Vehicle misuse is abuse

  • Published
  • By Murray Westley
  • 95th Civil Engineer Directorate
Have you ever wondered why using a government vehicle for personal convenience was against the rules? Well it goes much further than what is stated in Air Force instructions; it's about public perception and being good stewards of the taxpayer's dollars.

In this day and age of instant communication via Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and a host of other social networking portals, now more than ever, we have to be cognizant of our public responsibilities; and always remember that someone is watching our daily activities.

You may think that the misuse of a government vehicle is not a big deal; however, recently, a private citizen reported seeing a parked government vehicle at a restaurant in Boron. This person chose to communicate directly with the 95th Air Base Wing commander through the SPEAK program and asked for a full and undisclosed reason why the government vehicle was parked at the restaurant and was it legal to do so?

Remember, as active duty military and DoD civil servants and contractors, we live in a "fishbowl" and are held to a higher standard than our private sector counterparts.

Official use of government motor vehicles (GMVs) are carefully controlled in much the same manner as military air assets because of their high visibility and potential for misuse.

Air Force Instruction 24-301 "Restrict[s] the use of all DoD motor vehicles, including those rented or leased, for official purposes only; that is, uses that would further the mission of the Air Force. Providing a government vehicle solely or principally to enhance the comfort or convenience of member(s) is not permitted." In addition, stopping at private quarters for any reason or stopping for shopping purposes is strictly prohibited. Penalties for substantiated vehicle misuse whether Air Force-owned, leased or rented, may result in disciplinary action.

Now, with that being said, the following are authorized uses of GMVs:
-- The Air Force Flight Test Center commander, 412th Test Wing commander and 95th Air Base Wing commander all have a tremendous responsibility as the senior commanders on Edwards AFB, and as such, have Command and Control Vehicle (CACV) authority 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

What this means is, they are always on duty, unless on official temporary duty orders or on military leave. While on official duty, the senior commanders are authorized to drive their government vehicles to and from home, frequent on-base eating establishments, BX, barber shops, cleaners, places of worship, fitness centers, and similar places required for the comfort or health of the member. When the senior commander is TDY or on leave, that authority is passed to the respective vice commander. 

-- On-duty firefighters, security forces personnel and emergency medical technicians are authorized to obtain meals in an emergency response standby status. The 412th TW Supervisor of Flying is authorized use of an assigned government vehicle to obtain meals while on duty.

-- Military members or DoD civilian employees on funded orders are authorized to park at on-base eating establishments, BX, barber shops, cleaners, places of worship, fitness centers, and similar places required for the comfort of health of the member.

-- Personnel conducting official off-base duties are authorized to stop at off-base eating establishments in the immediate vicinity or direct route of the off-base work site.

The examples mentioned above are not all inclusive. If guidance does not specifically fit a request for transportation support, commanders should use the following factors to make official use determinations:

a) Is the purpose of the trip official?

b) Does the request have the potential to create unfavorable perceptions about the
Air Force or cause public criticism?

c) Will the request impact mission requirements?

d) Is commercial or DoD scheduled transportation available?

When in doubt, please refer requests that appear to conflict with governing directives to the Vehicle Operations Supervisor for evaluation; this element is staffed with trained experts capable of making an official use determination. They can be reached at 661-277-3216 or 2620.

With your help and that of others, we will continue to educate personnel on the official use of GMVs while monitoring the potential for vehicle misuse. 

For more information regarding authorized vehicle uses, see this fact sheet.