Military chaplains are endorsed by government-approved religious organizations and employed by the Department of Defense. As federal chaplains, they are required to have 72 hours of graduate theological education (M.Div. or its equivalency) and receive branch-specific training at Chaplain Corp Colleges. They provide religious and spiritual care to military personnel, ethical guidance to commanding officers, and partner with social workers and mental health professionals in responding to a variety of issues impacting active duty personnel and their families.
The Armed Forces Chaplain Board oversees all branches of the Chaplaincy Corps and determines the credentialing standards for all chaplains. A list of the approved endorsing agents can be found here. Each branch also offers opportunities for exploring chaplaincy careers through their Chaplain Candidate Programs (for example, the US Army).
Recent collaborations between endorsers, theological educators, chaplains, and military leaders feature discussions about how to best prepare military chaplains for 21st century chaplaincy. Examples include:
- Educator Influencer’s Tour (for example, US Air Force), initiated by recruiting offices to bring theological educators to branch bases to learn more about chaplaincy on-site training
- National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces – 2017 White paper
- Soul Repair at Brite Divinity School
- Veteran Care Initiatives – VA Mental Health and Chaplaincy
Scholarship on Moral Injury
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- 2019 special issue on military moral injury in Pastoral Psychology 68(1)
- Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini, Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War (2013)
- Larry Graham, Moral Injury: Restoring Wounded Souls (Abingdon, 2017)
- Zachary Moon, Warriors between Worlds: Moral Injury and Identities in Crisis (Lexington Books, 2019)