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This relationship could undermine the impartiality (or the perception of impartiality) of that officer or enlisted service member.Since military superiors have the authority to send troops into battle and can make or break an enlisted person's career, this specific type of fraternization is strictly prohibited.This article discusses the basics of fraternization in the military, the likelihood of facing charges, consequences, and possible defenses.See Find Law's Military Criminal Law section for related articles and resources. Each branch of the military used to have its own set of rules governing fraternization, but this changed in 1999 when the Department of Defense issued a issued a uniform policy for all branches to follow.That being said, a certain level of fraternization among service members of different ranks and positions is often encouraged in the military, such as softball games or other team building events.However, even this can cross the line if, for example, an officer goes out for drinks with an enlisted person after the game.
However, any other type of relationship can also be prohibited if it has an adverse effect on a unit or chain of command, which can include just the appearance of impropriety.
The maximum punishment for a guilty verdict in a court-martial for fraternization is dismissal, forfeiture of pay, and confinement for two years.
Defenses to Fraternization Charges Simply because someone is charged with fraternization doesn't mean that the accused lacks any recourse.
This type of action is often referred to as an administrative corrective measure.
A nonjudicial or "Article 15" process is not a trial but includes an inquiry into the facts and allows the accused a hearing, per Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.