There are a number of state and federal restrictions on how the Wisconsin National Guard can support organizations and events. Organizations eligible for military support include federal, state and local governments, and certain private (non-profit) institutions when the activity concerned is conducted for the betterment of the community and does not selectively benefit any one individual or organization.
Events must be open and accessible to the public. Federal law and military regulations prohibit military agencies from competing with services available from commercial sources in the private sector. Use of government equipment and/or personnel in support of a private enterprise, whether profit or non-profit, or for promotional events of a select organization’s commercial activity or concern, is strictly prohibited by regulation.
Specific requirements for events include:
- The event or occasion is of general interest or benefit to the community as a whole.
- The sponsor is a broadly based civic organization or an organization whose primary purpose is to stimulate patriotism, promote public understanding of the necessity of national security, or foster public appreciation of our national heritage, and not promote the organization’s private objectives. (Exception: an organization whose membership is based on sex or national origin, or whose membership is otherwise narrowly defined, may be supported, if the program or event is open to the entire community. The program or event must not promote the partisan, fraternal, or commercial objectives of the organization itself).
- Requested support is specifically authorized by public law or executive order and is not restricted by other statutes or regulations.
- The command is able and willing to provide the same support to comparable events that meet the criteria of this section and are sponsored by similar non-federal entities.
- Community relations with the immediate community and/or other legitimate National Guard public affairs or military training interests are served by the support.
- No admission fee (beyond what will cover the reasonable costs of sponsoring the event) is charged for the event or charged for the portion of the event supported by the National Guard.
The following general restrictions on Wisconsin National Guard support to community relations support are established in NGB Pam 360-5:
- Participation is prohibited unless admission, seating and all other accommodations and facilities connected with the event are available to all without regard to race, creed, color, or national origin. Participation is also prohibited in public events when the sponsoring organization or group excludes any person from its membership or function because of sex, race, creed, color or national origin.
- National Guard participation in community relations programs must not interfere with military training or operations and must be at no additional expense to the U.S. Government. The sponsor may be required to reimburse additional cost such as meals, lodging and other travel expenses.
- Participation that supports commercial advertising, publicity, promotional activities or events so as to benefit or favor a commercial venture is prohibited.
- Participation is prohibited in any event in which the public is charged admission specifically to observe National Guard participation.
- Use of National Guard personnel as ushers, guards, parking lot attendants or messengers in support of community relations programs in the civilian domain is prohibited.
- Units and individuals participating in community relations programs may not be used in any manner to enforce local laws, statutes or ordinances (state active duty situations not included).
- Use of National Guard personnel in community relations programs will not compete with the civilian labor force or deny employment opportunities to civilians in their regular profession. Guard participation in the program should be coordinated with local elected officials and labor unions in order to preclude claims of unfair competition.
- Support will not directly or indirectly endorse or selectively benefit or favor any person, corporation, whether profit or non-profit; religion, sect, quasi-religious or ideological movement; fraternal organization, political organization or commercial venture.
- Support will not be provided to candidates for political office or for any partisan political activity.