Tuesday, November 5, 2013

FRATERNIZATION AND MILITARY LOVE – ROMANCE, SEX AND STEALING AFFECTIONS IN THE ARMY NAVY AIR FORCE - IS THERE A NEED FOR A FRATERNIZATION POLICY

FRATERNIZATION AND MILITARY LOVE
ROMANCE, SEX AND STEALING AFFECTIONS IN THE ARMY NAVY AIR FORCE
IS THERE A NEED FOR A FRATERNIZATION POLICY
Ramblings of a Retired Mind
By
VIKRAM KARVE

IS THERE A NEED FOR A FRATERNIZATION POLICY

Stealing affections of brother officers’ wives is an offence in the armed forces (army, navy and air force).

Yes, stealing the affection of a brother officer’s wife is deemed to be conduct unbecoming of an officer and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.

It is considered a grave offence which may even lead to dismissal from service.

However, stealing the affection of a “sister officer” is considered okay.

In fact, “brother officers” are permitted to marry “sister officers” (yes, male officers are allowed to marry female officers)

There are many “in-service couples” in the armed forces and this trend of DIUC (Double Income Uniformed Couples) is increasing in all the three services.

Someone even said that the army navy and air force encourage marriages between uniformed officers by providing various sops like common postings and dual accommodation seniority carry forward etc.

Does this not go against the tenets of “fraternization”?

What is the meaning of the term “fraternization” in the context of the military armed forces?

Any “unduly familiar relationship” between a senior and a junior is deemed to be fraternization.

Marriage (which includes intimate sexual relationship) is an “unduly familiar relationship”.

Many other relationships like dating, living together and other intimate friendships can also be deemed to be “unduly familiar relationships”.

Suppose, in the Navy, a male Commander marries a female Lieutenant, or in the Army, a male Lieutenant Colonel marries a female Captain – is it not a case of “fraternization”?

It appears that, at least in the Indian Armed Forces, a lot of leniency is shown as far as relationships between male and female officers are concerned (despite their difference in rank).

This is evident if you observe the increasing number of marriages between male and female officers in the uniformed services.

Marriages and Relationships between officers is not considered fraternization in the Indian Armed Forces.

But, what will happen if a female officer wants to marry a male soldier, sailor or airman?

It can happen – anyone can fall in love with anyone.

Will the armed forces allow officers to marry soldiers, sailors or airmen?

For example, will the Army allow a female officer to marry a male JCO?

Can officers marry, date, romance or have relationships with PBOR (Personnel Below Officer Rank)?

Will this be treated as fraternization?


DO THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES HAVE A FRATERNIZATION POLICY?

Is there a statutory fraternization policy in the Indian Armed Forces?

I do not know.

“Fraternization” is a uniquely military concept.

Military custom demands that seniors must maintain thoroughly professional relationships with juniors at all times. 

“Fraternization” is the term traditionally used to identify personal relationships that contravene the customary bounds of acceptable senior-subordinate relationships.

“Fraternization” means any relationship in the military chain of command that is prejudicial to good order and discipline.

Fraternization rules date back to the time of the Roman Army.

The purpose of such constraints is to:

1. Maintain good order and discipline.

2. Preserve military sanctity and ensure the integrity of the chain of command.

3. Prevent adverse impact upon a junior’s response to orders, the senior’s exercise of command, or the perception of others regarding the senior’s impartiality (In most cases of fraternization, perceptions matter more than reality).

4. Promote relationships of mutual respect and confidence between juniors and seniors.


FRATERNIZATION POLICY FOR INDIAN ARMED FORCES

I am sure you have seen marriages between serving officers of the armed forces.

But have you ever come across marriage between an officer and a PBOR (Personnel Below Officer Rank)?

Do tell us if you have come across a marriage between a serving officer and a soldier.

Is there a need for a fraternization policy to regulate unduly familiar personal relationships in the armed forces (army navy and air force)?

Well, that is for the powers-that-be to decide.

With the entry of women in the armed forces in the 1990’s, have the archaic Army, Navy and Air Force Acts been amended to include a fraternization policy?

Yes, with the advent of women into the army, navy and air force, there has been a lot of pontification about “gender-sensitization” – but has a statutory fraternization policy been formulated and promulgated?


MILITARY FRATERNIZATION POLICY TO REGULATE MARRIAGE DATING ROMANCE AND UNDULY FAMILIAR RELATIONSHIPS IN THE ARMY NAVY AND AIR FORCE

As I said, it is the prerogative of the powers-that-be to decide whether to have a fraternization policy or not (as per the culture prevalent in their respective services).

But if there is to be a fraternization policy then, perhaps, it can be formulated based on one of the following cardinal tenets:

1. Prohibit marriages between members of the armed forces (army navy air force) – whether you are an officer or a PBOR you cannot marry anyone in uniform (or have an unduly familiar relationship with any other officer or soldier, sailor, airman).

This means that the prevalent practice of “fauji” marriages between male and female officers will be banned – yes, “fauji” marriages will be treated as fraternization and will be prohibited.

2. Prohibit same-service marriages – for example, if you are in the army you cannot marry someone in the army, though you may marry someone from the navy or air force – and vice versa.

3. Prohibit same branch/arm/service/regiment/corps marriages – for example, a male army officer from EME cannot marry a female officer from the EME, but he may marry a female officer from ASC, AOC etc; a helicopter pilot cannot marry another helicopter pilot, but may marry a fighter pilot or officer from non-flying branch, and similarly officers of the same branch in the navy cannot marry.

4. Prohibit marriages between officers and PBOR – officers and soldiers cannot marry.


Of course, in addition to marriage, the fraternization policy must define and govern “unduly familiar relationships” between uniformed personnel like dating, romance, physical relationships, live-in relationships and intimate friendships and similar principles must apply to regulate such relationships.

For example:

Should an officer be allowed to indulge in dating or become romantically involved with another officer of the armed forces?

Or should an officer of the armed forces be allowed to date only civilians?

The same four cardinal fraternization tenets for marriage (mentioned above) can apply to other relationships as well.


FRATERNIZATION POLICIES IN MILITARY FORCES

Most mixed-gender military forces have laid down fraternization policies in order to prevent inappropriate relationships which can be detrimental to morale and discipline.

Some persons feel that “fraternization” refers relationships between officers and PBOR (soldiers, sailors, airmen).

This is not so.

Fraternization includes officer-officer relationships as well.

In a case a few years ago in the US Navy, two officers, a CO and XO, both of the same rank (Lieutenant Commander) were punished for violation of the US Navy Fraternization Policy: (Navy Fires Top Two Officers For Being Unduly Familiar While Commanding Warship - http://nation.time.com/2010/12/14/navy-fires-top-two-officers-for-being-unduly-familiar-while-commanding-warship/#ixzz2j6YQk5H0)

“Fraternization” means any relationship in the military chain of command that is prejudicial to good order and discipline.


FRATERNIZATION POLICIES TO REGULATE LOVE IN THE MILITARY

As the Indian Army Navy and Air Force become more and more mixed-gender with increasing number of women joining the armed forces, it may be desirable to formulate and promulgate a statutory fraternization policy based on one of the four cardinal principles as considered apt:

1. Prohibit marriages and relationships between members of the armed forces (Ban all inter-service and intra-service fraternization)

2. Prohibit same-service marriages and relationships (Ban intra-service fraternization)

3. Prohibit same branch/regiment/corps marriages and relationships (Ban intra-branch/regiment/arm/service/corps fraternization)

4. Prohibit marriages and relationships between officers and PBOR (Ban fraternization between officers and soldiers/sailors/airmen)

Which one of the four options do you prefer?

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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