FRATERNIZATION AND IMPROPER SENIOR-SUBORDINATE RELATIONSHIPS

1. REFERENCES
• Manual for Courts-Martial, 2008 Edition
• AR 600-20, Army Command Policy, dtd RAR 4 August 2011

A. Overview
The Army's policy regarding senior-subordinate relationships imposes prohibitions on many personal and business relationships between
officers and enlisted service members. The policy does, however, permit many relationships in settings such as community-based
organizations, church activities, sports events, and family and unit social functions. Violations of the policy may be punishable under the
UCMJ, as violations of a lawful general regulation.

B. Officer-Enlisted Personal Relationships
Officer-enlisted dating, sharing of living quarters (other than due to operational necessity), and engagement in intimate or sexual
relationships is prohibited. This policy applies to relationships both between Army officers and enlisted members, and between Soldiers and
members of other branches of the services, one of whom is enlisted and the other of whom is an officer. There is an exception for Guard and
Reserve Soldiers when the relationship exists primarily due to civilian acquaintanceship as long as they are not in an activated status. The
regulation also prohibits relationships between trainees and permanent party Soldiers, even when the same rank, as well as recruits and
recruiters.

C. Personal Relationships Between Soldiers of Different Ranks
The policy strictly prohibits relationships between Soldiers of different rank (whether the relationships are officer-officer, officer-enlisted, or
enlisted-enlisted, but does not preclude relationships based on position, e.g. CO and XO where both are 0-3s) that have any of the following
effects:

• Actually or appear to compromise the integrity of supervisory authority or the chain of command.
• Cause actual or perceived partiality or unfairness.
• Involve or appear to involve the improper use of rank or position for personal gain.
• Are, or are perceived to be, exploitative in nature.
• Cause an actual or clearly predictable adverse impact on discipline, authority, morale or the command's ability to accomplish its

mission.
D. Business Relationships and Gambling
All business relationships between officers and enlisted service members, except for landlord-tenant relationships and one-time business
transactions (such as the sale of a car) are prohibited. Furthermore, the policy prohibits the borrowing and lending of money (no de minimis
exception), and commercial solicitations, between officers and enlisted personnel. There is an exception for Guard and Reserve Soldiers
when the relationship exists primarily due to civilian employment. Gambling between officers and enlisted personnel is strictly prohibited, e.g.
an NCAA pool with a monetary buy-in.

E. Team-Building Relationships
Social contacts between officers and enlisted members, or between Soldiers of different ranks, in forums such as community organizations,
church activities, sports events, family gatherings, and unit social functions are permitted.

F. Enforcement of Policy
The policy recognizes that commanders are responsible for enforcing the terms and conditions of the policy. It also recognizes, however, that
all military personnel share the responsibility for maintaining professional relationships.

1) Responsibility of All Soldiers
While the senior member in a relationship generally is in the best position to terminate or limit the relationship; the policy holds accountable
all Soldiers concerned who violate the policy.

2) Commanders' Options
Commanders have a wide variety of options at their disposal in addressing violations of the policy. These options include, but are not
necessarily limited to, the following:

• Counseling.
• Orders to Cease the Conduct Violative of the Policy.
• Verbal or Written Reprimands.
• Reassignment.
• Adverse Evaluation Reports.
Nonjudicial Punishment.
• Separation from the Army.
• Bar to Reenlistment.
• Denial of Promotion.
Court-Martial.

3)
UCMJ Violations
Violations of the policy may be punished as violations of one or more of the following punitive articles under the UCMJ:
• Articles 90 & 92: Disobedience of a Lawful Order or Regulation.
• Article 133: Conduct Unbecoming an Officer.
Article 134: Fraternization.
• Article 134: Adultery.

See Also:
Probable Cause and Warrants,  Fourth Amendment,  Apprehensions,  Search and Seizure,  UCMJ Articles  
Army Legal Guide
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