Military Rules on Dating Subordinates

by Maggie O'Leary

About Maggie O'Leary

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Based in Oklahoma, Maggie O'Leary has been writing professionally since 2001. O'Leary has served in the United States military since 1997 and is a two-time OIF veteran. She has been published in several local military and civilian newspapers and national media outlets including "The Washington Post" and CNN. O'Leary has a Bachelor of Arts in history and legal studies.

Military members are a cross-section of society, and as such are prone to the same issues and problems that civilians deal with. One of these issues is fraternization and unprofessional relationships. The military has set forth specific rules on dating subordinates. While each case is different, the same general rules apply.

General Prohibitions

The general rule in the military is that dating or having a relationship with a subordinate is prohibited. There are, however, some exceptions to the rule.

Governance

There are several articles in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) that address and define fraternization of military members. Each branch of the military also has its own rules and regulations on fraternization and unprofessional relationships. However, the general rules are the same from branch to branch.

Officer Members

Officers may have relationships with each other outside the workplace, so long as the two officers do not work together in the same shop or office. The officers must also not be in each other's chain of command.

Officer and enlisted

Officers and enlisted members are generally prohibited from having relationships outside the workplace. However, punishment is at the local commander's discretion, and the general rule of thumb is that if the two members are not in each other's chain of command, and the relationship is not detrimental to good order and discipline, then the unit will allow the two members to carry on a discreet relationship.

Enlisted

Enlisted members may have relationships with each other outside the workplace, so long as the two enlisted members do not work together in the same shop or office. The enlisted members must also not be in each other's chain of command.

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