Officer/Cadet dating

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by bravo25, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. bravo25

    bravo25 New Member

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    Are there any policies/regulations that prevent a commsioned Air Force lieutenant (USAFA grad) from dating a current USMA cadet? Article 134 of UCMJ only covers officer/enlisted and officer/officer within the same chain of command. I know the intent is to prevent any inappropriate relationships from occurring that may hinder good order and discipline, command authority, etc.

    It doesn’t seem like any of these would be imposed upon in a relationship between an officer and cadet (who will soon be an officer anyway) of a different branch altogether, but just wanted to see if anybody else had more concrete knowledge or insight on this matter.
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    I'm not aware of any concerns with an officer dating a cadet/mid, provided the officer is not stationed at the SA. Such a scenario often happens if cadets/mids of different classes are dating and one graduates first. While the restrictions on inter-service dating are typically limited to chain of command, I would not be at all surprised if all the SAs have some prohibition on officers who are permanently stationed at the SA dating a current cadet/mid even if not in the chain of command. There are all sorts of optics issues and there is typically the potential for that officer at some point to be in position of authority over the cadet/mid (e.g., professor, summer program coordinator, supervising a duty section, etc.).

    I can't say it doesn't happen and confess I don't know the rules (especially at USAFA), but I can't think it's a good idea if both are at USAFA at the same time, subject to the exception in the paragraph below. If the commissioned officer is stationed elsewhere, it shouldn't present any legal issues. However, both parties still need to consider optics. Probably not a great idea for an officer to date a plebe/doolie. Also, consider the disparity between ranks. Dating a recently graduated 2nd LT or Ensign would be viewed differently than dating an O-3. I guess what I'm saying is that there is the law and there is what is smart/makes good sense -- they aren't always the same thing.

    One exception to the above . . . at USNA at least, it's not uncommon for recently commissioned Ensigns to be assigned to temporary duty at USNA for several months while waiting for further training. Under such circumstances, dating a mid is almost certainly OK provided no CoC issues, which would be extremely rare given the duties assigned to those newly-minted O-1s.

    The above said, I will defer someone with expertise at USAFA.
     
  3. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    I can not find it now but there are USMA policies in place to permit this, even in some situations where an officer is assigned to the SA. As usna1985 pointed out, it is not unusual for Cadets/Midshipmen from different classes to date and absurd to expect them to break up until the other commisions. In some situations, a newly commisioned officer may be assigned to an SA temporarily. Again, the SA's (at least USMA), recognizes this and has policies in place to protect the Cadet while not forcing the couple to "break up". If I remember correctly the Cadet must submit a memo to the COC publically acknowledging the relationship.
    Having said that, the USAFA grad must also check the AF regulations as well as local regulations that may be more restrictive. I would advise him/her to find the actual regulations and read them rather than just relying on word of mouth from a forum and also discuss it with JAG just to make sure.
    Having said all of this understand that a relationship between members of different services, while possible, will be tough. Getting joint domicile will require quite a bit of finagling.
     
  4. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I agree. It is hard enough if you are in the same branch, now multiply that being in different branches.
     
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  5. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 10-Year Member

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    I can't speak for the other services, but for the USAF, I would suggest a good reading of AFI36-2909; specifically these portions:

    1.2.6. The Superintendent, United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). 1.2.6.1. Develops, coordinates and executes unprofessional and professional relationship training for all military and civilian personnel assigned to USAFA. 1.2.6.2. Ensures all USAFA faculty, staff and cadets are trained on the prohibition of unprofessional relationships between trainers and trainees listed in Chapter 4 and all administrative requirements outlined in paragraph 4.4 are met
    hWor training, and Air National Guard members in Title 10 status to oebey the mandatory provisions in this paragraph and subparagraphs constitutes a violation of Article 92, Uniform Code of Military Justice. Air National Guard members in Title 32 status performing full-time National Guard duty or inactive duty for training, who violate the mandatory provisions of this instruction, may be held accountable through similar provisions of their respective State Military Codes.
    4.2.1.1. Develop or conduct a personal, intimate, or sexual relationship with a prospective Air Force member, an applicant, a recruit, a trainee, a student, or a cadet. This includes, but is not limited to, dating, handholding, kissing, embracing, caressing, and engaging in sexual activities. Prohibited personal, intimate, or sexual relationships include those relationships conducted in person or via cards, letters, e-mails, telephone calls, instant messaging, video, photographs, social networking, texting, or any other means of communication.

    Now, when you read all of 4.2...it gets VERY detailed about cadets. Some folks say "well that only applies to trainers" however in further reading, it also speaks to AF members hosting cadets, etc., and makes it clear that ANY AF member could be construed to be a "trainer" and therefore this would apply.

    My advice, as an old senior officer, is to take the cadet/officer relationship beyond TACAN lock...or put it on hold until the cadet is in a newer status that's acceptable to the hierarchy.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  6. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    As I pointed out above, USMA and Army regulations are different. Not sure what Air Force regulations would apply to the officer.
     
  7. rdhdstpchld

    rdhdstpchld Member

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    if there is *any* (perceived or otherwise) training involvement the UCMJ just changed as of 1 Jan. Regardless of consent etc relationships are not allowed where there is any (perceived or otherwise) trainer/trainee environment -- I would imagine anyone with an axe to grind could theoretically see issues where there may be none.
     
  8. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    That may be why I can’t find the USMA regulation. It may be getting revamped to comply.
     
  9. rdhdstpchld

    rdhdstpchld Member

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    I think it is mostly aimed at recruiters - seems there's been some icky stuff going on in that world - ***ewwww***
     
  10. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 10-Year Member

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    It is mostly aimed at recruiters however...anyone that works routinely with "candidates" has had to take training in the AF about this. I asked questions at USAFA and they said it would apply to anyone working with, interacting, or ...with cadets. The old "what about the new graduate officer that is still dating their boy/girl that is still a cadet," and the answer was that that could be problematic.

    If this makes sense to anyone out there...keep it outside TACAN lock.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
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  11. Walman888

    Walman888 Member

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    I personally know of at least two current USMA Cadets in relationships with Army Officers. They are very open about it on social media etc. The Cadets are in the third year or greater. No attempts are made to conceal anything. It seems pretty open and aboveboard.
     
  12. Tbpxece

    Tbpxece Member

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    I wouldn't put a whole lot of stock in the "people are doing it and getting away with it argument". @flieger83 is dead on the money-- if you're going to do it, keep it on the DL until all parties are commissioned. Especially in the AF, where there is clear and specific guidance about fraternization and professional/unprofessional relationships that goes above and beyond the UCMJ.

    As far as I can tell, the AF never really defines what a "cadet" is in their hierarchy like the Army does in AR 600-2, para 2-8 and 2-9-- below a warrant officer, and above an NCO; therefore, not enlisted. AFROTC cadets are certainly enlisted (in the USAFR), so a relationship between a 2d Lt and a ROTC cadet could definitely be considered fraternization, but I don't know if that is the case for (a) OTS cadets, or (b) USAFA cadets.

    Moral of the story: I know SA graduates that continued to date their still-cadet partners and nothing happened. However, the permissibility of that varies from branch to branch, and so the best recommendation is to not flaunt it and to keep your public interactions very professional.

    I know I didn't do it and wouldn't do it.
     
  13. Walman888

    Walman888 Member

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    That is not my argument. I make no argument with this. It is a point of observation.