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NEWS | Oct. 17, 2012

Diamond Tip: Don't be an 'October Surprise'

By Master Sgt. Brett Hopkins 437th Operations Support Squadron first sergeant

This Nov. 6 is Election Day. I join your unit and base representatives in asking you take the time to vote and have your voice heard.

I also join the Office of the Secretary of Defense in urging you to act responsibly during this, and any, campaign season.

Guidance for Political activities can be found in Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces; Title 5 Code of Federal Regulations Part 734, Political Activities of Federal Employees and is summarized in the 2012 DoD Public Affairs Guidance for Political Campaigns and Election which can be accessed at

There are some "common sense" basics and some little known facts each of us need to know. Active-duty members may not engage in partisan political activities while in uniform. While this seems pretty easy, there is a chance that if you have a picture or job status on Facebook, Twitter, etc. that identifies you as a member of the armed forces and presents a commentary, endorsement or links to partisan sites, you may be in violation of policy. Even though the election ends on Nov. 6, the limitations on political activities stay in effect until one week after the conclusion of the election.

I urge everyone to vote and support their favorite political party and candidate. The DoD requires everyone to show that support within regulations. Exercise your rights, but don't become an October or November surprise for the DoD.