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Religious Support and the Human Dimension of Warfare in the 21st Century and Beyond

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Strategy Research Project

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The advancement of technology throughout all facets of life has become a critical part of the military. This transition from the Cold War to the information age has combined to foster a climate of radical change within the American military. The impact is felt dramatically at the individual level where the stress and ambiguity of new operational systems come into conflict and radical change with moral and ethical dilemmas of the human soldier. The power to function and fight as a soldier involves will and means. Will encompasses the incalculable and essentially unchanging moral, ethical, and spiritual value factors that permeate the conduct of war and make it predictable. This human dimension of warfare is its central defining characteristic. Means, the physical factors of war, are in a period of radical revolutionary change. New highly advanced technology, evolving doctrine, and organizational development are changing the very nature of war. But while technology advances and improves the tools of war, it will not eliminate the fog of war, effects of life and death, or quantify the moral factors. Within this human dimension lies the fighting spirit of the soldier to cope, manage, balance, and spiritually survive. The religious support provided by the military Chaplaincy is the tool commanders must utilize. The religious support mission for Army XXI remains the same today and for the future-providing for the free exercise of religion which lies at the heart of will for each soldier. Technology can provide the tools and avenues by which wars are fought but it is the individual solider on the battlefield facing life and death who remains a constant. This paper will discuss the human dimension of war, technological change impacting the soldier, and the religious support mission of providing soldiers spiritual and moral fortitude to contend with both.

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  • Humanities and History

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