TAG VA Command Policy- Online Standards of Conduct

General Online Professional Conduct Policy.
a. The Army and Air Force values are the Virginia National Guard values, and they require everyone be treated with dignity and respect.  Interactions in person and online reflect on our organization and its values through all aspects of life, including online conduct.
b. Commanders and leaders must reinforce a climate where current and future members of the VNG understand online misconduct where electronic communications are used to inflict harm is inconsistent with our values and where online-related incidents are prevented, reported, and when necessary addressed at the lowest possible level.
c. The VNG encourages service members to tell their personal and unit story and is not prohibiting or limiting the responsible use of electronic communications.  When communicating via social media posts, text messages, email, online chats, instant messaging, or blogs, service members should always apply the Think, Type, Post rule:
  • Think about the message being communicated and who could potentially view it.
  • Type a communication that is consistent with Army and Air Force values.
  • Post only those messages that demonstrate dignity and respect for self and others.
d. Service members who make insensitive or inappropriate posts not in keeping with the Army and Air Force values on social media should be counseled at the lowest level of command possible.
e. Service members involved in more serious incidents of online misconduct such as harassment, bullying, stalking, discrimination, or retaliation undermining dignity and respect may be subject to criminal, disciplinary and/or other corrective action.
f.  Service members who on their personal social media accounts identify themselves by rank, duty position, or military organization must at all times maintain respectful attitudes towards other participants, conduct themselves in a professional manner and should avoid expressing personal opinions that might be interpreted as official communication by the organization. 
g. Personnel experiencing or witnessing online misconduct should promptly report matters to the chain of command/supervisor.  If the unit chain of command is not known, report the details of the incident to the Virginia National Guard Office of the Inspector General at https://va.ng.mil/JFHQ/Inspector-General/.
  • Click HERE for the PDF of the entire policy letter

National Guard Bureau Social Media Guidance

National Guard Bureau Social Media Guidance:

Background: National Guard military and civilian members are encouraged to use social media to share their experiences and conduct themselves online in a safe and professional manner worthy of their status and calling to support and defend the American people.

Official Use: Official online posts involve content released in an official capacity by a National Guard public affairs office. Official contact information, such as official duty telephone numbers or postal and email addresses, should be used to establish official-use accounts when such information is required. Posting internal documents or information that the National Guard has not officially released to the public is prohibited, including memos, emails, meeting notes, message traffic, white papers, public affairs guidance, drill weekend or other training guidance, pre-decisional materials, investigatory information and proprietary information.

Personal Use: National Guard members are personally responsible for all the content that they publish on social media networking sites, blogs or other websites. Personal contact information, such as personal telephone numbers or postal and email address, should be used with discretion to establish personal-use social media accounts. Guard members must comply with their State, Territory or District guidelines and with Army or Air Force guidelines for use of social media. When assigned to a federal mission, Guard members are subject to disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Guard members should be mindful that reviewing posts on public and social networking sites may be used as a part of character evaluations and background checks for security clearances.

Tips on Using Social Media

  • Guard members may identify themselves as and include their rank, military component and status. However, if they decide not to identify themselves as Guard members, they should not disguise or misrepresent their identity or affiliation with the National Guard.
  • When expressing personal opinions, Guard members should make it clear that they are speaking for themselves and not on behalf of the National Guard. They are also encouraged to use a disclaimer such as: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t represent the National Guard’s positions or opinions.” 
  • As with other forms of personal public engagement, Guard members must avoid offensive and inappropriate behavior that could bring discredit upon themselves and the National Guard. This includes posting any defamatory, libelous, obscene, abusive, threatening, racially or ethnic hateful or otherwise offensive or illegal information or material.
  • Correcting errors and misrepresentations made by others about the National Guard should be done professionally respectfully, not emotionally. Guard members should contact their chain of command or public affairs office for guidance if they are uncertain about the need for a response.
  • When posting political content, Guard members must adhere to policy in Department of Defense Directive 1344.10. They should not also imply National Guard endorsement of any opinions, products or causes other than those already officially endorsed by the National Guard.
  • Guard members should use privacy settings on social networking sites so only their “friends” can view their photos and updates. They should also recognize that social network “friends” and “followers” could affect determinations in background investigations for security clearances.
  • The National Guard, Army or Air Force logo and other symbols may be used in unofficial posts as long as the symbols are used in a manner that does not bring discredit on the Guard, result in personal financial gain or give the impression of official or implied endorsement.

U.S. Army Social Media Guidance

U.S. Air Force Social Media Guidance

Social Media for Airmen

In general, the Air Force views social media sites positively and respects your rights as Americans to use them to express yourself. However, by the nature of your profession, you are always on the record and must represent our core values. Air Force Instruction 1-1 Air Force Standards chapter 2 includes information on how Airmen should conduct themselves on social networking websites. Here are a few things to remember when communicating online via social media as an Airman:

You are personally responsible for what you say and post on social networking services and any other medium. Consider how a post can be interpreted by the public. Be cautious about crossing the line between funny and distasteful. If you have doubts about whether you should post something, err on the side of caution.  If the post in question concerns the Air Force, discuss the proposed post with your supervisor or your local public affairs office.

Maintain appropriate communication and conduct with officer and enlisted personnel, peers, superiors and subordinates (to include civilian superiors and subordinates).