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By long-standing custom and tradition, chief petty officers (E-7 to E-9) are separate and distinct leaders within their assigned command.Chief petty officers provide leadership not just within their direct chain of command, but for the entire unit.

Conduct, which constitutes fraternization, is not excused or mitigated by a subsequent marriage between the offending parties.

Service members who are married or otherwise related (father/son, etc.) to other service members, must maintain the requisite respect and decorum attending the official relationship while either is on duty or in uniform in public.

In like manner, custom requires that junior personnel recognize and respect the authority inherent in a senior's grade, rank, or position.

This recognition of authority is evidenced by observance and enforcement of the military courtesies and customs that have traditionally defined proper senior-subordinate relationships.

Over 200 years of seagoing experience have demonstrated that seniors must maintain thoroughly professional relationships with juniors at all times.

This custom recognizes the need to prevent the use of a senior grade or position in such a way that it results in (or gives the appearance of) favoritism, preferential treatment, personal gain, or involves actions that otherwise may reasonably be expected to undermine good order, discipline, authority, or high unit morale.In this sense, fraternization is a uniquely military concept, although abuse of a senior's position for personal gain and actual or perceived preferential treatments are leadership and management problems that also arise in civilian organizations.In the context of military life, the potential erosion of respect for the authority and leadership position of a senior in grade or rank can have an enormously negative effect on good order and discipline and seriously undermine a unit's effectiveness.Prejudice to good order and discipline or discredit to the Naval service may result from, but are not limited to, circumstances which: Fraternization, as defined above, is prohibited and punishable as an offense under the UCMJ.It is impossible to set forth every act that may be prejudicial to good order and discipline or that is service discrediting because the surrounding circumstances often determine whether the conduct in question is inappropriate.Personal relationships between officer and enlisted members that are unduly familiar and that do not respect differences in rank and grade are prohibited and violate long-standing custom and tradition of the naval service.