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A Briefing on
Standards of Conduct for Service Personnel
AS IS THE
CASE with all regulations, it is wise for each Navyman to familiarize himself
with the prescribed "standards of conduct" that have become policy for
components under the Department of Defense.
Regulations require naval
personnel to comply with the high ethical standards demanded of all public
servants. These standards of conduct regulations are particularly aimed at
preventing any possible conflict between private interests and official duties.
They are based on standards prescribed by the President for personnel within
all departments of the federal government, and on laws passed by Congress.
Generally, the standards require all personnel to refrain from any private
business - or professional activity, or from having any direct or indirect
financial interest, which would place them in a position of conflict between
their private interests and the public interests of the United States.
In particular, in the case of Navymen, this applies to activities related to an
individual's duties and responsibilities within the Department of Defense. Even
though, technically, a conflict may not exist, individuals must avoid the
appearance of such a conflict from a public confidence point of view.
Also prohibited is the use, or appearance of use, of "inside" information
gained through a DOD position to further a private interest.
regulations governing standards of conduct, contained in SecNav Inst 5370.2D of
29 Jun 1966, do not preclude Navymen from having financial interests or
engaging in other legal financial transactions that do not create a conflict of
Some acts which are prohibited include:
dealings with military, ex-military or civilian personnel of the government if
such action violates a statute or DOD policy.
- Pursuing activities in behalf of nongovernmental associations or
organizations that are incompatible with an individual's government
- Soliciting and selling commercially to other military personnel
junior in rank or rate (including, but not limited to, the solicitation and
sale of insurance, stocks, mutual funds, real estate, goods, commodities or
services). Note: This prohibition does not apply to the one-time sale by an
individual of his own personal property or private dwelling.
- Behaving in a criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral or notoriously
disgraceful manner, or any other way which would be considered prejudicial to
- Accepting or agreeing to accept anything of value in return for
performing or refraining from performing an official act.
The restrictions on accepting gratuities are covered in detail.
Except as provided below, DOD personnel may not solicit or accept any gift,
gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or any other thing of monetary value from
any person or organization which:
engaged or is endeavoring to engage in procurement activities or business or
financial transactions of any sort with any agency of the DOD;
- Conducts operations or activities that are regulated by any agency of
the DOD; or
interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or
nonperformance of the official duty of the DOD personnel concerned.
gratuity or consideration bestowed upon members of the immediate families of
DOD personnel is viewed in the same light as those bestowed upon DOD
A gratuity includes any tangible item, intangible benefits,
discounts, tickets, passes, transportation and accommodations or hospitality
given or extended to or on behalf of the recipient.
regulations in this area take into consideration varied situations. The
following circumstances do not violate prescribed standards of,
- Instances in which the interests of the government are served by
participation of DOD personnel in widely attended luncheons, dinners and
similar gatherings sponsored by industrial, technical and professional
associations for the discUSSion of matters of mutual interest to government and
industry. Participation by DOD personnel is appropriate when the host is the
association and not an individual contractor. However, acceptance of gratuities
or hospitality from private companies in connection with an association's
activities is prohibited;
- Situations in which the interests of the government are served by
participation of DOD personnel in activities at the expense of individual
defense contractors when the invitation is addressed to and approved by the
employing agency of DOD. These activities include public ceremonies of mutual
interest to industry, local communities and the department;
- Luncheons or dinners at a contractor's plant on an infrequent basis,
when the conduct of official business within the plant will be facilitated and
when no provision can be made for individual payment;
- Situations in which, in the judgment of the individual concerned, the
government's interest will be served by participation of DOD personnel in
activities at the expense of a defense contractor. In any such case when DOD
personnel accept any gratuity, favor, entertainment or the like, either
directly or indirectly, from any person or organization, a report of the
circumstances should be made within 48 hours to the appropriate
- Accepting specialty advertising items of trivial intrinsic
- Customary exchange of social amenities between personal friends and
relatives on a personal basis;
- Accepting things that are available impersonally to the general
public or classes of the general public;
- Accepting trophies, entertainment, rewards or prizes given to
competitors in contests which are open to the public generally or which are
officially approved for participation in by DOD personnel;
- transactions between and among relatives which are personal and
consistent with the relationship;
- Accepting loans from banks or other financial institutions on
customary terms to finance proper and usual activities of employees such as
home mortgage loans;
- Attending social activities engaged in by officials of the department
and officers in command or their representatives with local civilian leaders as
part of community relations programs;
- Utilizing contractor-provided local transportation while on official
business and when alternative arrangements are clearly
- Participating in civic and community activities when the relationship
with the defense contractor can be reasonably characterized as remote; for
example, participating in a little league or Combined Federal Campaign luncheon
which is subsidized by a concern doing business with a defense
- Receiving bona fide reimbursement, not prohibited by law, from other
than defense contractors for actual expenses for travel and other necessary
subsistence for which no government reimbursement is made. However, a member
may not be reimbursed, and payment may not be made on his behalf, for excessive
personal living expenses, gifts, entertainment or other personal
provided above, personnel on official business may not accept
contractor-provided transportation, meals or overnight accommodations in
connection with such official business so long as government or commercial
transportation or quarters are reasonably available. Where, however, the
over-all government interest would be served in specific cases, the
order-issuing authority may authorize contractor-provided transportation or
Several other regulations pertaining to
standards of conduct include:
officer or employee of the United States shall solicit contributions from other
officers or employees to buy a gift for a superior; nor shall any such superior
accept any gift from people who receive less salary then he.
personnel may not use government property of any kind for other than officially
approved activities. Government facilities, property and manpower, such as
stenographic and typing assistance, mimeograph and chauffeur service, may be
used only for official government business.
- Civilian personnel and military personnel on active duty may not use
their titles or positions in connection with any commercial enterprise, except
as authors of material that has been properly cleared with the Department of
Defense for publication.
- Retired military personnel and members of Reserve components not on
active duty are permitted to use their military titles in connection with
commercial enterprises. However, titles should not be used in any way that
casts discredit on the military services, and no implication should be made
that sponsorship, sanction, endorsement or approval of the commercial
enterprise has been made by any of the services or the Department of
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