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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy’s ban on officers and enlisted dating each other now extends to foreign militaries, Navy officials said.

Effective as of April 27, the change does not prohibit all relationships between sailors and members of foreign militaries, just those already prohibited under the Navy’s fraternization policy, officials said.

The Navy’s fraternization policy, published as OPNAV Instruction 5370.2C, prohibits “unduly familiar” relationships between officers and enlisted sailors that are “prejudicial to good order and discipline or of a nature to bring discredit on the naval service.”

“Over 220 years of seagoing experience demonstrates that seniors must maintain thoroughly professional relationships with the juniors at all times,” it states.

The policy, it states, is in place to prevent favoritism, preferential treatment or actions that could undermine discipline or unit morale.

“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,” the policy reads.

When the policy came up for its regular review, the Navy leadership thought it would be a good idea to let sailors know that the policy also applies when the Navy works with other militaries, said Cmdr. Dean Stewart-Curry, lead for the Navy equal opportunity program.

The revision was not prompted by a specific incident, rather by the reality that the Navy now frequently works with other militaries, Curry said.

For example, last month, the Navy and Marine Corps participated in the annual Foal Eagle exercise with the South Korean military.

Under both revised and previous policy, enlisted sailors may be able to date as long as they are not in the same direct chain of command, officials said. The same applies to officers.

In another change, the policy now prohibits recruiters from dating applicants to the Navy once they have started to fill out the Navy’s application, known as DD Form 1966, Curry said.

The fraternization policy was last updated in 1999, Curry said.

¶ See the full OPNAV instruction here.

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