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Operationalization of the Religious Support Team Concept Utilizing a Collaborative Leadership Model

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Technical Report

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Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States

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The collaborative leadership model has enjoyed increasing success and has contributed to higher productivity in the business world. Churches of various denominations throughout the United States have adopted collaborative leadership models to provide their congregations with quality religious services, enhanced ministry, and dynamic outreach programs. This paper demonstrates that a collaborative leadership methodology can be readily translated into a military context and adapted by the Air Force Chaplain Corps at the Religious Support Team operational level. The paper first presents an overview of the Religious Support Team concept followed by a brief dis-cussion of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff White Paper on Mission Command and how it relates to collaboration. Principles for collaborative leadership are introduced. A brief over-view of Chaplain Corps highlights career field survey results revealing a growing concern for operational change. The newly drafted Air Force Chaplain Corps Religious Support Team Gui-debook shows how the concept of collaborative leadership is developing for deployed locations. The final sections present a brief argument for collaborative ministry transformation using tools from civilian churches. An Army study demonstrates the feasibility of operationalizing the RST concept. The paper concludes with four recommendations to incorporate collaborative metho-dologies as the norm in the Chaplain Corps First, train RSTs in the fundamentals of Mission Command and collaboration, second, incorporate the MC construct as the operating standard which will empower RSTs and develop future leaders, third, use RST Guide Book both home station and deployed locations, and finally, leverage joint education as a means of creating an environment of interoperability.

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