Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Criticisms of the Air Force's fraternization policy predominantly conclude that the prohibition of fraternization is based upon a caste system, which evolved from the class divisions of the Middle Ages and is designed to maintain those social divisions. The Air Force maintains that fraternization policies are necessary because fraternization adversely affects morale and discipline. This study uses qualitative research methods, ethnography and grounded theory, to consider the impacts of military customs, military structure, and societal structure to analyze the evolution of fraternization policies through Western military history as they relate to the development of the current Air Force policy. This study traces the development of fraternization policies through the Roman military, the Middle Ages, the national European armies preceding the American Revolution, and American history through the evolution of the Air Force. The study concludes that parallels between military ranks and social classes simplified enforcement of fraternization policies; however, the historical purpose of prohibiting fraternization was based on the need to maintain good order and discipline, not to maintain a social caste system. This purpose has been consistent throughout Western military history. The current Air Force policy is consistent with the historical purpose: to maintain good order and discipline.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Logistics and Acquisition Management of the Air Force Institute of Technology