Military rules on dating married woman
“If you’re somebody’s girlfriend, are you really going to send her on patrol in Afghanistan in an area where there’s a risk of IEDs? It’s going to affect how you write her annual report; it’s going to affect the way you command her and that will influence the way other people respond to your commands.” A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence makes a similar point when asked why authorities sometimes intervene in what many would see as the private life of personnel: “Social misconduct has the potential to break down trust within military units which depend upon respect, loyalty and discipline to retain their close-knit structure and capability.” A recently-retired soldier, who asked not to be named, adds that while relationships between personnel of the same rank are sometimes an open secret, those which break the hierarchal divisions remain taboo.“There’s a lot of stigma if someone has an affair with someone of another rank. Officers will eat in one area, then there’s a sergeants’ mess, then a junior ranks’ mess – everyone’s kept separate.No legal aid is offered, and military lawyers like Hill are only allowed to help their clients prepare a written response to the authorities’ case.“They are allowed to appeal, and this can go up to a hearing in front of the army board.The punishment can be anything from a ‘displeasure’ or a ‘severe displeasure’ – a two or three year promotion ban – to actually being chucked out.” Hill suggests a case as high profile as Cdr West’s is likely to go up to the highest level, with a delay of six months possible before a final decision is made.It will be, he says, an “oppressive time” for the commander.Her third-in-command, who is married, can at least take comfort from the fact that Cdr West is not being investigated in the American military, where adultery is a crime under the Unified Code of Military Justice – with punishments including dishonourable discharge, loss of pension and even a year in jail.Fraternization in the military relates to prohibited personal relationships between military service members of different ranks and positions.
You are entitled to have a family and private life, and they’re not allowed to get involved without good reason.” But sometimes – as in the case of Cdr West and many others – there is good reason.
And the cases that are reported are only the tip of the iceberg.
Rank-and-file soldiers have stories of relationships between military personnel which are never brought to the attention of the authorities, while military lawyers are often called upon to provide advice when investigations are launched.
Eventually he wants it to stop because he realises how bad this could be; she’s upset and takes her mobile phone to the commanding officer and bang – that’s his career gone.” He adds that while these affairs are often discovered through the grapevine of the Army or Navy, they are increasingly being exposed through social media, with an indiscreet post or photo.
Once it does come to the stage of disciplinary action, all decisions are made behind closed doors and based on written submissions.