Fraternization Army Essay On Integrity

Fraternization in the United States Military

When Does Friendship Become a Crime?

Fraternization is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). It falls under a subparagraph of Article​​ 134, and is defined by the Manual For Courts-martial (MCM). According to the MCM, the "elements of proof" for the offense of fraternization are:

  1. That the accused was a commissioned or warrant officer;
  2. That the accused fraternized on terms of military equality with one or more certain enlisted member(s) in a certain manner;
  1. That the accused then knew the person(s) to be (an) enlisted member(s);
  2. That such fraternization violated the custom of the accused's service that officers shall not fraternize with enlisted members on terms of military equality; and
  3. That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.

The MCM goes on to offer further explanation of the offense:

In general. The gist of this offense is a violation of the custom of the armed forces against fraternization. Not all contact or association between officers and enlisted persons is an offense. Whether the contact or association in question is an offense depends on the surrounding circumstances. Factors to be considered include whether the conduct has compromised the chain of command, resulted in the appearance of partiality, or otherwise undermined good order, discipline, authority, or morale.

The acts and circumstances must be such as to lead a reasonable person experienced in the problems of military leadership to conclude that the good order and discipline of the armed forces has been prejudiced by their tendency to compromise the respect of enlisted persons for the professionalism, integrity, and obligations of an officer.

Regulations. Regulations, directives, and orders may also govern conduct between officer and enlisted personnel on both a service-wide and a local basis. Relationships between enlisted persons of different ranks, or between officers of different ranks may be similarly covered. Violations of such regulations, directives, or orders may be punishable under Article 92.

Problems with Using the UCMJ

Unfortunately, there were a couple of problems using the UCMJ/MCM as a basis of charges. First and foremost, the UCMJ/MCM only makes fraternization a crime for commissioned and warrant officers. Under the provisions of article 134, enlisted members could not be charged with this crime. While they could be charged under service regulations, each of the services had different and wide-ranging policies and definitions as to what constituted an "inappropriate relationship." Additionally, the explanation of what is and is not allowed is not specifically spelled out in the MCM/UCMJ.

In July 1998, Defense Secretary William Cohen directed the services to "adopt uniform, clear and readily understandable" fraternization policies. Cohen stated that the current separate policies were "corrosive to morale particularly as we move toward an increasingly joint environment."

The services submitted policy changes to Cohen that he approved Feb. 3, 1999. All of the new policies have been implemented in the respective service regulations. Now, while each of the services still have individual policies, they all share common standards with respect to relationships between officers and enlisted personnel, recruiters and potential recruits and trainers and trainees.

The Army fraternization policy required many changes and the most toughening. Navy and Air Force policies required little change. Marine Corps policy required no change.​

All the services prohibit personal and business relationships between officers and enlisted members, calling them prejudicial to good order and discipline. Personal relationships include dating, cohabitation, and any sexual relationship. Business relationships include loaning and borrowing money and business partnerships.

Following is a breakdown of the individual service policies, including each service's definition of fraternization and examples of prohibited relationships.

Fraternization in the ARMY

The mission of a soldier in todays Army is to live by the seven core Army values. It is my duty to be all that I can be, and to accomplish the tasks that have been assigned to me and become proficient in my warrior tasks. To be a multimedia illustrator for the military I must first become MOS qualified. That is the primary reason for me being here at Ft. Meade. Here at student company standards have been put in place to ensure that we attain our occupational specialty; these standards have been clearly presented to us as “policy letters” by our commanding officer.

Policy number eleven states that “ Fraternization is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.” I agree with this to an extent. Creating deep personal bonds with other soldiers with out sacrificing any of the Army values is good for unit cohesion. Having and intimate relationship with a soldier of the opposite sex has both negative and positive aspects. Some may see some aspect of this kind of relation to be unprofessional in specific settings. An intimate relation between soldiers could lead others to have intimate relations or take even more severe actions that may be detrimental to the image of myself and those appointed over me. Through out military history the United States armed forces have prohibited fraternization in may ways, this prohibition is even more pronounced in our current training environment. Being here at the Department of Information School demands close security because of the greater risk that they we involve partiality or an abuse of authority, or the appearance of either. The following may not apply to our situation, but relationships between soldiers of different rank, gender or assignments status may give the appearance of partiality, preferential treatment, or personal gain are prejudicial of good order, discipline, and high unit morale. As members of student company we have the responsibility to maintain the highest standards of honesty, integrity, impartiality, and conduct to assure proper performance of our training missions and maintaining public trust. The improper association that I have displayed violates these standards, with regards to fraternization. Unfortunately, there were a couple of problems using the UCMJ as a basis of charges. First and foremost, the UCMJ only makes fraternization a crime for commissioned and warrant officers. Under the provisions of article 134, enlisted members could not be charged with this crime. While they could be charged under service regulations, each of the services had different and wide-ranging policies and definitions as to what constituted an "inappropriate relationship." Additionally, the explanation of what is and is not allowed is not specifically spelled out in the UCMJ. Unfortunately we did not know each other before AIT because personal relationships outside of marriage between members of the National Guard or Army Reserve, when the relationship primarily exists due to civilian acquaintanceships. Although I do understand that these prohibitions are not intended to preclude normal team building associations which occur in the context of activities such as community organizations, religious activities, family gatherings, unit-based social functions, or athletic teams or events. Soldiers as ourselves share the responsibility for maintaining professional relationships. However, in any relationship between soldiers of opposite sex would generally in the best position to terminate or limit the extent of the relationship. Nevertheless, all members may be held accountable for relationships that violate this policy. Our commanders has sought to prevent inappropriate or unprofessional relationships through proper training and leadership by example. Should inappropriate relationships occur again, the commander has wide range of responses that must be handled. These responses may include a second counseling/

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