At what level of government are you not permitted to be in the military any longer?

We’ve had Senators and Representatives who have maintained commitments in the National Guard and Reserve (though one wonders whether they would ever be deployed for any reason), so I know it’s OK in Congress. But can, say, the Secretary of Energy be a Reservist? Can any member of the Cabinet be a Reservist? I know that the President can’t be, because he’s the boss and therefore can’t actively participate in any combat. I would imagine that the VP can’t either, for that very reason.

Is there a law governing this? If so, where?

I don’t have any factual answers for you, but I recall reading something written by a former Secretary of the Navy (I believe it was James Webb, but I could be wrong). He was a pilot in the Naval Reserve at the time of his appointment, and before he was sworn in he was on a training mission (and may have been flying to Washington in connection with his appointment or confirmation process).

He had stopped at an air station somewhere and was hanging out in the operations area when a delegation of base brass came hustling in. They told him that there was some Pentagon big shot flying in, and asked if he know where the big shot was. I forgot whether he said he knew nothing about it, or did a “he went thattaway”, but the brass never figured out that the guy in the flight suit was the next Navy Secretary.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the relevant point. He had to be released from the Naval Reserve before becoming Secretary of the Navy.

I think I have found the relevant law, 10 USC 973:

This section of law applies to officers on active duty and reserve officers under orders to active duty for more than 270 days). It provides:

In other words, under this law a reserve officer can hold any of these offices, but must give them up if called up for at least 270 days (but not for a shorter call-up).

Theoretically, I suppose, the Secretary of Defense could be a reservist, subject to his own orders upon call-up, but I imagine that senior Defense Department appointees would separate from their reserve components to avoid this potential problem.

Darn. I thought I had the answer locked down. . . but I can’t find my old links.

Dave, IIRC, you can’t hold a public office while wearing a uniform, i.e. lending the idea that the particular office would be controlled/under the influence of the military. That would raise conflict of interest issues, just as attending a political rally in uniform would as well (which is also illegal). I believe these two things are in the UCMJ, but I can’t find it.

But I don’t think it’s illegal for a public office holder to be a Reservist/Nat’l Guardsman so long as that military committment doesn’t influence the decisions or workings of that public office.

Clear as mud, eh? I’m still lookin’ for the answer I remember. :smiley:

Forrest Gump could have been court martialed for attending that political rally in uniform, and speaking against the war.

The current governor of South Carolina is in the reserves. A resident of the state recently sued the governor, saying there is a conflict of interest.

I need to look for more detail concerning the suit.

Billdo, that would have to be John Lehman, SecNav under Reagan and a reserve A-6 pilot.