Servicemembers, DoD civilians can't take Ice Bucket Challenge in uniform or during work hours

By Justin Creech, Belvoir EagleAugust 29, 2014

Fort Belvoir, Va. (Aug 29, 2014) - The Office of the Judge Advocate General is citing regulations which prohibit servicemembers and Department of Defense civilians from endorsing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in any form of their military uniform or during official work hours.

Though well-intentioned, these actions endorse a non-federal entity which is impermissible.

"The Standards of Conduct and the Joint Ethics Regulation are clear concerning such activities," said Art Kaff, OTJAG, administrative law division. "An officer or employee may not use his or her government position or title or any authority associated with his or her public office in a manner that could reasonably be construed to imply that the government sanctions or endorses the employee's personal activities or those of another."

Servicemembers and DoD civilians are permitted to participate in the challenge on their own time in non-military clothing. They should not mention their military or government affiliation, or use government resources to promote any involvement.

Use of work email, telephones, government-owned vehicles or camera equipment is not permitted.

"They shouldn't be encouraging others during official government time to contribute," said Albert Veldhuyzen, Fort Belvoir Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, chief of administrative law. "They can mention this event is happening outside of normal business hours."

Those who desire to participate in the challenge during normal duty hours should ask their supervisor or leadership for permission.

"It's based off of their leadership's discretion," said Command Sgt. Maj. Charles H. Williams, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir Headquarters Battalion.

Punishment for a violation of the Standards of Conduct and Joint Ethics Regulation may vary depending on circumstances of the case, according to Veldhuyzen.

"The offense is punishable under the Joint Ethics Regulation," said Veldhuyzen. "We can take administrative action."

Servicemembers and DoD civilians should do the challenge on their own time and out of uniform, said Veldhuyzen.

"Once they leave work, as long as they are not wearing any form of the military uniform and not using government resources they may participate," said Veldhuzen.

Servicmembers don't need to test the regulation, said Williams.

"The best thing for anyone in uniform is to not do the challenge in uniform," said Williams.