Employment Compensation from a Foreign Government Can Impact Your Retired Pay
The U.S. Constitution prohibits federal government employees from accepting compensation, gifts, or titles from foreign governments without the prior consent of Congress. This prohibition also applies to military retirees. Congress granted its consent to retirees seeking foreign government employment so long as the retirees obtain the advance approvals required by 37 U.S.C. § 908. Retirees who are considering accepting foreign government employment for compensation must receive approval in advance of receiving the compensation. In general, the Secretary of State and the Service Secretary from which you retired must both approve the employment/compensation. If the foreign government payment or award is limited to speeches, travel, meals, lodging, registration fees, or non-cash awards, you only need approval by the Service Secretary from which you retired. The purpose of this restriction is to prevent the exercise of undue influence by foreign governments on retired members of the United States military.
If a retired member accepts compensation from a foreign government or foreign government controlled entity for employment or for speeches, travel, meals, lodging, registration fees, or non-cash awards without prior approval, the member’s retired pay becomes subject to a withholding and/or debt, generally in an amount equal to the total amounts received from the foreign government.
To request approval of compensation from a foreign government for employment, speeches, travel, meals, lodging registration fees or a non-cash award, retirees should contact their Branch of Service at the appropriate address listed below.
Retirees may also review the Service Instructions listed below that are publicly available on the web or by contacting the appropriate POC listed below. There are other laws that restrict some retirees from representing a foreign government entity before U.S. government agency or officials, or that may require additional approvals, such as the Foreign Agents Registration Act and the International Traffic in Arms regulations. Retirees should consult with their employer’s human resources or general counsel offices for guidance on whether these other requirements apply.