Special Spiritual Connections: Chaplain Deployments With Special Operations Forces
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review QDR announced a plan to grow Special Operations Forces SOF end strength, suggesting that war planners will be relying more on SOF capabilities in future conflicts. Two core activities SOF conducts are Military Information Support Operations MISO and Civil Affairs Operations CAO. MISO uses information to influence foreign audiences attitudes and perceptions, and CAO identifies and mitigates societal causes of instability. With 84 of the world identifying as religiously affiliated, MISO and CAO teams will likely interact with religious leaders. United States US military chaplains conducting religious leader engagement RLE offer a clergy to clergy connection, which indigenous religious leaders may welcome. This paper explored the impact of chaplains supporting MISO or CAO through RLE. It provides a better understanding of RLE by Chaplains. This paper presented five case studies, and examined recurrent themes for lessons learned. Five traits of successful RLE emerged. They are a willingness of religious leaders to engage, inter-religious dialogue, trust building, distribution of gifts and aid, and empowerment of local leaders. By utilizing chaplains to conduct RLE, SOF will be able to engage cultures in a manner not otherwise possible.
- Humanities and History
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics