Posted on Jan 22, 2014
SFC S3 Operations Nco
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AR 600-20 underlines the prohibitions of inapropiate relationships within our ranks. Do you think AR 600-20 allows leaders to step into someone's personal life when it comes to relationships? or is it really our problem as long as it does not hinder combat, unit, or the Army's mission?

"All military personnel share the responsibility for maintaining professional relationships. However, in any
relationship between Soldiers of different grade or rank, the senior member is 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."

(By the way, FYI; I'm not or ever been involved in any inapropiate relationships)
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MAJ Deputy Director, Combat Casualty Care Research Program
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I honestly see this as the responsibility of the senior enlisted/officer. We all know what to avoid - even appearances. If you put yourself in that position and get bit, don't complain that the bite was unfair. I can see more leeway between senior and junior enlisted but, if you're an officer, you better know the boundaries and keep them squared away.
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SGT Kristin Wiley
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Edited 5 y ago
I find the policy ridiculous. As NCOs, our responsibility is to ensure the welfare of our soldiers. As a female, this affects me more due to the perception with having male soldiers my relationship MUST be inappropriate and not professional. I should not have to second-guess all my actions in relation to my soldiers to ensure they are not perceived as inappropriate. My soldier is drunk and needs a ride home, no problem, but outside looking in who is to say that the car ride didn't have something more personal associated with it? We also have an issue with E-5s in the barracks, so will they be quartering NCOs separately, giving them BAH? I'm the only unmarried NCO under E-6 in my unit, so typically this would mean I am the ONLY NCO in my unit in the barracks. So what, I can't talk to anyone else? Play card games, video games, borrow an egg, etc. To what extent are commanders going to enforce this policy? My soldier is having depressive/suicide thoughts; yes, I am going to make sure they are okay in my personal time. If that means staying with them all night, then that is what I will do. I don't need a regulation telling me that some misperception with ensuring my soldiers are okay is going to get me in trouble. I understand some aspects of this change, but at the same time how does this affect NCOs conducting their responsibilities; especially those newly appointed. One day you can hang out with your buddies, the next day you can't. I can only imagine what this can/will do to a soldier's morale.
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SGT Kristin Wiley
SGT Kristin Wiley
5 y
MSG,

From my perspective, they aren't going to see me as caring for my soldiers because of the disrepect male soldiers have towards females taints this view. According to the rumormill, I am having sexual relationships with male soldiers I have never even met. The perception is that I am already quilty whether I am or not because leaders allow their soldiers to speak inappropriately about other soldiers. I can only imagine the impact this might have on some female soldiers due to rumors and perception. I do not look forward to getting accused of having an inappropriate relationship over something I am not even aware of.

I also do not see how a male NCO would not get the same consideration, when they are performing their NCO responsbilities without the additional stigma that comes with being a female in a mostly male work force. Even when using the 'rule of three' that does not necessarily benefit female NCOs as leaders (especially unmarried ones). Well I understand the abuse at more senior levels, in some MOSs, a soldier can get promoted to E-5 within 2.5 years, others take 4+. The age and experience gap is not that different from E-4/E-5. The higher up you get in the ranks the more this changes and becomes less acceptable. Ex: An E-7 with 12 years experience vs. an E-4 with 2 years. For a service that emphasizes comradarie, we sure are taking a lot of effort to prevent it.

In military centrix areas, how are soldiers suppose to have friends and personal relationships if we significantly limit their options? I can't go to a bar and talk to anyone my age because I outrank them all, anyone who I do not outrank is an officer. Anyone who doesn't fit into those categories is either married, too old, or doesn't have the same interests. What is this doing to morale? What about the possibility of increased suicide rates by not having any peers to speak to on personal matters?

This regulation makes the most sense for operational units operating under a conventional command structure. In my instance, I am the ONLY enlisted Army in my whole command, I work directly with 2 Army O-4s, an AF O-4, and two civilians. I have no reason to have a personal relationship with anyone in my office; however, not having any 'friends' at work and limited off-duty time negatively affects my professional and personal life. My support group within the immediate area (I live in Hawaii, so the whole state in my case) has basically dropped to zero. Thank you Army for giving me yet another reason in my long list to get out before I see the outcome of all these newly imposed policies.

Update: I just read DA PAM 600-35 and have no issues with those situational examples; however the DA PAM is dated Feb 2000 and does not cover the new working in AR 600-20 from OCT 2014. Is there an updated version of this regulation?
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SSG Processing Nco
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This is why the army needs to go back to moving newly promoted sergeants. I've been in your shoes most of my career only luckily for me I've mostly been in all male units. I think the new change is ridiculous. If someone isn't in the same unit who cares about rank. Before long there's going to be a DA form for a pre-dating questionnaire lol.
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SGT Kristin Wiley
SGT Kristin Wiley
>1 y
I don't think moving new E-5 promotes will quell the issue. It will help with new leadership responsbilities over former peers, but it also isolates the new NCO. Even in a new command, that NCO getting to know his new soldiers could be observed as inappropriate. We shouldn't isolate our leaders from their soldiers, this makes it diffcult for leaders to express the empathy and compassion necessary to inspire, influence and motivate. This military times article mentions that inclusion and connection are traits of exception leaders: http://www.militarytimes.com/story/opinion/2015/02/09/john-michel-joseph-dunford-exceptional-leaders-commentary/23115849/

We need to trust our soldiers to do the right thing, and reduce the perception that any relationship or communication is inappropriate.
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Raquel Rodriguez
Raquel Rodriguez
>1 y
Although this is a very old post and response. I was wondering the same as I will be going into the Military as an Officer and professionalism yet ensuring my team is doing well is vital. Thanks for sharing your insight!
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SFC Retired
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In one way or another, it will become one. Something goes wrong and the problem will spread out like a wave. I once had a PSG dating a CPT in support (pre-1998), when they split we could all feel the akwardness when we had to pick up supplies. I like the current policy, if you want to date, ETS.
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SFC S3 Operations Nco
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6 y
ha ha, thanks. Are we suppose to bend AR 600-20 and just let it be? or get into someone's personal life? That's my dilemma.
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SFC Retired
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6 y
As a Team Leader, Section Leader and PSG I had to know those things. Dig into their lives and find out their problems. If you don't, they become your problems very quickly.
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SFC Military Police
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5 y
Im with ya SFC Robert Trodahl, old! I dont dig much though, thanks to social media I can find out most of what I need to know just by trolling.
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SSgt Joseph Baptist
SSgt Joseph Baptist
>1 y
"I like the current policy, if you want to date, ETS."

Let's expand that to its logical conclusion - no dating or marriage while in the service. Every soldier single, and either a warrior monk with a vow of celibacy, or serviced by army provided prostitutes (male, female, or ? - to meet the needs of the soldiers).
Also, no acknowledgement of familial relationships - parent/child, sibling, cousin, etc. may not associate with eahc other. Betetr get rid of name tags, and refer to everyone by a number, just so that people don't think that two cousins with the same last name might be showing favoritism to each other.
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