Relationships of the same and opposite genders are prohibited if they fall into any of the following categories: Such relationships don't have to be sexual in nature to be prohibited.For instance, if an officer is spending more time with one of his subordinates than others, the appearance of favoritism could certainly arise.And an officer who spends time with subordinates in social settings, or who calls subordinates by their first names, for example, may bring his authority or fairness into question.
Some relationships between certain categories of soldiers, such as non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel, are also prohibited under the Army's fraternization policy.
When this occurs between officers and enlisted service members or between some other hierarchical pairing, as between a commander and an officer or enlisted soldier in her command, it can potentially undermine the chain of command, order, and discipline.
Not all contact between enlisted persons and officers or subordinates and superiors is prohibited, just contact that would compromise (or have the appearance of compromising) order, discipline, and the chain of command.
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.
Gossip -- arguably a favorite "sport" in our society -- ranks right up there with football and basketball for things we like to talk about. One of the most common gossip topics in the Army concerns the perception of proper and improper relationships.