The Defense Department is advising military members to be cautious about political involvement during the coming months and to steer clear of political controversies.
As reported by POLITICO, the message to personnel comes as President Trump, the commander-in-chief, faces a likely impeachment and trial in the Senate.
It also comes as the country gears up for a presidential election cycle next year.
Military commanders say the merely want personnel to avoid being sucked into a political maelstrom over fears that they could lose the trust of American society as being untainted by politics, POLITICO noted.
“We’re a pretty young force so we can’t assume that a lance corporal or a lieutenant knows what an election year means,” Gen. David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps, said.
“There wasn’t social media eight, 12, 16 years ago. That wasn’t a factor. Now it’s a huge factor.”
The Marine Corps has issued guidance on how its troops can and cannot engage in politics.
POLITICO noted that the service reminded its personnel that active-duty Marines can like a candidate’s social media page and otherwise “express personal views.”
However, troops cannot attend campaign events in uniform, engage in partisan fundraising, display a candidate’s yard signs or other political messages, or volunteer for campaigns.
The Chief of Naval Operations told the fleet this month they “must not give anyone cause to question our fundamental values.”
Charles Allen, a retired Army colonel who is a professor at the U.S. Army War College noted, “Being nonpartisan is part of our DNA, part of our culture and ethos.”
“What makes us different from other nationalities is we don’t pledge allegiance to an individual but to a principle that is embodied in the document called the Constitution,” he said.