Using government owned or controlled non-tactical vehicles
May 16, 2009
Unauthorized use of government owned or controlled non-tactical vehicles is an area where many personnel, military and civilian alike, can get into trouble.
Of concern is apparent confusion resulting from a recent change in policy regarding use of NTVs. The purpose of this article is to point out particular restrictions and to keep users safe from adverse actions.
The rule is simple: an NTV is for official purposes only. Whether a use is for an official purpose is a matter of administrative discretion, and commanders (or their designated representatives) determine what constitutes official use of motor vehicles.
That doesn't seem confusing or difficult to adhere to but sometimes it is hard to strictly adhere to the rule when the driver makes detours for convenience. Locally, a problem arises when personnel use an NTV to travel from one area (Aberdeen or Edgewood) to the other. It is a reasonable desire to simply want to take the NTV in which one is riding to grab food for lunch. Unfortunately, the rule doesn't allow for personal convenience. The rule states that the use of Army-owned or controlled NTVs is restricted to official purposes only. Use of the NTV to buy lunch while in a non-travel status is not official.
In September of 2007, Col. Jeffrey S. Weissman, Aberdeen Proving Ground Garrison and deputy installation commander, attempted to clarify the policy and recognize the need to be able to get lunch when a person is on a different area of post. However, this policy has since been rescinded due to apparent conflicts with federal law and Army regulations.
Travel to any eating establishment, on or off the installation is prohibited.
When using a government vehicle for any official purpose, employees must always be sensitive to the image projected to the public. Apparent misuse of NTVs is often reported to the inspector general who will thoroughly investigate all reports.
Frequently asked questions, answers to help clarify the regulation
1. May I run a quick personal errand using an NTV'
No, official use does not include transportation to unofficial private social functions; personal errands or side trips for unofficial purposes. Government vehicles may not be used for transportation to, from, or between any location for the purpose of conducting personal business or other personal activities.
2. May I use my NTV to have lunch at the PX'
No, NTVs must not be used for transportation to or be parked at commissaries, post exchanges (concessions), bowling alleys, Officer and NCO clubs or any non-appropriated fund activity unless on official business or TDY. For example, in a federal court case, the court upheld a 30-day suspension for using a government vehicle to stop at McDonalds when returning from a meeting when employee knew such use was unauthorized.
3. Why is this regulation so important'
The statutory minimum, non-discretionary penalty for use of an NTV for other than official purposes is a 30-day suspension. Military personnel, who willfully use or authorize the use of a government vehicle for other than an official purpose, can be disciplined under provisions of the UCMJ or other administrative procedure. The bottom-line is that civilians can lose their jobs and military can lose their liberty.
Anyone with questions regarding destination or use, should seek their supervisor's guidance before driving to that destination. Keep in mind that "official use only" is the rule.
For more information, contact Dave Scott, chief of Administrative and Civil Law, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 410-278-1553 or DSN 298-1553.