Recent backlash about the military senior mentor program has raised some important questions. The legality of employing retired flag and general officers as mentors, while most are also senior
employees of major defense contractors, is the most common question. We're told the programs are legal, but we would do well to remember the ethics training all government employees receive.
Standards of conduct and ethics are similar to the fraternization policy. Although a particular behavior may be legal, the appearance of impropriety alone makes it inappropriate. Failing this test, it is contrary to good order and discipline and therefore unacceptable. Considering the dual employment of most of the mentors, there is a reasonable assumption that they can influence military decisions that favor their company and disfavor their competitors, while gaining insights that provide an unfair competitive advantage. That is a textbook example of an appearance of impropriety.