Senior officers dating service
Personal relationships between officer and enlisted members that are unduly familiar and that do not respect differences in rank and grade are prohibited and violate long-standing custom and tradition of the naval service.Similar relationships that are unduly familiar between officers or between enlisted members of different rank or grade may also be prejudicial to good order and discipline or of a nature to bring discredit on the naval service and are prohibited.Although it has most commonly been applied to officer-enlisted relationships, fraternization also includes improper relationships and social interaction between officer members as well as between enlisted members.Navy has historically relied upon custom and tradition to define the bounds of acceptable personal relationships among its members.Over 200 years of seagoing experience have demonstrated that seniors must maintain thoroughly professional relationships with juniors at all times.This custom recognizes the need to prevent the use of a senior grade or position in such a way that it results in (or gives the appearance of) favoritism, preferential treatment, personal gain, or involves actions that otherwise may reasonably be expected to undermine good order, discipline, authority, or high unit morale.
Its focus is the detriment to good order and discipline resulting from the erosion of respect for authority inherent in an unduly familiar senior-subordinate relationship, not the sex of the members involved.
Therefore, the prohibition of fraternization serves a valid, mission-essential purpose.
Personal relationships between officer and enlisted members that are unduly familiar and that do not respect differences in grade or rank are prohibited.
In this sense, fraternization is a uniquely military concept, although abuse of a senior's position for personal gain and actual or perceived preferential treatments are leadership and management problems that also arise in civilian organizations.
In the context of military life, the potential erosion of respect for the authority and leadership position of a senior in grade or rank can have an enormously negative effect on good order and discipline and seriously undermine a unit's effectiveness.