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?

Here’s one answer.

What provocative questions are you asking to help save the Navy? Let us at the USNI Blog know.

NEXTNAVY.COM




Posted by Defense Springboard in Marine Corps, Navy, Soft Power
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  • UltimaRatioReg

    If, when the CNO says “shrink the Chaplain Corps”, he means canning these Diversity Directorates, cutting the number of flag officers by 25%, killing LCS, and thinning out bloated shore commands, then yes, I am all for it.

    If he means shrinking the Chaplain Corps, he is painting over the rust.

  • http://www.coatneyhistory.com Lou Coatney

    There are 2 basic problems which have caused the cutbacks now:

    1. Unwinnable, pointless, and bankrupting wars of attrition in Southwest Asia instigated by fanatics and special interests … which should be curtailed.

    2. The “outsourcing” of our manufacturing/tax/budget base by neocons and various other corrupt, disloyal elitists – political, academic, business, or otherwise.

    The really dangerous aspect of outsourcing is that much of our manufacturing we would need in a war against China is now IN China.

    Something Americans can do to try to restore the economic foundation of the Country is to consult the website http://www.StillMadeInUSA.com and exercise some “economic patriotism.” Example: I’m getting my next pairs of socks from Railroad Sox in Iowa.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    You gotta be kidding.

  • Rick Wilmes

    “2. The “outsourcing” of our manufacturing/tax/budget base by neocons and various other corrupt, disloyal elitists – political, academic, business, or otherwise.
    The really dangerous aspect of outsourcing is that much of our manufacturing we would need in a war against China is now IN China.”

    Outsourcing would go away if our anti-immigration laws were repealed.  Cheap labor and individuals looking for liberty and opportunity would bring their ingenuity to America and provide the needed spark to restart the economy.

    In fact buying American is in fact un-American. 

  • Marcase

    Cancel LCS and buy USCG Bertholf class cutters instead. For presence, patrol and anti-piracy these NSCs will suffice. Embark an MH-60 for ASW and limited SUW. Perhaps even a ScanEagle?

    Buy more FA-18EF instead of F-35Cs (buy more -Bs for the marines instead).

    LHA(R) instead of CVN?

    But most importantly – buy more off-the-shelf and settle for ‘good enough now’ instead of ‘superior next decade’.

    Greets.

  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Solomon

    You guys have jumped the shark! Of all the programs you want to cut, this is the one you single out? Definitely San Francisco thinking.

    If you’ve ever seen a Chaplain in the field or even garrison then you wouldn’t be asking this.

    Wow.

    Amazing.

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    @Lou – don’t hi-jack the thread.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Sol–with the coming budget, nothing is sacred.

    Look at the numbers. If 2800 chaplains could serve 3.2 million in 1944, then 280 should be able to handle 320,000 in 2010.

    And if that small cadre were led by a couple of fired-up Captains, the Navy Chaplaincy would probably be a whole lot more efficient than it is today.

    I’m saying cut the fat and do the job.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Spring,

    I am with you on cutting the fat, but the proportions have to be meaningful.

    Cutting the Chaplain Corps to reduce OPCOSTS is akin to throwing down three super-sized artery-clogging burgers and chili-cheese fries, but having a diet Coke to save calories.

  • http://www.fuzzilicious.blogspot.com FbL

    The argument that the Chaplains Corps is bloated has merit, but the reasoning beyond the numbers argument is rather poor. For example:

    “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.”

    As every chaplain I’ve known or read says, it’s a “ministry of presence.” They are so much more than a push-button dispenser of religious rite. As anybody who has been blessed to know a good “man/woman of the cloth” in a moment of crisis knows, it’s not about denomination/religion, but the presence of someone who knows that life has a spiritual dimension and that there is hope to make it through a current darkness. But hey, why would there be a need for that kind of in-person support among people in dangerous jobs, separated from families for long periods, and serving in time of war?

    And we all know that people who need the support of the chaplain always seek out the chaplain. Those encounters that soothe and strengthen the spirit happen on a schedule, of course. Just make an appointment and fire up the webcam on the ship’s limited bandwidth.

    (sorry for the sarcasm, but I couldn’t fin a better way to express it).

    Soldiers’ Angels (a non-religious organization) has a team specifically devoted to assisting deployed chaplains. That assistance most-often includes stocking them with a large volume of snacks and coffee. Why? Because it enables that “ministry of presence” when a stressed service member drops by to grab a snack and suddenly finds himself the presence of a friendly and supportive shoulder on which to unburden himself.

    Nah, we don’t need “in person” chaplains. *sigh*

  • Ardmore

    Since Navy Chaplains also minister to Marines, those numbers need to be included in the math.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    There is a difference between being provocative and evocative.

    -1.

  • SB

    Mr. Cooper is trying to shield a poorly thought out position behind the appearance of an Operations Analyst approach. His simplistic “if then” argument fails to meet any standard.

    He stated: “Look at the numbers. If 2800 chaplains could serve 3.2 million in 1944, then 280 should be able to handle 320,000 in 2010.”

    Do we know if those 2800 Chaplains was the right number to begin with? He uses it as the foundation of his argument, but does not bother to seek and/or prove to us that it is valid.

    Is 2800 the number that the (then) leadership determined to be optimal? By what method did they do this? What was the Measure of Effectiveness? Is there a Chaplain to serviceman ratio established in DoD Policy? Has this number changed over time? What was the basis for change? Did we really just have 2800 because that was all we could scare up at the time in the midst of a massive build up of forces? Did those 2800 WWII Chaplains adequately address the needs of those servicemen? Do you have survey data or any evidence whatsoever to support or refute that position?

    Do you really know? Or do you just know that there were 2800, and somehow that number MUST be right because we won the war?

    I am calling doubt on your credibility. How do you pitch an argument like this with nothing to back it up other than, “because I said so!” I do not claim to know the answer, but I am pretty darn sure you don’t either.

    USNI: This is only one (service)man’s opinion, but I think it is time to reexamine Mr. Hooper’s involvement here.

    V/r,
    SB

  • USNVO

    SB,
    As you point out, the logic that Mr. Hooper uses to justify a Chaplain Corps end strength is pretty lame. Organizations rarely if ever scale in a linear fashion. For instances, if every ship with a crew over 350 has a Chaplain, than older cruiser like the Long Beach with 800 crew had a Chaplain as did a AEGIS cruiser with less than 400. Either way, you still need one Chaplain. However, his idea of reviewing the size and organization of the Chaplain Corps is reasonable, just poorly thought out. We should review all organizations, not just the Chaplain’s Corps, to determine if their organization and structure is appropriate for today. When you have more staff officers than line, as was recently the case in the Navy although I don’t know the current numbers, you have to wonder. Having said that, there are quite a few other places you could start with besides the Chaplain Corps.

  • http://warandhealth.com/ Christopher Albon

    “San Francisco thinking”? Oh please.

    Hooper’s argument is fair game, criticize its assumptions, identify its errors of logic, tear down its supporting evidence base, but do not turn this into a liberal-conservative thing. That is not helpful.

  • Chuck Hill

    This is not all about the Chaplin Corps, the real question was are there other elements of the organization that we have taken for granted, that need to be looked at?

  • http://bostonmaggie.blogspot.com Maggie

    Read the opening paragraph again. The CNO did not suggest the US Navy “shrink the Chaplain Corps”. The CNO said to ask provocative questions.

    The post author stretched the word provocative from it’s generally understood meaning of “stimulate” to “agaitate”.

  • Mike M.

    Let me ask the other provocative question….

    Do we really need all the budget drills? You would be shocked at the amount of time the SYSCOMs spend answering those.

    And the other provocative question….

    What’s the cost/benefit of Earned Value Management tracking? I’ve worked with them intermittently for fifteen years, and they always seemed to be a way to squander inordinate amounts of time trying to measure with a micrometer what was marked with a piece of chalk and cut with a chainsaw.

  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Solomon

    Well said Maggie.

    I took the time to read some of the supportive comments on the authors website. If you don’t think that this is a Conservative vs. Liberal argument Chris then you’re not paying attention.

    The metrics used by author are misleading and that in and of itself is revealing.

    The only thing about this entire episode that gives me joy is the understanding that these are the views of the author and NOT those of the USNI.

  • http://bostonmaggie.blogspot.com Maggie

    Solomon, that is something that bears repeating often in this forum. The blog administrator has pulled together a diverse group of people and their opinions reflect only their own experiences and not the US Naval Institute.

  • http://warandhealth.com/ Christopher Albon

    “If you don’t think that this is a Conservative vs. Liberal argument Chris then you’re not paying attention.”

    Once you approach this as an ideological issue, you open the door to linking defense cutbacks to Roe vs. Wade or Alaskan drilling. That is the fastest way in politics to grind intelligent debate to a halt. We are better than that.

  • YNSN

    That’s exactly what the SECDEF got started with his speeches over the last few months: He is battling ideology, defense ideology,
    beyond conservative or liberal.

    This post, in an awkward way brings that to the surface.

    Nothing is sacred in this debate. The only thing that will keep us from improving ourselves, and perhaps being able to afford the other–kinetic ideology war we’re fighting, is to not allow past ideologies keep us from making prudent decisions.

    However, Chaps ain’t what Chaps was back in WWII. The numbers are sound, and they deploy with the Marines and fill IA billets out here too. Make an O6 the head of the Chaplains? Sure. Cut there numbers? Negative.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Sorry if I’m poking some sacred cows, but if I’m overly agitating people by suggesting somebody explore this issue (an admittedly small matter of, oh, $100 million dollars a year), how will the Navy ever hope to confront other, more difficult issues in the lean years ahead? I mean, really.

    One would think I was urging readers to rebel against the federal government. (Or something equally “evocative” involving women in the service, diversity or DADT, eh, Sal?)

    What’s interesting to me is that in the barrage of visceral reaction, nobody’s dug up a single shred of data to reveal the in fleet demand signal and value of the Chaplaincy. One would think, given all the hue and cry in this comment stream that such data is lying around, in easy reach. But it ain’t. And in the coming lean times, that’s not a good thing for anybody who supports the Navy Chaplaincy.

    If you think the Chaplaincy is important, then I’ve got some news for ya’ll: Defense via vitriol isn’t a defense, really. It’s just, well…in the future, plan to do more than just resorting to the rhetorical devices of a ten-year old.

    In the meantime, we’re forgetting that the Navy is quietly imposing a stealthy judgment of the value of Chaplains by reducing the number of permanent chaplain spots on crew rosters. Where the Chaplaincy is concerned, reduced manning is becoming a kind of a “vote with your feet” deal. I think it’s better to examine the issue, come to a command decision and plan accordingly.

    And finally, if you think that I’m just out here to cause agitation, then, well, my sincere apologies. I’d suggest, if this post has sent you to the fainting couch, you go read the friendly stuff some of the commentators above have posted about me on other websites. It’ll make ya feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Here’s a little snippet from an NPS Thesis for discussion:

    “….One chaplain with whom the author spoke lamented the lack of participation in on-base services. Informally, the author has questioned over 200 military officers at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA about their preference for a military chaplain over civilian clergy. Less than five percent of them used the religious services that the military provided on a regular basis, and about the same percentage of officers were indifferent as to whether or not the chaplain had a military commission. Although it is difficult to support this assumption without a formal survey, it appears that many service members are indifferent about the source of religious representation…”

    That snippet suggests there might be a good rationale for some outsourcing (or better leveraging of free resources that are already available in the community). What’s wrong with testing this preliminary data? Or does that just get too provocative?

    http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA439298

  • Anathema

    Again Craig – you are fudging the numbers, mixing up the levels of analysis, and provoking rather than evoking. And, worst of all, you backtrack when you get called on it.

    There ARE programs in the $100M range that can be pulled, cut, trimmed or what have you – but none are strategic, or require strategic thinking.

    Chaplain services are like militaries…you might not use them all the time, but it sure is good to have them when you do need them.

    Anyway…had you been in the Navy you’d know that the personnel program of choice, when one is tilting windmills, is the Navy Band…not the Chaplain Corps. :)

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    “…you are fudging the numbers, mixing up the levels of analysis, and provoking rather than evoking. And, worst of all, you backtrack when you get called on it.”

    Uh. You’ve got to be kidding. Where? I documented my sources. Much of my information comes from the Navy, so I’d be delighted to know where–precisely where–I’m fudging the numbers. I’d love to know. Don’t post it over sailorbob.com. Show me up in public. Right here.

    (Oh, and, hey, thanks for confirming that I’m asking provocative questions. Feels good to know that I’m following the CNO’s good guidance!)

  • Anathema

    Oops – I misspoke “evoking rather than provoking” is what I intended to say.

    See, that’s how you apologize when making a mistake.

    As for posting at SailorBob, since you can’t get there any more, I’d have to post here so you can read it.

    Again – as I mentioned at your other place, you forgot the USMC when it came to chaplains. So your math is of.

    IAs and overseas billets are mixed in with shore. Not the same thing.

    You also don’t source the $100M number.

    For the rest, it’s mixed analysis (cut the chaplains because there are civilians and Navy doesn’t use chaplains at sea) as well as missing the savings in a joint school rather than multiple service schools, and using 1, one, uno, idiot to make the case on litigation.

    I know you like to get responses, makes you feel wanted and valuable…but, seriously, aren’t there real questions you can ask (like implementing the NOC, or NSS, or whither SeaPower21, or how we will never, never, nver get to 313) – oh, wait, Information Dissemination has those all covered. Ooooops.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Anathema–

    If you’d shown more attention to detail and explored the links I provided you, you’d have leaned a thing or two about your Navy.

    For example, the 2007 numbers I use reflect all those serving in “Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine units.” Navy Department religious personnel serve all those organizations.

    Let’s continue. There is plenty of litigation to choose from. If you looked at chaplainreform.com, a link I provided in my post, you’d have discovered that the Chaplain Corps has been involved in a wide range of litigation regarding promotion issues. One went up to the Supreme Court for an appeal. Also, you’d have discovered that an IG investigation took place as well, leading to the resignation of a Rear Admiral last year. That all costs the Navy money. And keeps the JAG afloat, too!

    I could go on, but, judging from your failure to examine the information I gave you, you’re evidently uninterested in exploring the issue. You just want to attack me–and that’s fine– whatever floats your boat.

    But…in the future, I’d suggest you make sure your powder is dry before firing. OK? Let’s not waste each other’s time on trivialities.

  • Anathema

    Hey it’s your choice of topics. I read, OK skimmed, the links and thesis you posted. Which might actually be more in depth than your review. A couple of germane, and sadly not succint enough, comments:

    My point on the Marines is your use of the 90% reduction statistic from WWII to now. To make the numbers right, you need to add the USN and USMC and use that as your demoninator to a chaplain numerator.

    I looked at the Chaplain Reform website – interestingly enough it just lists all sorts of litigation (wait, no, it’s just FOUR!), but you twist that into the Chaplain Corps being a burden on the JAG Corps – without any contrasting or supporting statistics that show this, just conjecture. I did not find it to be either a credible, or unbiased, source.

    The Chief of Chaplains line (Rear Admiral should be a Captain) ignores all sorts of other demographics. Again, just another statement without any real analysis or structure. You also ignore that there were only 6 Chief of Chaplains that you use to base your “Should go back to being a Captain” statistic. The Navy of 1932 (or 1917) hardly compares to today’s Navy.

    Then there’s the NPS thesis, which seems to be the crux and almost only source of your entire post. It’s nothing more than a boiler plate discussion of the savings of outsourcing. Standard fare – even down to the numbers. And from what I saw in a quick review, it conveniently ignores the need for shore and CONUS jobs to offset deployed and forward deployed positions. The usual Achilles heel to outsourcing arguments.

    Really, ALL of your points come down to the same arguments we always see for outsourcing. And they always come down to dollars and ignore other real and important issues. But, if you can make a compelling case on money, then the realities of supporting a forward deployed and present military force gets forgotten.

    So, let’s go ahead and kill off the Chaplain Corps – and then use the same logic to gut the Medical, Dental, Nurse, and JAG Corps. For that matter, the Human Resource Professional and Information Professional designators have civilian equivalents – as do Surface Warfare Officers and Aviators. With contractor pilots flying off MSC run ships, why don’t we just apply that same logic to operating aircraft carriers with civilian crews and pilots.

    Not that big a stretch from your “provocative question.” And no more logical or valid, either.

    Welcome to the blogosphere. It’s a whole new world, and a lot of comfy old rules no longer apply, so get used to being challenged if you want to post and write. That’s supposedly what you want, to engender a conversatio, right? And in that case, some people will disagree with you. But being flip, launching ad hominems or going into the defensive crouch is not something a good blogger would be doing. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but, even in the face of provocation I’d expect a self styled Naval Strategist to be able to keep on topic and defend his assertions, not obfuscate around them.

  • Anathema

    And some more from http://hamptonroads.com/2008/03/navy-chaplain-corps-peers-lean-volunteer-lay-leaders

    “With 1,100 ministers in the active and reserve ranks to serve hundreds of thousands of military members, the corps has leaned on volunteer lay leaders to fill the gaps.

    The Chaplain Corps has been deploying heavily since 2002. About 6 in 10 reserve chaplains have been activated, with some doing multiple tours, according to Navy personnel data. About 7 percent of active-duty ministers have supplemented deployed units.”

    and from http://www.vindy.com/news/2010/may/29/military-chaplains-play-integral-role/

    “Chaplains have not only prayed for and with the troops, they have died alongside them as well.

    From the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War, 214 chaplains have died on the field of battle and five have received the nation’s highest military award, the Congressional Medal of Honor.”

    and from the same article: “The missions and functions performed by the military today are highly specialized and require a unique set of ministry skills. Foremost, serving as a military chaplain requires one to have the ability to work in a pluralistic environment. Chaplains have a motto of “Cooperation without Compromise.”

    Their role as both clergy and military officer obli-gates them to answer to their religious bodies and the institution in which they serve. While some of those served may share the same faith as the chaplain, most will have religious affiliations different than the chaplain and many will have no religious preference at all. Military chaplains provide ministry to the total institution and not only to that portion associated with their own religious denomination.

    At the same time, however, chaplains must remain faithful to their governing religious body and the tenets of their faith. For effective ministry, the military chaplain must learn to negotiate the tensions between these two competing and often opposing realities.

    In the Navy Chaplain Corps, we say that we provide for those of our own faith, we facilitate ministry for those of other faiths, and we care for all.

    The role of the military is to fight and win our nation’s wars. In an organization dedicated to violence, the military chaplain stands as a visible reminder of the Holy.

    As our young men and women continue to deploy in harm’s way, please remember the thousands of chaplains — Reserve, National Guard and active duty — who serve alongside them. Pray for our troops and our chaplains who serve them.”

  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Solomon

    Springboard,

    You’re floundering. Your “bold” idea has been rejected and to an extent your thinking exposed. People get what you’re saying, we’re just not buying it.

  • Jay

    DS — “with the coming budget, nothing is sacred.”

    Very clever.

    I think the Chaplains, like many of our CONUS structure — is duplicated and prob unnecessary.

    That said — it would be very tough to have a cadre of Chaplain folks permanently deployed (only) to remote/austere locations or permanently afloat.

    A good question to ask — do they need to be in uniform? Can you have civ Chaplains take leave from whatever/wherever they normally minister — and pay them say 0-3 scale (good $) and let them stay as civs, but just TDY for a few deployments?

    When we needed to — we seemed to have gotten along fine with lay leaders. In this day & age of comms (perhaps those who need ministry/guidance can get it from home via e-mail & vid chats) — is having a Chaplain there all the time really necessary?

    I am not sure.

  • Jay

    By above — for clarification — I mean that most religious needs are met adequately “out in town” CONUS.

  • Derrick

    Out of curiosity: Do the Chaplains represent the diverse religious beliefs of the current Navy servicemen? For example, are there Islamic Chaplains or other non-Christian Chaplains currently in service?

  • Jay

    Yes — but there are very few non-Christian Chaplains. The Navy makes reasonable accomodations/allowances for it — for instance, in my battlegroup, when underway, if any of the Officers/Enlisted who were Jewish & requested it — we would try to arrange for them to helo over to the carrier (I was on a DDG) if time/mission/etc. permitted.

    Often — if a particular demonination is not represented — Lay Leaders may try to perform a similar role to the Chaplain (to the extent the demonination allows).

    Chaplains are, I believe, supposed to minister to all, in a “general” way (for lack of a better term).

  • http://warandhealth.com/ Christopher Albon

    I seem to remember some hoopla about a Wiccan chaplain or something.

  • Anathema

    The chaplainreform.com website has a (dated) breakdown of stats – Craig links the presentation in his post at Next Navy. There is some editorializing and some license taken with them, but they are a start.

  • USNVO

    Jay,
    As you note, having only deployed chaplains would never work, (a 2:1 ratio is actually pretty reasonable) but you miss the boat on what Chaplains do for the Navy. It has very little to do with religious support. Although the Chaplains may not do much at NPS (all officers, college type environment, little to no military duties), I bet the ones across town at DLI were busy. I ran a schoolhouse, Chaplains were a force multipiler for us and the same is true of every ship I was on (although none of them had Chaplains assigned). Sailors sought counseling, a sympathetic ear, or an alternative to the CoC. They received counseling, encouragement, and a compassionate listener. Often when we had problems, they helped identify them, quietly, confidentally, and before it became a major issue. When someone dies, who goes to see the family besides the CACO? Ship is deployed, who do the dependents call when they have problems (besides the Ombudsman who may actually be the problem)? Servicemember is considering suicide? Dear John letter? Stress? Financial Issues? Family Problems? As a DESRON staff officer I worked in the same office as our Chaplain for two years. I can’t ever remember him once dealing with anything remotely related to his religous affiliation, but he was one of the most busy guys around and I wouldn’t have wanted his job. Chaplains are kind of like CMCs, they get stuck with all the really tough people jobs, but they don’t have a Chief’s Mess to help them out. Could other people do it? Sure, but probably not as good for a variety of reasons.

  • http://www.fuzzilicious.blogspot.com FbL

    Well said, USNVO. That’s what I was trying to get at, but you did it so much better. :)

  • Byron

    Back in the 80’s, there was a chaplain who stopped an FFG from deploying; the morale was so bad that two E-6’s and a couple of other petty officers had gone over the hill rather than spend six months on that ship. CO, XO, CMDCM, SUPPO and the MSC got relieved.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Flash forward to 2003, and a Chaplain did the same thing with Holly Graf….but nobody listened.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1970226,00.html

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Why is THAT, ya think, SB?

    Bet they would have listened if she had been the most evil of creatures. The Heterosexual White Male.

  • http://k6lvd.com jack osborne

    Oh, the problem is not the chaplains, it is with the religions in the Navy. As we get more religions we need more religious leaders or the media gets madder.
    The solution to funding is deeper than that, it requires analysis of the civilian workforce needs.
    Perhaps there are too many chief , and not enough seaman in the ranks of the workforce.

    Part of the solution to the Naval Work Force is to go back to assign more of the naval personnel to the Civilian Work Force and using them as the reserve when trouble comes.

    Civilian work forces are paid higher and tied to one location, more or less. Naval personnel could be moved to necessary spots and provide more trained force when hostilities erupt.

    But, you will never get the civilian forces to agree to any of that!

  • http://xbradtc.wordpress.com XBradTC

    As I understand it, Springbored isn’t really advocating slashing the CHC, but saying we should look at it. After all, every option should be explored.

    And the response is interesting. Vehement disagreement, and many people disparaging the author. If something as small as studying the benefit of the CHC is that contentious, what is going to happen when we look at cutting some program that people really care about? Perhaps now you can see why it can be so hard for an organization to change course.

  • Anathema

    Craig didn’t suggest “we should look at it”. His entering paragraph says “Is it time to shrink the Navy Chaplain Corps? My answer? Yes.”

    As for “disparaging the author”…this is a man who in many, many posts repeatedly shows his contempt for Navy personnel, Navy leadership, and the Navy in general. Many who discuss him outside the USNI Blog (yes, that happens) wonder why he is (1) a Navy blogger and (2) why he is here at USNI Blog.

    There are all sorts of programs that bear scrutiny – or study – even the Chaplain Corps. Just not for the reasons Crag suggested.

    Had he stopped at “studying” or asked people to list provocative questions, well then he might have been left alone. But, what happened instead is that an “outsider” advocated a reduction in services to Sailors, serving on Active Duty and often in harm’s way…something the author has chosen not to do.

    And that doesn’t sit well with me. And, I presume that others feel the same way.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Here’s a little comment one Westpac Warrior left on the old homeblog:

    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.

    Discuss!

  • Protect our troops

    Depending on what study you reference suicide is almost always among the top 5 leading causes of death in the military. Usually it is stated to be number 2 or 3. That was not the case in WWII. I think it is a little odd to base manning ratios based on those during WWII. Chaplains are in a very unique place to assist in suicide prevention and to help those deal with the aftermath among other things. Many chaplains have graduate degrees in counseling.

    When we consider how many chaplains we can hire as compared to the number of banks we bail out which one seems more important, or more costly?

2014 Information Domination Essay Contest
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