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Fraternization prohibitions can apply to any two soldiers of differing ranks and wherever an instructor/student relationship is present, even within a particular group.
However, some exceptions to the prohibitions exist, and fraternization between certain groups is considered acceptable.
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Since the context of the relationship is so important, it sometimes can be difficult to know if fraternization is occurring.
Close relationships defined by loyalty and shared values (often called “cohesion”) help teams communicate, stay motivated, and perform well.
But relationships that are “too close”—including any that are prioritized over the mission—can have a negative impact on morale and overall performance.
Typically, it applies to unprofessional relationships between officers and enlisted Service Members, and it can potentially extend beyond that.
Fraternization is often considered in the context of romantic relationships across the officer-enlisted divide, but the policy includes much more than that.It’s important to remember fraternization isn’t about whether a personal relationship exists between two people or between an officer and enlisted.