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Thread: Chaplains as Liaisons with Religious Leaders: Lessons From Iraq and Afghanistan

  1. #61
    Council Member MSG Proctor's Avatar
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    Default Correction...

    The above post should read,
    Engagement does NOT equal negotiation.
    Guess the edit feature times out?

  2. #62
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Close but no cigar...

    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
    Sir:
    US Code Title X is often referred to in attempting to define or limit chaplain activity in the Armed Forces. The FM you quoted ascribes properties to Title X that are not there - Title X simply states:

    (a) Each chaplain shall, when practicable, hold appropriate religious services at least once on each Sunday for the command to which he is assigned, and shall perform appropriate religious burial services for members of the Army who die while in that command.
    (b) Each commanding officer shall furnish facilities, including necessary transportation, to any chaplain assigned to his command, to assist the chaplain in performing his duties.
    I didn't refer to Title 10, I referred to the US Army Field Manual which is a doctrinal publication -- it refers to Title 10 but it doesn't need to do so, the writer just did put in his desired interpretation -- and the Army agreed and published it.
    Not a word about negotiations, targeting or intelligence.
    Of course not -- but the FM does mention those. Title 10 is not your operational guidance; the FM is.
    FWIW, my statements are adressing cababilities, not preroggatives; I assume our readers understand that final decision-making authority rests with commanders.
    Most of 'em, some civilians here who do not and your method of advocating your position -- which is perfectly acceptable and fine with me -- could lead the uninitiated to think that a broader role than is doctrinally stated or logically expected (IMO) is to be encouraged and is totally acceptable to most. My suspicion is that such acceptance is not universal by any means.
    Advising the commander on indigenous religions in the operational area without actually meeting any religious leaders?
    Didn't say that; did say they should not meet them without a command presence; i.e. someone in the unit chain of command who is the negotiating representative of the commander. The Chaplain should under most circumstances should not be the acceptor of a negotiated solution for the command because he's not in the chain. Even in meetings where no negotiations are expected, there should be a combatant present; as you know, haggling in the ME is a blood sport. They're quite adept at seizing unexpected opportunities
    Please explain where I advocated role enhancement...
    Again, I didn't say that -- that you were so advocating. However, the position you espouse is effectively a far more involved role and is effectively role enhancement. My greatest concern is that it will detract from his primary duty -- which is pastoral care for the unit. In a more intense war, that job will transcend any other role very quickly and in the US Army building new habits for added visibility is a way of life -- the problem is that those things get embedded and some of them do not work in many situations other than the one they were designed for. In a flexible organization, such developments wouldn't be a problem. The US Army is NOT a flexible organization.
    The roles are already there. As a member of TF 1st Armored Division in Baghdad in 2003-2004, the chaplain teams were participants in over 500 RLEs - I was active in about 60 of those. I respect the arguments from theory, but I also contend from the position of experience that chaplain involvement in [this] counterinsurgency is practicable and even desirable when done circumspectly.
    I accept that it can be desirable when done circumspectly and when the personalities (Commander, Chaplain, local Clerics) are all in favor of it. It's been done in other wars in other places but circumspect is a good word and should always apply and IMO, such effort should be the exception rather than the rule. I base that on the status of the Chaplain as a noncombatant under the GC and on his primary duty.

    My concern in addressing the issue is that I have seen good ideas to adapt to particular situations get adopted locally and in specific operations or wars. that's what should happen and I'm all for that. The problem that arises is that the inflexible US Army tends to get target fixation and take what should be a temporary, this operation, adaptation and embed it in the doctrine and that many such adaptations do not work well other times in other operations. It's sort of a 'be careful what you wish for, you may get it' thing.

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    Dear MSG Proctor:

    Welcome home and thanks for spending time writing articulate responses on this important thread. In a previous posting of a few days ago you said:

    Conclusion: There are no restrictions legally nor doctrinally that stand in the way of RSTs supporting their commander's COIN efforts. If clerics in Iraq feel that their religious concerns are being heard and incorporated into CF/ISF/governance decision cycles, there is much greater likelihood of success in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq.
    What about moral and ethical restrictions on the part of chaplains becoming in effect operators when used in the manner doctrine suggests? What is your sense of how chaplains have confronted the moral and ethical implications of them becoming an operator for their commander?

    By implications of being an operator here is what I mean? Lets say in a hypothetical scenario an infantry battalion chaplain is used by his commander to engage (talk to, establish relationship) with an imam of a mosque that the commander has yet to meet. The chaplain spends time at the mosque getting to know the imam through bonding due to shared eperiences as a man of the cloth. Through this bonding the chaplain develops a relationship with the imam and so does the battalion commander. One day the imam calls the commander and says hey, I know where three alqueda militants are hiding right now. Since the commander is still getting to know the imam and is not too sure of his credibility the commander then goes to his chaplain and asks, can I trust the imam? The chaplain says yes, the commander puts together an op to get the militants, and in the course of the operations the three alqueda militants are killed. In this scenario are there not clear violations of a chaplain having crossed the moral and ethical line by becoming an operator for the commander and assisting him in his operational and environmental understanding of his area that at certain points contributes to his ability to kill the enemy?

    I thought through the option of using my chaplain in such ways while training-up for deployment to baghdad in 2006. I chose to use my chaplain the way i thought was right and that was the spiritual and moral well-being of my outfit; and that was it.

    Would it be possible for you to get a senior chaplain to weigh in on this discussion?

    again thanks so much for your time and thanks for your important service.

    gentile

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    Council Member MSG Proctor's Avatar
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    Ken:
    Your comments are entirely reasonable and I have heard them echoed through hundreds of disinterested observers, stake holders, senior trainers, etc... There are two things I would like the readers to keep in mind.

    1. In Stability Ops, and most especially COIN, everyone is doing something other than "their" job. How is it that we expect the 22 year old 2nd LT to 'negotiate' with tribal shiekhs wielding thunderous levels of lethal means? What specialized training does the LT have to support governance, infrastructure development, commerce development, law enforement, domestic interventions, etc? I actually took my convoy down a street in Doora and broke up a car-jacking. How much training did I have for that? Zero. The reality is, in COIN, E4s and LTs are doing all kinds of things that would fit your definition of role enhancement. Look at the Field Artillery community; they are performing as motorized rifle battalions, FSTers are performing as Company-level INTEL analysts(!), and FSOs are IO coordinators. Food service specialists are serving (very effectively) as PSDs. I could go on and on. The RST is not exempt from the demands of COIN. Especially when they have a unique value to add, which leads to my 2nd point.

    2. The moral, ethical and spiritual duty of the chaplain is always humanitarian, including in COIN. The fact is, religious leaders have replaced the Baathist leaders as the most influential spheres of influence (SOI) in Iraq. The fact is, Shiite clerics control most of the GOI by a whole 'nuther chain of command that most of our operators do not (and some not want to) understand.
    Therefore, is it a morally acceptable position that a chaplain applies his unique capabilities only in a reactive posture? Does the chaplain exist merely to treat spiritual, physical and emotional casualties? Is he a clerical rabbit's foot to provide last rites in case of mortal injury to Joe? Is his relevance merely to provide spiritual guidance to the 10% of the unit that attends his religious services on the FOB? Or does the chaplain also have a prophetic responsibility to mitigate hatred, foster positive relations and build bridges with these SOIs that can either help or hurt the mission?

    Or as an eloquent preacher once put it, "Is it better to invest in a hospital at the bottom of a cliff, or in a fence at the top?"

    Again, please indulge me here a moment, this is not mere theoreticals - I have seen this work time and time again in OEF and OIF. Is it for all chaplains? No. Will it help in all situations? Maybe not. But one thing is absolutely sure: Iraqis are Muslims and religion is very important to them. Everything we do creates some effect in the AO. The problem I see is no one is measuring the 'religious effects' in the operation. This is mainly because RSTs are only doing half their job (minister to troops) and no one is minding the store when it comes to religious atmospherics. Yes, the INTEL community has the data, but is not equipped for providing the religious analysis. DoDD 1304.19 lays that responsibility squarely at the feet of the Chaplaincies of the US Armed Forces.

    So Ken, somebody needs to engage these SOIs. And to not engage them IS a message. To engage them without religious analysis is dangerous. AQI engages the Imams. JAM engages the Imams. This is not speculation - this is the reality on the ground. The Friday mosque sermon is the #1 most important venue of IO in Iraq today. Since late 2003, we have largely marginalized the clerics on a religious level.

    Per a senior Chaplain perspective: Here's a link to an interview with the MNF-I Command Chaplain on this very issue. I can provide dozens more.
    Last edited by MSG Proctor; 03-01-2008 at 07:15 PM.

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    GP Gentile:
    Thanks for the welcome and the encouraging remarks.

    I certainly don’t want to judge the way you utilized your RST during a particularly brutal phase of OIF. Employing your RST in a ministry-only capacity is the default position taken by most Joint Force commanders. The problem with that is there is no one else on your staff qualified to provide religious analysis to the running staff estimate.

    JP 1-05 provides guidance on how much effort chaplains should provide on direct ministry support and staff support to the commander. At the tactical level, about 75% of the chaplain’s efforts should be spent on traditional ministry functions and 25% or so on advising the commander. That flips at the strategic level to the opposite percentages. The optimal utilization of a religious support team is both/and, not either/or. This is all the more critical if the unit is a maneuver formation that owns terrain and is conducting effects-based operations in a religious environment.

    Religion is part of the "human terrain" in COIN, and we need analysis and advisement on it at every level.

    Per your question: chaplains can provide intelligence (ever Soldier is a sensor) but should not be directed to collect it. Chaplain Assistants, on the other hand, are combatants and are not restricted in any way from intelligence activities. Moreover, all chaplain assistant NCO positions E6 and above are coded in TO&Es with the "2S" additional skill identifier (for battle staff NCO training requirements) - identifying the chaplain NCO as a battle staff contributor. It is the NCO that should be attending the work groups, targeting boards, effects coordination meetings, CMO planning, etc... That leaves the chaplain with plenty of time to do ministry to troops. An in depth look at these capabilities can be explored here.

    Here is a CALL handbook that provides detailed policy and doctrinal parameters for RST utilization in the GWOT.
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 03-04-2008 at 03:37 PM. Reason: necessity

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
    Ken:
    Your comments are entirely reasonable and I have heard them echoed through hundreds of disinterested observers, stake holders, senior trainers, etc... There are two things I would like the readers to keep in mind.

    1. In Stability Ops, and most especially COIN, everyone is doing something other than "their" job. How is it that we expect the 22 year old 2nd LT to 'negotiate' with tribal shiekhs wielding thunderous levels of lethal means? What specialized training does the LT have to support governance, infrastructure development, commerce development, law enforement, domestic interventions, etc? I actually took my convoy down a street in Doora and broke up a car-jacking. How much training did I have for that? Zero. The reality is, in COIN, E4s and LTs are doing all kinds of things that would fit your definition of role enhancement. Look at the Field Artillery community; they are performing as motorized rifle battalions, FSTers are performing as Company-level INTEL analysts(!), and FSOs are IO coordinators. Food service specialists are serving (very effectively) as PSDs. I could go on and on. The RST is not exempt from the demands of COIN. Especially when they have a unique value to add, which leads to my 2nd point.
    We disagree on your assessment. Far as I'm concerned, all those other people you cite are doing what they're supposed to do. Been there and done that myself. Done the COIN thing in a couple of places, lived and worked on the economy in the ME for two years -- all that admittedly more years ago than I care to recall but war is war, COIN is COIN and the ME is the ME, none of it has changed that much.

    That 2LT is doing what he should be doing, so are the Food Service types. I just suggest the Chaplain should be doing what he should be doing, no more and no less -- that means interfacing carefully with the local religious leaders when and where appropriate and advising the Commander on the issues. Where we disagree, I'll get to below.
    2. The moral, ethical and spiritual duty of the chaplain is always humanitarian, including in COIN. The FACT is, religious leaders have replaced the baathist leaders as the most influential spheres of influence (SOI) in Iraq. The FACT is, Shiite clerics control most of the GOI by a whole 'nuther chain of command that most of our operators do not (and some not want to) understand. Therefore, is it a morally acceptable position that a chaplain applies his unique capabilities only in a reactive posture? Does the chaplain exist merely to treat spiritual, physical and emotional casualties? Is he a clerical rabbit's foot to provide last rites in case of mortal injury to Joe? Is his relevance merely to provide spiritual guidance to the 10% of the unit that attends his religious services on the FOB? Or does the chaplain also have a prophetic responsibility to mitigate hatred, foster positive relations and build bridges with these SOIs that can either help or hurt the mission?
    I understand all that and if you'll recall, I have not said the Chaplain should not be engaged, merely that said engagement be very discrete and cautious. I said that because if we're not careful, we'll build a model that will not translate to another war in another place. I have no problem with doing what works and adapting to the situation -- I have big problems with building in a capability and a process that are not universally applicable

    I'd also suggest that the Chaplain has a responsibility to the entire unit and not just to those that attend religious services
    Or as an eloquent preacher once put it, "Is it better to invest in a hospital at the bottom of a cliff, or in a fence at the top?"
    Most preachers are eloquent. So are most lawyers. Both bear considerable watching.
    Again, please indulge me here a moment, this is not mere theoreticals - I have seen this work time and time again in OEF and OIF. Is it for all chaplains? No. Will it help in all situations? Maybe not. But one thing is absolutely sure: Iraqis are Muslims and religion is very important to them. Everything we do creates some effect in the AO. The problem I see is no one is measuring the 'religious effects' in the operation. This is mainly because RSTs are only doing half their job (minister to troops) and no one is minding the store when it comes to religious atmospherics.
    If that's the case, it's a function of personality and AO I suspect. Ministering to the troops is not half their job but it is their primary job; they need to be involved and advising -- IMO they should not be primary participants in MOST cases and never the sole participant in meetings with local entities where there is the slightest chance of a negotiation occurring.
    Yes, the INTEL community has the data, but is not equipped for providing the religious analysis. DoDD 1304.19 lays that responsibility squarely at the feet of the Chaplaincies of the US Armed Forces.
    We agree on the analysis portion, we agree that means interface with local religious types -- we disagree, I think, on how much more involvement there should be.
    So Ken, somebody needs to engage these SOIs. And to not engage them IS a message. To engage them without religious analysis is dangerous. AQI engages the Imams. JAM engages the Imams. This is not speculation - this is the reality on the ground. The Friday mosque sermon is the #1 most important venue of IO in Iraq today. Since late 2003, we have largely marginalized the clerics on a religious level.
    Sigh. One more time. I have no problem with engagement, I do believe it should not be done at any expense to the Chaplain's primary mission and I do believe, particularly in the ME, it should be done discretely and cautiously. I am concerned that too much stock be placed on the effort as a result of a specific set of circumstances and a a situationally dependent effort will get converted to doctrinal precept that is not generally applicable in other wars and in other theaters.

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    OK Ken, we agree on 95% of the issue. Please allow me to summarize some points here.

    1. Religious Support IAW Joint and Army doctrine comprises BOTH ministry to troops and families AND advising the commander. DoDD 1304.19 does not prioritize these capabilities. They are dependent on METT-TC and the commander's intent.

    2. Religious support teams (RST) comprise both commissioned officers and enlisted support personnel. The enlisted side are the primary operators/integrators of the advise-the-commander capability. They receive battle staff NCO training and manipulate products in support of operational planning.

    3. The culture within the Joint community has not embraced these capabilites fully. Most of the resistance is interior to the chaplaincies themselves.

    I am trying to act as an agent of change in order to leverage much-needed religious analysis capabilities in support of battle command. Proper utilization of chaplain assistant NCOs is critical to delivering this capability in full spectrum operations. As an agent of change, I advocate for cultural acceptance in the military community of these emerging capabilities.

    My personal belief is that one of these two COAs must be selected:

    1. The Joint service chaplaincies should extricate themselves completely from advising the commander and recommend the MI community hire some theologians, ministers and clergy;

    2. The Armed Forces (particularly Army) should grow force structure commensurate with the capabilities described in our discussion.

    Per doctrine: The environment in TRADOC today is 180 degrees from where it was just 3 years ago. Doctrine is a snapshot in time. Lessons learned drives everything today. Doctrine provides the view from 70,000 feet; lessons learned drives actions. This is a radical departure from the old Legacy Force, AirLand Battle, TRADOC way of developing doctrine. Tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) are far more important today than the field manuals. The religious support FM is 5 years old and badly out of date. Lessons learned in the contemporary operating environment are far more essential to mission accomplishment than the basics provided in the FM. The FM should always be consulted as the start point, but COIN is too dynamic to expect the FMs to provide the kind of detailed guidance required. All this requires wisdom and highly competent, adaptive leadership.
    Last edited by MSG Proctor; 03-01-2008 at 08:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
    I am trying to act as an agent of change in order to leverage much-needed religious analysis capabilities in support of battle command. Proper utilization of chaplain assistant NCOs is critical to delivering this capability in full spectrum operations. As an agent of change, I advocate for cultural acceptance in the military community of these emerging capabilities.

    My personal belief is that one of these two COAs must be selected:

    1. The Joint service chaplaincies should extricate themselves completely from advising the commander and recommend the MI community hire some theologians, ministers and clergy;

    2. The Armed Forces (particularly Army) should grow force structure commensurate with the capabilities described in our discussion.
    Quite early on in this thread, (here to be exact) I argued that there was a role for religious advisors as part of the human terrain/supportt element or something like a CA team. This seems to be pretty much what MSG Proctor proposes in his recommendation above.
    If you bring in the "pro's from Dover" to do the religious support role (and make that their full time job) and let staff chaplains do the, primarily, pastoral kinds of things that they have been traditionally expected to do, I suspect that the animosity WRT using Chaplains for the RSE mission might disappear, or at least abate rather significantly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    ...... I argued that there was a role for religious advisors as part of the human terrain/support element or something like a CA team. ....
    "If we don't care of the customer someone else will."

    WM,

    I agree with the above and would say that the resulting knowledge needs to integrated into the commanders daily common operational picture. Friday Sermons are just a small snapshot of how the religious community influences things:

    1) Religion is a huge component of the Iraqi battlespace that we do not address sufficiently. Unlike most of the west, Iraqi's are immersed in religion all day everyday. When we got rocketed or mortared it usually started before first prayer. Religious folks are key leaders and regular engagements need to be scripted for them just as we do with other key leaders. This is still a pick-up game in theater from what I can see.

    2) MSG Proctor has it right when he recounts that everybody downrange pitches in to get things done. Sometimes I would scam folks from the S1 shop to beef up my security number for some of my CA missions. Sometimes I would bring my team to beef up the Chaplain on his missions. Sometimes it was Combat Camera or the Historians.

    3-0 lists religion once, 3-24 has 19 entries, 3.05-40 has 17 entries.

    Ken,

    When I work Latin America we always incorporate opening and closing ceremonies for our projects. In Iraq I was outside the wire 7 days a week all day for the first half of 'my war' and 6 days a week for the second half. 99% of my nights were behind the wire. I have to defer to your 2 years on the economy, however I was struck by the power of religion to influence daily and long term events during my tour. I don't think this sphere of the 'human terrain' has been engaged effectively and I believe we have paid a price for that lack of effective engagement.

    Regards,

    Steve
    Sapere Aude

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    Council Member MSG Proctor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    ...I was struck by the power of religion to influence daily and long term events during my tour. I don't think this sphere of the 'human terrain' has been engaged effectively and I believe we have paid a price for that lack of effective engagement.

    Regards,

    Steve
    Steve:
    Bless you. That is all I have been trying to say. We have not done a good job of factoring religious analysis into our operational planning and I heartily concur, in your words, "we have paid a price".

    As of now, the commander's primary advisor on religion is his chaplain section. I will speak for myself only - I believe we have neglected that duty and that it has probably cost friendly lives. It is in order to save life and promote peace that I am speaking out on this issue; certainly that is in keeping with the spirit of religious support to our Armed Forces.

    As an insider, its difficult for me to be objective. I blame this situation on 3 things, not necessarily in order:

    1) Leadership within the Chaplaincies of the Armed Forces;
    2) Close-minded commanders who are dismissive of religion's influence in the AO;
    3) Strident secularization in our own culture which has ghettoized religion for us and blinded us to the primary and foundational role of religion in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    MSG P
    Last edited by MSG Proctor; 03-01-2008 at 11:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    Quite early on in this thread, (here to be exact) I argued that there was a role for religious advisors as part of the human terrain/supportt element or something like a CA team. This seems to be pretty much what MSG Proctor proposes in his recommendation above.
    If you bring in the "pro's from Dover" to do the religious support role (and make that their full time job) and let staff chaplains do the, primarily, pastoral kinds of things that they have been traditionally expected to do, I suspect that the animosity WRT using Chaplains for the RSE mission might disappear, or at least abate rather significantly.
    WM:
    The problem with that is that bringing in a ringer from outside the formation may not result in the kind of street cred we look for in a RLE. The chaplain in uniform is viewed by Iraqi clerics as:

    1) A scholar - Chaplains possess advanced graduate degrees, usually 96 hours worth (Master of Divinity)
    2) Mustashar ad deeny - "religious consultant to the commander"
    3) Christians in uniform - Iraqi Christians have impeccable reputations for integrity among Muslim Iraqis; this purchases a great deal of credilibility for staff chaplains as 'one of the Soldiers'.

    My personal conviction is that we need to expand chaplaincy force design to provide both capabilities to the commander (pastoral care and religious analysis). This type of warfare is probably not going away anytime soon.

    Irregular warfare is about people, not platforms. IW depends not just on
    our military prowess, but also our understanding of such social dynamics as
    tribal politics, social networks, religious influences, and cultural mores. People,
    not platforms and advanced technology, will be the key to IW success. The joint
    force will need patient, persistent, and culturally savvy people to build the local
    relationships and partnerships essential to executing IW.
    - Irregular Warfare Joint Operating Concept, 2007
    Last edited by MSG Proctor; 03-01-2008 at 11:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
    WM:
    The problem with that is that bringing in a ringer from outside the formation may not result in the kind of street cred we look for in a RLE. The chaplain in uniform is viewed by Iraqi clerics as:

    1) A scholar - Chaplains possess advanced graduate degrees, usually 96 hours worth (Master of Divinity)
    2) Mustashar ad deeny - "religious consultant to the commander"
    3) Christians in uniform - Iraqi Christians have impeccable reputations for integrity among Muslim Iraqis; this purchases a great deal of credilibility for staff chaplains as 'one of the Soldiers'.

    My personal conviction is that we need to expand chaplaincy force design to provide both capabilities to the commander (pastoral care and religious analysis). This type of warfare is probably not going away anytime soon.
    While my referenced post suggested using civilian members of the cloth on the teams, that membership need not be exclusively civilian. As to the 3 points in your response, I think pretty much any ordained mainstream minister or priest must have graduated from a seminary, hence holds a M. Div, D. Div, or perhaps a Doctor of Theology. (I was going to write Th.D. but I had flashbacks to the Scarecrow's Doctor of Thinkology from the "Wizard of Oz.") Having such a degree could easily be a condition of hire on the team.
    On point 2, I am not clear how a uniform conveys "advisor to the commander" status. Please elaborate.
    And on point 3, again I fail to see how the difference between being a Christian and being a Christian in uniform adds status. I have visions of the Knights Templar and Hospitalier during the Crusades, who were "clerics in uniform" and pretty roundly hated by their Moslem opponents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
    OK Ken, we agree on 95% of the issue. Please allow me to summarize some points here.
    Perhaps but the glaring 5% is that I think the unit Chaplain should not exceed his doctrinal advisory role.
    1. Religious Support IAW Joint and Army doctrine comprises BOTH ministry to troops and families AND advising the commander. DoDD 1304.19 does not prioritize these capabilities. They are dependent on METT-TC and the commander's intent.
    We can totally agree on that. Hopefully to the point that if the Commander elects not to use the Chaplain other than minimally in the advisory role, that ends the discussion and the Chaplain does not get recourse through the tech chain to overrule that Commander.
    3. The culture within the Joint community has not embraced these capabilites fully. Most of the resistance is interior to the chaplaincies themselves.
    I can believe that and hopefully, that is acceptable to all. No Chaplain should be forced, coerced or even nudged into a role which he believes for whatever reason he is not suited or should not perform. Nor should any Commander be forced to use his Chaplain in a way he does not believe suitable.
    My personal belief is that one of these two COAs must be selected:

    1. The Joint service chaplaincies should extricate themselves completely from advising the commander and recommend the MI community hire some theologians, ministers and clergy;

    2. The Armed Forces (particularly Army) should grow force structure commensurate with the capabilities described in our discussion.
    I disagree with COA 1, agree with COA 2 -- and believe that those capabilities should not come from unit ministry teams but should use the Bde and higher level Chaplians. Even that does not negate my belief that Chaplains should not engage in negotiations without a representative of the Chain of Command present. I say that because, as you said:
    "The moral, ethical and spiritual duty of the chaplain is always humanitarian, including in COIN."
    That is a potential disconnect between the Commanders intent and the Chaplains beliefs and attitude. That possible difference should be judged very carefully.
    Per doctrine: The environment in TRADOC today is 180 degrees from where it was just 3 years ago. Doctrine is a snapshot in time. Lessons learned drives everything today. Doctrine provides the view from 70,000 feet; lessons learned drives actions. This is a radical departure from the old Legacy Force, AirLand Battle, TRADOC way of developing doctrine. Tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) are far more important today than the field manuals. The religious support FM is 5 years old and badly out of date. Lessons learned in the contemporary operating environment are far more essential to mission accomplishment than the basics provided in the FM. The FM should always be consulted as the start point, but COIN is too dynamic to expect the FMs to provide the kind of detailed guidance required. All this requires wisdom and highly competent, adaptive leadership.
    I accept and agree with all that. However, I've been in, part of or have watched this Army for well over 50 years and I know how 'doctrine' gets prostituted, morphed and just plain screwed up and I know all too well how things get embedded and that many of those things, predicated on one war at one point in time do not translate well to other wars and other places.

    FYI, TTP have ALWAYS been far more important than doctrine, always will be. Unfortunately, the TTP do not drive TOE design or staffing, the doctrine does. We should be more flexible. We are not. As I said earlier, be careful what you want, you may get it...

    I submit in this case that the system is working and that people are adapting and the job is getting done. It may not be done the way you'd wish -- but it doesn't have to be your way to work.

    WM said:
    If you bring in the "pro's from Dover" to do the religious support role (and make that their full time job) and let staff chaplains do the, primarily, pastoral kinds of things that they have been traditionally expected to do, I suspect that the animosity WRT using Chaplains for the RSE mission might disappear, or at least abate rather significantly.
    Exactly! Though to be knowledgeable locally, they probably ought to be the Bde Chaplains.

    Steve said:
    ...In Iraq I was outside the wire 7 days a week all day for the first half of 'my war' and 6 days a week for the second half. 99% of my nights were behind the wire. I have to defer to your 2 years on the economy, however I was struck by the power of religion to influence daily and long term events during my tour. I don't think this sphere of the 'human terrain' has been engaged effectively and I believe we have paid a price for that lack of effective engagement.
    I'm well aware of the depth and pervasiveness of religion and it does drive many things in the ME. It is an exceptionally powerful force there. That is precisely why I say use of Chaplains in an operational or negotiating mode as opposed to pure advisory effort must be done cautiously and discreetly anywhere -- that is particularly true in the ME.

    I think it has not been engaged simply because we eschewed COIN and related stuff for 30 years and a lot of older knowledge got lost due to that. As I pointed out earlier, Chaplains were used in the negotiating role in Viet Nam and they served as advisors to the commanders; we just had to reinvent the wheel.

    Consider that the first 18 months in Iraq, we were totally out to lunch -- almost nothing was done logically or sensibly with rare exceptions for some units. That's not a smack on the units or commanders there at the time -- it IS a smack at the senior leadership of the Army from 1975-2001 who allowed a critical part of total spectrum warfare to be ignored. The troops in those early days were thrown in to a situation for which they had received no training at all.

    Over the next 18 months, we figured it out and then it took another 18 to get the processes and TTP down and embedded. Now we're clicking pretty good. It took seven years to turn around things in Viet Nam, this time it only took us three -- we're getting better!

    As I said, the system is working -- now -- so any further 'fixes' need to be watched very carefully. Like the man said, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.'

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    Council Member MSG Proctor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    On point 2, I am not clear how a uniform conveys "advisor to the commander" status. Please elaborate.

    And on point 3, again I fail to see how the difference between being a Christian and being a Christian in uniform adds status. I have visions of the Knights Templar and Hospitalier during the Crusades, who were "clerics in uniform" and pretty roundly hated by their Moslem opponents.
    I didn't say the uniform conveyed "advisor to the commander" but the title mustashar ad deeny does. The uniform identifies the chaplain as a Soldier under the commander's authority. It also conveys the message that CF care about religion. Some AQ IO messages attempt to cast us as godless secularizers. We must counter those IO themes. Any perception that we are a threat to Islam will energize the powerful clerics against us.

    You are completely mistaken about the opinion of Christians in Iraq. They are fellow Arabs, Iraqi patriots, and they have a marvelous reputation for integrity, honesty and fidelity among their Muslim neighbors. The Chaplain's appearance as a Christian mustashar ad deeny affords tremendous credibility to the RLE process. Here's what Iraq's Muslims think of their Christian neighbors.
    Last edited by MSG Proctor; 03-02-2008 at 01:00 AM.

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    Can't contribute much, but what an incredibly interesting discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
    3) Strident secularization in our own culture which has ghettoized religion for us and blinded us to the primary and foundational role of religion in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Amen to that! Although I don't have personal experience I would imagine #2 plays a large role as well.

    MSG Proctor, I'm agreeing with just about everything (that I understand anyway) you're saying. If religion has such a big role in Islamic culture, and no doubt it does, then we need to have religion play a larger role as well in our interactions with them. JMO. Surprised no one's really brought up faith-based NGO's and their place in COIN operations. Can they or do they work with the military Chaplains currently in Iraq or Afghanistan?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Consider that the first 18 months in Iraq, we were totally out to lunch -- almost nothing was done logically or sensibly with rare exceptions for some units. That's not a smack on the units or commanders there at the time -- it IS a smack at the senior leadership of the Army from 1975-2001 who allowed a critical part of total spectrum warfare to be ignored. The troops in those early days were thrown in to a situation for which they had received no training at all.

    Over the next 18 months, we figured it out and then it took another 18 to get the processes and TTP down and embedded. Now we're clicking pretty good. It took seven years to turn around things in Viet Nam, this time it only took us three -- we're getting better!

    As I said, the system is working -- now -- so any further 'fixes' need to be watched very carefully. Like the man said, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.'
    Whoa! Not so fast there, Ken. I know what you are trying to say and there is strong merit to your argument but a little history is in order here.

    I have provided the below quoted passages from the 22 FEB 08 CRS Report on OIF in response to the substantial level of repudiation some of us vets of OIF 1 have encountered when making comparisons to the current COIN efforts in the ITO.

    This comparison may appear gratuitous at first, however, I beg your indulgence if for no other reason than the following:

    1. RLE was piloted in (what is now) the MND-N AO (Mosul) by then MG Petraeus as part of his OIF I COIN strategy;
    2. This TTP was adopted by MG Sanchez and BG Dempsey in (what is now) the MND-B AO and over 500 RLEs were executed in Baghdad through January 2004;
    3. The "FOBization" of CF described in the 2nd paragraph below coincided with the end of comprehensive RLE and the enemy-centric focus of OIF from 2004-2006;
    4. The current COIN focus implemented under GEN Petraeus' leadership is very much based on successful TTP, best practices and lessons learned from OIF I.

    Hopefully we can take advantage of this grace period of relative securiy and avoid the tragic mistakes of post OIF I strategies.

    ================================================== =======
    Quotes from the CRS Report

    388 Coalition military “governance” efforts in 2008 are very similar to those in 2003. In 2003, faced with a very limited civilian presence, commanders “leaned forward” and worked with Iraqis to form provincial and local councils, to help Iraqis articulate, prioritize, and represent their concerns.
    Another key set of population security approaches involved troop presence —
    including not only increasing the number of troops but also changing their footprint. From late in the formal occupation through 2006 — including Operation Together Forward — coalition forces in Iraq had been consolidated at relatively large Forward Operating Bases (FOBs). Surge strategy called for getting troops off of the FOBs and out into local communities, to live and work among the population. As Major General James Simmons, III Corps and MNC-I Deputy Commanding General, stated: “You have to get out and live with the people.”

    This thinking, though new as the premise for U.S. Iraq strategy, was not new.
    Some practitioners on the ground in Iraq had suggested as early as 2003 that substantial political and economic progress could not be expected, absent basic security conditions that allowed Iraqis to leave their homes, and civilian coalition personnel to engage with local communities.173
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 03-02-2008 at 04:06 AM.

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    Default Uh, well yeah -- and none of that changes what

    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post
    Whoa! Not so fast there, Ken. I know what you are trying to say and there is strong merit to your argument but a little history is in order here....
    I said for all practical intents and purposes. Some units 'got it' in OIF 1. So did some in OIF 2 and some in OIF 3, etc. etc. I had friends and acquaintances in all of them except 4, my son was in OIF 2 and his unit did it right. The bottom line is took THE ARMY over three years to get its act together. Sort of, anyway.

    That's the point I've been trying to make -- I agree with you that UNITS are flexible and will do what it takes to get the job done and that's great. However,the Army is not flexible and seemingly new ideas (as I also said, this has been done before, we just forgot how to do it) are frequently a double edged sword. What can be and is done in some units at a point in time may not be the ideal solution for everyone or everywhere. Be careful what you try to get the system to buy.

    There be Dragons...

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSG Proctor View Post

    You are completely mistaken about the opinion of Christians in Iraq. They are fellow Arabs, Iraqi patriots, and they have a marvelous reputation for integrity, honesty and fidelity among their Muslim neighbors. The Chaplain's appearance as a Christian mustashar ad deeny affords tremendous credibility to the RLE process. Here's what Iraq's Muslims think of their Christian neighbors.
    I was not addressing what Iraqis thought about other Iraqis. What Iraqi Muslims may think about their fellow Iraqis who are also Chrisitians is a non sequitur. By not being Iraqis first, Coalition Forces Christians are in quite a different category. Tribalism and long-time local connection (produced simply by the fact that one's family/relatives have lived in the same place for generations) are rather tough obstacles to overcome, even in the US.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skiguy View Post
    Can't contribute much, but what an incredibly interesting discussion.


    Amen to that! Although I don't have personal experience I would imagine #2 plays a large role as well.

    MSG Proctor, I'm agreeing with just about everything (that I understand anyway) you're saying. If religion has such a big role in Islamic culture, and no doubt it does, then we need to have religion play a larger role as well in our interactions with them. JMO. Surprised no one's really brought up faith-based NGO's and their place in COIN operations. Can they or do they work with the military Chaplains currently in Iraq or Afghanistan?
    Skiguy:
    There have been Islamic NGOs (such as the Red Crescent) in OIF and there may have been some western NGOs operating under the UN umbrella - not sure about that. The main issue I think has been providing security - conditions where its safe enough to operate as NGOs. That may be a next step. As the Iraqi economy opens up to foreign investment, I would hope that international NGOs/PVOs would also be able to share benevolence with the Iraqi people.

    On a cultural level, not sure how feasible it is to present Arabs with charity. Its better to arm the tribal elder or mosque leader with the benefits and let him distribute the assistance. That is sound COIN principle (them doing something tolerably is better than us doing it with excellence). For example, it is better to enhance the local village's physician/clinic by providing him with medical supplies and presenting the appearance that he is in charge of our medics as we assist. That way we build up Iraqi infrastructure and we receed into a supporter role.

    The Catholic Near East Welfare Association supports projects in the ME and in Iraq. My family contributes to the Iraqi Church through this oustanding organization. I'm sure there are others, but this is the NGO I am most acquainted with.
    Last edited by MSG Proctor; 03-02-2008 at 05:48 PM.

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    Council Member MSG Proctor's Avatar
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    Default Maybe this will help...

    http://www.twq.com/06spring/docs/06spring_hassner.pdf

    Fighting Insurgency on Sacred Ground
    Ron E. Hassner

    "The religious implications of military operations at mosques are notoriously
    complex, often vague or contradictory, always perplexing, and yet also
    significant. The most obvious means of navigating this religious-legal minefield
    is by eliciting the assistance of qualified guides. Religious leaders at all levels
    from the imam of the mosque in question or a neighboring mosque to a leading
    religious actor at the state level to a religious expert in another Muslim
    country or even in the United States can provide key facts about the targeted
    site, its meaning to worshippers, existing restrictions on access and behavior,
    and crucial information about sensitive times and dates.

    Although religious leaders should not be expected to cooperate enthusiastically
    with military commanders who are plotting assaults on their mosques, the leaders
    should be willing to provide information that can help minimize damage to
    its most important elements, keep believers out of harm’s way, and reduce
    the risk of sacrilege and desecration.

    If Iraqi religious leaders are willing, their cooperation with U.S. counterinsurgency
    efforts can provide far more than factual information. Religious leaders’ power lies
    in their ability to span both religious knowledge and religious action. Because of
    their expertise, they are capable of applying and interpreting formal religious rules
    to changing circumstances. Cooperative religious leaders are therefore even
    potentially capable of redefining the rules that govern behavior and access to sacred
    places in a manner conducive to counterinsurgency efforts. Although there are limits
    on religious leaders’ abilities to stretch the boundaries of the sacred, the reach and
    ingenuity of these limits can be surprising. At the same time,
    religious leaders who are left out of the decisionmaking process are likely to hamper
    efforts to conduct successful operations
    (emphasis mine) in or near
    sacred sites. Influential imams can enhance the value of a sacred site that is under
    attack, expand its boundaries, or increase the insurgents’ freedom of operation within
    its confines."
    Last edited by MSG Proctor; 03-03-2008 at 03:25 AM.

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