Posted on Mar 9, 2014
CSM Michael J. Uhlig
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<p>Current AR 600-20 prohibits personal relationships between officers&nbsp;and enlisted personnel and gives specific examples (dating, business, gambling and etc) and for enlisted it identifies: recruiter and recruit &amp; trainees and Soldiers as prohibited relationships.&nbsp; There will be new regulatory guidance concering NCO Fraternization in an updated AR 600-20, to be released later this year. What are your thoughts?</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In over 13 years of war, we have a force that has deployed for extended periods, lived in very close to each other and in many cases fought shona ba shona&nbsp;alongside one another.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In discussions (Soldier of the month competitions/NCOPDs and general talk while walking through the barracks), I've found that&nbsp;many NCOs have personal relationships with their Soldiers (e.g. online gaming), some of the NCOs live in the barracks and some live off post or in government housing.&nbsp; Do you see this as franternization - or a relationship that could cause undue familiarity?</p>
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Responses: 23
SSG Roderick Smith
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Unfortunately, CSM Uhlig, a lot of Soldiers these days would rather play video games than do anything else on their off time. That being said, I don't think its strange to liken it to Soldiers and NCOs going out and playing a friendly game of football. It has the potential to build comraderie and teamwork. Of course there's the possibility for lines to be crossed, but overall, I don't see it as an issue.
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SGT Suraj Dave
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CSM,
When I was a SPC I had a squad leader that I actually hung out with. He would invite us all out to do stuff all the time. Grabbing dinner, drinking etc.... We even played on Xbox Live sometimes. We all knew the fine line between at work and not at work. Never had any issues. Then again, this was a QRF/PSD platoon. We didn't have any privates or people who had not deployed before.

As for me when I became a leader, I wasn't too fond of hanging out with my soldiers. They were all quite a bit younger then me, and one of them was for sure too immature for that kind of thing. I did go to one my soldiers 21st B-Day's though. Bought him a drink, and paid for his taxi home.

Was it the "right" thing to do? Technically no, but I believe the bonds we established from voluntarily hanging out together really helped take care of platoon cohesion during deployment.

I honestly think that a unit that eats together, drinks together, laughs together, and suffers together, is truly the closest thing to a family there is aside from a biological one.
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SSG Mike Angelo
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CMS Michael,

Fraternization came from human touch long before the internet and techno-gaming. I see no variances in the core values of the military when it comes to training, and sustaining a fighting force with the use of gaming as a tool and technique. Es sprit de corps, unit cohesiveness and interpersonal communication between the ranks, grades and fields when you are at peace or war; core values are the same.

If gaming creates this behavior, then review your capacity to sustain the mission, according to core values and competencies. You decide to keep this behavior or to change it.

My opinion is that AR 600-20 is a guide. Commanders have the authority to enforce it, find a fit, or to grant exceptions. If you want to keep good people in the service, you may have to fight for them. In peace time, that is a whole new game or concept that this generation of SMs are going to have to learn...to survive.
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CSM Michael J. Uhlig
CSM Michael J. Uhlig
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Great answer!
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