Scott Brown deserves recognition for his 30 years of service in the National Guard. But I was surprised to see him posing in full combat uniform on the front page of the Boston Globe today. I was even more surprised to read the photo credit, which indicated the picture was supplied by the “Scott Brown Campaign”, because the Department of Defense has guidelines on what a member of the military can and can not do when running for political office. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but his behavior raises a couple of questions about whether political candidate Scott Brown is adhering to the Department of Defense Directives Lt. Col. Scott Brown must follow.
According to Department of Defense Directive Number 1344.10 “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces’ dated February 19, 2008, non-active members of the National Guard who are running for political office may not:
Use or allow the use of photographs, drawings, and other similar media formats of themselves in uniform as the primary graphic representation in any campaign media, such as a billboard, brochure, flyer, Web site, or television commercial. For the purposes of this policy, “photographs” include video images, drawings, and all other similar formats of representational media.
Depict or allow the depiction of themselves in uniform in a manner that does not accurately reflect their actual performance of duty. For the purpose of this policy, “photographs” include video images, drawings, and all other similar formats of representational media.
(To save readers time, under section 2) Applicability, it indicates that section 4.3 “applies to members of the National Guard, even when in a non-Federal status” (meaning in a non-active status–which is Brown’s status) The above regulations cited are sections 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199.
Not being an expert, maybe there is some wiggle room about a campaign supplying to the Boston Globe a “primary graphic representation”–a photo–of Brown posed in combat fatigues, but it certainly merits further discussion. In addition, Brown’s campaign FaceBook site has posted at least two photos of him in different military uniforms (which I made screen shots of if they disappear.)
Also, given that Brown was never served in a combat zone (from my research…he has certainly never been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan) I do not know whether posing in combat fatigues “accurately reflect actual performance of duty” Brown conducts stateside as a Judge Advocate General (a military lawyer), as stated in this directive.
Again, I respect and thank Scott Brown for his service in the National Guard and as today’s Globe profile indicates, his service is part of his genuine commitment to public service (even though I disagree with a vast amount of his political views). But his use of the military uniform for partisan political purposes is at best disappointing and may warrant further review by appropriate parties.