follow them or forward an invitation or solicitation.

Remember, active-duty service members are subject to additional restrictions based on the Joint Ethics Regulation, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and rules about the use of government resources and government communications systems, including email and internet.

What about Sailors who aren’t on active duty? They’re not subject to the above social media restrictions so long as they don’t reasonably create the perception or appearance of official sponsorship, approval or endorsement by the DoD.

Department of the Defense civilians.

DoD civilians need to consider the Hatch Act and DoD policy.

In general, federal employees may use social media and email and comply with the Hatch Act if they:

  • Don’t engage in political activity while on duty or in the workplace, even if the employee is using their personal smartphone, tablet or laptop to do so. Federal employees are “on duty” when they’re in a pay status (including during telework hours) other than paid leave or are representing the government in an official capacity
  • Don’t engage in political activity in an official capacity at any time
  • Don’t solicit or receive political contributions at any time

Political activity refers to any activity directed at the success or failure of a political party or partisan political group or candidate in a partisan race.

Below is a list of some frequently asked questions. For additional FAQs, visit http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/defense_ethics/resource_library/hatch_act_and_social_media.pdf.

Q: May a federal employee engage in political activity on social media?

A: Yes, they may express their opinions about a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race by posting, liking, sharing, tweeting or retweeting, but there are a few limitations. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from:

  • Engaging in any political activity via social media while on duty or in the workplace
  • Referring to their official titles or positions while engaged in political activity at any time (note that including an employee’s official title or position on one’s social media profile, without more, is not an improper use of official authority)
  • Suggesting or asking anyone to make political contributions at any time, including providing links to the political contribution page of any partisan group or candidate in a partisan race or liking, sharing or retweeting a solicitation from one of those entities and invitation to a political fundraising event. However, an employee may accept an invitation to a political fundraising event from such entities via social media.
A graphic that explains the difference between restricted and less restricted employees.

U.S. Navy graphic by Austin Rooney/Released

 

Further restricted employees also may express their opinions about a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race by posting or sharing content, but there are a few limitations. In addition to the limitations above, the Hatch Act prohibits further restricted employees from:

  • Posting or linking to campaign or other partisan material of a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race
  • Sharing those entities’ social media sites or their content, including retweeting

Q: If a federal employee lists his or her official title or position on Facebook, may he or she also complete the “political views”?

A: Yes, identifying political party affiliation on a social media profile, which also contains one’s official title or position, without more, isn’t an improper use of official authority.

Q: May a federal employee display a political party or campaign logo or a candidate photograph as his profile picture?

A: Yes, but subject to the following limitations. Because a profile picture accompanies most actions on social media, a federal employee would not be permitted—while on duty or in the workplace—to post, share, tweet or retweet any social media content because each such action would show their support for a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race, even if the content of the action is not about those entities.

Q: May a federal employee – while on duty or in the work place – send or forward a partisan political email from his or her government email account or their personal email account to others?

A: No, they can’t send or forward a partisan political email from either their government email account or their personal email account (even using a personal device) while at work. A partisan political email is defined as one that is directed at the success or failure of a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race.

Again, the above information doesn’t cover every situation. If in doubt, consult your command’s ethics counselor.

Don’t forget the presidential election is November 8. For voting information, visit DoD’s Federal Voting Assistance Program’s website.

 

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/19/dos-and-donts-for-voicing-your-political-opinion-on-social-media/ Jason Kelly