Banner Archive for January 2012

By Thomas Zimmerman

USAWC program brings together USAWC, other senior service college students to tackle complex problems

Army War College students examine a map during a recent session of the Joint Land, Air, Sea Strategy Exercise. JLASS is a five-month war gaming elective USAWC students and their counterparts at the Naval, Air, Marine Corps war colleges and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Jan. 11, 2012 – In a notional 2022, China and Japan are skirmishing over islands in the China Sea. A humanitarian crisis is looming, and the world is on the brink of global conflict.  Enter 110 select students from five senior service colleges with a goal to bring the world back from that brink.

This year, 38 Army War College students joined counterparts from the Naval War College, Air War College, Marine Corps War College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces for the Joint Land, Air, Sea Strategy Exercise.

The students play the ‘game’ in two distinct phases over five months. During the first phase, students conduct distributed environmental scanning and strategic planning at their respective colleges using video teleconferencing and internet-based collaborative tools to coordinate their actions.  In the second phase, in April, all the schools’ students converge for seven days of intensive scenario play at the Air University’s Lemay Center Wargaming Institute at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

Students at the service-specific colleges typically represent geographic combatant commanders, and ICAF students role-play national level policy makers.

“The USAWC teams draw upon their experiences in the core curriculum to develop solutions to these difficult problems, using a whole-of-government approach based upon the DIME Model,” said Navy Cdr. Bruce A. Apgar, Jr., from the Center for Strategic Leadership, referring to diplomatic, informational, military and economic elements of national power.

“JLASS is a great opportunity to apply what we have been learning in seminar for the last six months,” said student Col. John Prairie.

“The skills that we have refined and developed through our first half of the year really come together in this exercise,” said Marine Corps. Lt. Col. Wayne Bunker. “We see how truly important skills like strategy and critical thinking are for leaders. Working with our partners is a very important part of that. You have to know how to establish, develop and maintain relationship with other agencies, nations and partners.”  

 “The real value of this exercise is that it forces the students to make decisions which have consequences,” said Apgar. “They truly get to see the cause and effect relationship between the choices they make.”

USAWC students role-play key positions in USEUCOM, Allied Command Operations, the Joint Staff and USAFRICOM. The students include military officers of all U.S. services, and 12 International Fellows.  

 “The fellows add a dimension to the exercise and the entire USAWC experience that you just can’t get anywhere else,” said Air Force Col. Robert Mallets. “We have four African fellows working with us in the AFRICOM cell and they bring real-world experience and information to the table, which helps us make informed decisions. I think this experience will serve us well as we continue our careers.” 

“I spent time at EUCOM and this exercise has really helped me see the big picture and the challenges that face combatant commanders,” said Col. Bob Wade, who is role-playing the EUCOM commander. “As the commander you have to pay attention to multiple flashpoints. You quickly come to understand that one service or nation cannot do it alone.”

“It just reinforces the importance of joint, interagency and international partners,” said Wade.   

 “I wanted to take part in this exercise because in our next jobs, many of us are going to be serving in commands like EUCOM or AFRICOM,” said Col. David Price. “It’s important that we are able to work through and be exposed to the challenges we will face. This is a great complementary program to the core USAWC program.”

For student Glenn Wait, the exercise was an opportunity to be exposed to aspects of the military he would not normally know in depth.

“It really opens your eyes to how important the interagency, joint and international partners are,” he said. “I am able to learn from my peers in class and the students we are working with through JLASS to give me a fuller understanding of the complex environment we will work in for the rest of our careers.”

This is the third year that USAWC International Fellows participated in JLASS.  Their experiences, perspectives and leadership add a valuable dimension of diversity that was recognized by the students and faculty from all colleges. 

JLASS is the only major educational event that integrates students from the different war colleges. In its long history, it evolved from the CARMAX, or Carlisle-Maxwell, exercise series of the 1980s, with a theater-specific Air/Land battle scenario, to today’s global strategic exercise.  

Michael Lynch, US Army Heritage and Education Center

USAHEC program offers leadership development for Special Forces

Special Forces warrant officers participate in a Gettysburg Battlefield staff ride as part of the USAHEC program in leadership development and Special Forces heritage education. (Courtesy photo)


The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC) continues to support the Warrant Officer Institute of the Army’s John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

Students from two separate courses, the Special Forces Tactical and Technical course and the Special Forces Warrant Officer Advanced Course, travel to Carlisle ad USAHEC as part of their training. The Tactical and Technical Course combines students from both the Warrant Officer Candidate School and the Warrant Officer Basic Course into one sequence of instruction.   

Since its first visit here in 2009, the program has grown into a three-day USAHEC educational event, focused on leadership development and Special Forces heritage education. 

The Center uses its Army Heritage Trail as an interactive venue for understanding American military history by focusing on the unconventional warfare practiced during each period represented by the trail exhibits. Firearms curator Brandon Wiegand uses the USAHEC historic weapons collection to present a description of the development of weapons technology throughout history. The course concludes with a day-long staff ride to Gettysburg.

USAHEC support to the Special Forces Warrant Officer Advanced Course includes a seminar on counterinsurgency, peacekeeping, and special forces history and culture, presented by USAHEC, Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute and Strategic Studies Institute staff.

Classes begin with an overview of COIN doctrine, presented by Dr. Conrad C. Crane, director of the Military History Institute here and conclude with a roundtable discussion led by Dr. Henry Gole, retired Army colonel, on the history of Special Forces, its relevance today, and the future role of the Special Forces Warrant Officer.

The final piece of the three-day event focuses on senior level leadership and decision making during a day-long staff ride to the Gettysburg Battlefield.

 USAHEC support of Special Forces Warrant Officer training is one of several training and education opportunities for active, Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers. The center has provided history-based training for the Army Recruiting Command, Military History Detachments, and ROTC units from area universities.

Thomas Zimmerman, Army War College Public Affairs
‘Arab Spring’ focus of USAWC symposium


Dr. Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, served as the keynote speaker for Arab Spring Symposium at the Army War College. Photo by Megan Clugh.

Want to see the presentations? Check out the USAWC YouTube page.


Jan. 31, 2012 – The development known as Arab Spring began with a Tunisian fruit seller’s response to a  police officer, setting off protests began that day in Sidi Bouzid, and captured by cell phone cameras and shared on the Internet. The event set off similar uprisings across North Africa and across the Middle East that became known as the “Arab Spring.”

These events and the lasting effects served as the focus of the Arab Spring Symposium held Jan. 30-31 at the Army War College.  

“These protests are a powerful and compelling event that only comes along occasionally in world affairs,” said Dr. Larry Goodson, director of Middle East Studies at the USAWC. “Moments such as these are rare and are deserving of our close attention,” he said as background to the two-day symposium for Army War College student body

Invited guests from local and national universities and government and civilian agencies broaden the range of discussions. Guest speakers brought up complex issues and challenges to discuss back in seminar. This symposium is the latest in a decade-long tradition where the USAWC pauses to explore a region in a focused fashion, he said


Some of the highlights from guest speakers were:

  • High unemployment and failed political systemsas key contributors to the events, said Dr. Fawaz Gerges, professorof Middle Eastern Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, served as the keynote speaker for the event. 
  • The quest for change trumps the quest for democracy,” said Amb. Ferry de Kerckhove, former Canadian Ambassadorto Egypt. “It is more of a Western aspiration for the region, but could come as a by-product of the revolution. We need to remind ourselves that we are in this for the long haul. It may take a long time for some stability.”
  • The world is seeing the crumbling of the official authoritarianism in the Arab world  -- but will be a complex journey, said Gerges. “This is the first time in that millions of Arab feel free and have taken ownership of their own destiny. The politics of the past that dominated the world have change forever. It is a new era. “
  • Globalization, including the availability of news outlets like Aljazeera played a large role. “Aljazeera helped break these nations control on the flow of information,” said Gerges. “It helped shed the light on systemic corruption in many of these nations.”
    “Nearly 70 percent of homes in the Middle East and North Africa have satellite TV and nearly 40 percent of people use the internet daily,” said Dr. Glenn Robinson, associate professor, Naval Postgraduate School.  “It became impossible to control the information for these regimes. This information revolution in the Middle East that has created an “Arab Public” that is literate, able to follow news, form opinions, and have avenues to express it really for the first time this century.”
  • Demographics played an important factor. “A ‘youth bulge’ exists in many of the nations in this region where nearly 50 percent of all Arabs have been born since the 1990-91 Gulf War and two-thirds have been  born since Iranian Revolution,” said Robinson. “In addition the literacy rates have grown drastically since the 1970s. The ability to get an education and to follow world news has had a dramatic effect on the region.”
  • Fragile and non-existent institutionswill help determine the future of the region. “There are major risks and vulnerabilities including fragile and non-existent institutions,” said Gerges.  “How do you replace the family-based system with new institution, from the bottom up? It takes about 80-years to build and consolidate instructions.  In the absence of these how do you mitigate the great conflicts in society? How do you build them with secular religious divides?  How do you provide food and services without money?”
  • Professional militarieswill have a role. “The more professional the military, the more likely it is to side with protest if disorder threatens the country,” said Dr. David Sorenson, Professor of International Security Studies, Air War College. he said. “In turn, the more ‘rent-seeking’ the military is, the more it is willing to defend the existing government. We sometimes underestimate the role of the military in these situations.”

Sorenson said that professional militaries know they cannot solve their countries problems, instead they form a formal agreement with the government as they transition towards democracy.

“If you look at Egypt you can see this in action,” he said. “You see a professional military responding to the wishes of its people as it tries to speed up the scheduling of elections. Egypt is a good barometer of the region.” 

Other expert speakers included Dr. David Commins, professor of history and Benjamin Rush Distinguished Chair in Liberal Arts and Science at Dickinson College, and Amb. James Larocco, director of the Near East South Asia (NESA) Center for Strategic Studies.

To view the presentations visit our YouTube Channel at



Army Heritage and Education Center welcomes new director


The new director of the Army Heritage and Education Center leaps from responsibilities as a Chief of Plans for the US Forces in Iraq to lead USAHEC into the future.

Col. Matthew “Matt” Dawson became Director of the US Army Heritage and Education Center at Carlisle Barracks, January 16.

“I am absolutely excited to be here,” said Dawson.  “Everyone has been very positive and professional.  Not only did the military family take care of my family, the Carlisle community welcomed my wife and kids and looked out for them while I was deployed.

“I knew of AHEC but I didn’t have a full appreciation of how much they can do and how much an asset they are to the Army until I got here,” he said.  “The staff has opened my eyes to the value we bring to the Army War College, the Army and the nation. 

“I can see that it will be my responsibility to serve the professionals at AHEC, to be a positive and contributing member of the Army War College team, and to tell the Army story … one Soldier at a time.” 

Historian and Army leader, Dawson will be responsible for the world-renowned Military History Institute; Visitors and Education Services; Collections Management and the Army Heritage Museum. The USAHEC organizations acquire and conserve historical records, personal materials, and artifacts. Its conservation staff ensures that donated items are preserved for future generations. Its museum galleries and education programs present the Army’s history and heritage to wide-ranging audiences of military leaders, historians, researchers, scholars, students, tourists, families, and fellow Americans.

“The US Army Heritage and Education Center is a one-of-a-kind national treasure, and Col. Matt Dawson will guide the center's future with intelligence, leadership, and commitment," said Col. Bobby Towery, deputy commandant for the Army War College, USAHEC's parent organization.

"Matt is the right officer with the right skills at the right time to take this fantastic organization to the next level,” said Towery. “We are confident that we have chosen the right person."

Dawson most recently served as the Chief of Plans, J5, US Forces-Iraq in support of OPERATIONs IRAQI FREEDOM and NEW DAWN and returned from Iraq in December 2011.

An Army Field Artillery officer, Dawson has served in Germany, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq in positions of increasing responsibility, including command of the 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery (MLRS), 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Stanley, Korea, 2003-2005.  Since then, he served as chief of the Joint Staff Special Access Program Central Office and Focal Point Program Manager for the Joint Staff in the Pentagon.  After completing the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., he was assigned to the US Army Central Command as Chief, Design Team and Deputy G5 for strategy, plans and international military affairs before deploying to Iraq in May 2010.

Dawson earned his Army commission and bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University.  He earned a master’s in History from Florida State University and served as an instructor in the History Department of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  He deployed as a Combat Historian in 2002 in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. He holds a doctorate in History from Florida State University. He is the author of the book, Partisanship and the Birth of America’s Second Party, 1796-1800, published by Praeger Publishers in 2000.  

Dawson will be introduced to the area by both his USAHEC staff and his family, who made their home here during his deployment. He and his wife, Ellen, live at Carlisle Barracks with their Carlisle High School daughter, with a son in college.


Maj. Gen. Gregg F. Martin selected to be President of the National Defense University

The Chief of Staff of the Army announced today that the Commandant of the Army War College, Maj. Gen. Gregg F. Martin, will be reassigned as the next president of the National Defense University in Washington D.C., with a report date to be determined.  Martin's replacement has not been named.

Toys for Tots Contributions


  All of us here at Lewis B. Puller Jr, Marine Corps League Detachment # 524 Carlisle Pa., Cumberland and Perry Counties Toys for Tots program would like to sincerely thank the residents of Cumberland and Perry Counties for their generous support of the 2011 Toys for Tots campaign. 

  With the benefit of your assistance, we were able to serve 458 families which equals 1,046 children. They received on average 11 items which included a large toy, small toy, stuffed animals, board game, doll, stuffed animal, puzzle, some type of sports ball, coloring book w/crayons and stocking stuffers.
  We collected 8,476 toys, 741 books, and 1397 stocking stuffers from collection boxes in both counties.  We also collected $11,427 from individuals and businesses (online donation were an all time high).
  Thank you to all the people, organizations, clubs, schools, businesses, stores, and corporations that made this possible.
  I cannot forget all the volunteers that worked the three distribution weekends in December especially BSA Troop 5, Young Marine of Central Pa, Carlisle Special Fire Police, and my “Super Six” of  Lynn Ewell,  Robert Berry, Sam Leonard  Shyla Rakers, Bill Myers and Michael Berry.
 We truly appreciate the consistent support Toys for Tots has received from Cumberland & Perry Counties.  It is comforting to know that we can constantly rely on benevolence of our supporters. 
  Thank you.
Jim Washington Jr.
Toys for Tots Coordinator

Staff Sgt. Corey Baltos, USAWC Public Affairs

Carlisle Barracks, IHG begin journey to privatize Army Lodging

Arthur Holst, Vice President of Operations InterContinental Hotels Group, Army Hotels and Wendi Kent, manager of the Carlisle Barracks Army Lodging, examine a hotel room in Washington Hall during a visit by IHG on Jan. 12.  The visit was the first in a series of visits over the next year that will transfer operations of the hotel to IHG as part of the Privatization of Army Lodging program.  Photo by Staff Sgt. Corey Baltos.


On Jan. 12, representatives from Lend Lease and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) traveled to Carlisle Barracks to take the first step in a 15-month process that will culminate with a private operator taking over the post lodging facilities.

Carlisle Barracks is part of the third and last group of Army hotels that have been privatized under the Privatization of the Army Lodging program.  Under this plan, Lend Lease, operating as Rest Easy LLC, will be the owner/developer/design builder while IHG will be the hotel operator.

The purpose of the visit was to tour the existing facilities and establish the preliminary requirements for the changeover.  Later this spring contractors and architects will examine the existing framework and existing structure.

One of the first things that Lend Lease will determine is whether they want to assume operation of the existing hotels or build a new hotel on post.

“I think IHG will find that the long term maintenance costs of taking over the existing hotels will be cost prohibitive,” said Lt. Col. William Mcdonough, garrison commander.  “The historic buildings are pretty expensive to maintain.”

“To build a new hotel we would need five to six acres of land for the building and a dedicated parking lot,” said Rhonda Hayes, Chief of the Army Capital Ventures Directorate.

With land at a premium on this post, possible sites for a new hotel were discussed.  Two places under consideration are behind Garrison Lane and on Bouquet Road.  Lend Lease is scheduled to make their decision on whether to build new, or renovate the old in a few months.

“In order for us to achieve the goal of getting a state of the art facility, we all will have to give up something,” said Elaine Leist, deputy garrison commander, during a discussion about parking facilities for the hotel.

If the existing hotel is renovated it will be turned into a Holiday Inn Express. 

“Obviously it will not look like most Holiday Inn Expresses, because the hotels are in historical buildings,” said Hayes.  “However, on the inside it will have the same amenities that the public has come to expect from those hotels.” 

A new hotel would be a Candlewood Suites.

Both options would provide the military traveler with several amenities to include: weekly “get to know you” BBQ socials, complimentary hot breakfasts for guests, business and fitness centers and the acceptance of the Priority Club Rewards Card.

Hotel rate will be based on whether the guest is staying there in an official capacity or in a non-official capacity. 

“Guests who stay at our on-post facilities in an official capacity, (such as PCSing or TDY) would pay 75 percent of the going per-diem rate for the area,” said Hays.  “Guests who are staying with us in a non-official capacity would pay a rate comparable to what is being charged outside the gate.”

One of the biggest concerns for the garrison command team was how privatizing Army lodging would affect the current employees.

“Every Army Lodging employee has the opportunity to work for IHG,” said Hayes.  “We grant the right of first interview for all positions to Army Lodging staff members.  80 percent of the line level employees, and 67 percent of the general managers that are working at IHG privatized military hotels, were former Army Lodging employees.”

Wendi Kent, the current manager of the Carlisle Barracks Army Lodging expressed concern that her employees, if hired by IHG would have to start at the bottom.

“That is not the case,” said Hayes.  “Their seniority as far as pay and vacations will transfer over.  So, an employee who worked for Army lodging for 10 years would not lose that time.  However the seniority is only figured out for time working at an Army hotel, not total federal service.”

Later this year, IHG is planning on going over their employee benefit plan with the current hotel employees.

“I see our partnership with IHG as a positive win/win situation,” said Leist.

Exchange, Class Six to change hours for inventory

The Carlisle Barracks Army Air Force Exchange Services will be conducting inventory on Jan. 23 and 24.  The Exchange and the Class Six store will close early at 5 p.m. on Jan. 23 and the Class Six store will open at late 11 a.m. on Jan. 24.   The Exchange will open at 9 a.m. on Jan. 24.

Capt. (P) Jessica R. Schultz, Dee Connelly, Army Physical Fitness Research Institute

Simply healthy New Year – Will you stay the course?


   Jan. 11, 2012 -- The New Year is the perfect time to make a fresh start. If you are one of many people who made a resolution to get healthier in     
   2012,   the following simple strategies will help make your resolution a reality. Choose one or two to give your New Year’s resolution a boost!


  • Manage your perspective. A trick to keeping your eyes satisfied and cutting down on excess calories is using a 9-inch plate. Fill half of it with vegetables and fruit, a quarter with lean protein, and the final quarter with complex carbs -- preferably something with whole grains or high in fiber. For more information on proportions, check out has replaced the old food pyramid).
  • Have a game plan. Knowing what you'll be eating for each meal can help you curb your cravings and retrain your taste buds to crave healthy dishes over time. Make a plan for each day, and pack a lunch and snacks the night before you need them.
  • Put exercise on the calendar. Don't just say you're going to exercise more this year. Schedule it! This way, your daily 30 minutes of exercise becomes a to-do that you can check off once you're done. Remember, exercise is not an “All or nothing” endeavor, it’s a continuum.  A little is better than none, and you can get moving anywhere by taking the stairs or going for a brisk walk after work. Remember, gym time is not the only time for exercise.
  • Get your ZZZs. In a 2010 study, those who slept 8½ hours a night lost twice as much fat and held on to nearly twice as much muscle as those who scraped by on just 5½ hours. When you're losing weight, a good night's sleep seems to persuade your body to burn fat. In addition to countless other benefits, getting enough sleep also keeps the hunger hormone ghrelin in check, so you're less tempted to make a mad dash for the cookie jar.


So now that you know what simple steps you can take for a healthier 2012, the trick will be to follow through… into February for starters. Although you may feel dedicated to your healthy resolution, acting on these behaviors for the long term will be your key to success. Keep reading to bolster your motivation, as these strategies can enhance your persistence and dedication.


  • Monitor your progress. Really, this strategy has stood the test of time. Choose one of your health-improvement behaviors and keep a log of your progress daily. This can be as simple as a check mark on your calendar or in-depth as an app on your smart phone. Keep tabs and adjust your efforts as needed. Want to increase the stakes? Find someone you trust and share your progress. You’re more likely to stay on track if you divulge your outcome!
  •  Keep a long term perspective. Our goals and resolutions are typically grounded in solid logic and reasoning (i.e., I want to be healthy to be around for my family). Remind yourself of your reasons every day! The benefits associated with your health goals and the purpose behind your decision will keep you motivated. Be creative and remind yourself by posting notes on the refrigerator, sticking photos on the bathroom mirror, or placing a message in your gym bag. These are simple but effective tools to keep you mentally on track.


Now, get moving! Here’s to your healthy success in 2012!

Register and request your ballot for upcoming primaries

Voters from these States should visit the FVAP.govweb portal to register and request their absentee ballot for the February, March, and April 2012 Presidential Preference Primaries (P) and State Primaries (S) listed below:

February Primaries (30-Day Notice):

NOTE for February Primaries: If you have not received your requested State ballot, submit the back-up Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot at FWAB information below).

  • Missouri (P): February 7
  • Arizona (P): February 28
  • Michigan (P): February 28


March Primaries: (60-Day Notice):

  • Georgia (P): March 6
  • Massachusetts (P): March 6
  • Ohio (P,S): March 6
  • Oklahoma (P): March 6
  • Tennessee (P): March 6
  • Vermont (P): March 6
  • Virginia (P): March 6
  • Alabama (P,S): March 13
  • Mississippi (P,S): March 13
  • Illinois (P,S): March 20
  • Louisiana (P,S): March 24


April Primaries: (90-Day Notice):

  • District of Columbia (P,S): April 3
  • Maryland (P,S): April 3
  • Texas (P,S): April 3 (This is a change, the election was originally scheduled March 6)
  • Wisconsin (P): April 3
  • Alabama (Primary Runoff): April 24
  • Connecticut (P): April 24
  • Delaware (P): April 24
  • New York (P): April 24
  • Pennsylvania (P,S): April 24
  • Rhode Island (P): April 24


It may not be too late to participate in the NH, SC, and FL January primaries. View the Primary Election Calendarat FVAP.govfor more information.

Go to and get started! It only takes a few minutes!

All members of the U.S. Uniformed Services, their family members, and citizens residing outside the U.S. who are residents from these States should submit an FPCA for these elections by going to the FVAP.govweb portal or by following the instructions in the Voting Assistance Guide, also available at

Be sure you include an email address, phone number, and/or fax number on your absentee ballot application in case your local election official needs to contact you. Remember, many States allow you to submit your form electronically, and deliver your ballot electronically or provide online ballot access. Go to FVAP.govor your State’s election websiteto see how you can return your form.

To find out the status of your registration/absentee ballot request, contact your local election office at, or visit your State website.

Vote the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB)

The FWAB is a backup ballot. If 30 days before the election (or longer based on your geographic location) you think you will not receive your State ballot in time to vote and return it (especially in February Primary States), vote the FWAB at The FWAB is also available in embassies and consulates and military installations around the world.

Additional Information

Check your State's election website for specific information on candidates, elections, contact information, and links to your local election offices. Find your State's website at FVAP's web portal:


Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service
Rules restrict political activity by DOD personnel


WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2012 - With election activity steadily picking up, defense officials are in the process of issuing regular election-year guidance to remind military and Defense Department civilians that they're subject to rules regulating their involvement in political activities.

 This issue -- one the department regularly addresses during election periods -- came to light earlier this week after an Army Reserve soldier in uniform appeared endorsing a political candidate.

 Several sets of rules help to protect the integrity of the political process, DOD officials said. DOD Directive 1344.10 applies to members of the armed forces, whether they serve on active duty, as members of the reserve components not on active duty, as National Guard members in a nonfederal status, and military retirees.

 In addition, the Hatch Act applies to federal civilian employees, and employees also are subject to widely published DOD guidance that discusses participation in political campaigns and elections.

 These rules are designed to prevent military members' or federal civilian employees' participation in political activities that imply -- or even appear to imply -- official sponsorship, approval or endorsement, officials said. The concern, they explained, is that actual or perceived partisanship could undermine the legitimacy of the military profession and department.

 That's not to imply, however, that military members and civilian employees can't participate in politics. In fact, DOD has a longstanding policy of encouraging members to carry out the obligations of citizenship, officials said. DOD encourages its military and civilian members to register to vote and vote as they choose, they said. Both groups can sign nominating petitions for candidates and express their personal opinions about candidates and issues.

 However, officials emphasized, they can do so only if they don't act as -- or aren't perceived as -- representatives of the armed forces in carrying out these activities.

 Beyond that, the list of dos and don'ts differs depending on whether the employee is a member of the armed forces, a career civil service employee, a political appointee or a member of the career Senior Executive Service, officials said.

 Military members, for example, may attend political meetings or rallies only as spectators and not in uniform. They're not permitted to make public political speeches, serve in any official capacity in partisan groups or participate in partisan political campaigns or conventions.

 They also are barred from engaging in any political activities while in uniform.

 A combat engineer assigned to the 416th Theater Engineer Company potentially violated these rules Jan. 3 when he stepped onto a stage at Ron Paul's headquarters in Ankeny, Iowa, during the Iowa Caucus to offer a personal endorsement. Although he was wearing his uniform, the soldier was not in an active status at the time, Army Maj. Angela Wallace, an Army Reserve spokeswoman, confirmed.

 Wallace emphasized that the soldier "stands alone in his opinions regarding his political affiliation and beliefs, and his statements and beliefs in no way reflect that of the Army Reserve."

 His chain of command is aware of the issue and is considering appropriate disciplinary action to take, she said.

 Most civilian DOD employees, whose political activities are governed by the Hatch Act, are permitted to be active in and speak before political gatherings and serve as officers of political parties or partisan groups, officials said. These activities, however, cannot involve fundraising.

 Civilian employees also are permitted to manage campaigns, distribute literature, write political articles or serve as a spokesperson for a party or candidate.

 There are, however, exceptions to this, including but not limited to Senior Executive Service.

 While the dos and don'ts concerning political activity may vary, the basic tenets hold true for all DOD employees.

 The bottom line, officials said, is that they should steer clear of any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating DOD or the military with a partisan political activity, or that "is otherwise contrary to the spirit or intent" of the rules described.

Military Family Program spouse project needs your help

The Spouse Project Team needs your help. We hope that you are rested after the holiday break and had some time to think about a few questions relating to this year's project. Your USAWC Class Spouse Project will focus on the subject of mentoring today’s military spouse and we need your input in the "research" phase.

We are looking for the good and the bad ways in which you have been influenced by those you have met through your experience with the military. We need you to think of those individuals who have gone above and beyond their “call of duty” to make sure you understood the military lifestyle, showed you what “right looks like”, and enhanced your experience. You may feel you haven’t had this type of relationship, and that could be helpful too. Keep in mind, the negative example can be an example of what “right looks like.”

Please offer input by answering these 3 questions:

1. If you feel you have been mentored by a spouse, what worked? What did not?

2. If you have attempted to mentor other spouses, again, what worked? What did not?

3. What ONE thing do you wish someone would have told you as a new military spouse?

* Please share this request with your friends and neighbors that you might see over the holidays. This helps to get the word out.

** Please share any stories or anecdotes to illustrate your points.

Send thoughts/stories/vignettes to Jenn Smith at by January 12, 2012 OR to The Military Family Program at Your input is critical to the success of our project and we know that we can count on you to give us excellent material to work with. Thanks in advance for your help.