FRATERNIZATION IS A VIOLATION OF THE CUSTOM OF THE ARMED FORCES AND WILL NOT BE TOLERATED.
U.S. Navy Regulations, applicable directives, and orders regarding fraternization are clear. Fraternization applies to any senior-subordinate relationship which is unduly familiar and does not respect differences in rank and grade.
Senior-subordinate refers to the military relationship between members, including members of different services, in which one is senior to the other by virtue of grade, rank or authority.
While non-sexual friendships do exist between senior and subordinates as a result of mutual interests, such as sports teams, church groups, hobbies, etc., utmost care must be taken to avoid the appearance of favoritism, preferential treatment, or the perception of an unprofessional relationship which could undermine good order, discipline, authority, or high unit morale.
The responsibility for preventing inappropriate relationships rests with the senior. However, the junior party is also accountable and all involved are subject to administrative and/or disciplinary action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
JAMES A. AIKEN
Rear Admiral, United States Navy