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Fraternization Briefing


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New Fraternization Rules

Old rule fraternization between the ranks was acceptable if not in the same chain of command, and was not of such a nature as to bring discredit on the U.S. Army.

Policy Change – Aftermath of LT Kelly case, Aberdeen, …

Recognized that Services have different standards.

Unified Commands.

Army’s was the least restrictive.

2 March 99 Policy Change

On 29 July 1998, the Secretary of Defense determined that “all Services will, by policy, prohibit personal relationships such as dating, shared living accommodations, engaging in intimate or sexual relations, business enterprises, commercial solicitations, gambling and borrowing between officer and enlisted regardless of their Service. This change will not affect existing marriages.”

Training of units on new policy must be completed NLT 1 Oct. 99.

AR 600-20, Paragraphs 4-14, 4-15, and 4-16 revised.


Revised policy applies to

Relationships between Army personnel (Active or Reserve soldiers)

Relationships between Army personnel and personnel of other military Services

The term “officer” includes both commissioned and warrant officers

This revised policy is effective immediately except as noted.

What has not Changed

The Army continues to prohibit all unprofessional relationships that:

compromise the chain of command

cause partiality or unfairness

involve the improper use of rank for personal gain

are exploitative or coercive in nature

create an adverse impact on discipline, authority, morale, or mission accomplishment

Relationships that present the appearance of violating any of these standards may also be prohibited.

What has Changed

Certain types of relationships between officers (commissioned and warrant) and enlisted personnel are now prohibited.

Business Relationships

Personal Relationships


Business Relationships

General Rule-Business relationships between officers and enlisted personnel are prohibited.


Landlord/tenant relationships

One time transactions (such as sale of an automobile or house)

For ARNG/USAR only, business relationships which exist due to their civilian occupation or employment

Existing business relationships between officers and enlisted personnel that were authorized under previous Army policy are exempt until 1 Mar 00.

Personal Relationships

General Rule: Dating, shared living accommodations, and intimate or sexual relationships between officer and enlisted are prohibited.

Exceptions to Prohibited Personal Relationships

Marriages that exist now or are entered into prior to 1 Mar 00

Relationships that violate policy only because of the promotion or change in status of one military member (for instance, two enlisted soldiers are married and one is commissioned through OCS).

For ARNG/USAR only, personal relationships that exist due to civilian acquaintanceship (unless individuals are on active duty other than Annual Training)

Personal Relationships (Cont.)

For Regular Army, personal relationships with a member of the ARNG/USAR that exist due to civilian (off duty) association (unless the ARNG/ USAR soldier is on active duty other than Annual Training).

Existing personal relationships between officer and enlisted that were authorized under previous Army policy are exempt until 1 Mar 00.


Gambling between officers and enlisted personnel is prohibited. There are no exceptions.

Social and Family Relationships

Associations between officer and enlisted that occur in the context of community organizations, religious activities, athletic teams and events, unit-based social functions, or family gatherings are not prohibited.


In any relationship the senior person (by rank) is generally in the best position to terminate or limit the relationship.

All service members, however, may be held accountable for relationships that violate this policy.


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