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Online Conduct

5 Things You Need to Know:

by Defense Media Activity
22 March 2017 In light of the recent discovery of the sharing of inappropriate photos and videos online, we are reminded that no matter if we're in the workplace or home when we are online we should always adhere to our core values. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis - a retired Marine - made the following statement on the issue:

"Lack of respect for the dignity and humanity of fellow members of the Department of Defense is unacceptable and counter to unit cohesion," Mattis said. "We will not excuse or tolerate such behavior if we are to uphold our values and maintain our ability to defeat the enemy on the battlefield."

"Honor, Courage, Commitment: Online, All of the Time"

The Navy defines online conduct as the use of electronic communications in an official or personal capacity that is consistent with Navy Core Values and standards. It is important that all Sailors know that when online, whether on a social media platform, using a mobile app, or sending text messages, they represent the Navy.

Any behavior that undermines the dignity and respect of Sailor and our civilians is not consistent with Navy Core Values. Behaviors such as bullying, hazing, harassment, stalking, discrimination or retaliation negatively impacts our warfighting ability regardless if it happens in person or online.

According to the Deputy Secretary of Defense Policy Memorandum, Hazing and Bullying Prevention and Response in the Armed Forces, December 23, 2015, identifies hazing as so-called initiations or rites of passage in which individuals are subjected to physical or psychological harm." It identifies bullying as, "acts of aggression intended to single out individuals from their teammates or coworkers, or to exclude them from a military element, unit or Department of Defense organization."

The memo also states that hazing and bullying are unacceptable and are prohibited in all circumstances and environments, including off duty, unofficial unit functions and settings, on social media and other digital platforms.

Five Things You Need to Know

1) When online and in social media, Sailors should:

Consider what is being communicated and how it might be perceived.

Create or share content that is consistent with Navy values.
Only post or share if messages or content demonstrate dignity and respect for self and others.

Furthermore, explicit images taken without consent, or posted online without consent may constitute violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

See the CNO's Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority here.

2) Joining the Social Network

Social media platforms can be a positive tool for assisting individuals with similar interests connect and interact. Sailors should take care to ensure they are not participating in online or social media groups that do not reflect Navy values, including groups that post graphic, obscene, explicit or racial comments, or groups posting comments that are abusive, hateful and vindictive, or intended to defame anyone or any organization.

3) Guidelines, the UCMJ and Consequences

Leaders should communicate the Navy's expectations to their Sailors in regards to conduct online.
If Sailors do not following these guidelines and fail to uphold the Navy's core values they may be subject to punishment under the UCMJ. Such penalties can be the following:

Punitive action may include Articles 88, 89, 91, 120b, 120c, 133 or 134 (General Article provisions, Contempt, Disrespect, Insubordination, Indecent Language, Communicating a threat, Solicitation to commit another Offense, and Child Pornography offenses), as well as other Articles.

4) Social Media Tips and Reporting Incidents

Ask yourself, "What could a person do with this information? Could it compromise the safety or integrity of myself, my shipmates or the Navy?"

Before posting review your photos or videos, ensuring sensitive or personal information is not released.
Check your privacy settings. Social media platform security and privacy settings can change frequently. Make sure to check and update your settings to be as restrictive as possible.
Change passwords every 60 days and do not share passwords.

Any Sailor or member of the Navy community who experiences or witnesses incidents of improper online behavior should immediately report it to their chain of command via the Command Managed Equal Opportunity (CMEO) or Fleet and Family Support Office. They can also contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Offices and the Inspector General.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service encourages anyone with direct knowledge of criminal activity to contact them via text, web or smartphone app.

5) Bottom Line

"Toxic work, at home, or on the internet - eat away at team cohesion and erode trust. Toxic behaviors cause us to hesitate, to second guess, to look over our shoulders instead of moving together at full speed. Toxic behaviors make us weaker; they cede advantage to the enemy. Toxic behaviors are NOT for winners, they are for losers. They have no place in our Navy."

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson

Resources: - Online Conduct for the Navy Team. - A Sailor's Guide to Public