Provocative question: Time to shrink the Navy Chaplain Corps?

by Craig Hooper on June 14, 2010

With a budget squeeze looming, CNO Admiral Roughead says it’s time to ask provocative questions…Well, here’s one:  Is it time to shrink the Navy Chaplain Corps?

My answer?  Yes.  Here’s why:

Too many stars for too few souls:

The Chaplain Corps is top-heavy.  Throughout the course of World War II, the Navy Chief of Chaplains was a Captain.  But a mere month before World War II ended, the Chief of Chaplains become a Rear Admiral–a rank that Chief of Chaplains have enjoyed ever since.

But the Navy, since 1944, shrank by 90%–going from 3.2 million souls in 1944 to 0.32 million in 2010. Logic suggests the Chief of Chaplains should have reverted back to the rank of Captain.

But…well, where high-ranking billets are concerned, logic doesn’t apply.  Today, according to my trusty 2010 Proceedings Naval Review, the current Chief of Chaplains has three deputies–two Rear Admirals (LH) and one Rear Admiral (LH) Sel (Bios here, here, here and here).

Is this Chaplaincy Corps “rank inflation” meant to better manage souls or to better manage…Chaplaincy Corps bureaucracy?  It is an open question.

Too many chaplains:

Though the total force has shrunk by 90% since 1944, the total chaplain force remains high.

During World War II, over 2,800 chaplains were called up to active duty.  But according to a 2007 Navy news release, the Navy recently employed 856 active duty chaplains, 232 Reserve chaplains, 782 active duty religious program specialists, and 202 Reserve religious program specialists.

The Chaplain Corps must shrink to reflect the 90% reduction from it’s total strength during World War II–to about 280.

To be honest, there are too many staff chaplains.  In 2005, of the 903 active-duty Navy Chaplains, only 300 were deployed (as battle Chaplains or on vessels). 600 were serving on bases–where, presumably, plenty of off-base religious resources exist.  Only about 20% of U.S. naval vessels have a permanent chaplain attached to the crew.

Why so many shore-based billets?

Cut ‘em. Are there no shore-based civilian alternatives?
Are chaplains leveraging technology to increase efficiency?

Navy Chaplains have been associated with the Navy since 1775.  But, today, the world is changing in ways that might reduce the need for the Navy to provide extensive “in person” spiritual guidance.

Connectivity and the Internet empowers more sailors to reach out for spiritual guidance than ever before–so why not encourage sailors to maintain (or build) links to their own personal religious home?  Wouldn’t it be just as good to encourage pastors from the home-front to polish their emailing skills, gin up their webcams and check on deployed members of their flock?  Lord knows we need Chaplains, but enabling support from home would probably cost less and–by injecting the Navy into the home front–do far greater good for the Navy.

Are Navy Chaplains working to leverage technology and enable home-front chaplains to care for their own?  Again, it’s an open question.

Or…are Navy chaplains spending too much time making work for themselves and the rest of the Navy?  By waging bureaucratic warfare?  Or designing a new 12 million dollar Chaplain training center (offering a CAPT billet for the Naval portion of the joint school, by the way…) Or generating costly litigation?  The Chaplaincy Corps bureaucracy is becoming self perpetuating and helping keep other non-fighting commands–like the JAG Corps–busy.

If the Chaplaincy Corps is becoming a problem for the wider Navy community, then cut it.

Does the Navy need a Chaplaincy Corps?

It’s time to show the cards.  Where is the data that shows the Navy needs a Chaplaincy Corps?  The Navy may need to commission some studies to learn just how much demand for a Chaplaincy Corps there is in the ranks.

With the Chaplaincy Corps eating up millions of dollars a year, just how important are Chaplains to Navy personnel?  For Force morale?  Has demand grown or shrunk over the years?  These are questions that the Navy needs to answer.  Because I fear we’re pouring a lot of money and resources into a top-heavy, self-perpetuating bureaucracy that doesn’t add a lot of value to the Navy.

It’s a provocative question, but it’s an important one for a Navy that must begin reflecting fiscal realities and, well, shrink.

  • Chaps in Training

    Dude, for reals. I understand where you are coming from about the Chap Corp being top heavy. I will agree with you there. But that is it. Have considered that maybe only 30% of the Chaplain Corp is deployed because 30% of the Navy Marine Corp is deployed? Are you wanting the Navy Chaps to be deployed all the time or even 50% of the time? Yeah I’d like to see you try that one? What about allowing them to see their families and having a year or two between deployments for some R&R? I am prior enlisted and did 4 ship board deployments in 4 years. Go ahead and try it once. Yeah, thats home less then 6 months between rodeos when you consider work ups. Oh, don’t forget getting paid jack crap, working 12-20hr days, and living in a coffin. Have you tried that one? Chaplains are the only reason I made it through all of the deployments and am still happily married. I am now attending school full time and still a reservist; doing deployment number 5 in a few months. I AM SO TIRED OF CIVILIANS COMMENTING ON THR MILIYARY AS IF THEY KNOW; civilian dod isn’t really the military either- you all get it too easy. The reason I am attending school, 3 of 7 years down, is to become a Navy Chaplain. I have seen the positive influence they have on sailors, whether religious followers or not, and I want to be apart of the impact they have on the crew. Just for the record 5 chaplains on a carrier is already short enough, how can anyone effectively serve 1,000 people??? Imagine 1 Chaplain for every 2,000, that’s just retarded. Craig, go ahead and comment on me ranting, but until you are enlisted and do 5 deployments in 8 years you’ve got no place to comment on the importance of Chaplains.

  • George

    My neighbor is a Navy Chaplain, Seventh Day Adventist. He started college in Puerto Rico, at an Adventist college in 1990 got his BA in 1993 – 3 years! Next he got his Masters AND Doctor of Divinity degrees in three years ONLINE. Tell me he was gainfully employed! Everyone knows a Masters is usually two years and a Doctorate is usually three years in a traditional college. His thesis was, “Counseling Sailors on the Iwo Jima,” which is a ridiculous subject for a Doctors thesis. I did my 32 years in the Navy and then went to Iraq and Pakistan for four years. When I returned this joker was driving a government cars home and moonlighting as a sonogram technician, he was promoted to O4. After full knowledge of this his people promoted him to O5 August 2012. He has a kid he says is autistic. My wife taught special ed for 13 years and that kid is NOT autistic; he speaks normally and can text messages on a cell phone while walking. The Cuban-born chaplain uses the Exceptional Family Member program so that he doesn’t have to deploy. His Haitian commanding officer covers for him when it comes to Inspector General investigations and FOIA requests, His wife stated that Santiago was able to bring home hospital sheets and supplies from the hospital he was moonlighting at. He was promoted even when he used government vehicle for his personal use – including driving to and from his moonlighting job – a violation of numerous UCMJ articles. He even prompted an NCIS agent buddy to come to my house to intimidate me. The NCIS agent was off range and should also have been reprimanded. He works about half a day when he does go into work. Sound like a Navy Master Chief? Your dam right.

  • DevilDog

    Greetings Shipmates, Fellow Marines if there are any worthy of making a comment. First of all, of course every discipline of the Navy could use some trimming especially from the CNO office and down. It is imperative to have Chaplain’s in the Bush with you and on board ship. My hat goes off to the RP at Coronado that wasted his time when there wasn’t anything to do as he claimed. Perhaps he was not into Physical Fitness or education but the bottom line is that he had no efficient managers that didn’t employ him. It doesn’t depicts what my Chaplain and RP did for our unit cohesiveness and etc. They were always on point plus the Colonel had them gainfully employed. Lastly, my Chaplain was a Licensed Counsel and was well credentialed and able to PT with us without any reservations. Lastly, please allow the paid professional to address these matters and derive at a solution to serve our Men and women of the Naval Services. “Scuba err!

  • http://craigrhooper.com Craig Hooper

    Hey, great comment. My primary beef is with the shore establishment and the resulting rank inflation. There’s got to be a way to have battle chaplains without needing a brace of chaplain admirals and administrative-chaplain experts. I feel that the presence of the shore establishment kinda limits the way we think about how civilian alternatives can support their troops, you know? But the guys like you who go out there and support the troops where they need support are the kind of chaplains I’d love to see more of. You are going where you are needed–I’d love to go embed with you and report on what you do. Can’t wait to see your blog, and feel free to email me directly to chat more.

  • http://www.blogginchaps.blogspot.com Rob

    Hey, Mr. Hooper. I’m getting ready to go on a 7 month deployment with my Marines to Afghanistan. Would you like to join me to see first-hand what a hard-working Navy Chaplain can do for his boys while they’re engaging in combat? I would almost guarantee you that your experience would change your mind.

    Also, I was a civilian Pastor for 10 years before coming on to active duty. I spent 7 of those years at a large mega-church of over 5,000 people. I can tell you that, for the most part, your idea that civilian pastors can adequately pull the load of both their local church and the various units of Marines & Sailors around them is both narrow and short-sighted.

    Sure, they will be able to attend worship gatherings and programs at these churches, but only while in port or not deployed. What happens while they are deployed and very much in need of religion (whatever their flavor), counseling, and most importantly, the ministry of presence. And it’s this last piece, this ministry of presence, that makes the rest of our job that much more effective than any other alternative the Navy can dream up.

    Speaking as a former civilian pastor, I can assure you that the bulk of civilian pastors are quite consumed by the programs and affairs of their local churches. Their ability to be with the Marines & Sailors and give them the required attention is severely limited both in scope and quality (and in many cases, their heart and passion are not engaged to reach out to the military, at least not in a way that would adequately care for the troops). Remember, the difference with Navy Chaplains is that they go with their people wherever they go.

    Now I agree with some others in their posts that there are some bad Navy Chaplains. I’ve seen them first-hand. My suggestion: get rid of them. Stop promoting people that are bad Chaplains. Fill the billets with good people, and if you don’t have good people, leave the billets unfilled until you do find someone qualified to fill them.

    And if you want to get rid of base chapels, fine. People can find local churches to attend. Just don’t get rid of the base Chaplains themselves. Let them continue to care for base personnel in ways that the local civilian pastors cannot. But remember, having a worship gathering (or divine services as the Navy calls them) is one form of care also. I am with a Marine battalion and while we’re in garrison, I don’t hold divine services because of the base chapels and the local churches. However, I don’t sit on my thumbs with the extra time. I use that time to do the other things that only Chaplains can do for their Marines. Then, when we deploy or are out in the field training, I hold divine services for them and help facilitate religious freedom for those of other faiths under my care. I have no problem with this kind of approach. It makes sense. Perhaps it could mirror a possible solution in the present debate.

    Again, Mr. Hooper, the invitation still stands. I wish there was a way for you to accompany me on our deployment to the Helmand Province. I plan to blog about it, minding OPSEC of course; perhaps you could follow along at my blog to see for yourself what it’s like to be a Navy Chaplain. Check it out: http://www.blogginchaps.blogspot.com. I haven’t started yet because we haven’t deployed yet, but you will see the deployment posts beginning very soon. Hope you take the journey with me, and better yet, hope you change your mind about Chaplains.

  • Someone who has stood duty

    I suspect that those of you who doubt the necessity of the chaplain corps have never stood duty when there is a sailor with suicidal ideations. A chaplain is very often the first person they will request to talk to. There is a lot less stigma about talking to a chaplain (many of which have graduate degrees in counseling) than talking to medical. Also its kind of silly to say that line officers can provide the same level of support as a Chaplain. Its easy to make generalizations from an easy chair but there is a really good reason why the Navy has the Chaplain Corps. Loosing the Chaplain Corps would be catastrophic.

  • Former Marine and Chaplain

    I believe chaplains are useful. I switched from a career in the Marines to the Chaplain Corps because I wanted to specialize in personnel issues, worship and such. I have had nothing but great tours as a chaplain (including OEF and OIF) and felt that my RPs and I have contributed to our commands’ capabilities and missions. I’ve mentored and counseled many sailors and Marines through crisis situations, including CO’s, XO’s and CMC’s. I respect the job line officers and staff corps officers do, as well as the enlisted leadership. I believe my job is respected most when handling tragedies, but also whenever they can count on me to focus on issues requiring my specialized skill set.

    I don’t believe targeting one community is the right answer. Perhaps a perpetual, comprehensive review of Navy missions and manpower is in order. Good chaplains earn their keep. Same with good RPs. From experience, I can tell you civilian clergy and mental health professionals are helpful, but don’t serve or help the same way a chaplain does. As a former Marine SNCO, I can also tell you that most CPOs or SNCOs are not going to have the counseling or crisis skills, or the time to effectively deal with the troops in every situation.

    Yes, I’ve got a dog in this fight. But I believe 25 years in uniform; enlisted, officer, USMC and USN has given me the perspective to see that some people are just bitter, while others are just out to make a name for themselves. My hope is that wisdom prevails and that the Navy makes the right manpower choices, whatever they are.

  • Jack Sparrow

    I’d say that the RP rating could go away all together. Talk about bloat, redundancy, fraud, waste, and abuse. What do they do that the chaplain couldn’t do himself or that a YN or CA couldn’t do? I mean, they aren’t even real Sailors.

  • Another Former RP

    I, too, was an active duty RP (Religious Program Specialist) from 1994 to 1999. Served on two ships (USS Nassau and USS Antietam) via a duty station “swap” and spent my last two years serving at the base chapel at NAB Coronado. Back then, the Chaplain Corps was a joke and so was the RP job. Granted, I loved having a “skate” job on the ships, but there really was no need to have two or three or four RPs on a ship (or at a base chapel). Our base chapel even had a civilian secretary who manned the front desk for us! We just sat around and doodled on the Internet all day (the Internet was just newly installed back then). Nobody on the ships ever really listened to the Chaplain’s Evening Prayer at 10 PM every night while at sea. Just another outdated, old-fashioned tradition that needs to go by the wayside. I say do away with the Chaplains and RP rating. Mostly a waste of money and time.

  • Former RP

    Oh, and before anyone jumps on me… I realize that I left of one “n” on one of my “seens” … but I can’t change it so if you want to jump all over my typo, lighten up and go have a drink!

  • Former RP

    As a retired RP, I can attest to what the author is talking about. I have seen so much fraud, waste and abuse within the CHC and it is disgusting. I have seen the ridiculous and self serving fights over “I don’t want your Catholic Christmas ornaments on my protesant tree”. I have seen the OVER exagerated numbers of fitreps and quarterly reports. I have seen senior chaplains who CREATE another layer of beauracracy on shore so they would not have to go to sea. I have see the “work” that is created to justify their existence. I have also seen junior chaplains who have a heart to serve Sailors hamstrung by senior chaplains, get discouraged and get out.

    I have seen some chaplains who really care about Sailors and actually do some good. But mostly I have seen the chaplains used mainly as counselors for people with work stress and marriage stress (a lot of times because honey buns can’t keep out of the bars picking up dates when he/she is deployed or when Sailor spouse is gone).

    The CHC COULD be reduced drastically if we made a Warrant Officer program to deal with the counseling cases which are 99% non-religious cases. Did you know that a LARGE quantity of your chaplains are NOT licensed counselors or have degrees in counseling/psychology? You are getting your counsleing from a guy/gal with a degree in Biblical language or pastoral ministries or some other lame-o degree and with relatively minimal counseling training. We could get rid of chapels/chaplain on shore duty where there are hundreds of civilian churches they could go..Oh I can hear the CHEAP retirees/Philipino RCs screaming now about that… I can tell you from EXPERIENCE that about 90% of the population of the shore based RC services were made up of: retirees who a) still want to be called by their rank or b) are too cheap to PAY for their kids CCD (civilian parishes charge for CCD) and/or Philipinos. Every once in awhile, a few active duty Sailors show up for mass.

    We could use lay leaders for divine services on ships/subs and USMC units. We could keep one RP or YN with an NEC for logistical/training needs of the lay leaders. Have a RPC/RPCS/RPCM to coordinate the regional needs of the lay leaders of the ships/subs/USMC units. Most small boys use lay leaders now anyway.

    I don’t agree with the author that Sailors can access their home town pastors via the internet – dude, have you been deployed? Not everyone has good access to computers and if you do (ie: the ship’s library) there usually a time limit and no privacy. And forget it if we go to River City! NO acess… or if the command doesn’t want you talking- they can just take your acess away.

    I do think we need counselors – there is a lot of stress going on… but for those of you who want to argue last rights? Jewish personnel have those requirements too but we don’t have Rabbis for everyone.

    The CHC should get rid of their rank like the British navy – that would help A LOT. Pay by seniority. As one British chaplain I worked for in San Diego said, “I am the rank of whoever I am talking to.” A concept that most US Sailors had a hard time wrapping their head around.

    The atmosphere in the Navy CHC is supposedly so “pluralistic” now anyway, we really could use lay leaders and licensed counselors with a few admin assistants and do away with the CHC all together… but I know that the CHC will circle the wagons and bemoan how “critical” they are to the mission that all of this is just wishful thinking.

  • Pingback: In Press: NextNavy talks Rank Inflation

  • WESTPAC Warrior

    Craig,
    I have been in the canoe club for 22 years and I have got to say the topic of this article deserves more attention than its getting. You’re getting pounded on but thanks for mentioning a touchy subject in a Navy forum and opening yourself up for criticism. I hear a lot of people wanting Chaplains around because they provide “comfort” and do the counseling CPO’s and Officers should be doing but don’t want to do. Bottom line, I think people don’t want to face up to the fact we can’t have everything anymore and that there is a real need for our leadership to seriously look at at ways to free up resources and save money. I don’t want to single Chaplains out, there is a lot of bloat out there in the Navy that needs to be dealt with. As an example, we have more FO’s than ships in the Navy. With every flag comes a bloated staff. There is something wrong with that. I think people need to get a handle on the fact that very quickly cuts are coming and programs are going to be slashed. Navy’s are expensive and I would rather spend our shrinking slice of the pie on something that has a flash to bang sequence. That’s what the Navy is about, winning our nation’s wars at sea and keeping SLOC’s open for international commerce. Ask yourself “what does the (insert staff corps element or afloat/shore staff here) do to complete the Navy’s mission of winning wars and maintaining SLOC’s”? If the answer is “not much” then cut it and keep moving. While killing off the Chaplain Corps isn’t going to solve our financial problems, Sailors need to understand the status quo is no longer sustainable. If Chaplain’s, Supply Officers and all the rest of the restricted line community must go and we have to rework how we do intel and comms to lighten up those communities then so be it.

  • girlswo

    Civilian chaplains cannot always be the right answer as our Sailors, ships, squadrons or subs, have somewhat unique situations. There is also the part where a pastoral counseling is sought by people from people they have a relationship with, not some random guy out the gate. Are they sometime? Absolutely. THe churches on base are lovely, but are they used (I don’t know and am asking).

    I question the WWII comparison as we are not fighting WWII, wrapped that on up almost 65 years ago.

  • Alpha

    I vote that we skip the Chaplains and get decent Docs in the Medical Corps.

    Craig, don’t fool yourself…. Quite a bit is sacred.

  • Florida SWO

    When you write “us” as in “let us know,” who exactly are you referring to? I never said that the Navy did not need to make cuts. I suggested that using WWII is not the best reference for determining force structure and neither is Proceedings. I don’t disagree with your point about the need for cuts, I just think your arguments for cuts are flawed and your defense of those points (lashing out at the surface force) is even worse.

  • http://craigrhooper.com Craig Hooper

    @ FloridaSWO. With the budget that’s coming down the pike, nothing is sacred. It’s seriously time to look at everything–and, well, I assume you’d rather the cuts come out of staff rather than the line communities. Gates has already set a guidance for cutting and reducing flag billets. So it’s gonna get done….And if it does not (and given the hue and cry over a simple “call for studies and justification” I wonder if it will) we can just chop some of the ships you might want to serve in, keep reducing training time, and send you to sea with few (and few reliable) missiles… So yeah, I think cutting out the staff and bureaucracy in places like the Chaplain Corps makes sense–there’s fat to cut there. But if you SWOs don’t see it that way, then hey, let us know what you’ll sacrifice to keep the Chaplain Corps at full strength. And full of nice Admiral-chaplain-administrators.

    @ Noidea: You say that “a military chaplain deals with FAR more unique situations every day than a civilian one.”

    Wow. Noidea, I think you need to go talk to some civilian clergy! They’ll set you straight in a jiffy.

    And you know, with better training, the civilian clergy (particularly those in the large base towns) could be far more a help to service members, reservists and vets than they already are.

    But again, if you want the same old system in place, then what in your community are you willing to sacrifice to keep the Chaplain Corps at full strength?

  • NoIdea

    “But, that said, good civilian chaplains comfort the sick and aggrieved every damn day.”

    This statement really shows two things. One, you have no actual idea what you’re talking about as you have no real experience in the Navy, and two, that a military chaplain deals with FAR more unique situations every day than a civilian one. With the unique training they get they can better counsel people, and more importantly, it’s a lot easier for soldiers, sailors and marines to open up to someone who has seen or been to where they have.

    It’s actually funny reading some of your blog, because it shows how civilians may believe whatever drivel you write, but anyone with any experience in the Navy knows you’re full of it.

    Lastly, it seems you’re a Prof. at Naval Postgraduate School, question: why doesn’t anyone know you? And why aren’t you teaching any classes? Perhaps you should get some more exposure to the students, so you can sound like less of an idiot.

  • Florida SWO

    WWII seems a pretty weak comparison for justifying today’s manpower requirements. Can you show another example of current U.S. force structure being based on a WWII manning level? It would seem more reasonable to compare the number of chaplains in the Royal Navy. As for reducing the Chief of Chaplains to a captain, do you really think that is going to save much money? Many of the staff communities did not have flag officers before World War II. I assume that you would also support cutting the flag officer from the Nurse Corps among other staff and restricted line communities. The 2010 Proceedings Naval Review seems to be your only source for flag-level billet manning and it seems you have formed your opinion on this based on the reading of a directory. This is the same as if BRAC asked for every base phone book and made cuts based on that document alone

  • http://www.pughassociates.com Thomas Pugh

    The Navy Chaplain Corps must be maitained and should reflect the size of the Navy. Using Reserve Chaplains should be investigated.

  • http://nextnavy.com Craig Hooper

    Senior–I get ya! I rail about how the military isn’t a business and shouldn’t be run like one all the time…But, that said, good civilian chaplains comfort the sick and aggrieved every damn day. Near bases, leveraging local civilian pastors (a FREE resource) and enabling them to better understand the unique challenges confronting the military communities they serve would only help. I mean, plenty of local vets have PTSD and they’d probably really appreciate a civilian pastor who has had some experience and training for military-service issues. Might even be a better investment. We don’t know.

    GirlSWO–As I said, I think it’s time to determine just how much demand for chaplains there actually is in the fleet AND what value they provide (incorporating, of course, the civilian resources that could be quite easily tapped for base community support).

    Instead, via reduced manning and the like, the Navy IS making a stealthy value judgment–pulling chaplains off the permanent crew roster in more and more vessels (hell, before Iraq just how many DDGs had permanent chaplains? Go look.). Let’s figure it out and make a clear decision based on the demand signal. And then plan accordingly. That’s the upstanding way to go, versus using some blackbelt Six Sigma business analyst to make a non-decision decision about the Navy Chaplaincy.

  • girlswo

    We moved chaplains off small ships to squadrons in order to support demand for them in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it is not like the chaplains “ashore” are not occupied with Sailors afloat, to the extent ours flew out to us on deployment for several weeks. I am not a churchgoer, but have frequently used Navy chaplains as a resource to help counsel Sailors and as a sounding board for myself. I have known both good ones and bad, and will tolerate the bad because of the value of the good.

  • Senior

    I’ve never stepped into a Navy Church service in 20+ years, but I wouldn’t give up a good Chap’s for anything. When you lose a member of the crew, when a sailor see’s his best friend sucked into a jet aircraft, when that helo goes into the drink 150 from the ship and all hands are lost, when you have to tell a shipmate that his mother, dad, child or spouse died or is terminally ill. Or when that sailor or marine comes back from the deployment or from the battle lines and is suffering from PTSD, depression, or things just aren’t going well at home. No Craig, its not all about efficiency, its not all about raw percentages, sometimes its about people. Sometimes its doing the things that are NOT efficient, but they are the RIGHT thing.

    Speaking of efficiencies. In WWII there were virtually no civilian military strategist, using your percentages we could probably get rid of most of the ones we have now. Wonder how many billions we’d save if we got rid of most of the so called, often self anointed, strategist and experts and let sailors run the Navy!

  • Waco Kid

    Hmmmm. I am willing to bet that in WWII there were not any liberal self proclaimed “national security strategists” who came from San Fran who taught part time at the Naval Postgraduate School. How about we reinstate that first??

    p.s. You just stepped in it again.

  • Anathema

    Well…if you were in the Navy, or ever were in the Navy you’d likely not be asking “good does the Navy Chaplaincy do for the Navy”?

    Or the Marine Corps for that matter (guess where they get their Chaplains?).

    ‘Course, had you ever served you might know this…

    Strategizing is one thing…advocating personnel cuts in areas that directly support our Sailors and Marines…well that’s something else.

  • http://nextnavy.com Craig Hooper

    Nobody is going to shut down the Chaplaincy. That’s too much. But the Navy does need to take some objective measures here. What good does the Navy Chaplaincy do for the Navy? Does the wider Navy community want it? Or are we building too much capability for limited demand?

    Making this sort of cut is a political landmine, but…it’s something for level-headed folks to think about. And if we can’t do this, how are we gonna make any of the other tough cuts we’re gonna need to embark upon later?

  • Charley

    While I would prefer a secular Navy, there are too many zealots in military service to allow for the outright elimination of the Chaplaincy. But maybe it’s time for the Corps to downsize to provide services on the larger combatants and hospital ships, and ditch the shore installations completely.

  • Alpha

    The Navy won’t ever get rid of the Chaplain Corps. The military is far to entrenched with religion. It’s a symbiotic relationship between the church and conservative military leadership.

    Did you hear the chaplains are opposing DADT repeal because they’re concerned they can’t preach that homosexuality is a sin:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/12/AR2010061204131.html

    The whole thing is crazy.

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