United States Department of Defense Standards of Conduct Office

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Misuse of Government Position and Resources

A DoD official shall not use his DoD position for his own private gain or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or organizations with which the official is affiliated, including nonprofit organizations which support the mission of DoD.

A DoD official shall not improperly use Government time, information or property.


A DoD official may not use or allow the use of his DoD position or title or any authority associated with his DoD position or title to endorse a non-federal entity, its services or products, unless the endorsement is made in furtherance of statutory authority. This prohibition includes endorsement of non-profit organizations that support the mission of DoD.

Letters of Recommendation

A DoD official may write a letter of recommendation using his official title and official stationery only in response to a request for an employment recommendation or character reference based upon personal knowledge of the ability or character of a person with whom you have dealt in the course of Federal employment or whom you are recommending for Federal employment.

Use of Official Title When Teaching, Speaking or Writing as an Outside Activity

When teaching, speaking, or writing as an outside activity, a DoD official may not use or permit the use of his official title or position except:

  • As one of several biographical details when such information is given to identify you, provided that it is not given more prominence than other significant biographical details.
  • In connection with an article published in a scientific or professional journal, provided that it is accompanied by a disclaimer that the views expressed do not necessarily represent the views of DOI or the United States Government.
  • Officials who are ordinarily addressed using a general term of address such as "The Honorable," or a rank, such as a military or ambassadorial rank, may use such terms of address or rank.

Use of Government/Official Time

A DoD official shall use official time in an honest effort to perform official duties.

A DoD official may not direct or request subordinates to use official time to perform any activities other than official activities.

Use of Government Information

A DoD official may not use or allow the use of nonpublic Government information to further his own private interests or the private interests of others.

Use of Government Equipment or Property

A DoD official has a duty to protect and conserve Government property and may not use Government property, or allow its use, for any purpose other than the purpose for which it is authorized.